How to Become a Better Coach

Written by: Mike LeBoss, Executive Director of NAFC and Tammy LeBoss, contributing NAFC Writer.

The role of the trainer is multi-faceted. As trainers, we are role models, leaders, mentors, coaches and sometimes, confidants. Regarding coaching, a quote from Toni Robbins says:

‘A coach is not necessarily someone who is better; a (good) coach is someone who gives you a different perspective.’  

Although this may be true, in the fitness space, a good coach leads from the front Since part of the key learning components in cuing and leading is visual, we are required to be better in respect to exact execution and demonstration of a movement. This will allow our clients to set a goal to emulate this action. In addition, we must be better as we lead our clients to better lifestyle choices because again, we are the leaders and role models whom our clients aspire to be like. Speaking of leadership, guiding our clients has much to do with re-directing their focus.  

For example, one of the largest misconceptions in the industry to date, that has become a growing trend, is that the harder the workout, the more efficient it is. This is simply not the case, and NAFC professionals are working to turn this misconception around. It is the intelligent workout that is the most difficult, as it requires the most attention to detail during movement and recovery, which means connecting both body and mind.

As an example, most trainers progress squatting exercises too quickly. A thorough observation of your client’s movement patterns could suggest the need to develop mobility/ stability variables first. Watch for dysfunctional movements. Your client’s body will tell you the need to either regress or progress them. One of the most visible errors you’ll notice in this exercise is the chest dropping as the client lowers. This forward lean indicates that the load is dumping into the skeletal structure, rather than being supported by the musculature. 

Fine-tune your observational skills and be prepared to offer modifications. Some squat variations may not be appropriate for a client who has not been properly progressed with their individual movement patterns in mind. Examples include front, goblet, pistol, back, and side (lunge) squats. 

At the very least, it may not be the appropriate squat variation during their initial training phase. It is for this reason that you will need to develop stability and/or mobility variables, and make appropriate corrective adjustments. Focus from the core to the periphery. And, remember-a good coach may offer different perspectives, but a great coach does this and always leads from the front. 

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