Colby Wartman has always been an athlete, football being his favorite. Despite being from Montana, in his college years Wartman enjoyed playing for the Dickinson State Blue Hawks. His first year being the final year of legendary coach Henry Biesot’s tenure before Pete Stanton came aboard. But just like every athlete, Wartman needed to know his future, and he decided to tackle one of the toughest challenges in the world.
In September, Wartman flew to Austin, TX to become a Power Athlete Block One Coach, one of the most highly respected coaches in the world. Currently, there are only 130 people in the world with the privilege of calling themselves a Block One Coach. Wartman wanted to be one of them.
“I want to be that coach that I needed really bad when I was (an active athlete),” Wartman said. “I played every single year, but every year I had a surgery right after the season, rehabbed, came back and started. I don’t want any of my athletes to go through what I went through, it was terrible … with the depression, anxiety, pain pills, whatever it is, I just don’t want them to go through that.”
Wartman first learned about the Power Athlete Block One Experience when he was playing for the Blue Hawks in 2012. The program, created by former NFL athlete John Welbourn, is a three-day test that requires the best of the best to show their absolute best abilities to become a top-notch coach. Some of the contestants being Navy Special Warfare guys, Marines, Army, physical therapists, and strength coaches.
Prior to going to the event, Wartman spent 11 months straight learning the methodology for the event.
Despite being chosen to partake in the event, Wartman and the other 17 contestants had to pay for everything including the travel, food, sleeping facilities, and the $500 fee to take the test. Even then, it was far from guaranteed that anyone was going to pass.
“The hardest thing was having the confidence that you were ready to hold the standard of being a block one coach,” Wartman said. “There is nothing given by these guys, everything is earned.”
Throughout the three days, the participants had to do tests that required being up in the very early hours, working out and coaching others, partaking in tasks in front of former NFL coaches, and coaching other athletes and then elaborate properly the coaching techniques used. The stressful test was far from easy with only 50-60% being able to pass each year.
Following the stressful and physical and mental exhaustion, it was time to see if Wartman was going to pass. After all 17 other participants were individually reviewed and given their yes, or no, it was Wartman's turn to be the final person judged.
“All they asked was, ‘how do you think you did?’ And I started mumbling … and I said, ‘I think I did well, I came in prepared and I think I was able to elaborate pretty well,’” Wartman said. “They all looked at me and said ‘Colby, you set the standard for this weekend … all over the board you tested the highest, we’re very proud to have you as a member as one of the Block One coaches.”
As of now, Wartman is the only person within Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana to have this certification. Along with having the title and earning a plaque, Wartman is now able to be in contact with some of the smartest coaches on the planet at any time. Wartman is also able to be a part of Power Athletes and teach seminars and help other participants become coaches. Wartman will also be able to be selected to answer questions to help potentially thousands of coaches and athletes around the world.
Wartman described what he felt he learned about himself from learning about the program in 2012, to completing it in 2020.
“I would say being preservation and push through stuff and just being able to still push the envelope and be the best that I can be as the best athlete and coach that I can be,” he said.
Currently, Wartman is a gym owner and also the athletic trainer for Dickinson State football and a helper for Dickinson State softball.