7 habits of highly effective strength coaches/trainers

Short, sweet, effective.

1. ¬†Don’t call yourself “coach”.

You are a trainer, even if you are a strength coach you are not Bill Belichick. We are essentially trainers who like to work in shithole warehouse gyms that blare metal music and smell like rubbing alcohol. Calling yourself coach implies you carry a whistle, a clipboard and have this look of “run gassers all fucking day” on your face.

We train, coaches coach. Yes, we coach movements but I guess its the real athlete in me that reserves the word coach for, well, actual sports.

2. Don’t talk about what you don’t know.

I don’t know shit about weightlifting, hence I won’t touch it. I know a little about Physical Therapy so I will use some things I have learned in my time as a PTA for my clients for corrective work, but I don’t write about it. Why? Because I am not an expert in Physical Therapy.

I am; however, pretty damn good at strength training, physique training, sports performance and being a sarcastic asshole so those are things I will talk about.

Don’t be that guy, you look dumb.

3. Work with integrity

Give credit where its due to those that deserve it. Your athletes and lifters deserve just as much credit as you do for doing the actual work.

Don’t steal other people’s work and call it your own. That’s kind of an epidemic these days. I’ve seen it, it happens more than you think. From programs to diets to blatant shit. Its hard to reinvent the wheel but if you change a few words it looks fresh, but its still another’s work.

Take care of those that work for you. If you have people under you, treat them as though they are vital parts of the machine. Trainers don’t do this to get rich, this is a job that requires a ton of hours to make a living and you won’t do that on the internet either.

Let’s face it, internet “coaching” only goes so far, if you really want to make your impact felt, you need to work with more people than books/DVD’s you push.

4. You are not a master trainer unless you earn it

You don’t earn that in 3-5 years. You earn that over 10-12 years at least. Maybe more. This world is filled with infinite knowledge and you can learn something from everyone. Well, almost everyone… ok maybe 60% of them.

A true master trainer can get someone stronger, rip the fat off of them, help them gain symmetry, manipulate their diet enough to get them the results they want, train over a wide variety of disciplines and are humble enough to learn more. Just because you have a few athletes who participate in a single sport well doesn’t even make you close to a master trainer, especially if they are high school kids.

Train across all areas if you want to be known as a “master”. Sure specialization is nice, but if you don’t learn as much as you can to maximize the knowledge that you can teach your clients you are not really learning.

Case in point, I train mostly athletes, lifters and people who want to swole the fuck up. I suck at nutrition so I read all I can about it, not because anybody is going to come to me and ask for a diet plan, but because in case one of my clients asks me how to eat properly, I can better suggest to them what to do.

You may master the craft you choose to master, but unless you work on learning all you can, you won’t be a true master trainer. Its too broad a term.

5. Puking isn’t progress

There isn’t any pride in making a client puke. That is called fucking up and pushing them too hard. So when I see pics of people bragging about making a client throw up, I just feel that the client pretty much negated any good that session did by losing their lunch from the last 5 days.

6. Your progress is irrelevant to your coaching skills

This may be controversial, but I don’t care. Just because you excel or compete doesn’t mean you can teach others to do the same. Teaching and doing are two entirely different concepts. Sure it would be nice to excel, and you should show competence in your field to be taken credibly as a strength coach/trainer, but you don’t need to be the best of the best.

Some are both, which is great… and some aren’t the best of the best.

Eric Cressey trains multiple MLB players, is a genius when it comes to maximizing their potential with corrective exercise and strength training and I considered him invaluable for my knowledge base when I was training pitchers on Long Island. Does he play MLB? Is he an elite lifter? No.

Mike Boyle is fantastic at training hockey players. Worked with the Bruins, was the head S&C coach for Boston University, was the S&C coach for the USA women’s hockey gold medal winning team and is a consultant for the development for the USA men’s hockey team.

Did he play in the NHL? Nope.

There are many more examples, but knowledge, teaching, applying, learning and creating athletes is completely independent from your skills in said sport. One is doing, the other teaching.

In fact, some of the best coaches HIRE other coaches to do their training for them. Fact.

7. Don’t spam social networks with shit

The amount of posts you put up isn’t indicative of a good trainer, its just having spare time on your hands to do it… as I do right now.

Then again I am not a full-time trainer, I pick and choose clients based upon people that I want to help with the amount of time I have to do it. I like my free time and I can afford to do it because I rely on other sources of income to pay my bills for now. The ones I do work with, are for a specific reason and they are loyal to me, I haven’t had a client drop on me in several months because I dedicate my limited training time to giving them the best training they can get.

8. Don’t hurt people

An extra one.

Sometimes shit happens, people get hurt. Its part of pushing your body to the limit. Hell I just ripped a bicep tendon clean off the bone. As a trainer its the last thing you want to do, but if you have a client base that is aching, hurting and sore for days constantly; there is something seriously wrong.

Or its just called CrossFit.

 

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