Beware of the Self-Proclaimed Expert

It seems like everyone these days is embarking on individualized training to some degree. Similar to problems that plague other industries, the sports training industry capitalizes on misinformation and parental misunderstanding. So whether you are currently in a training program, or you are thinking about joining one; here are some things to contemplate before jumping into the training world.

“Experts and Gurus”

Unfortunately, the sports training world is a relatively easy place for professionals – those looking to make money – to become self-proclaimed “experts.” Although the intent may not be malignant, the sports training market has become grossly over-saturated and the ability to separate truly effective professionals from the self-proclaimed gurus has become increasingly difficult. The reasoning is fairly straightforward: lack of long term quantifiable measurements and causality bias.

“Long Term Goals”

When student-athletes start a training program, it is impossible to measure future success or even ascertain a statistical probability. Therefore, a player starts paying for “expert” instruction for future results that may or may not come. However, this is a no guarantee business. If the results don’t pan out in the years following instruction, there is no way to get your money back. The “expert” has moved on and spent countless hours “instructing” many other student-athletes – in which future success is statistically random. Which brings us to: causality bias.

“Causality Bias”

Sometimes, after years of instruction, a player will achieve the long term success they believe they were searching for. However, it is usually completely discounted that many of these players would have found similar levels of success on their own or with any other “expert;” thus making success completely independent from the original expert instruction. However, all credit for success is usually attributed to the self-proclaimed expert! This enables the expert to use the success as a testimonial of their “expertness.” Which in turn delivers them new waves of student-athletes whose future success is completely random! And when they don’t achieve the success, it doesn’t matter – because the payment has already been made years ago.

Obviously not all trainers are detrimental to student-athletes and not all are impediments to student-athlete growth. In fact, many in the industry are truly capable in fostering growth and helping student-athletes achieve their goals. But like all things, parents and players should understand that not all instruction is quality and not all quality instruction will lead to long term success.

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