Start Your Tomorrow Today

“A commitment to service, a desire to add value, and a love of teaching” – according to Gary Vaynerchuk, in his new book, Crushing It, these are three characteristics that today’s greatest entrepreneurs and influencers share. However, I believe these traits not only apply to great entrepreneurs but should also be applied to us as future physical therapists, business owners, and healthcare professionals. As Pre-PTs, it is our duty to develop and live out these characteristics on a daily basis, not just for ourselves, but for our future patients. Personally, coaching basketball has allowed me to practice these core values. It gave me the opportunity to practice and enhance many skills necessary as a future physical therapist. 

  1. A Commitment to Service

Coach: One of the biggest lessons I learned as a coach is that the most important pre-requisite for leadership is a commitment to serve. As a coach, service boils down to two simple questions: “What do my players need?” and “How can I fulfill that need to the best of my ability?” At times, it may be a piece of knowledge, a listening ear, or a word of motivation, and at other times it may entail the “not so sexy” jobs such as washing jerseys, filling water bottles, or sweeping the gym floor before games.

Physical Therapist: Take out the word “players” and replace it with “patients.” The exact same principle applies. Physical therapy is a service profession. Any aspiring or current physical therapist must commit to a life of service both in an out of the clinic. The reason we as Pre-PTs go through school for at least seven years is not for our own merit, but for the needs of our future patients. Building up a working knowledge about the human body is merely just the set-up for a life of service.


  1. A Desire to Add Value

Coach: Adding value is manifested in many different forms, but it starts with a hunger and passion to become a valuable asset to one’s respective organization. As a coach, I must complete each task assigned to me with an intentional mindset. I coach my players on and off the court to add value to their character, the foundation from which they will build their own careers. I help my athletic director organize elementary leagues and basketball camps with the goal of building a continuous program for kids to go through at our school. Every action I take as a coach must come with the intention of adding value to the individuals in my organization. 

Physical Therapist: Physical therapists must also have a hunger and passion to add value. Individually, each therapist must be bought in to adding value at their respective clinic or hospital. Each physical therapy clinic has the capability to be a valuable resource for chronic pain relief, wellness, and the overall health of a community. From a larger perspective, the entire profession of physical therapy possesses an immense amount of value to national health issues such as the obesity and opioid epidemics. As future physical therapists, it is our job to understand and capitalize on these opportunities.


  1. A Love of Teaching 

Coach: Most of coaching is teaching. Without a love of teaching, a coach is merely a slave master, prodding his reluctant players to conform to his own standards. Physically, players must learn how to shoot, dribble, pass, defend, and finish at the basket with proper form. Intellectually, coaches must be able to develop what we call “basketball I.Q.” in our players. Concepts such as floor spacing, executing a pick and roll, or exploiting a zone defense are taught progressively throughout our program. Most importantly, coaches use the situations presented in the game of basketball to teach essential life skills such as mental toughness, perseverance, consistency, and communication. One of the greatest joys of coaching is seeing when the “light comes on” in a player: when they fully grasp a physical or mental skill that we are trying to teach.

Physical Therapist: Empowering: that’s the kind of therapist I want to be. In order to empower my patients to reach their goals, I must be able to teach their patients how to execute certain exercises or movements with proper form. Additionally, I must teach the intentionality of the exercises I will give my patients. I must be able to explain to the patient why they are doing a certain exercise. By teaching the how and why of therapy, I will be empowering my patients to live lives of greater mobility and functioning.


As Pre-PTs, our actions of today must be on par with our dreams for tomorrow. For me, coaching was a way to rep out many skills that I will need as a physical therapist in the future. To any pre-PT, I challenge you to follow your passion and use that passion to rep out the skills that you will use in a clinic or hospital someday. Commit yourself to service, develop a desire to add value, and find a deep love for teaching in whatever passion or niche you find yourself in.

Start building your tomorrow TODAY.

-Ben Lee




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