I wanted to name this post “Titles and knowledge” but figured out that I will write a bit wider 😉 …
Are you someone who is running for as many as possible titles? I understand you because it’s in human nature to be in a beautiful feeling of POWER (natural urge for power and honors inside human beings). But, is it really necessary?
One average client (if got enough money) will probably choose someone who got more certifications and lot of awards (maybe not, it depends), or someone even with PhD diploma (he/she must be God – LOL). They would rather chose someone with a strong advertising also, whether on social networks or in other media (this is even more decisive factor). It doesn’t mean that this person (coach) is among best in industry (or knows more than you). For example, fancy website = less knowledge in most cases. Maybe PhD guy is among best when it comes to the science, but it’s really hard to be good in science and practice both, especially if you got situation where science is not correlated with practice at all (unfortunately in my country where I was born). Oh I forgot, try to escape from self-boasters – there are too many of them on the market!
People are doing their best when it comes to creating content (titles, resumes, websites…) mostly because they like to be praised and they are striving for a better position which is normal. But, really often, people write about themselves overrated (sometimes serious lies). The only way to figure out what a person is like in reality, is by being with that person for long time. If some client wants the best/real results and to know if someone fits him/her on all matters, he/she needs to spend some serious amount of time with some coach (seldom you know very quick that someone isn’t for you). News about making results are spreading rapidly, so at the end of the story results should be the decisive factor number 1 – when it comes to choosing the right coach. But with all the technology today, sometimes is really tough to figure out who is making real results – the best way is to ask exercisers who have been with same trainer for longer than 1 month (3 times a week at least, 1 hour session lasting, proper nutrition…).
Wait now, even Olympic gold medal holders (when it comes to strength and conditioning coaches) aren’t NECESSARILY among the best because their role isn’t so big there – important but not great (sometimes it means but very often it doesn’t mean they are top like athletes they train – maybe they just were lucky enough to know the right people at the right time and show up there)… We think we are important because that’s in human nature – the feeling of importance. This is especially true (that we are not too important) when it comes to the national senior teams and senior pro (especially top) level sport in general (if we exclude injury prevention/reduction work and a few other details – it’s probably truth, but in some cases this details could matter a lot). Children and youth? Hmmm – BINGO 😉 ! They should bring “all the glory” with kids and later when kids become pros. When it comes to kids and “younger youth”, we have the most room for work and progress!
Science and practice should complement and help each other. There is a lot of useless scientific papers who don’t have practical appliance. The reason is simple – it’s not simple/easy 🙂 … Most of people are “lazy” by the nature (they don’t want to consume both physical and mental energy if it’s not necessary because of various types of fears among other things) but many gain will to jump out of the “lazy” clutches. “Do not be afraid of spending body-mind energy”, just be a brave and make an initial move and everything else will take flywheel after a while (your body and mind both will be thankful).
One more thing about lazyness (in exercising this time). Exercising energetically costs a lot and doesn’t make sense from a biological standpoint. When we expend energy, our brains need to be sure there is a GOOD reason for it. It’s not easy to convince your brain to do it, you need a lot of dopamine – a lot of predictable results from exercising.
Unfortunately, lust for power and competitive race among scientists (megalomaniacs) made a hopeless situation. I am not a hater, highly appreciate scientists who are quality included in practice (Stuart McGill, Vladimir Zatsiorsky, etc…), but there is not a lot of them because you have to devote whole life to constant “double thought process” (how to scientifically check practice problem and vice versa – it’s not easy at all). All mentioned above is the reason I LOVE PROFESSIONAL ARTICLES, they are mostly shorter, clearer and truly practice oriented!
It’s simple – people don’t have enough time to be good at science and practice both. You have enough time if you want to be average in profession (if it satisfy you go ahead). Just make choice and choose one relatively small part of “sport science” (if it’s your choice), stick with it so people can recognize that you are one of the best in chosen field.
In many countries, criteria for gaining every coach diploma, certification, PhD… are to say at least suspicious. But this is another huge topic. In short, the problem is PROPER EDUCATION (if you ignore huge cheating issue)!
I know some non-PHD professionals whose knowledge is huge compared with almost any PHD pro – this is literally like comparing an elephant and ant.
Eyes can’t assess who is good coach, therefore it’s ridiculous to look for titles and perfect sculpted coach body (in any case he can’t be overweight). It’s necessary to have a basic education and everything else is a lifelong learning. Under the basic education I mean on THE REAL Faculty of sport and physical education (or equivalent university). After the graduating we are keeping in our minds only the essence of all that we have learned there. We are keeping a principles – and forgetting everything else…
When it comes to finding a good coach, be wise and look for what assessment (testing) tools and philosophy they have, how they talk (which questions they ask for example), how they care about you, are they interested in your specific problems, are they highly (extremely) dedicated, responsible and diligent, are they smiley and positive permanently, are you satisfied with long term results with no injuries, are they professional “fanatic” etc… The last but maybe most important, is he interested to find your weak body points?
