by Wil Fleming
Thinking back on my development, first as an athlete and then as a fitness professional, there has been one group of people that have been more influential to me than any other.
It was my coaches.
If I see any of those individuals now I still call them "Coach". Some are 4 time Olympians, some are 80 year old men, 1 is a representative in the Indiana House Assembly. Regardless of what their day job was/is or where they have gone on to now, the people that made a big impact in my life are still called coach.
Think about the influence we can have on athletes. Not many parents get 3-4 hours per week of undivided attention like we can, using this time to any less than its fullest is just wrong.
So what is it that we can do to improve in our profession and continue being called coach from our athletes?
1. Continue your education
I know that life gets hectic and if you are running your own business it is hard to justify getting away but attending continuing education events is one of the most valuable things you can do.. I just attended the IYCA international summit and was able to listen to the talks of some great speakers as well as network with many of the best coaches in the country. Attending events has given me brand new things to apply in my facility, reminded me of what I need to do more of, and told me exactly what to do less of.
When you return from events like the IYCA summit, or Perform Better 3 day summit, there is not a period of the year where you are more excited to get to work and change lives. At this time it is important to write out all of your thoughts about the recent event and put a plan in place to take action on your revived sense of purpose.
2. Watch your athletes compete
Simply attending your athletes sporting events and watching them compete can give you more insight into what they need to do to improve than any assessment tool in our bag of tricks.
Recently I had a tennis player that was performing at a high level in my facility ask me to attend a match. After watching him play it was extremely obvious that his lateral movement was lacking. This was directly contrary to what was being exhibited in the gym, but when examining his program, we were doing far too many closed drills where he was accurately able to predict the next move. By adding more open drills where his reaction was based off decision making he dramatically improved his play on the tennis court.
3. Spend time with other coaches while they are coaching
It is easy to exist in a training bubble. I feel like it all the time. In your facility or around your own training programs you are going to think that everything is "going right". This is one of fastest ways to turn your training programs stale.
It is important to go out of your facility and see what other coaches are working with everyday to keep really expand your circle of knowledge. Examples from other coaches can be a great way to bring a fresh attitude to your training programs.
Actually taking time to go watch others in our profession do their work you can gather a lot of useful information. This past spring I was able to watch Coach Robert Dos Remedios train his 100 football players in his 3000 sq ft weightroom. I was able to learn a lot in those several days about what It means to be a great coach.
What it takes to program the right way.
What it takes to command a room.
What it takes to make an impact on a large group.
Coach Dos was able to get results for his players, keep everything orderly and change lives by instilling discipline and a plan to everyday’s training session. He did all this with 100 athletes in his care, making the sessions of 15-20 athletes at my facility seem like a cakewalk. Coming back from that trip made me tighten up my ship and really focus on the quality of the training sessions and programs for my athletes.
These are 3 simple but essential ways to be a better coach and insure that you are making the impact on athletes that you have an opportunity to make.
Wil Fleming is co-owner and Head Coach of Force Fitness & Performance, Fitness Revolution and Athletic Revolution in Bloomington, IN. Wil is also a member of the IYCA Board of Experts