As coaches, we can easily fall into a big trap. I’ve seen it before, and I have been guilty of it in the past, but no longer do I let myself fit into this category I’m about to tell you about.
As for me, I’ve been a baseball coach, pitching instructor, and more recently, a personal trainer, and online strength coach. The trap I fell into early one was my own limiting beliefs on how I should design programs, and how I should coach.
The methods I used were no doubt tried and tested through years of training and learning with the best, but in order for a pupil to improve under my guidance and continue in a steady ascent to their goals, I needed to evolve into a “chameleon” coach as I like to call it.
The chameleon coach understands that his or her knowledge is a valuable gift, but at the same time places the equal value in adapting wisely to their student or client’s needs and wants. He or she masters the art of delivering priceless knowledge in a way that is sensitive to the student’s personality, background, goals, and specific needs.
Too soon in my coaching career did I feel so filled with valuable, and life changing knowledge that I neglected opening my heart to the individuals first and foremost. As an instructor, this was an area that could no question make me more well rounded.
I mentioned earlier that I’m now working as a personal trainer (Southwest Florida), and a writer/training program designer here at Show Me Strength. It’s my job to deeply understand everyone I work with so I can stay true to their success in health. Furthermore, I’ve discovered several things while coaching that everyone wants to see and feel if they are to take working out seriously for a long time.
Here they are.
1) We all want to look better in the mirror – No one is more in tune with our naked bodies than ourselves. We see us in the worst of states, the best of conditions, and it’s only natural to feel our mood, confidence, and psyche alter a bit with our physical state. As a strength and conditioning coach, if you don’t stay sensitive to this with each and every person you work with, you’ve no question begun losing sight of their goals. A good program will deliver exceptionally positive physique transformations, so if you have a client who needs to lose 50 lbs and you are doing bicep curls right off the bat, you need to reevaluate what the hell you are doing. “It should be your goal to keep the goal, the goal.” Dan John
2) We all want a program to be tough, rewarding, and attainable all at the same time – I think most coaches get 1 or 2 out of 3 when creating workouts for their clients. The great ones, however, deliver all three on a consistent basis, and therefore get their clients feeling and looking great in a time sensitive manner. It takes no thought and no care to make someone sweat or sore. These side effects can tell us we are doing our job in getting our client a training effect, but it by no means makes you a great coach. You must have a balance of an exciting training stimulus to go along with challenging, but achievable workouts. I make it a point to design our client’s programs with these characteristics in mind. The last thing you want is a frustrated, hurt, and disinterested person because of your lack of concern in program design efforts. If you are looking to start a new workout program, find someone who cares before worrying about how much they know. It’ll be win/win for both sides in the long run.
3) We want a program that won’t waste time on things we don’t care about – This is a big one for me even in my own training. In fitness, my own workouts have really evolved and taken new shapes in the past decade or so. I’ve gone from following bodybuilding workouts with my dad in my early teens, to receiving the best training programs in the world for my baseball career by Eric Cressey, to now working more with brutal pure strength and aesthetic programs from Jim Wendler. Each has been rewarding and beneficial in their own way, but most of all, with the more experience I’ve achieved, I waste less and less time on pointless bullshit. Whatever my goals are, everything I do in the gym is dedicated to those goals. Take a step back and make sure everything you do in your training truly aligns with how you want to look, feel, and move.
4) We want a proven, tested, and science supported program – Who doesn’t want to hear great feedback from a program or coach before you submit your body to torture and effort? It further increases the investment of time and sacrifice you are willing to make for your health, am I right? I’ve been lucky enough to play a professional sport for almost 10 seasons, and in the meantime, I was blessed by meeting and learning from the best fitness coaches in the world. One of the biggest lessons they taught me was to never stop learning. Always push to be the tip of the spear in the industry with the most relevant, up to date information in all things health, while keeping perspective on what has worked for many years. Learning and improving is something you owe your clients on a daily basis.
5) We want a program that will keep us interested and excited to train – It’s such a great feeling when you design a program that just flows with someone. They show up hungry for more each time, and they stay the course just as you had hoped. This doesn’t just happen by printing some trendy, thoughtless workout off the internet and mindlessly wandering the gym floor. It comes from a coach who has carefully constructed something for your needs and wants. As a coach, I make sure to remain selfless when writing programs. I make sure that I am creating the set, rep, and rest scheme of each exercise with total thought on the person training, not what I feel like coaching. Sure, I’d love to teach some diesel shit, but it might not fall in line with the path of my student.
These are some of the beliefs I create each program around. As you see, I didn’t delve into the physical aspects of my training and coaching yet. I’m only attempting to open the doors for learning and discussion in regards to making educated decisions, ensuring you continue to keep your health the highest priority, without getting discouraged along the way. The next article will cover the physical elements of great training programs.
On a similar note, Andrew and I are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with WeightTraining.Com, which we believe is the web’s leader in user friendly platforms for online training programs. It’s such a cool site. Check it out with the link above or below. Join up and get our programs for a very affordable price.