Choosing the right coach can be very tough! I had an athlete tell me in the past it can feel like that kid's book "Are you my mother?" and how coaches seem cool at the start but then push them away. In the Weightlifting and Powerlifting communities, there's a weird ego-driven competition between coaches that seeps talking trash about other clubs and athletes. I've been in the industry for a few years now and I've seen and heard some very rude things come out of coaches mouths - even about their own athletes!!! Coaches should be inspiring and empowering the sport, not running it into the ground with dramatics and ego - but that's just my opinion. So, here's the truth. You need to find a good coach that you can stick with for the long haul. Every time you switch coaches, it puts you back at the start of things with someone new and with their own methodologies and outlook on you. Here's how to find a good coach:
What To Look For In A Coach:
1. Low Rate of Injuries
Believe it or not, coaches know that most injuries are quite preventable! If there's injuries going on within clubs then its directly impeding the ability of those athletes to compete. Not to mention, your training shouldn't be getting you hurt! You should be progressively getting better every day and injury is a sign that things are being done incorrectly. Training does in fact hurt and it does make you uncomfortable, which is how you grow - but if you're sustaining new big injuries then there's severe issues in the greater plan. Find a coach with a record of minimal injury!
2. Happy Lifters
Are the athletes in the club happy with the coach or is a weird resentment going on where the coach is disrespectful to their lifters? The coach should be bringing positivity into the club and empowering athletes to reach higher levels of success! Ask athletes in the club all about what's going on, what they've accomplished with their coach, and how long they plan to stay. If others are happy, you'll probably be happy too. And isn't that the point of lifting to begin with? Find a coach that empowers you and puts you in successful situations!
3. Visible Results
Looking on social media and asking around, it should become apparent if the coach is driving good results in their athletes. If athletes seem like they're stagnated or if everyone is following a "club program" then results might be getting hampered. Unfortunately, I've witnessed coaches withhold results out of fear that their clients will leave when they reach some point in strength. If you're not gaining in some aspect, then you should consider alternative options. Get a good coach who will help you get what you want, please. Technique improvement is a big result. Strength improvement is a big result. PR's are the king of results though, in my opinion, because it is the direct proof that everything an athlete is doing is crossing over to improved sport-specific improvement. Find a coach that gets you PRs!
4. Open Communication
Communication is the foundation of trust. In the athlete-coach relationship, communication from both sides is of the utmost importance. If you work with a coach that isn't willing to work through communication and listen to your thoughts on YOUR training then you probably aren't going to get a good end result. Its important that you and your coach have a good understanding of why you're doing what you're doing in training. Some coaches are worried their "special sauce" training tactics will be exposed or duplicated by others but that's a lame excuse for not explaining the why of what you're doing. If you're going to become a better athlete, you need to gain deeper and deeper understanding of the things that you do. Coaches are ever-growing in their profession as well so the communication from your side will forge a stronger ability to give you the right exercises and program for peak results just from having a better understanding of how you approach training and are interpreting the information you receive. Find a coach that listens to you!
Truth be told, there is no such thing as a perfect coach - BUT there are certain standards everyone should be held to. Use these 4 standards to help you in choosing a coach!