In the Business of Brawn? The Scientist-Coach-Entrepreneur is the Winning Combination!
Collaborating with Coach Matt Hank and learning about his formula for success with the trifecta approach of ABUNDANCE + GROWTH MINDSET + GRATITUDE in everything he tackles.
Introduction: After two years of working together, Coach Matt Hank and I were finally going to present our first-ever hands-on clinic on May 2, 2020, for the NSCA’s (National Strength and Conditioning Association) Southwest Regional Conference at USC (University of Southern California). The clinic was delayed due to COVID19 and will now be a virtual conference on August 1, 2020. So I decided instead, to take this as an opportunity to share more about how we have collaborated over the last two years, and what we focus on to keep breaking barriers in performance, during both positive and difficult times. In this Business of Brawn, you have to always be READY, SET… to ACTIVATE your Brain, Body, and Brave!
Collaboration during a pandemic and uncertain times: It was March 7th when I first started to isolate and stay at home. I was high risk, so Matt and I decided early on, to keep our families safe, we would have to resort to digital communications only. Then May 11th, news broke that LA County will have to continue this indefinitely. I decided to use it to my advantage and do an experiment. Since my business is focused on not only delivering in-person training but also on training individuals through digital platforms and experiences, I started paying attention to the real-time experiences of my life. In this new normal of primarily digital communications, and with both Matt and I as college instructors as well, we were able to better assess how we could continue to grow and thrive in daily life and work, even without physical human contact.
The choice is yours: In collaborative work, I learned to align myself with those that could help me evolve and thrive while knowing they have, at the same time, their own lane to focus on. For example, when you choose a tennis partner, you want them to be at the same level, but stronger in some skills, challenging you so that you can keep improving, and vice versa. Now almost 2 years into my journey with Coach Matt Hank, I learned more about why he kept supporting my work and mission. Here is what he shared with me: Matt Hank’s formula for success!
Entrepreneurship/Perspective: This is the formula that Coach Matt Hank applied when considering if my research, invention, and business was worth ‘giving’ attention to. I’m grateful, because that summer of 2018, I was a bit lost after facing some obstacles. I had to reassess my business and redirect my strategy. So when Matt decided he wanted to vet my training tools in real-time, performing exercises new to me that target power and speed, including heavy (weight) lifting in the gym, complex explosive movements and train like I was (i.e. in my head) a star athlete…my whole perspective started to change.
“As an opera singer, a woman, and a person of color, I realized that so many others allowed doubt to enter their evaluation of who I was and if I belonged, which put a ceiling on the abundance. Matt Hank’s approach acknowledged me as a peer in the strength and conditioning discipline, albeit arriving from different experiences. We agreed to move forward together, with awareness of the obstacles. His actions proved it by focusing on my work and in challenging me, as he would any of his colleagues, to deliver on all levels of Human Performance as athlete, coach, and innovator. It ignited collaboration, and that got my attention! It was game on!” — Dr. Veera Asher
Confidence is everything: My attitude changed, everything seemed possible again, and a new kind of confidence grew in me. Just getting the chance to do what I thought was too late to achieve with my own physical performance at 50 years of age, gave me a whole new lens for possibility. Matt’s unwavering and consistent support in working with me as a coach, scientist, educator, and entrepreneur since day 1, earned my respect and decision to involve him with my company. However, when you spend that much time with your team player focusing on the research, working out, figuring out, collaborating and problem-solving, you sometimes forget to take a step back and learn how they’d personally reflect on things. So, in February 2020…I simply just asked Coach Matt Hank…and just in time…as it was our last in-person meeting before the stay-at-home order went into effect in Los Angeles County!
COLLABORATIVE TASKS we took on: We reviewed scholarly articles, discussed shared podcasts, assessed video footage, and trained for hours in the gym. We attended and presented at conferences, clinics, created debriefs after all events and continued discussions on performance and related science during professional networking opportunities. All tasks ultimately addressed the question of nature vs. nurture with respect to elite human performance.
Curiosity Persevered: I wanted to truly know why Matt stuck with me for so long through a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’ scenarios every time I had to scale the business up. I was surprised to find out in the interview the answer to that question was because of his curious nature by being a scientist first, versus athlete. That same curiosity apparently was what eventually led him to coaching and to also becoming an entrepreneur.
Matt on his High School years: “I was interested in sports in high school”, playing multiple sports, but maybe not overachieving. Maybe even underachieving in a sense, but if I would have had then what I have now, it would be at a different level. I would have the knowledge of strength, power, speed on how to maneuver my body, the way I know how to now teach other people to be; who knows where I’d be. In high school, there’s not too many kids that are reading muscular development magazines on the science of why they’re doing certain reps and sets for strength training. I was doing that, and then transitioned into the science of formal education, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.”
