I never realised how beneficial it was to have a coach for training and my nutrition until I started working alongside some of the best within CrossFit. Up until the last 6 months I was a self – taught CrossFitter with a little input here and there from my friends and training buddies.
Being a coach is not always easy and being taught by a coach is also not easy. Firstly, you need to find someone you have a connection with and someone who can understand the way your mind works and how you train and refuel.
Having a connection between coach and athlete is far more important than the coach just being able to look at the athlete’s lifts and help them with their Fran time. Ideally your coach should understand how to push you, motivate you and know how you are feeling without having to ask you.
This works the same for a nutritionist, they should be able to adapt your diet to fit around yourtraining times and nutritional needs.
The best coaches can see if you are struggling in a workout, training or even mentally. They will know when to ease up on your training and know when to push you harder without breaking you.
As a coach the biggest thing you must be able to do is workout when your athlete is working hard enough and adjust accordingly, and even make it harder if they are not.
As an athlete you should always do as you are told and trust your coach – they always know best!
You need to know that they will push you at the right times, help you peak just before a competition and know when you need down time. You also need to know that their programming, be it training or food, is going to help you improve and recover to be the best you can be.
As an athlete I need to know that my coach has my back and I would never work with anyone who doesn’t because I can’t take that risk. Having trust in a person is not always easy but when you find someone you can trust in then you know you are on to a winner. You can then trust into your coach to help nurture you into the athlete you have always wanted to be.
Secondly, a coach must be able to realise that every athlete is different; one athlete may not respond to the same queues as another or may not respond to the same amount of volume of training. Similarly one athlete may not reapond to the same diet plan as another!
Being able to adapt accordingly is key as every athlete’s brain and body ticks in a different way.
I have come to realise that the best coaches are not always those who go shouting and screaming about it, they are the ones that are always researching finding new ways to do things and working out how they can make this work better for their athlete.
The best coaches listen. This is most important and how you gain your athlete’s trust. They listen to what you fear and what you are finding hard and they find a way around it.
The best coaches are also very careful about the way they say things as what you say as a coach will resonate in an athlete’s mind all day every day.
If a coach says “That snatch was amazing” the athlete will be buzzing for days.
If the coach says “That snatch was rubbish” the athlete will go away feeling disheartened.
Always pick your words carefully.
Finally, coaching isn’t always about all the hours in the gym, all the lifts you have completed and the met cons you have done. Coaching continues outside the gym and after training sessions have finished.
The best coaches will check in with you on how you are feeling, how your mood is, if you are hungry or what you are thinking. Even talking over each training session, what you both thought went well or didn’t go well.
If you have multiple coaches for nutrition, training or gymnastics then they will also all communicate to make sure all of your plans fit with each other.
The biggest thing for me as an athlete working with my coaches is the huge impact they have on my training and my life in general. I am not sure if they really understand how much, but I know I could talk to them at any time and they would be there for me. I think one thing maybe coaches don’t always realise is how much they impact an athlete’s life and how much an athlete trusts the words they say, be it an everyday athlete getting fit or a competitive athlete at the top of their game.
A coach is one of the most influential people in any athlete’s life