WHAT MAKES A GOOD COACH? COMPLETE DEDICATION. –George Halas
From the outside looking in, some may think that I am in the gym business. But the reality is I am in the coaching business. I am not selling a place to work out or even CrossFit training. I am selling coaching. Every day, every workout, every consultation is about quality coaching.
Do you know what quality coaching looks like or what it entails? I’ve been in the coaching business for eight years now and I definitely have some opinions about coaching! A good coach is dedicated to the results of their athletes. Furthermore, a good coach is dedicated to excellence within their craft. Is your current or prospective coach dedicated to these goals?
With a lot of people selling coaching these days, I think it’s important to investigate some specific areas of a coach’s practice.
PROGRAMMING. If you are paying for coaching that is of the training variety, good programming should come with it. At any given moment, you should be able to ask the coach the purpose of the warm up, mobility drills, and exercises of the prescribed workout. If they can’t tell you, find a new coach!
Any average Joe (or Jane for that matter) can write a workout that will make you tired and possibly want to puke. Make no mistake, I can write a program that will kick your ass seven different ways to Sunday. But, is that going to help you reach your goals? Hard isn’t necessarily good. Programming should be focused on getting you results.
MECHANICS, CONSISTENCY, THEN INTENSITY. If practice makes perfect, what does poor practice do? In the short term, it creates poor movement patterns which will eventually have to be un-learned. In the long term, it can lead to injury. When you are looking to hire a coach, do they focus on the mechanics for the requisite amount of time based on YOUR ability? Is there a push to get you to go harder and faster from the get go? Good coaches focus on laying a solid foundation in order to get results over the long haul.
LEARNING. At the risk of sounding like a complete Little Miss Mcbraggypants, obscene is the only way I can describe the amount of money I spend on the pursuit of knowledge. I attend at least 3-4 training events each year to up my game as a coach. Surprise: there is a whole lot to learn outside of CrossFit! Ask any potential coach what was the last conference they attended. Also ask them about their philosophy of continuing education, in general. The best coaches stay abreast of the latest research and training techniques in order to get their clients results.
MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE. Creating a balanced lifestyle to include a regular fitness routine and good nutritional habits doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. Some people are going to be further along in their journey than others when they walk through that door. Is there a push to get you to adopt a completely different diet? Is your prospective new coach telling you that you have to work out every day at their gym? The reality is you may or may not be ready for either of those lifestyle overhauls. A good coach recognizes where each individual is at and coaches them at that level.
If you are relatively new to the world of strength and conditioning or a seasoned athlete who’s ready to take it to the next level, a good coach is priceless. Do yourself a favor and take the time to find a great one!
Do you agree with the traits I’ve outlined above? Did I leave something off the list? Share your thoughts as a post in comments!
Author’s note: The quote at the beginning of this post is attributed to George Halas. Papa Bear Halas was a legendary coach. He also played a large role in defining Sunday afternoons in America throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. He has often been described as the “heart and soul” of “Da Bears”.