How to Get the Most Out of Your Coaching Experience

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Coaching Experience
Written by: Coach Evan

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a coach is that not every athlete responds to the same style of coaching. I can be a hard ass with some athletes, which lights a fire in their eyes to finish the workout. For other athletes, I know they want gentle encouragement. Some only need a quick and clear cue to fix a snatch error. Others prefer a little more explanation. While this is the most important thing a coach needs to learn, coincidentally it can be difficult to figure out what type of athlete you’re coaching. And let’s be clear; anyone in my gym is my athlete.

It all comes down to communication. At Derby City CrossFit, we have cultivated a very open and trusting atmosphere. The coaches want you to move well; we want you to succeed. We can read your face and body language when we give you a cue, we can tell when what we say is more confusing than helpful, and we can feel your skepticism when we tell you to do something that feels wrong, even though it’s technically correct. Although the coaches are trying as hard as we can, sometimes we don’t get our point across in a way that makes sense to you, or we use the wrong sort of motivational tool. This is where it can be helpful to us, and in turn to yourselves, if you tell us how you like to be coached. What sort of style helps you the most. Are you the athlete that needs to be yelled at? Or do you hate attention? Is it impossible for you to listen during a workout while your heart is beating in your ears and the music is loud? Pull us aside after and let us know. I’d much rather coach you after the workout if that works better for you.

When I’m being coached, I like to be pushed. I like all critique. And if I’m dogging it in a workout, I want to be yelled at. If the coach knows I can go faster, then I want them telling me to go faster. If I’m resting too long, I want them to yell at me to get back on the bar, or to pick the kettlebell back up.

Because CrossFit is adaptable for all kinds of athletes, the coaches must also be adaptable for each athlete. The coach needs to able to tell what works and what doesn’t. The ultimate goal is to have fun while we get incredibly fit, and there’s nothing quite as miserable as being yelled at during a workout when that’s not the way you’re motivated. Coaches need to ask questions and try different techniques, and to help build a trusting relationship, the athlete should vocalize what kind of technique works best for them.

So, what works best for you? Tell your coach, I guarantee they want to know.

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