A Review of my Seminar at Charles Staley’s Live and Rare Coaches Retreat


Drew Ragan, one of my attendees was nice enough to furnish this. This might be a bit self-promtional but, here goes.

I’ll start this post off with a plug for all of you strength and performance coaches out there in the world. Coach Charles Staley’s Live & Rare Coaches Retreat at the Arizona Grand Hotel in Phoenix is truly a great experience. If you’re considering going, don’t hesitate. The amount of quality time to be able to have a conversation with Coach Staley, his staff, and whoever the guest coach is for the weekend is invaluable. I loved the 12 hours of lecture and practical coaching and the 2 hours of early morning workouts, but my favorite part of the entire experience was hanging out with Coach Boyle in the hotel lobby and having a beer. That’s awesome. I live in Seattle, Coach Boyle is in Boston. My chances to kick back a cold one with Coach Boyle are relatively few.

If you have a figure in your life that you truly admire and respect, I don’t know if there isn’t anything cooler than being able to say “I had a drink with that man”, right? Would you rather get a t-shirt signed by Michael Jordan, or sit by the fire for a couple hours together and talk the night away? You get my point?

Now I don’t know if that’s how most coaches who are planning on presenting at Coach Staley’s Performance Retreat operate. Coach Boyle did make himself available, and that was what I respected the most. He walks the walk in regards to the core values he always emphasizes. We all recognized that- and we all appreciated his willingness to be as transparent as possible.

Mike Boyle possesses the qualities that will make you a successful coach. If you want to be great- follow him. You might not necessariliy agree with his position on the bilateral defecit, or maybe about how he implements the FMS with his athletes, but you can’t knock him for his character. I learned a ton in regards to strength and conditioning as a science (think functional anatomy, physics, program design implementaion, etc.) but it was the art of coaching where I learned the most. Those were my most important take home facts.

The goal of the retreat wasn’t about presenting ground breaking new science to achieve maximum results in minimal time or any crap like that. It was more of “this is where we are at and what we are doing right now.” Some of the info presented were affirmations as to how I coach and go about my day, some of the info was new and I look to incorporate it immediately. I’ll break it down into two areas of emphasis: the art and the science.

The Art

Be the most positive and enthusiastic person you know. – If you’re coming into work dragging ass and half awake, snap out of it. Your clients feed off that negative energy. Like Alwyn Cosgrove always says – you need to be the most positive part of your clients day. If you’re not feeling it that day, you need to fake it until you make it. If you don’t have the energy to fake it, than find another profession.
They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care – You need to be calling, texting e-mailing, writing letters in the sky for your people. This is a business that is truly about helping people. Sure, there’s a nice earning potential if you do things right, but more importantly you legitimately have to believe and undersatnd that the priority isn’t about making the big bucks, but enriching your athletes and clients lives.
Under promise and over deliver. Don’t guarantee results with a 100% money back guarantee or any promotional garbage. Be more along the lines of “Yeah, I think I can help you” or “how about you stop by the gym tomorrow and we’ll see what we can do” – then over-deliver with your excellent coaching skills and customer service. It leaves a much more positive and lasting impression.
KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid!) – Stick to the principles and what works. What are the rocks of your training philosophy that you believe in? Use those consistently, not whats trendy.
The key to life is to learn how to use things and love people, not the other way around – enough said.

The Science

(Remember: principles don’t change-methodology varies. These are big rocks that make his programs and training successful, with a couple of additional pieces of info to marinate on for a little bit. I don’t need to expand on a lot of these.)

Understand how to implement the appropriate regressions and progressions with your training – dumbbell RFESS too difficult still? Let’s go back to kettlebell goblet style for a little bit longer
Acknowledge physics and what’s appropriate – This can fall under the art category as well. Your big rocks of your training philosohpy doesn’t necessarily work for every demographic. If you love doing Olympic cleans with all of your clients, understand it might not be the best option for your 75 year old client.
Corrective exercises don’t work as well with the elderly – As people age their muscles transform from putty to beef jerky. Muscles get locked long and locked short. Work on the movements, but recognize that the most significant change in tissue quality for older people will be a result of quality tissue therapy, not how many YTW’s you have them do.
Use kettlebells for overhead pressing exercises – The KB weight distribution will cause your shoulder into a slightly more externally rotated position, firing you shoulder stabilizers and decreasing and potentially eliminating pain with people who experience pain when pressing overhead. This works great as well with a top down KB held position.
Fireman carries are excellent for posterior rotator cuff development – Use this as a phase 1 strengthening exercise for people with post cuff issues. The post cuff’s primary roll is to stabilize. Holding heavy ass stuff = post cuff stabilization.
Respect and understand the bilateral deficit – This applies for both the upper and lower body. For anyone who has met Coach Boyle, he’s not in the business to stir it up and be controversial. His stance on this concept is supported by history and research. I’ll let him site those sources.
And probably the most scientific statement made by Boyle over the weekend pretty much sums up what kind of guy he is when he proclaimed “I exercise because I like to drink more beer – everybody’s gotta have goals!”

Well spoken Coach.


Drew Ragan
NSCA – CSCS
NASM – CPT, PES, CES
FMS Level 1

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