Coaching is a Profession, so be a Professional!
First impressions are not important. Lasting impressions matter. Professional, elite coaches build trust with their athletes over time. Relationships matter in coaching. The first impression an athlete gets when they experience your training session is important but it won’t keep the athlete inspired for the long haul. You’ve heard us say that elite trainers rarely lose clients. Well, elite coaches only build class size, not lose the number of athletes. This means you make an impression at every session.
Here are just a few essential keys to being a professional, elite coach:
Arrive early, stay late at each training session. Let athletes know you care about your craft and are there for them; not just to make a few bucks. Coaching success often happens before or after the session.
Don’t sit. Stand, move, circulate. Be a pinball – bounce around and acknowledge every athlete in your training dojo. Let everyone know (including those in the gym outside your session!) that YOU set the tempo and lead actively.
Have fun. Allow your personality (if you have one) to come out. Be a human being and laugh, share stories or just establish rapport with your athletes. Training is hard so it’s okay to enjoy the suffering and embrace the hard work.
No phone, no food, no kidding. It’s okay to finish your own training session and be a sweaty mess when you coach, it lets athletes know you’re in the fight too. But, only take that phone out to video a movement for analysis, not to do whatever you think you need to do while you are coaching. And keep the shaker cup and snack out of your hands when you coach. You’ll survive. If you talk a lot, it’s okay to keep water in one spot, but don’t carry it around with you.
Be program prepared. Study the day’s program well in advance of your start time. Know what movements or complexes could cause a technical challenge for either you or your athletes. Think about how your warm-up will help ensure that day’s session will be productive. Know what movement standards you need to enforce and organize your thoughts. Get a gauge on how much time you’ll need to get everything in so you can plan your warm-up and post session accessory/midline work to ensure safety and effectiveness.