Garrett Giemont's long and successful career in professional sports began with him sweeping floors for the Los Angeles Rams
Garrett Giemont, strength and conditioning coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, knows a thing or two about motivating men.
At One Buccaneer Place, Giemont routinely drives Buccaneer players to finely tune their bodies and get the most out of their athletic potential. This past week Giemont used his motivational techniques in a different manner and with a different audience but for the same purpose: to inspire achievement.
The recipients of Giemont's inspiration were the members of the Buccaneers Student Advisory Board (SAB), a group of about 40 students, high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, who have come together under the team's guidance to perform community service projects, create Buccaneer spirit in their schools and develop leadership skills.
The current SAB includes students representing 37 Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota county schools. The SAB holds monthly meetings and has done so in a variety of Buccaneer-related locations this year, including the press box at Raymond James Stadium, the locker room at One Buc Place, the East Club Level of the stadium, the Pirate Ship in the north end zone and the practice field at team headquarters. Through their interactions with the team and its representatives, SAB members get a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of a professional football team.
They also get to share in the professional and personnel wisdom of successful men and women in the sports industry. SAB members often are given presentations by Buccaneer coaches and staff members, and this week the speaker was Giemont.
Giemont began by running down his history in the NFL, which began with him as a 12-year-old, sweeping floors and taking out trash for the Los Angeles Rams. It reached a pinnacle in 2002 when Giemont was named Coach of the Year by The Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society. Giemont's tale of success in the NFL was long and winding, and it offered a number of helpful lessons for the young men and women in the audience.
The six-foot, 190-pound man saw his playing career come to a premature end thanks to four surgeries on his right knee before the age of 20. Giemont could have been deterred by his medical misfortune, but he knew it wasn't his playing skills that defined him as a man.
"In life, sometimes, things don't work out exactly as you planned," said Giemont. "You have to be able to adapt to the situation and make a new path."
So that's what Giemont did. By earning his degree in Physical Education from Fullerton College and using the contacts he made as a teenager, Giemont, after three grueling interviews with then Rams Coach John Robinson, was able to earn a one-year contract to be the Strength and Conditioning Trainer of the Los Angeles Rams, at the tender age of 25.
"What happens in life is people give you opportunities," said Giemont. "What you do with that opportunity will determine what happens to you in your life."
After that initial one-year deal, Giemont remained with the Rams for the following eight seasons, before a coaching change saw him switch sports and head to the Chicago Cubs for a fresh challenge. In Chicago, Giemont worked with two of the biggest stars in baseball today, Greg Maddux and Sammy Sosa, helping the former to earn his first Cy Young Award and the latter to develop from a light-hitting, 170-pound outfielder into a 220-pound slugger of historic proportions. Giemont left the Cubs after the 1994 season and joined the staff of the Oakland Raiders in 1995, where he stayed until jumping to the Buccaneers last year.
During his talk, Giemont sprinkled in some advice for the students to consider before choosing a career, entering an interview or facing other life-changing moments.
Giemont's main message: "Be passionate about what you do".
On a more practical level, he stressed three points concerning job interviews: 1) Be knowledgeable about what you want to do; 2) Believe in yourself/be confident; 3) Be concise.
Perhaps the most important information Giemont wanted to pass along to this next generation of professionals were two simple axioms: 1) If you're early, you're never late and if you can't be on time, call and let whoever it is that is waiting for you know; and 2) Formulate a plan, work that plan and you will be rewarded.
Following the presentation, Giemont opened the floor to questions, of which there were plenty. He also took the students on a tour of the Buccaneers' weight room, where he explained the benefits of each individual piece of equipment and nutrimental supplement. He shared with the students that his favorite type of training for the players is cardiovascular – running – and that he loves to throw some mental tricks at the players while they're in mid-run. The best part of his job, said Giemont, is helping a player who may not have the most talent but clearly has the desire to be a success.
Impressed with Giemont's message, the students said they would remember his advice as they moved forward in their career pursuits.
"I didn't think there were that many different levels that you had to go through to get to where he is right now," said Danielle Gang of Durant High School. "I thought you go to college, study athletic training and you get a job. But I learned that there is a lot more to it than that."
Giemont was only to happy to provide assistance to the students. It reminded him of his own time as a young helper with the Rams, when people in the organization would take time to offer advice to the fresh-faced kid sweeping the floors.
"Some of the people in this room will do astonishingly unbelievable things," said Giemont. "The beauty of dealing and interacting with youth is that you get an opportunity to see that."