TrainHeroic Chat: Modern Messaging Right in the App

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

adam dawdy

Adam Dawdy is a Product Manager at TrainHeroic. Before that, he coached in various settings, taught, and studied biomechanics and exercise physiology. Adam is a converted endurance athlete who enjoys the pursuit of strength.

// Communicating with your athletes just got a lot easier…and more fun

Our vision is to create a World of Millions of Connected Heroes finding Joy in the Journey of Training. We chose the word “Connected” very intentionally. After all, coaching is about much more than programming. Coaching is connection. Coaching is motivation. It’s feedback. It’s providing the spark your athlete needs to stay motivated and on their path. We’re proud to announce our newest set of features to the TrainHeroic platform. We call it TH Chat.

Now, TrainHeroic coaches can:

  • Send messages to entire teams or chat with your athletes individually
  • Use Gifs and built-in reactions to make the conversation fun (we call it adding the flavor packet)
  • Easily provide feedback to your athletes, while keeping all of your important messaging in one place

All from your mobile device or your desktop experience.

We’ve created a fun and engaging way to communicate with your athletes that we hope you’ll love. But, we didn’t stop there. We support thousands of coaches and athletes who train miles apart. This type of relationship requires some specific communication styles.

  • Athletes and coaches can now share video directly in the TrainHeroic platform.

 

// gassing our athletes’ tank along their training journey

I was telling my client a bit about grad school between sets of squats. With classes, lab work, and teaching an introductory training course, I was a busy guy.


I, an eager TA: “Yeah, it’s tough, but I think it’s going pretty well. Their first exam is coming up.”


She, a seasoned professor, between panting breaths: “Ha! Be ready for them to fail.”

Seeing my pride shrivel, she quickly clarified: “It happens to every first-time teacher. There’s just so much you know, and so many debates you’ve had that you just forget what it’s like to not know…”

And then the part that made me think about things differently.

“…and your students are not like you.”
She was right, of course. I was a grad student who had been coaching for years and was still salivating for any obscure tidbit I could learn about training. A mental hoarder, I stowed everything I could, just in case it might be useful someday.

My students were 19 on average; more influenced by social media than science at that point, and probably didn’t have quite the education I received in high school. Many were also first-generation students taking my course as a means to an end – to get a degree so they could go into physical therapy or medicine.

Nodding my very wise head and stroking my stubbled chin, I nerfed the test a bit.

They still bombed. I made it clear it was my fault, let them earn their points back, and we had a good semester. But, that little soundbite has stuck with me as a coach.

 

My students were not like me.

My athletes are not like me.

I’m sure you know this on an intellectual level. But it’s really easy to forget.

We tend to view our own beliefs, motivations, and things we like  – essentially, the way we ARE – as normal and good. We end up projecting the way we think onto others, even when we have no good reason to.

Combine this with the “curse of knowledge,” which makes an informed person unable to think like an uninformed one; it’s common to be blind to the fact that other people don’t want the things you want, believe what you believe, or know the things you know. Even when we’re aware of this, we’re still prone to feel that people who disagree are flawed in some way, rather than simply different.

As a coach you’re a master of your craft. You know training. You LOVE this stuff. It’s not just a means to an end. Whereas your athletes squat so they can jump higher or grow bigger wheels, you squat for the sake of squatting. Think about it: who are your favorite athletes to coach? The ones who adore training the way you do?

For us, immersing ourselves in the process is a reward in and of itself. 

Me, building another Excel program instead of actually training, circa 2004. Colorized.

When Training becomes a grind,  make it fun

For a lot of athletes, though, training is not something they intrinsically love, though you hope to convert some of them. This is especially true when things get hard, and you know things will get hard.

Training isn’t always sexy. Sometimes it’s all you can manage to punch the clock and get the reps in. Sometimes it straight-up sucks. Once the beginner gains have been gotten, not every day is a PR party. 

Once the new-program-smell wears off, training can become a grind. 


Here’s the thing we don’t talk about as much: it can be a grind for you, too. You’re not only on your own journey, but part of the story for how many other people?

This is why we think it’s important to “Find Joy in the Journey.” Unless we’re able to enjoy the process, we risk getting lost before we’ve even really gone anywhere. It takes effort over time to accomplish anything of note. 

 

We all know this training thing works. The trick is sticking with it – for this week, this month, this year, and beyond.

So, when we sought to overhaul our messaging tools, we of course improved the functionality and made the experience better. On both mobile and web, you’ll find your direct and team messaging in their own communication center. This is also where you’ll find your messaging notifications. 

We also realized that, as committed coaches and athletes, we tend to take training a little seriously. That’s great for the most part, but it really pays to be able to let your guard down and connect with the people you’re coaching – it’s a reliable spark of joy on both sides. People “communicate” for a whole lot of reasons, and only sometimes is it to convey information. It’s often solely for emotional reasons.

We included new reactions and GIFs, staples of modern messaging, to make it easy to engage even when you actually don’t have a lot to say. These are low-friction ways of chiming in. Interactions will happen more often, and more people will join the party.  Simply put: they’re fun.

 

Maybe most exciting: you can use these GIFs and reactions (or even type a reply to say something material) to engage with the videos your athletes upload. Yep – you and your athletes can now upload videos up to 1 minute in length directly to messages and session comments. 

I can’t always be smart, but I can always be a smart-ass

We hope these tools help you not only reach your athletes with the feedback and information they need, but also with the human touch that will help them on their Journey. In doing so, you’ll find more joy in yours, as well. 

Be your best,

Adam Dawdy

Product Manager, TrainHeroic

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