Whether you’re training a business executive, the Golden State Warriors, or training a group of 3-20 people, every trainer needs to have good coaching cues in their arsenal in order to convey direction to any clientele. Good coaching cues lead to good technique, form, and most importantly a foundational understanding of the exercise that they are performing. A comprehensive understanding of what clients are doing and why will lead to better physical and mental awareness, and better insight/adherence to exercise prescription. Here are a couple of coaching cues every trainer should posses:
Be active in your coaching! Profile, 45˚ and fontal plane views are key to coaching success, and the constant movement will keep you, the coach, attentive and engaged as well. Each set should be viewed from each of these angles vs one at a time per set. Being able to coach your client from various angles will give you a much better understanding of how they are moving biomechanically in all planes of movement. As we know, looking from just one angle isn’t enough. For example, an athlete may look great performing a front squat when viewing the frontal plane, but may present with excessive anterior translation of the knees or a rounding of the back when viewing the sagittal plane. Therefore, being able to circle and coach the athlete throughout their movement, and see from all the different angles is the most effective way to ensure safety and yield good coaching cues.
***Line of sight: Wherever you are standing you should be able to see all of your athletes on the floor to ensure quality coaching at all times.
Knowing when to coach
Knowing when to coach, cue, and reinforce is vital to quality execution, progression, safety and adherance. So when is the best time to coach? The answer is before, during, and after each set. We like to employ the rule: Coach 100% of the time. 80% verbally to the client (actually speaking – this may be corrections or simple positive reinforcement), and 20% of the time giving the client a verbal rest but actively assessing the movement. Set the client up for success prior to the set with quality initial positioning and execution cues, and make quick adjustments while they’re performing the set if need be. Give them a report after; what they did well and what they can improve. Don’t over coach. Your report for a seasoned client may be the word, “Perfect,” and walk away. Always coach from a perspective of positive reinforcement slowly building up the perfect movement patterns.
Never sit down
Simple, but a common blunder observed in our field. Most of you out there a charging good money to your clients in return for the best coaching possible. Sitting down is body language that does not show your athletes you are interested in their success. Be physically active in your coaching – apply 80/20 rule – if you need to get into a lower position we coach our interns and staff to take a knee. So if you want to be a great trainer, sitting down should never be an option.
Demonstrate, but do not overload
Demonstrating an exercise is one of the most important ways an athlete can learn. It sets the precedence for how they are going to perform the exercise. With that in mind, you want to make sure that when you demonstrate you must do so exceptionally, how you would want your client or athlete to move. Explain what you are looking for in the exercise as you demonstrate, keeping the goals you want to make concise and to point. No one wants to be coached for more than 10 seconds or so, so communicate the key points, effects, and how to properly setup. Of course answer any questions as in depth as the client requires and continually reinforce the good and iterate the fine details.
Know your audience
Having the ability to connect with your clients will help you become more agile in your training methods – which can benefit you in the long run with the new clients as well. Understanding your athletes within the performance level is essential, but the personal level connection will help make you a better coach in a number of ways: communication, tone, and when and how much to correct and reinforce to elicit the best response possible to name a few. Knowing your audience is one of the greatest keys to success as a trainer.
As mentioned above, having an educational basis on how and why your clients are performing certain exercises is yet another key to success for the trainer. Being able to create purposeful programming starts with having an educational understanding of your client in every way possible. Physically, mentally, biomechanically – all of these things are taken into consideration for creating a unique program for that specific client. Therefore, being able to educate your client on your thought process for their programming, explaining to them why they are performing certain exercises, and how they should do them, will bolster client retention, and such thoughtful presentation will build trust in the client-trainer relationship. Instructing your clients with the same scientific verbiage you would use when creating their program will further build on the fundamental educational foundation for you and the client- of course you must be able to translate such verbiage into every-day-terms (and in time the client will build up their scientific vocabulary to a level of simple conveyance).Read More