A few years ago a major shoe company had an ad with a skinny model attempting to do kettlebell swings but were really the squat-to-front-raise variation that is, simply put, incorrect. To help companies avoid this pitfall, one of my roles as a consultant in the fitness industry is to work as a technical director for photo and video shoots. The job is to watch the talent through the camera (or monitor) to make sure that exercise form and technique are appropriate because nothing can kill an ad campaign for the fitness industry quicker than a model demonstrating incorrect form in an ad. Yes, it really is a tough way to earn a buck (sarcasm font).
Recently while on a project to shoot a commercial, I sat back and marveled at the team work that it takes to pull off producing a short commercial. On a set there are a number of different jobs, each position is extremely important and each person has to do his or her job well for everything to come together for the project. We are all familiar with the ‘talent’ these are the models or actors who are the subject of the filming (in all honesty, while they can often be the most famous, they’re not the most important folks on a set).
In my opinion the most important people on a set are the grips – the jacks-of-all trades who do many jobs on a set including moving the set around. Other jobs on a set include:
Lighting – the experts who can light up any scene
Camera – the folks who actually run the cameras, this can include separate individuals to hold the camera and adjust the focus
Costume – the people in charge of what the talent will be wearing
Make up – self-explanatory
Catering – to keep everyone fueled, caffeinated and happy
Director and 2nd director – these are the people responsible for keeping the shoot operating efficiently and are constantly shouting directions.
While on a set it can be tempting to offer to pitch in to help but in reality there is no need because each job requires specific technical expertise; just like I can’t operate a camera worth tens of thousands of dollars, a camera operator may not know the difference between a good squat or a bad one – the point is that each person has a specific duty and we each need to perform to the best of our ability for the production to be a success. Side note, one of the things I really like about working on a set is dispensing with niceties, if something needs to get done, it needs doing now and you don’t need to waste time with making an overly polite request. Too bad we can’t all communicate as candidly…
TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More is a popular acronym that many of us are familiar with; and most of us can agree that things go easier when a number of people work together to accomplish a task. One of the most unique things about operating in a team environment is that each person is responsible for a specific function and when everyone works together tremendous things can happen.
What’s this have to do with fitness?
For years athletes would finish one season and then be left on their own when it comes to the strength and conditioning required to prepare for the next playing season. Some teams would have a strength coach provide off-season workouts but in general, athletes would either rest, do other activities or exercise on their own. In the late 1990s a strength coach named Mark Verstegen brought together a number of experts from the world of performance conditioning to create Athlete’s Performance, a team of experts to cater to all of the needs of athletes as they enter an off-season conditioning cycle.
When it comes to the team of performance professionals who support a single athlete, it can include the position coach, the strength coach, speed coach, an athletic trainer, massage therapist and registered dietitian. When Verstegen started Athlete’s Performance, now known as Exos, it was one of the first operations to bring all of those specialties into one facility to help athletes achieve their optimum level of performance.
When an athlete arrives at an Exos location, many college athletes prepare for playing at the professional level of their respective sports with Exos, they receive a comprehensive evaluation and assessment. This assessment process results in a conditioning program that will address everything from mobility to adding muscle to improving speed to sleep coaching to nutrition to mediation; the point is that while training at Exos, an athlete training should be expected to reach his or her optimal level of performance because of the support of the entire training team. So the next time your favorite athlete makes a play, don’t just think of his or her efforts during the competition, consider the hours of work and support it took to develop the skill and ability to execute the play without a moment’s hesitation.
Sue Falsone was one of the early athletic trainers to work with Verstegen at Athlete’s Performance; she played an integral role in developing the systems that would help produce many of the world’s top athletes. Not only is Sue a well-known athletic trainer who lectures around the world, we recorded this conversation at the Asia Fitness Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, but she was THE FIRST woman to work as an athletic trainer in any of the four major sports leagues when she went to work with the LA Dodgers MLB team. On this episode of All About Fitness, Sue talks about her experience helping establish AP/Exos as the premier training facility in the world as well as what it was like to be the first women in her role with a professional sports team. On this episode of All About Fitness, be prepared for an insightful interview with one of the major groundbreakers in professional sports, Sue Falsone.