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The Competitive Edge Podcast: Fatherhood | Fitness | Focus

May 6, 2024

EP 58: Brakken Kraker | Dad Athlete, Podcast Host, and Speaker | "Balancing family life, coaching, and personal athletic pursuits" | Coaching is more than just programming
Brakken discusses his transition from being a special education teacher to becoming an endurance coach and OCR athlete. He talks about the challenges of balancing family life, coaching, and his own athletic pursuits. Brakken also shares his experience with his son's interest in motor sports and his own journey in OCR, including being humbled by top athletes and the mental resilience required to keep coming back. He reflects on the decision to quit his teaching job and pursue running full-time, and the impact it had on his family.
Brakken discusses his experience balancing training, racing, and coaching while being a husband and father. He shares how he had his best year of racing while also being a teacher, but struggled to find a balance between his athletic pursuits and family life. Brakken emphasizes the importance of being present for his family and not letting training consume him. He also talks about his coaching philosophy, highlighting the value of experience and understanding the individual needs of athletes. Brakken believes that coaching is about more than just programming, it's about being a mentor and understanding the psychological aspects of training. In this conversation, Brakken Crocker shares his insights on training and coaching in endurance sports. 
He emphasizes the importance of absorbing knowledge and understanding training principles, while also recognizing the individuality of athletes and the need to tailor training to their specific needs. Brakken discusses the challenges of coaching in mixed modality sports and the importance of understanding an athlete's unique skillset. He also highlights the need for coaches to prioritize the well-being and goals of their athletes over monetary gain. The conversation concludes with advice on time management, finding a competitive edge, and setting meaningful goals.
Brakken, OCR, endurance coach, teaching, family, motor sports, racing, high rocks, training, humbling experiences, mental resilience, balancing training and family, coaching philosophy, experience vs certifications, training, coaching, endurance sports, knowledge absorption, individuality, mixed modality sports, skillset, coaching priorities, time management, competitive edge, goal setting
  • Balancing family life, coaching, and personal athletic pursuits can be challenging, but having a supportive partner can make a big difference.
  • Getting involved in a new sport or activity can be humbling, but it can also provide motivation to improve and compete at a higher level.
  • The ability to bounce back from setbacks and continue pursuing goals is an innate quality that some athletes possess.
  • Sometimes the juice isn't worth the squeeze, and it's important to reevaluate priorities and make changes when necessary.
  • Teaching can be a rewarding profession, but the administrative and political aspects can be frustrating and take a toll on personal well-being.
  • Making the decision to pursue a passion full-time can be a relief, even if it means leaving a stable job.
  • The support and understanding of a partner can be crucial in navigating career changes and pursuing athletic goals. Finding a balance between training and family life is crucial for athletes who are also parents.
  • Coaching is about more than just programming, it's about being a mentor and understanding the individual needs of athletes.
  • Experience and a heart for people are more important than certifications in coaching.
  • Being present for family and not letting training consume you is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
  • Continuing education is valuable, but degrees and certifications don't automatically make someone a good coach. Absorb knowledge and understand training principles to improve as an athlete.
  • Tailor training to the individual needs and skillset of each athlete.
  • Prioritize the well-being and goals of athletes over monetary gain as a coach.
  • Manage time effectively and avoid procrastination.
  • Maintain a competitive edge by not beating yourself and forcing others to beat you.
  • Set meaningful goals that bring happiness and fulfillment.
  • Find a supportive tribe or mentor to help navigate challenges and stay on track.
  • Learn from failures and the experiences of others to improve and avoid pitfalls.
  • Keep a true North Star goal that cuts through distractions and motivates long-term success.
  • The Challenges of Teaching and Coaching
  • The Importance of Support and Understanding Coaching: More Than Just Programming
  • The Importance of Being Present for Family Setting Meaningful Goals
  • Effective Time Management
Sound Bites
  • "Balancing family life, coaching, and personal athletic pursuits"
  • "Getting involved in a new sport or activity can be humbling"
  • "The ability to bounce back from setbacks and continue pursuing goals"
  • "I had a good year of racing. I was able to channel I was able to train the whole time. No, the bad year of teaching."
  • "I was exhausted and crabby every day getting home. So from my wife and son's perspective, our son is two now. He's very energetic. He needs a dad on the floor playing with him. And I wasn't doing that."
  • "I had to start coaching and quickly realize that coaching was all the good parts of teaching with none of the drawbacks."
  • "You read their book, you ask them questions about it, and then you make it your own."
00:00  Introduction to Brakken and his background
09:11  Humbling Experiences and the Drive to Improve
27:58  Balancing Training and Family
37:34  Finding a Healthy Work-Life Balance
45:29  Experience vs Certifications in Coaching
54:10  Absorbing Knowledge and Understanding Training Principles
01:03:15  Effective Time Management
01:09:39  The Importance of a True North Star Goal