Early this year, I entered the world of Physical Preparation. For years, I had trained (as an athlete) in the private sector and knew at a young age that coaching athletes is what I wanted to do for my professional career. As an intern, I was excited to get started. Excited to learn, excited to program and excited to coach. But little did I know that this career path was anything but easy. I thought that I knew it all and would make a great coach just from my training experience alone. I had to learn a lot of things the hard way, and check my ego at the door every time I walked into that gym. It was a tough experience at first, but as I grew (and continue to) as a coach, I realized that there are three traits every new coach needs in order to set themselves up for a long and successful career.
If you only take away one thing from this article, this would be it. Chase two rabbits at a time, and both will escape. When I first started out, I tried to learn as much as I could, as
fast as I could – big mistake. I would try to read 2-3 books at the same time, all on different
disciplines, and all of which were way over my head. The problem with this was that nothing
stuck. I would read about sprint training in the morning, programming in the afternoon and
strength training at night. I thought I was accomplishing so much when in reality I was
accomplishing nothing. I ended up going back and re-reading all those books because I wasn’t
focused. Focus alone will give you an edge when it comes to coaching. No coach became great
overnight. Just like athletic development, becoming a good coach is a slow cook. It’s an ever
evolving process that requires a laser focus. Focus on one thing at a time and you’ll thank
You don’t know anything, and that’s okay. Don’t try to fool yourself into
thinking you know it all or have to know it all. People will ask you questions all the time and you
might know some of the answers, but I PROMISE that you will never have all the answers. And
you know what? That’s totally fine. “But coach, what do I tell my athletes when they ask me a
question I don’t know the answer to?” “I. Don’t. Know.” Don’t try to have all the answers, or
worse, don’t lie or make an educated guess if you don’t know. Ask another coach or research
the answer for yourself. Don’t let pride be your downfall. Want to make an impact in this
industry? Pay it forward and be humble.
What you lack in knowledge and experience, you can make up for with
energy. As a new coach, you are the ultimate hype man. It takes no experience or knowledge to
get people hyped up and this should be your number one job. Never be afraid to set the tone
for a workout. Whether it’s early in the morning, or late in the week, you must be the most
amped up person in the gym. Your attitude will have a direct effect on how your athletes
perform, so do everyone a favor and get weird. Do whatever you can to make it fun because at
the end of the day, no one wants to do business with someone they don’t like.
Coaching is a lot like training. There’s no perfect program, and there’s no perfect
coaching style. There are many roads that lead to becoming a great coach. You will make
mistakes but you also will learn. Put in the time and one day you’ll reap the benefits.
Remember that becoming a good coach is marathon, not a sprint.