Why Science First?: It was the science that first connected us to consider collaboration, then we reviewed the relevant evidence-based research and conclusions, and finally translated the discussion of results to something practical that could be executed in the gym or on the field.
Collaborating as Coach-Scientists is a Journey
Matt on his perspective as the scientist-coach: “Over the years I have incorporated evidence-based training solutions. Many times, this is driven by objective science, however I believe practical application is key. This approach is a blend of objective and subjective qualifications that I take into each of my training sessions. For example, even if something is verified by over 50 studies, but I can’t incorporate it with my 30 athletes I have for one hour, then I probably won’t use it. With years of experience, I don’t need as much hard science to dictate my every move as I would have in grad or undergrad schools, where instructors told you that you needed every ounce of science to validate a theory or idea.”
COLLABORATIVE TASKS: We took on tandem coaching, training, collaborating with the integration of new science, and continuing the R&D on almost a daily basis. We also included writing and editing each other’s articles, and recording videos for other coaches and performance specialists!
LINK: First articles published to introduce my work to the Strength and Conditioning Coaches Published by a Charter and Founding Member of the NSCA
The extreme sport of live performance, crossing all lines: Live Performance is my passion. I live for live performance of anything, and the more pressure it puts me under, the better it feels to just do it! If I execute with success, then all the better! But to prevent injury (and embarrassment), no “winging it” is allowed! So, it was inevitable I would be drawn to having a career in Human Performance Optimization and Injury Prevention (HPOIP). Little did I realize my passion would eventually cross all lines of performance, from opera to strength and conditioning innovation, and eventually getting invited to level-up and collaborate on elite athlete training with Coach Matt Hank by learning more about Power and Speed development.
Matt on Training Athletes: “The qualities you want them to have before training for speed and power are: 1) Good movement patterns; 2) Adequate mobility; 3) Fully recovered from previous injuries.”
Matt on Programming: “It has to be a combination of experience and knowledge. My time coaching thousands of athletes has led me to the point where I can see how it may take the athlete hundreds of hours to perform weightlifting movements at elite levels, especially where you can see expression of power. With the precise technique, they might be a little bit stronger and a little more powerful. However, now I can implement other methods to get to the specific quality of power faster rather than utilizing the usual technical weightlifting strategies.”
Why he can break away from the traditions in our discipline: Matt Hank says he’s, “able to constantly modify according to the latest evidence-based information. The evidence will always change, and we have to adapt. Again, concerning those two qualities of speed and power, we were taught in our industry, that’s all you do with athletes if you want to make them powerful, but that’s just a method. If you find a better method, why wouldn’t you use it, especially if it is faster, more efficient, safer and consistent.”
As COLLABORATORS, our shared philosophy: Consciously giving back by committing to a rigor and putting in the hours for the sake of integrity. Patience is necessary to being a good coach and educator.
Matt on why his interest as an educator: “Part of it is giving something to people that I didn’t have myself during my younger years. Science has always interested me; now Science and Human Performance connect Education with the Coaching.”
Annette K. Lynch states “you can’t win on natural talent alone without maximizing your ability through coaching that also integrates new science and technology like KHARE SYSTEMS™ and PFT/ BUBBLE CHEEK™ .”
Coach Lynch, KPERFORM™ Team Collaborator, Hall of Fame Coaches Education, Special Olympics, Former Elite Athlete, NCAA D1 Basketball Coach
From Dr. Veera on the mindset of collaborative coaching: Coach Matt Hank’s process encouraged abundance on all levels; and I agree that all team members must allow for that. It is a creative process where no one blocks another person’s ideas. This is also practiced in songwriting or improvisational acting. We must be able to work with every idea and then agree to toss it or morph it in a collaborative process delivering something we all accept and agree on.
Matt on his approach to Social Media: “Any exercises or drills you see me post on social media means that I’ve already spent hours testing these movements out on myself. If I posted it on Instagram or Facebook, I’ve performed that exercise countless times, maybe hundreds. That means that I’ve already been investigating this for weeks or months.”
Science and the Numbers: This is the mentality, with respect to rigor, that allows Matt and I to just flow and produce relevant results. This process demands a need for both perseverance and patience because, with new science, it’s a steep learning curve. Matt helped me articulate new metrics which I introduced to the industry. Once he understood the new metrics: center of pressure (COP), athletic spine performance/power (ASP), and subglottal pressure (SubG), he could then consider why it could be applied to anyone regardless of age, level or gender. When I told him I wanted to build a digital product, as big as a mobile game or social network, he could see the value in making it accessible to all, and was on board.
