Rick McCharles shared this on Gymnastics Coaching.com
View Original article in Breaking Muscle
Chet Morjaria Contributor – Strength Training, Strongman, and Olympic Weightlifting
Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of different types of coaches. Hell, I’ve been plenty of different types of coaches. And I’ve figured out a few things along the way so far.
I’ve figured out that to be the best coach you can be you need to strike a balance between a number of seemingly contradictory principles. Coaching is a journey, full of these contradictions and conundrums. And along the way, coaches tend to drop in and out of different coaching styles.
For me, the mark of an outstanding and experienced coach is someone who has been through this all and is able to balance the different types of coaching to form a style of instruction and leadership that is far greater than the sum of its parts. I’ve always thought it would be useful to come up with a summary of these different parts, so coaches can compare against them, and see not only where they currently sit, but where they can improve and what they need to add to their coaching to become more well-rounded, and therefore better able to serve their clients.
Here are the ten types of coaches I came up with. Take a look through and see if you recognize anyone you know (especially yourself)
More at home in front of a spreadsheet than in front of an athlete, the Programmer is clever and well read, with the foresight and vision to put it all into practice. He knows exactly how to get you from where you are to where you need to be. Often trying out different methods on himself, the Programmer is a human guinea pig when it comes to trying out training approaches.
The Athlete leads by example. She is athlete first and coach second. She can often be found joining in the session with classes or clients. She likes to demo everything. Probably more than once. She tends to struggle to work with those who don’t move well or don’t work hard. She is naturally a good athlete and works hard herself. The Athlete can be selfish when it comes to her time and energy – she always comes first.
The Motivator comes in various guises. Often with a background as a trainer in a commercial gym, the motivator spends most of his time shouting at his athlete in a way that could be loosely identified as “encouragement.” The Motivator is otherwise known as the Bootcamp Boss or the Cheerleader.
The Technician is much sought after. She has a keen eye for movement and can pick up on technical faults others miss, but she sometimes gets a bit too technical. Unlike her colleagues who can take an athlete apart (if not a little coarsely), the Technician is adept at putting the athlete back together again so that he or she functions better than previously – which, after all, is the whole point.
The Learner can often be found furthering his own knowledge at a course or certification. He has the best collection of books and eBooks in the gym. He knows a little bit about everything, and a lot about some things. If you’re about to embark on something new, speak to the Learner before you do.
A dangerous sub-species of the Learner is the Pseudo-Learner. The Pseudo-Learner is much the same as the Learner, except for the fact that his attendance at courses and certifications doesn’t seem to make much, if any, change to his daily coaching skills and practices.
You may not even realize the Observer is there. She can be found lurking in the shadows, watching your lifts. Sometimes she gives feedback via email or message and will on occasions give you feedback a few days later. She doesn’t say much unless questioned or prompted, but when asked, the feedback is short – and deadly accurate. In fact it will probably rock your world.
No matter what the question, the Presenter is able to put it in a way that is meaningful to the athlete. He is skilled in breaking down complex ideas into simple structures. He can mostly be found at the front of the class, sometimes for a little too long as he tends to like listening to himself.
The Judge values form over, well, anything else. Workouts are judged to strict standards, and any deviation from proper form is immediately corrected. The Judge is a perfectionist, perhaps to a fault. She is a stickler for rules, regulations, and timekeeping. If the Judge is in charge, you know things will get done properly.
The Professional may not have the best bedside manner in the gym, but this translates to a platform-side manner that gets the best out of you. You want him by your side when you are competing. He is often a seasoned high-level competitor, with the cynicism and grumpiness that goes with seeing it all before. When it comes to competition, the Professional knows best, and has an air of calm knowledge and confidence that filters right down to the lifter.
The Friend does not like to offend. The Friend will patiently listen to all of her athlete’s problems and issues and help wherever possible. However, she does not like to give feedback that would cause the athlete to take offence or dislike. In this way, the Friend will not give much in the way of constructive criticism for fear of being disliked. The same is true for calling no-reps or no-lifts.
There we have it. The ten types of coaches you may encounter in the wilderness of the gym, and how to pick them out. But wait, there is actually one additional type of coach:
The Ultimate is an extremely rare breed. If you know one of these, find a way to get coached by him. If you’re lucky enough to be coached by him already, you need to keep him on your team. The Ultimate is a killer combination of all of the above coaches. He displays:
- The analysis of the Programmer
- The ability of the Athlete
- The encouragement of the Motivator
- The eye of the Technician
- The passion of the Learner
- The succinctness of the Observer
- The clarity of the Presenter
- The standards of the Judge
- The experience of the Professional
- The patience of the Friend
Coaches, take a look at these types of coaches and think about which type or types you are. Be honest. Few of us are going to be the Ultimate. But many of us will be a combination of a handful of these types of coach. All of the types have good points and bad points about them. Use this list to work out where your strengths are, and where the gaps in your coaching are. Take the best points of each type and mold yourself into the best coach you can be.
Which type or types of coach are you? Post to the comments below.