I’ve been hearing a lot of stories lately from some of my clients who I train remotely. In addition to working on bettering themselves as athletes, they are or are trying to become coaches at their respective gyms.
What I’ve been hearing is that the coaching staff that they are surrounded by is less than supportive. This angers me as their coach, and leads me to question whether they are in the best environment to succeed.
While it is not my place to determine how a gym is run or staffed, what I do know is that many coaches are putting too much value in their own success as athletes and not enough emphasis on their abilities as coaches.
Ultimately, just as it is wrong to assume that the best athletes are also the best coaches, we can’t assume that the not-so-great athletes are less than awesome coaches – it just isn’t true.
This misconception that a coach is only as good as his/her athletic performance can be discouraging to potentially incredible trainers.
With the growth of the CrossFit community, there has been a surplus of CrossFit Level 1 trainers. One of my jobs as a L1 Head Trainer is to teach and hopefully inspire new coaches to spread their knowledge and experiences to others.
Although I am constantly reminding these trainers to practice the movements themselves, I also want them to be able to coach without having everything mastered as athletes in their own right.
The fact is, we all start somewhere and we can’t forget what it was like to be the new person at the gym. Just as we can’t assume that everyone speaks our weird fitness language or knows how to scale appropriately for any workout, in the same way, it is unfair to forget what it was like to be a new coach when you were nervous and didn’t have all the answers. Trainers get better with time, practice, and with being coached themselves.
I think that if you have the passion to help others and the drive to make yourself better by learning and practicing new methods then you can be a great coach. It doesn’t matter what your 1RM squat is or how many pull-ups you can do if you can inspire others to achieve great things.
At the end of the day, my athletes don’t care what I can lift or how fast MY workout is. They care about how I can make THEM better. How I can inspire THEM to do something they never thought they could. This is what makes someone a good trainer. Someone who identifies what their athletes need (physically and psychologically) and gives them the tools to get there.