As children we aren't brought into the world with a voice or distinct style. We learn by observing and copying our parents. We only learn by copying others.
I'm not talking about blatantly ripping off someone's work and trying to pass it off as your own but taking time to reverse engineer the thinking behind the style. Remember that even The Beatles stared out as a cover band.
The first step is figuring out who to copy. Then you decide what from them you wish to emulate.
Who to copy is easy, these are people who inspire you and that you learn from.
For me early on it was:
- Alwyn Cosgrove
- Eric Cressey
- Mike Robertson
- Joe Defranco
- Dave Tate
- Dean Somerset
- Tony Gentilcore
- Mike Boyle
- Bret Contreras
- Jordan Syatt
- Ben Bruno
- Charlie Weingroff
- Patrick Ward
- Nick Tumminello
I could go on and on but you get the point. I started out initially reworking their programs for myself, then some of my clients after I took up training as a profession. I experienced first hand what worked and what I liked personally. Soon it was no longer a copy of Joe Defranco's WS4SB (Westside for skinny bastards) instead it was my own program.
What you want to copy is trickier. Like I said above, you want to copy the thinking behind the style. Simply performing the same exercises just to be like coaches you admire isn't going to cut it, you need to put yourself in their shoes and understand why they are using a specific exercise. This shift in thinking really changed the way I learned.
The main reason to copy someone is to use it as an opportunity to get a glimpse into their mindset You need to internalize their way of thinking or you will only be a superficial knockoff.
And knockoffs don't stand much of a chance in the marketplace.