Everyone wants to know how they can work with professional athletes and elite sports teams, so we thought why not see what it takes straight from an industry leader! Matt Nichol is a strength and conditioning coach with over 20 years of experience working with Olympic athletes and professional sports teams in the NHL, NFL, CFL, KHL, and more. He is also the founder of BioSteel Sports, the sports drink and nutrition company.
As a trusted high-performance specialist who has put many dedicated years into the industry, Matt Nichol has a wealth of knowledge to share about finding success in the sports world. Matt was a recent guest on the “Earn Your Edge” Instagram live series with JOGA founder Jana Webb, Matt shared his career journey and the lessons and skills needed to get him to where he is today. In an age where we can look at social media and just see a finished project, it can become easy to think that success comes quickly and with little effort. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Success takes time and effort, and we’ve put together Matt’s pro tips to help you learn just what it takes to get there.
To be successful not just in the sports industry, but any industry, you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. You should want to go to work every day because you love what you do. When you’re passionate about your work, you’ll be more willing to dedicate yourself to your work and remain consistent. You can tell the difference between those who are passionate about their work and those who are not because those who are passionate put their all into what they do instead of just giving the bare minimum. If you are passionate about what you do and are continuously striving to learn and become better, opportunities will come your way. People who truly care about the athletes they work with and the impact they are making are the ones who end up delivering the best results.
The sports industry is highly competitive and saturated, so it’s important to find what makes you different and special. Many people want to work in sports and may have similar expertise and training as you, so you need to find what makes you stand out. When exploring what unique offering you can bring to the sports world, you don’t want to just pick what you think is going to be the biggest revenue generator. It all comes back to passion. Focus on what you love and through trial and error, you will find out what you’re good at and discover your niche organically. At the beginning of your career, it is a great idea to say yes to everything because then you will start to learn what specific areas you’re good at and then better be able to align yourself with that vision.
Differentiating your offerings also requires being humble and accepting that you can’t do it all or be the best at everything. You need to know when to bring other people in who will be able to offer things that you can’t. Many strength and conditioning coaches, like Matt Nichol for example, will bring in a JOGA coach or refer athletes to JOGA to help with mobility work since this may not be their area of expertise. Building connections with people in the industry whose backgrounds can complement your own offerings will help amplify results and make you more successful and respected at what you do.
WORK YOUR ASS OFF
When it all comes down to it, your success in the industry will be dependent on how hard you work. And when we say work your ass off, we mean all the time. You should be trying to do the best job you can no matter where you’re at or who your clients are. Yes, you may aspire to work with professional athletes; however, this comes by treating everyone as if they’re a championship-winning athlete. If you’re doing it for ego or fame and think that amateur athletes don’t deserve your highest level of focus and attention, then your intentions are in the wrong place. The most successful people in the sports industry are the ones who are eager to take on new opportunities, learn, and give it their all because at the end of the day, what they care about is maximizing performance.