Last time I talked about discovering your passion for coaching and understanding that it is natural and positive to want to strive to be perfect both as a coach and as an athlete. A coach must not expect perfection as an attainable thing, however; rather they should expect gains and progress. No human body is the same, and some bodies, though not at a level of perfection, should be considered success stories as long as the progress made to that body creates a situation in which the body is no longer a deterrent to a good quality of life.
The next important part of become a coach is learning how to communicate. We are teachers, more than anything else, or at least we should be, and few people realize this. If people don’t learn from us and understand what we are doing, we have taken a wrong turn. The first step to effective communication is style. Now this is an impossible topic to come to a conclusion on, as many styles work in many environments. Some coaches find it effective to be aggressive; others find it motivational to encourage every step of the way. This is up to you to figure out for yourself, and there is nobody better than Coach Q to help you discover your style with all of his writings. Regardless of your style and demeanor, however, there is one piece of communication that I believe is necessary: Specificity and exactness in language throughout instruction and explanation. This, I think is the most difficult piece to achieve. Anyone can name an exercise and some can demonstrate properly, but only the best coaches can explain using only words. It is important to have the ability to explain every detail, major and minor, involved in a movement so that people can create mental connections. After all, we only have a short amount of time with clients, and the rest of their life, during which they will undoubtedly encounter situations that require them to use skills we have taught them, they must be prepared well enough to coach themselves.
Note to people who go to coaches: Deciding that you need a coach is not enough. You dictate how effective anything you do is. It is your responsibility to allow yourself to learn and actively take part in learning. I like to think that those who have made the decision to work with a coach have overcome the urge to believe in a magic pill. Now take it one step further and keep in mind that a coach alone still cannot be that pill.
Check in next week for the final installment of my series, in which I will continue to talk about the responsibility to learn and conclude with a special announcement!