While most people venture into the gym, onto the track or out to the courts in order to further improve themselves, there are a select few who feel called to a different form of improvement. Enter the coach, the reputable fitness guru who is hired to develop and improve athletes into the strongest versions of themselves.
Throughout the course of history there has been numerous coaches of the highest caliber who will forever be remembered for their contributions to athletics. Paradoxically, there have been just as many if not more coaches that are equally as famous for the terrible work that they did! If you are inspired to become an amazing coach remembered for a positive legacy, read on – you are about to be enlightened on how to become the best coach you can be!
Know What You’re Doing!
Joe Weider, Bill Bowerman, Vince Lombardi – the list can go on forever! Despite their occupational positions focusing on quite different sports, all these coaches were famous for sharing one common trait: possessing an immensely vast knowledge of their particular sport and how the human body best performs it! If you aspire to become a great coach, it is a necessity for you to have a well-rounded comprehension of the sport(s) you desire to coach for.
Practice What You Preach
And what is a better way to become enveloped and exposed to that sport than by partaking in it yourself? If you truly want to ensure that you know what you’re doing, build up a reputation for yourself and continually gain knowledge on how to improve your training techniques, you should possess a fully-fledged interest and dedication to your sport! Live it, breathe it, practice it every day, research it in your spare time, become a certified professional, always have it on your mind – you must be healthily obsessed, otherwise your passion will eventually burn out and you will no longer exude a whole-hearted commitment in the eyes of your trainees!
As you spend more time in the sport, you will not only continually improve your personal performance, but will most likely learn new concepts along the way as well. This will keep you at the forefront of all that is relevant in the sport that you coach for. After all, everyone can talk the talk, but only a handful can properly walk the walk!
Be Specific – Coach The Individual, Not The Athlete
Different sports demand different qualities from their players. However, this does not mean that your athletes cannot be well-rounded! Of course you should primarily focus on educating and improving your athletes for their specific goals or sports, but cross-training is an invaluable concept that can leave an athlete more than capable of functioning outside of their regular comfort zone. Refrain from catering to a generic cookie-cutter ideal for a certain athlete or sport.
Instead, identify your athletes’ sport, their goals, their personal limitations and their personal excellences – from there, coach them into the greatest and most versatile athletes that they can possibly become. You will certainly be thanked in the longrun for doing so!
Be Critical Yet Positive
No pain, no gain – as cliché as the phrase is, it’s the tough truth. Your job as a coach is to improve the performance of those who hire you. To do this, you must provide constructive criticism! However, you do not want to come across as overly harsh – otherwise, your athletes will not enjoy working with you and may seek another coach instead. Balance is the key; to effectively criticize your athletes, consider following this process:
1.) During practice, provide some positive feedback on what the athletes are properly doing or are excelling in.
2.) After complementing them, proceed to identify what was wrong with their performance and explain why it was wrong.
3.) Show them how to properly execute the move, correct their form with an example, or guide their movement in a slow-motion execution.
4.) Encourage the athlete that they can in fact do the movement right! Now that they know how to do the move properly, all they have to do is perform it. Tell them that they are more than capable of doing the move, and reiterate that practice makes perfect.
Confidence is Key
When it comes to personal motivating factors, confidence is hands-down one of the most substantially stimulating contributions possible! If you believe in yourself, you can do just about anything – this applies to both the athletes you’re training and yourself! We have already established that as a trainer you should know the concepts that you’re teaching to others; from there, you just need the confidence in yourself that you will be able to effectively communicate that same knowledge to your trainees.
For your athletes, you must instill upon them a sense of confidence that they can apply to their sports, their practices and their competitions. When they know what to do in their sport and they believe that they are capable of doing so, their mental boost of self-assurance that follows will inarguably be greater than when they lacked confidence! In turn, this will translate into a remarkably better performance.
Holistically Train Your Athletes
Some of the greatest coaches of our time have been known not only for their invaluable knowledge of sport but for their indirect contributions to lifestyle training as well. As an aspiring coach, you should strive to serve as a teacher for your athletes in all aspects of life, including athletics. Be sure to keep their given sport in a proportionate perspective, but teach them in more ways than they bargained for! Develop your athlete’s social skills, give them business and professional guidance, craft them into powerful leaders, enlighten them with humanitarian agendas – the opportunities are endless!
As you become integrated with your athletes on deeper levels of context, greater relationships or friendships will form between you and your athletes. This will undoubtedly leave a lasting memory of you in your athletes’ minds, which is something honorable indeed. In addition, when you act as a figure that is more than a coach, your image is regarded to a higher degree and your credentials will become exponentially greater. It’s a win-win scenario!
If you dream of one day becoming a great and reputable coach, it is essential for you to incorporate these concepts into your practices. Not only will you elevate yourself onto a pedestal of highly-sought knowledge, but you will also reap a plethora of merits on your side of the spectrum by serving as an influential role model. If you truly possess a passion for sport and dream of pursuing a career in training, then it is time for you to FUEL YOUR AMBITION and become the best coach you can be!
Goldberg, Alan, Dr. “SPECIAL: What Makes a GOOD COACH?” Competitive Advantage: Mental Toughness. COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE, LLC,, 2006. Web. 27 May 2016. <https://www.competitivedge.com/special-what-makes-good-coach>.
Goldsmith, Wayne. “The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Coaches – WG Coaching.” WGcoaching.com. 2011. Web. 27 May 2016. <http://www.wgcoaching.com/ten-habits-highly-effective-coaches/>.
Green, Mike, Coach. “The Sports Family Club, Enriching Lives Through Sports and Activities.” Ten Keys to Being a Good Coach. The Sports Family Club. Web. 27 May 2016. <http://www.thesportsfamilyclub.org/coaches-overview/ten-keys-to-good-coaching