Me, sports coach: “At each class, it’s my body that takes, I work on Saturday, Sunday, all the time”


They are teachers, lawyers, entertainers, farmers… After two years of a pandemic, a new reform or an economic crisis, how has their professional daily life changed? How, today, would these women and men like to practice their profession? A few weeks before the presidential election, “the Obs” gives them the floor.

In reference to the anaphora used by François Hollande during the interval between the two rounds of the election in 2012, this series of articles wishes to question the candidates on the reality of these professions.

In the beginning, there is chance. This is what Axel Ladjani explains to us, a disconcertingly outspoken 30-year-old from an HLM housing estate in Verdun, in the Meuse. From his youth, he remembers the living conditions – difficult – and his mother, damaged by alcoholism, who raises her three sons “a bit off the hook” – hear by that as she can. From this somewhat dull portrait emerges the beginning of a vocation, almost by accident. A friend at the time trained him in a basketball club in Charny-sur-Meuse. The meeting becomes unavoidable, until the same friend, ten years later, takes him to a boxing club. “It changed the game as to what I was going to become”rewinds the sports coach.

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With a technical baccalaureate, he works in a company that cleans trains. His job, quality controller, is carried out in staggered hours, requires to be versatile and not to count his hours. At that time, already, everything went through sport: “When I got up in the morning, I would do push-ups, circuit training, go down to the courtyard of my building and do an hour of jumping rope before going to work. In the evening, I would jog or go to the gym. On weekends it was hiking or boxing. » By dint of hanging out in sports halls, he is entrusted with groups of young people. Even if his only experience of animation and coaching goes back to the boxing lessons of his 20 years. That’s enough. We find him gifted. Some coaches send him clients they can’t take care of in exchange for a few tickets.

It will be a few more years before he leaves the industrial cleaning company where he works. The staggered schedules undermine it. He gets angry with his agency manager, resigns a few months later and prepares to become a sports educator. He has the necessary physical form, but not the technical knowledge. He learns what he misses in the books – biomechanics, nutrition, how to go about composing a session.

“I live from my passion”

His diploma in hand, he was hired in a high-end sports hall in downtown Metz: eighteen hours of high-level group lessons per week in addition to individual coaching, remuneration of 2,500 euros net per month. It’s grueling, but well paid. “At each lesson, it’s my body that takes over, I work on Saturdays, Sundays, all the time; but I receive a lot of bonuses and I feel good mentally, I live from my passion. » However, a few years later, the gym was bought by a low cost structure: “We are told that nothing is going to change and, overnight, all my classes are taken away: I spend my days cleaning toilets and telling people to speed up when they get on an elliptical trainer. » Company executives can’t lower his salary, so they urge him to do more – canvass clients on the phone, with goals that grow each week. The job is no longer the same. The former members are gradually leaving the room. Axel ends up getting a conventional break. After three months of unemployment, he set up his structure.

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It starts without a penny of investment. “Just my mouth”, he quips, and a suitcase full of studs and rubber bands. A former member offers him to design for free what will become his website. Classes take place outdoors, old regulars flock. He ends up renting a room and a rhythm sets in. Individual coaching in the morning, then preparation of new circuits and exercises – conscientiously noted in a small notebook –, group lessons in the evening… The days are busy. Finishing at 10 p.m. becomes the norm. Benefits ? Total freedom, of movement as well as financial.

The status of autoentrepreneur, if he adapts to it, nevertheless remains a pebble in his shoe. He secures a standard of living. However, he explains, lucidly, “At the end of each month, the Urssaf takes 25% of my salary while as a self-employed person, I have less easy access to housing, rights, aid”. For retirement, even fatalism, he is convinced that there will be no right either. Self-employment is a status that is very easy to obtain, but which socially marginalizes. Regardless of the political reforms of governments, he will not be affected, he believes.

The commitment

If he denies being politicized, he is nevertheless committed. A few weeks ago, he signed a twenty-hour contract with an association that helps young people from working-class neighborhoods. He offers them activities, sometimes hiking. Only 900 euros per month is not much compared to what he earns for a single group lesson. But, explains Axel, “I like the contact with these young people, I also come from a difficult neighborhood. With them, I feel like a fish in water”. The issues are not the same. Far from the thirties and forty-somethings in search of a leaner and slimmer body that their sedentary lifestyle prevents them from having, these courses serve objectives “much more praiseworthy”, according to him, as “self-esteem, self-improvement, resilience”.

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He totally rejects the idea of ​​comfort, this way in which, he believes, we turn away from the real problems. He prefers a slightly bohemian life, “not anti-capitalist because I still participate in the system”, but enough to have definitively abandoned the car when so many people around him prefer to annoy the liter of petrol at 2 euros rather than change the model. “Between beliefs and actions, he notes, there is a crazy way to go. » It is also sensitive to overconsumption: “When I was young, I bought a lot of clothes even though I knew I didn’t need them, that it was absurd. » Today, each purchase is weighed, carefully considered, it’s not just a question of money. He remembers the people observed during his youth “who move like robots in stores”of “the enjoyment of buying and consuming”. He makes the connection with the depletion of resources, and it sickens him. Like a form of indecency.

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This lucidity leads him to discredit politics. “I watch all the debates”, he says. The program “La France face à la guerre”, the Zemmour-Pécresse duel, the meetings broadcast on television and the “rebellious” Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whom he listens to a lot. But no matter how interested he is, he only voted once in his life. It was in 2017, a bulletin La France insoumise filed “by fashion effect” in the ballot box, he explains. And he has no intention of repeating the experience. “The debates between the candidates are not very interesting, we talk about what creates divisions such as immigration. These subjects hide the most concrete ones: the environment, poverty, mothers who are unable to feed their kids in France.he decides.

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The great substantive debates, he does not know what to think of them, he admits. “It doesn’t [le] don’t mind seeing an Arab, a Syrian, arriving in France”, even if he says he understands that people do not accept that the fruit of their labor be used to welcome them. Even purchasing power, the first priority of the French in the presidential campaign, sometimes seems obscene to him: “When we talk about purchasing power, we are talking about people who have the means to have purchasing power. » Rather than grand postures, he advocates an ethic of discretion. People who fight for great causes shouldn’t need to say that. “Me, I don’t boast of being a great environmentalist, but I ride a bike, I try to do something concrete. »

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