If I am serious about getting my coaching potential at the top level, I would ask myself just one question – Am I better today than yesterday? Your FORMER glory is worthless, good for past you but you need to strive getting better from day to day (maybe from month to month and year to year is more noticeable for you personally, but it’s day to day process definitely – it should be a lifelong process). I bet you have heard for well-known Jewish saying: “If you don’t become better, you will become even worse”. Want to be a better trainer? Then you should get better not just with profession but like a person also!
So, being the best possible coach is possible with just a few simple (but in practice not easy) things (I am doing so, trust me I noticed a HUUUGE progress very quickly):
- If you are beginner have a good mentor who has been in practice for long time (coach who follows top world coaches). “It’s great to learn from your own mistakes, but even better to learn from others’ mistakes. Find good mentors and ask questions.” – Eric Cressey;
- Have a lot of different clients – this will drive your thinking process constantly forward;
- Give a try to something you didn’t so far, only on that way (if it could make sense) you will know what is worthwhile in a bunch of various exercises and methods today;
- Push your thoughts toward profession literally almost all day – every day (because just being in a practice for long time doesn’t mean a lot if you don’t have a habit of pushing your thoughts toward answering literally a ton every-day practical questions-problems, it’s not valuable if you are doing almost the same workout non-stop – there is no constant upgrades through the thought process and profession tracking). In short, what if you don’t learn from the experience in a quality manner?;
- Share your thoughts with other coaches, you can write a blog too;
- Follow the world top coaches who are in practice for long time (especially in your field of interest), read-listen-watch-repeat a loooooooooooooooooooooooot. “You should read at least ONE hour of material every day that is related to your field.” – Alwyn Cosgrove. “They say you only retain 10% of what you read, so you have to read a bunch of shit to know anything.” – Mike Boyle;
- Have a huge focus on proper movement execution (technique) and training load. Every person on the Earth can learn exercises and training methods “without school”, but you HAVE TO GOT KNOWLEDGE when it comes to technique details and training load (plus good periodization/planning and programming, recovery, rehab. and other knowledge is crucial). This is something most important you have to pay attention on;
- Ask your clients about daily activities and similar (almost everyone like to talk about their interests), act like interested person because most of them like that (you can find common interests with many). SHOW GREAT INTEREST AND CARE FOR THE CLIENT – act like your client is the most important person to you at the moment – and keep smiley face;
- Be prepared for training! You will need a way more than 2 mins for writing down a program/training. It’s not about how fast you are, it’s about how serious/aware you are to take into account everything important;
- Last but not least – form your training philosophy (read high quality material as much as possible and listen every wise coach you can find – but form quality opinion and make decisions by YOURSELF)! Of course, TRUST your decisions!
“With each new piece of information you learn, ask yourself, how can I use this? How does this changes what I already know? In my experience, one of the biggest differentiators between exceptional and mediocre coaches is whether or not they ask this questions.” – Joel Jamieson.
As Buddy Morris, physical preparation coach for the Arizona Cardinals said: “Your job as a coach is to bridge the gap between science and training.”
In my opinion, a long list of jobs in resume doesn’t worth if it’s not accompanied with “giving my best” mood when it comes to education, dedication, responsibility, everyday thinking about every individual problem and finding new ways in profession field.
Remember, the practical knowledge is a REAL PLEASURE (power is an ugly word 🙂 ), not an often suspicious and worthless diplomas! At any rate, university professors do not write the best practical books because they don’t have enough time to devote and think about it. Because of that, universities can’t prepare young students for practice on the best way.
Mike Robertson (the one of my most favorite coaches) said once: “I don’t care how many books you read, videos you watch, and seminars you attend, at the end of the day you have to be in the gym coaching people for a really long time to become a great coach.” You can’t trade knowledge for experience (that definitely makes sense). You can read his great blog post HERE.
But: “Experience alone does not equate to success. Just because someone has been a coach for 30 years doesn’t mean they are a good coach. Success and experience go hand-in-hand when you mix in the right combination of strong relationships, an insatiable drive to learn, and the ability to adapt and experiment with new ideas.” – Joel Jamieson.
Last but not least, do you want to become a trainer or a coach? I prefer to become a coach and I am aware how much effort and how long it will take. Be consistent with the items listed above and enjoy the process of becoming a COACH (slowly but surely).
If you want to know more of how to successfully deal with people I highly reccomend the following book:
Thanks for reading and all the best,