Imagine an Olympic runner on the biggest stage of his career, getting ready, comfortable in his blocks and focusing on the race ahead of him. He’s looking around at his competition; he’s beat them all before. He’s trained long and hard and feels ready for this moment. The race is called to the line. READY, SET…BANG!! The gun goes off and the runners explode out of their starting positions. This particular runner executes a fantastic start and pushes as hard as he can, and though all his effort is exhausted, he comes to a 3rd place finish just .08 seconds from taking the Olympic Gold Medal. This exact same situation happens to some of the greatest runners and athletes across the world. The smallest margin can create the difference between complete success or failure.
What’s the difference between those margins? Athletes at such a high level of conditioning and strength put in hours and hours of training and work to achieve their physical abilities. What could they possibly do more to get the advantage over their competition. Is it just luck from day to day? Is it just moments of greatness that they have no control over?
The difference is the coach. The importance a coach has to these athletes is beyond what many truly appreciate.
A coach brings a variety of benefits to an athlete’s performance, and when properly applied to physical practice, improvements come in a variety of ways. They bring an extra pair of eyes and perspective to the athlete’s technique. They bring analytical expertise to the athletes strategy, experience in tactical and training components to the sport, accountability, and educated advice in strengthening weaknesses.
The advantages a coach brings can be scaled down to even the most novice of fitness enthusiasts. Someone who is just beginning their journey to being stronger is going to benefit greatly from someone with more experience adding to their training. Proper coaching from beginning to elite level fitness creates a greater possibility of constant progression, helping avoid plateaus in performance. It is also important for athletes to find coaches that work well with their goals. People respond to certain types of coaching differently. A coach, personal trainer, strength and conditioning specialist, or martial arts master are all teachers and teach their philosophies in a variety of forms. Though coaches are not meant to be a best friend, people should get along with them, be able to converse about personal issues, stress, accomplishments, and have a professional, yet personal, relationship with them so the type of training can be developed to the needs of the athlete.
A coach’s most basic purpose is to teach; they are educators of physical fitness and exercise. A qualified coach has undergone certification classes, college degrees, and other educational experiences that enhance the specialty of the coach. There are many different specialties that coaches can learn about: speed, strength, elderly populations, disease management, weight loss, sports skills, physical therapy, and many others! When you find the right coach, they will teach and educate you about their specialty to help you progress and perfect it. The education a coach can bring to athletes is a tremendous benefit to progression.
Simply said, everyone needs a coach. The benefits they provide come in the form of an outside perspective, an analytical approach to competition and training, their own experiences, and education. All of these things are something that ANYONE can benefit from.
Every Day… A Little Stronger
Strength and Performance Coach