Monday, August 1, 2011

Improve Your Coaching With These Two Tips



Today, I want to share some important tips that have helped me immensely as a coach.  As I am sure most of you know, I am big on coaching and performing proper exercise technique.  However, I know that exercise form will not always be perfect, especially when working with a relatively new client.  I have stated in the past how important it is to not overwhelm these clients with multiple cues and to have the mindset that you will work with these people for a long time. 

If you adopt this coaching philosophy, which I hope most you do or will, then I have two important tips to share with you.  The first is to always remember what you had previously worked on with a client.  For example, if you worked with Pete on Monday and had him focus on keeping his knees out while squatting, then do not have him think about something different the next time he squats if he has not yet mastered keeping his knees out. 
A good way to help with this is to figure out the two or three most important things that you want a person thinking about while executing each exercise and movement you use in your gym.  This way you do not overwhelm the person and you can really hammer those things before moving onto other performance cues.  
 Not sure what cue she is giving him for a seated machine shoulder press:)
I was talking to my interns about this the other day.  They have all learned to see movement very well, and therefore, it can be tempting to coach over each other if they walk by and see a mistake that a client being coached is making.  I told them this is usually a mistake because you do not know what that coach is working on with the client.  What I told them to do was discuss with each other at the end of that client’s session.  In this way, they can learn from each other, as well as not overwhelm the client.  The only exception to this rule is if you see something that may cause the client to get injured.
Therefore, my second tip is to refrain from coaching over someone and/or making judgments about another coach's ability based on seeing him coach one client.  This one client may be a beginner or advanced.  If it is an advanced client, the coach may be helping him or her work on something new, which caused the client to lose focus on some other area they usually do well with.  If you think this coach was doing a poor job then discuss this later after the client's session.  Also, when talking with the coach do not assume anything- just ask what he or she was working on and your concerns.  It should be a learning experience for the both of you.

I have included below two ways you can implement both of these tips into your coaching.

ACTIONABLE ITEM #1
Write down all of the exercises you use in your facility.  Next, write down the three most important cues or areas that you will emphasize for each of these exercises.  
This little exercise will help you as a coach/trainer greatly and it will also benefit your clients.



ACTIONABLE ITEM #2

If you work alongside other coach/trainers, start learning from each other and refrain from immediately judging each others' coaching.  Talk with your other coaches about the list you created from above and see if they agree with it or if they would make some changes.  Begin talking regularly with each other about any questions or concerns you may have.

I realize some of you may work alone, but you can still contact other coaches.  I have found that most people in this industry are very willing to help out so do not be afraid to contact them. 

Hope these are helpful!  Have a great week everyone!! 

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