Promoters And Coaches – Keys To Success

Promoters And Coaches – Keys To Success

This past weekend i had the pleasure of covering the 2024 NGA River City Classic in Louisville, KY, where I ran into a familiar face in legendary contest prep guru Steve Weingarten. I haven’t seen him since covering NPC shows, but our working relationship went beyond contest coverage. I still remember interviewing Steve and IFBB Pro Kevin Johnson at the old Powerhouse Gym, I also have done interviews at Steve’s Brickhouse Gym, and we’ve done interviews at The Factory Gym – Hardcore Since ’84! We’ve probably also done videos at various posing clinics and maybe run into each other at expos. Suffice it to say, Steve is a key player in the Louisville and regional bodybuilding scene. To run into him at the River City was a very big deal; however, it really got me thinking about a key point I’ve been known to make over the years. And that is the very important relationship between promoters and coaches. I still remember making the introduction between my Adam Atkinson and Brent Jones many years moons ago.

A popular coach can make or break a bodybuilding show. Coaches like Steve Weingarten, John Harris, Adam Atkinson, Brian Hoydic, Mike Robinson, just to name a few, have tremendous pull with their athletes. Competitors don’t just look to them for direction or advice on diet, training, and supplementation, but many times a coach can provide their opinion on what shows to do and why.

YouTube player
Natural Bodybuilding Is Harder – Here’s Why!!

Even if competitors aren’t looking for guidance on contest selection, I can assure you that their coach’s opinion counts. It counts for a lot. This is because a great coach like a Joe Creech or Richard Sparks, for example, actually care about the goals and aspirations of their clients. It’s not just about getting paid for services rendered. They’re friends as well. And many times, a coach can be that special friend that can give an honest opinion when needed. Sometimes it’s flattering and sometimes it’s just the cold, hard facts that no one else has the guts or the disposition to break it down for the competitor. Many physique-based athletes hold that No BS opinion in the highest regard. That opinion might even matter more than judge’s feedback. When you take a step back and look at the big picture, coaches have tremendous influence over their competitors.

YouTube player
Natural Bodybuilder Brings Sharp Condition!!

In keeping with that big picture mentality and that undeniable sway a coach has over an individual client, I want you to now apply it across a team. While some coaches may have one or two competitor-clients with the rest of their clientele being lifestyle clients, there are coaches who cater almost exclusively to competitors.

Take a coach like Steve. He’s not exclusive to the NPC. He’ll prep clients for the NGA, OCB, NABBA, others. He’s done amazing things with fully natural athletes and he’s done huge things with untested ones as well. I would love to see a coach on Steve’s level bring more quality athletes – like Mark Cecil – to compete. That being said, it’s not going to happen with a show with ten or twelve competitors. And I’ll be talking more about under-producing contests in future articles. It’s not about promoting any type of blame-game, rather, it’ll be wholly constructive in nature. If anything, seeing Steve at the River City should spell hope for the future better than anything I could ever say. The presence of a coach on that level is a catalyst for success.

Josh Miller and Steve Weingarten

There’s a reason I wanted to have Steve take a photo with Josh Miller. I haven’t covered NGA shows outside Kentucky and Ohio, but I’d venture to say that Josh is probably one of the NGA’s premier promoters. I can base this on the fact I’ve covered several of his shows just in the last couple of years and I’ve been extremely impressed with everything. He’s a promotional machine who understands and constantly evolves with the nuances of social media. You cannot be a promoter on that level without having that knowledge. He has a great venue, sets forth great production value, and works with great staff. I’m not super crazy over the intense blue lights backstage (for photo and video purposes), but that’s a minor point. Overall what he does is spot on and other promoters should get with him to make their shows better. In fact, I think some serious thought should be given to having Josh come in as a co-promoter for the NGA River City Classic. That’s nothing against Kevin because he gives his absolute all to his contest, but it’s also about keeping the NGA product to the standard set by Josh and Jared. And it is a product. What do I mean?

YouTube player
Lindsey Pelfrey – Wife, Mom, Muscular Lady And More!!

If shows like Josh and Jared’s become the norm for the NGA in this region, that will raise the bar on production value and competitor acquisition. That sounds like a mouthful, but hear me out. There are many natural federations. The NGA isn’t the only show in town, but it’s a fantastic place to compete and hopefully turn pro. When NGA shows are getting more competitors to compete in them, that increases the value of the titles won, and it also increases the value of the NGA pro card. More competitors also means more vendors and more sponsors. (And what you can charge and what they’ll pay). More competitors and more vendors may also result in more sponsors. When a promoters works with right vendors – meaning vendors that are also on their social media game – they will get the word out about their presence at the show to their customers. That indirectly grows the show. After all, a business doesn’t get a booth at a show to take a financial hit. They’d like to leave with far less products than they brought and a nice of bag of cash and credit card transactions under their belt. Return-vendors and repeat-sponsors are the gold standard of a successful bodybuilding show.

YouTube player
Huge Win For Alicia Frazier!!

I feel like we’re going off on tangents here, but we’re really not. Because in the end what we’re talking about is more competitors. The more competitors that sign up and compete, the more likely everything discussed will happen. And what’s one super-effective way to get competitors to compete in a show? It’s promoters understanding the inherent value that coaches play in the process.

Coaches need to be courted.

Christian Duque

Offer free coach passes – the less strings, the better. If a coach brings a +1 or a +2, who cares. Don’t sweat it. Coaches who are treated correctly will bring you bodies and those bodies bring significant others (who may become competitors), families, friends, co-workers which translates to ticket sales and potential customers for your vendors. Think BIG PICTURE. Give out a coaching award every show. Give out rings like they do at the NPC Kentucky Open (if you look closely, you’ll notice Steve proudly wearing his). Show coaches love and hold yourself out (more) to them.

YouTube player
Why Riana Baira Loves Natural Bodybuilding!!

Back when I introduced Adam to Brent, he was able to get 20-40 competitors to his show just for having a 5-10 minute conversation with him and showing that coach the respect he deserved. Everyone who walked by, saw Brent talking to Adam. That shows mutual respect and that goes a long way. And don’t think that Brent had big numbers just because he was linked to the NPC. That’s entirely inaccurate. Brent had shows with 400 bodies or more on stage. I know because I had the competitor lists for media purposes. Most NPC competitors – then or now – couldn’t even dream of a quarter or even a third of those numbers. One of the many reasons Brent was such a powerhouse is because he understood the value of strong promoter-coach relations.

Just some food for thought.

Promoters who treat coaches like gold can pretty much write their own ticket. Think Big Picture.