On Performance Metrics: Matt’s reasons for using technology was a logical goal in both performance and business. Matt was always experimenting with technologies. In his words, “I use technology for myself and for my athletes. For athletes, we’re going to use this equipment to see where they rank within their sport regionally, nationally and within the team.”
Entrepreneurs by Necessity if Collaborating: Matt’s curious approach and solid work ethic allowed new ideas, new science and new concepts to break barriers in old thinking, and even the traditional approach to the what the industry had made an established culture. Matt’s approach enabled me to work with someone who understood the past timelines and present states of our industry while being open to how we could shift perspectives for the future of human performance optimization and injury prevention.
Matt’s entrepreneurial journey: Knowledge and experience are critical in that he had extensive experience as a personal trainer starting his junior/sophomore year of college. It was a necessary part of the strength and conditioning industry. Early years, he was an assistant strength coach at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). But then on the side, he had to make more money. Matt in his words, “I worked at a gym where you had to promote yourself and reach out to people. I had my own business inside a gym and then transitioned to being a strength and conditioning coach with the LA Angels in Iowa. While in Iowa and in my free time, I literally started an LLC based out of California. I became a co-owner of the ASAP Baseball Academy, which is still thriving today even though I’m not its owner anymore. However, while I was still co-owner of ASAP, I was able to join Pierce College as a strength and conditioning coach. Presently, I’m now the owner of Elite Performance Club, Head of Performance for Dr. Veera’s company, KPERFORM™, and Head Strength Coach and Kinesiology Instructor at Santa Monica College in California.”
In summary of his career: For over two decades, Matt’s performance-related career transitioned from training to education, to coaching; then adding training to his education, graduate school, and now as a tenured Head Strength Coach for a Junior College — bringing it all together in a fulfilling career and family life.
Matt, once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur: His informed and wise decision to embrace the junior college career path allowed for greater freedom to continue other parts of his success trifecta! “I have time to still work on the side businesses, which are fun and interesting to me. I train and educate people at the college level. I also train people on the side through educational workshops and conferences. I have the intellectual freedom to explore whatever I want. Anything that has the potential of helping me improve my skills and knowledge, my profession or work with my athletes, I’m going to investigate it.”
From MATT on his SUCCESS TRIANGLE: “I’ve only really talked about the Success TRIANGLE when I teach academic classes and personal training classes. The trifecta: one tip of the triangle is an abundance mindset; another tip is a growth mindset, and the third tip is balancing abundance and growth with gratitude or awareness.”
Matt Hank on working with Dr. Veera: “Clearly interacting with Dr. Veera, her abundance threshold is global billions. If somebody’s threshold of abundance is at this level, then why not jump on board? I wouldn’t want to work with someone limited to a niche only. I have not necessarily thought this big, but it has obviously been eye-opening and enhancing for me these last two years.”
COLLABORATIVE JOINT MISSION: Bringing the best of Science + Education + Performance + Sensor-Based Technology together, to deliver Performance tools in real-life analog, digital platforms, or mixed analog-digital (i.e. phygital) experiences. We also considered whether the experience will be on earth or in outer space…to the extent of life and death thresholds.
Innovative Technology: I asked Matt, “how much does it interest you to also be part of the process in developing technology for KHARE SYSTEMS™ focusing on BrainBodyVoice™/BrainBodyGlottis™ science and its applications such as Precision Form Training™/BUBBLE CHEEK™?” Matt replied, “I usually just use a person’s piece of technology and integrate it with my own. To be part of innovating the technology is fascinating, obviously it is taking me a step further. Being able to have more of a stamp on that is pretty cool for sure.”
On Matt’s Process from science to delivery of a training tool: “(1) Check out topics that push the envelope and keep interest in business ventures that are in any way human performance-based. (2) Then try techniques and exercises to validate them myself. I can see if it creates change in myself and/or determine how to incorporate it. (3) Then I like to spread the word and educate people about why I’m doing it. With experience and knowledge, you continue to see both sides. That keeps the checks and balances.”
Keeping it simple vs. complex: Coach Hank and I kept solving problems successfully by delivering simple solutions without compromising the complex science they evolved from.
“I can attest that in all the hours and time I’ve collaborated with Matt Hank, he’s never squashed ideas or concepts I thought were possible. If there is any doubt, we just go through the process we’ve agreed on.” — Dr. Veera
Choose wisely, know the mission: So why does Matt’s mission and process apply to how my work has benefited from collaborating with him? Simple. FEEDBACK, GROWTH, and BREAKING BARRIERS! The good, the bad, and the extraordinary! Matt and I are informed, usually from different perspectives, in how we cross performance lines. We appreciate in each other how we can, on our own volition, expand our aperture to include new experiences to add to our performance toolbox that would inevitably benefit each other’s domain. Our combined knowledge and experience are helping deliver, primarily through coaching and educating, the next generation of performance specialists and scientists, and defining new professional opportunities to uniquely skilled young adults.
