So, you want to hire yourself a coach, and that’s great, but what should you be looking for to know whether they are going to help you reach your goals, or simply thrash you every session to get you as stuffed as possible?
First, when you initially have a discussion with a coach about commencing training, they should be asking you what outcomes you’d like to achieve from your training, as well as giving suggestions on things worth working on (posture or movement quality for example). Your programming should then be focused on achieving those outcomes.
It can be a bit hard to determine if you’re moving in the right direction if you don’t have a training background, but as an example, if you’ve never trained before, and you’ve told your coach you’d like to improve posture at the shoulders and low back, and improve overall strength, and they proceed to try and crush you every session with hundreds of burpees and jumping lunges, you need to be asking questions. If, however you’ve asked to be pushed hard every session, and you’re at an appropriate level, then those burpees and jumping lunges may be appropriate.
Questions about why you’re doing what you’re doing can and should be asked by the way, and if you’ve got yourself a good coach, they should be more than happy to give you an answer.
Next, you should notice that regardless of what your goal is, your coach is trying to improve your movement quality. This will present itself by your coach always trying to get you into better positions, and working on weak areas as they pop up. An example might be a squat that is getting negatively impacted by poor ankle mobility. A good coach will try to address the problem by working to improve ankle mobility (where appropriate), not just avoid the movement.
The way I see it personally, is that if one of my clients isn’t moving better and more efficiently after finishing a training block with me, then I’ve failed at what I see as a very important part of my job, even if they’ve reached their body composition goals for example. Improving movement quality is non-negotiable for me, regardless of whether it’s high on the list of a client’s goals or not.
The last thing I’ll put on this list is education. Your coach should be telling you how to do movements (that’s a given I’d hope), but also why that movement is beneficial, what muscles it’s working, when and where that movement is going to be helpful in day to day life, or why a movement currently isn’t working for you for example.
I always hope my clients will stay on and train with me after their initial training period has ended, as there’s a whole bunch of benefits to having a coach to assist you that go beyond checking technique and motivating you (I’ll discuss in a later post), but if they do decide to cease using me as a coach, they should have at least the fundamentals down pat, and have a fair idea of what they’re doing, by being educated throughout their training.
I’ll end this one here, but if you have any questions please feel free to post them in the comments.