Article by Mark Watts - Things I Learned from Wendler, Rhodes and Darden

Jim Wendler and Mark Watts

Mark Watts wrote an article for EliteFTS about his seminar experience.  Here is a small sample of the article:   

In the Spring of 2005, I got a phone call in my office at the ODIA weight room at West Point. It was before I had lifting groups that  day and was surprised to hear it was Jim Wendler on the other end. I had filled out a coaching questionnaire at elitefts and Jim apparently thought it wasn't shitty. I also listed some of the guys I had been learning from in terms of my own powerlifting career which ended up to be mutual connections.

I was traveling an hour down the road to lift with John Bott once a month and also driving to Nazareth, PA to lift with Bobby Fields at Mike Miller's gym.  From then on, Jim and I have been friends and I visited him as much as I could.  I would bring my interns from Denision over to see him. I've seen first hand the impact Jim has had on so many lifters and coaches.

Some of the best advice I got from Jim wasn't training related.  Right before my first daughter was born in the summer of 2009, I got a call from Jim (most of the time I called him) when I was teaching Physical Education for the Upward Bound program at Columbus State. I asked him about fatherhood and he told me two things. 1. Being a Dad was easy. Jim told me kids just need you to pay attention to them. Sit on the floor and play with them. Just spend time with them and everything else will fall into place. 2. Everything else in your life will bump down the priority list. All the non-essential bullshit will fall of the bottom. Things become easier because less things matter. As we are getting ready for our third this Fall; I realize he was absolutley right on both accounts. 

I texted Jim on Friday of the Powerlifting experience and invited him over. I knew he would want to see Dave, Vincent, and Rhodes. I let him off the hook and said we would be expecting his infamous "Irish Exit" at some point.  Bottom line is, it was great to catch up and I am glad he got to see a lot of people and meet some new ones for the first time. As he was leaving, we were talking about doing the right thing and making an impact on people. He had given me this quote from Gandhi of all people.

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Whether you think you are making a difference in someone life or not, you still need to follow through and do it. Help others become better even if they don't follow through on their end. You never know the impact you are having on people so don't stop being the person you want others to strive to be.   You can keep reading the article if you care to know what Mark learned from Rhodes and Darden - but I know Rhodes very well.  And recently met Clint Darden.  So good luck with that.   

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