HPW Then & Now : Part II

Steve Magness (left) with his co-author of Peak Performance, Brad Stulburg (right), during an early recording of an episode of the Magness & Marcus podcast, On Coaching.

Steve Magness (left) with his co-author of Peak Performance, Brad Stulburg (right), during an early recording of an episode of the Magness & Marcus podcast, On Coaching.

The New High Performance West is a global community open to anyone who cares about Performance. It is a posture. A mindset. A narrative to connect us. 

I had a choice this past summer: move half way around the world to coach overseas or stay put and double down on High Performance West.

I chose to stay put.

However, High Performance West could no longer simply be an athletics club based in Portland, Oregon coached by me. To do so would squander a ripe opportunity to connect, contribute, and change others. 

Five years ago, Steve Magness and I both became assistant coaches at mid-major universities in the NCAA. He in Houston, Texas. Myself in Portland, Oregon. We had limited scholarships to offer, little budget to use, and no clue what we were doing. Our head coaches gave us a long leash to coach, practice and hone our craft.

We were young. Filled with idealism and hope. We both saw our positions as opportunities to prove our merit as coaches. Many hours were spent meticulously composing training, building culture, recruiting, traveling, and of course, coaching. We were both one-man shows. The lone distance coach on our respective track & field staffs. 

One day I called Steve out of the blue to reconnect. Check-in. See how he was adjusting to life in the Lone Star State. We forged a friendship when he was an assistant coach to Olympians at a famous shoe brand group in Portland. He departed for Houston in mid-2012, I hated to see him go. 

Those phone conversations quickly became a weekly occurrence. We spoke about a spectrum of topics. Mostly we batted ideas about training theory, coaching in reality, and readying athletes to perform at their best and barriers associated with such. We commiserated on recruits lost, celebrated sleepers signed, and applauded the modest achievements of athletes we respectively coached.

One year at the Western Preliminary Round of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship (commonly known as Regionals) Steve and I found ourselves booked at the same hotel. We each had a small handful of athletes we were responsible for at the meet. And with a bloated multi-day meet schedule, we found ourselves with a lot of down time. Having nothing better to do we met in the hotel lobby and chatted for two, three, four hours or more every day. It was an enriching exchange. We left the meet more enthused about coaching than ever before.

Those hours spent together in that Arkansas hotel lobby precipitated our On Coaching Podcast. We wanted to keep it simple. Record the weekly conversation and exchange of ideas on coaching we were already having, share it online, and see if anyone cared to listen. No script. No sponsors. No agenda. Little editing. Just two coaches talking about the reality of coaching from their perspective. It was an experiment. It might not have worked. But, astonishingly, it did. I was shocked. 

It has been nearly 3 years of recording and we have an amazing listenership. Our podcast is a distinct privilege. An honor. Something I look forward to recording each week. And which Steve and I aim to bring our best, every time. 

Fast forward to 2015. After becoming disillusioned with the curious landscape of the NCAA, I departed from the college coaching ranks to found High Performance West. It was originally designed to be a track & field club based in Portland, Oregon to provide support and coaching to athletes seeking to propel themselves from national class to world class competitiveness. It too was an experiment. And met modest success.

But something was missing. Steve and I had a similar feeling before we decided to start our podcast. There is a rich community of curious, passionate, collaborative, and intelligent coaches who are hungry for more. We know the community exists because we belong to it ourselves. And so do you.  

Our podcast was created to satisfy a need. So too the New High Performance West has evolved to meet a need. This is meant to be an opprtunity for anyone who cares about high performance to learn, grow, and progress through exchange, sharing, and discussion. To come as you are and be nourished. To profit deeply from showing up. 

The New HPW is designed to be a community, a culture, a resource, a catalog and an education — or simply, a home.

It is home to myself, Steve, and the athletes we coach. Starting December 15th, you're invited to join and make it home.

Welcome home to the New High Performance West.

I'm glad you're here. // jm


Jonathan Marcus