11 Pearls of Wisdom for New Trainers and Coaches

11 Pearls of Wisdom for New Trainers and Coaches

Question: From your experience as a strength coach can you give some advice for a young strength coach just coming up in the industry?


I'll list several things, in no particular order that would help any person be a better coach.

1.  Train - if you are going to coach others in the Weight Room Arts it's pretty important that you are a black belt in this given discipline.  This doesn't mean you have to be a world record holder or Social Media Strong.  It means you have experience with brutal squat workouts and stupid conditioning.  You should love training.  And this experience and love of training will help you earn respect with those you coach.

2. Learn how to communicate - coaching is communication and developing personal relationships.  Learn how to talk to large groups and learn how to "hold" a room with your voice.  The best way to learn this?  Volunteer and throw yourself into the fire.

3. Know your program - this seems pretty simple but It is important that a coach understand each part of his training program and have an answer for why they are doing it.  Know the physical effects of each part of the program (related to the "Train" portion above) - this will help guide you when you have to adjust. (Know the trap doors of your program.) Don't do a program, a lift or any part of training you don't understand. (Don't coach what you don't know.)

4. Understand that all your athletes are beginner lifters.  Even the most advanced athletes in their discipline are "beginners" in the weight room. Perhaps some of them graduate to intermediate but the point is this: very few people are "advanced" in two separate physical disciplines.  You don't need advanced training or massively specialized workouts.

5. Understand that your athletes don't love training and lifting as much as you do. If they did, you'd be out of a job.

6. Come prepared every day with an exact plan and a way to get out of the plan if things go to shit.  The Boy Scouts were right: Be Prepared.

7. You have to earn the athletes' respect; don't expect them to fall all over your words/coaching if you haven't earned their respect.

8. Learn how to coach basic movements; you best learn this before you learn advanced programming.  The Super Secret Soviet System is worthless if the kids are squatting with the bar in their mouths.

9. If an athlete cannot perform a certain movement or exercise, you should have a huge toolbox full of alternate movements.  This is where your own training experience can come into play.

10. Understand that training can have a huge effect on athletic performance but it is not the only factor.  An amazing season does not make you an amazing coach. And a bad season does not make you a bad coach.  Don't get too high and don't get too low.

11. Have confidence - your athletes can smell fraud and weakness.  Coach what you know and believe in what you coach.  Remember that there are a 100 coaches out there that can do a better job than you; but there are thousands that cannot.  

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