Everyone NEEDS a coach
Greatness is rarely achieved solely by an individual, sure individuals achieve great feats, although it is almost never done without a support team or atleast one coach. One of the all time great athletes Rodger Federer still has a coach to help him prepare and be at his best. A coach is a teacher, someone who can provide direction and structure in your training. With the help of a coach you can go from good to great! (NB:For the purpose of this article a “coach” will be referring more to a strength and conditioning coach as opposed to sports coach).
Even the most motivated athletes struggle to train hard day in and day out. It’s one thing to rock up and get the work done, it’s another to get the most of each and every session – enter the coach. Accountability goes much further than just making sure you get your training done, a good coach will also help you do the things you don’t want to do but NEED to do. This doesn’t necessarily mean screaming and cheer leading to get you hyped up (unless you like that). It means coaching you through the movements you don’t like to do and even helping you improve them so you start to enjoy them. Most people don’t like doing things they’re not good at, although, with the help of coach you can get better at movements you don’t like and over time you will start to enjoy what you use to hate. Accountability leads to consistency and consistency leads to long term sustainable progress.
No such thing as perfect technique
Training is about the pursuit of mastery, this is where we learn and grow. The goal isn’t to ever achieve mastery as once we believe we have achieved mastery there is not need to continue – we will forever be students. A great coach is a guide to help you pursue mastery and grow as an athlete. You may have a pretty good squat but it will never be perfect, there is always something you can tweak and improve.
Being an athlete isn’t just about training and playing, there are many factors outside of the physical that effect an athletes performance. No matter the level of athlete there are many things they have to deal with outside of just playing sport – family, relationships, work, social media, pressure, anxiety, fear of failure any many more. These are all hard enough to deal with let alone having to perform at your best every time you play and train. A great coach not only provides an athlete with physical support but also emotional support. Having a coach that you can openly communicate with about external factors is extremely important for an athletes long term development. Knowing an athlete well allows the coach to modify an adjust training plans when necessary, this can have a massive impact on an athletes longevity in sport.
What does a world class coach look like?
When you are looking for a coach to help you achieve better sports performance, make sure they do these 6 strategies;
1. Assess and gather data – This would include initial questionnaires, performance testing and assessing.
2. Understand you and your “story” – Indentify and help you find your ‘WHY’, identify your priorities and identify your road blocks.
3. Create an action plan – Outcome goals, long term plan and programming.
4. Choose and test one action – Establish actions you can take to build and work towards your goals.
5. Observe and monitor what happens – The may include regular check in’s (outisde of training), personal coaching sessions and program reviews.
6. Use outcome-based decision making – Re-testing and adjusting the plan.
Your coach needs to demonstrate the 6 strategies. If they don’t, see if they are willing to start, otherwise it’s time to find a new coach. If you currently don’t have a coach then you may not getting the most out yourself as an athlete. Find a coach who can hold you accountable, give you direction, provide constructive feedback and support you thick and thin.