Here are two examples where through our collaboration, Matt was open to receiving insight from me in areas he may not traditionally be exposed to:
· Physical Therapy: Matt’s Mom was a physical therapist for 36 years and now his sister is as well, so he was keenly aware of the profession. However, my university student from 2018, Amanda Neri, who graduated with a double degree in health and human sciences and music/voice performance, is now a physical therapist/physiotherapist. Entrepreneurially, she is working on starting her own lifestyle and wellness website as a personal trainer to eventually be inclusive of voice performance, and complement her medical expertise. Her career informs Matt, me, and Annette (coaches education) how we need to develop educational and certification materials for this new type of early career professional.
· Amanda says, “Strength and conditioning science and applications have always been a part of physical therapy, but now with KHARE SYSTEMS™ introducing BrainBodyVoice™/ BrainBodyGlottis™ science, new performance metrics and applications like PFT/BUBBLECHEEK™, takes it to the next level with what we can do for human performance, wellness, injury prevention, and recovery.”
· Military: Developing new protocols, integrating my research and training tools, for military performance since 2014, was a gradual step-by-step process; putting me in a mindset that I had never experienced before. I collaborated with a fellow NSCA-CSCS strength coach who is now deployed with the US Army. He helped me, while I trained him integrating some of the new tools, how to better understand the military mindset for actual real-life situations. Over the years, the more advanced the training, the more challenging my task was to solve for two important things for my clients: How to maintain peak performance under pressure, and not get killed. We know, during this pandemic, unfortunately, we have medical professionals on the front lines that are taking on saving lives…but with COVID19 there is a new element. Even in performance of their duties, they also must be aware of keeping their own life protected.
· Just before he got deployed, the 1LT, USAR said that, “during my most recent experience, the use of PFT/BUBBLE CHEEK™ develops outstanding core control, manages the fight-or-flight response, and improves neurocognitive functions.”
Matt on Precision Form Training™ (PFT)/BUBBLE CHEEK™: “It’s not just a stand-alone method; it’s the extra benefits of PFT that can add to what you wouldn’t have had without it. It is a prep for movements and postural integrity for the different positions that you have to hit within speed or power, and the movement itself; it’s the efficiency. With this training tool, you can activate ‘getting in the zone’, or a ‘Flow State’ to set you up for more success in your next action. And then I think as I said before, it is a new lens that people don’t even have.”
From Matt why Innovation is sometimes challenging: “People don’t even know that this lens Dr. Veera has introduced is out there, and they definitely don’t know how to use it because it’s literally not even hit their consciousness yet. It is something new to consider for how we can keep improving. It is also self-facilitated by the athlete, giving a better feel and better kinesthetic awareness.”
From Dr. Veera: “Personally, patience plus perseverance has been the critical combination to earn support from experts and veterans in the business of sports to entertainment, medicine, U.S. military and overall health and wellness. By putting in the hours for human performance optimization and injury prevention (HPOIP), we continue to get support for collaborative projects. At KPERFORM™, we continue to deliver ‘data-driven science optimized by human-driven performance’. We are developing KHARE SYSTEMS™ with combined human-based and digital-based R&D and revenue generating projects that focus on the importance of new BrainBodyVoice™️/ BrainBodyGlottis™️ science and its related performance metrics and training tools. Thanks to Coach Matt Hank, the KPERFORM™ team will adopt his formula for success with the trifecta approach of ABUNDANCE + GROWTH MINDSET + GRATITUDE /AWARENESS.”
In summary, as a founder and inventor, I continue to stay accountable in everything as it relates to business and performance, I consistently check-in with high level mentors who have both the knowledge and experience to advise and assess accordingly. I am grateful for this timely affirmation.
“Science is at the forefront of Human Performance Optimization and Injury Prevention. So, it’s time for us to further investigate Dr. Veera Asher’s performance-related research and applications.”
Dusty Baker on 5.19.2020 (mentor in entrepreneurship to Dr. Veera Asher): Legendary MLB player and manager, founder, Baker Energy Team & Baker Family Wines, early adopter of solar energy and started an energy company, Founder of the Dusty Baker Baseball Camp, operating for 34+ years, sets “the standard for citizenship and scholarship as well as athletic ability,” United States Marine Corps Reserve, Author of “You Can Teach Hitting” and “Kiss the Sky: My Weekend in Monterey at the Greatest Concert Ever,” Former Analyst for ESPN and TBS.
Stay tuned on BUBBLE CHEEK™️ and KHARE SYSTEMS™️ at www.KPerform.com