I think sometimes we often get focused on how we need to get better because we want to be better than so-and-so coach across the way. I know that I used to be this way awhile back. While it’s a good intention to want to become better, I think that intention comes out of a desire to want to beat someone else, not to want to better ourselves. I’ve found a few ways to really focus on becoming the best strength coach that I can become and I believe it can help everyone who may feel the way that I did years ago.
1. Read More Topics
It is absolutely important to read on strength and conditioning-related topics when you first break into the field, but I think most of us get to a point where we’re comfortable with our base knowledge. Our time is valuable and we need to spend it wisely. Reading another book on periodization is not going to do you any good when you’re already knowledgeable and apply those concepts on a daily basis. What may help more is a book on athlete psychology, nutrition, or even public speaking. Find areas that interest you, but are currently on your weaker side of knowledge. It’s like always focusing on squatting movements when your weak-point is the deadlift. Work on your weaknesses!
2. Listen to Podcasts
Awhile back, before my girlfriend and I bought our house, I had a 50 minute commute to work. I began constantly listening to podcasts. One of the best decisions I have made for my education in awhile. Why? They’re free and full of great information! Also, there seems to be at least one (more likely multiple) for any topic you can imagine. Did I mention they’re free?
Though, like any content medium, make sure that the source is reputable and trustworthy. You want the information you absorb to be accurate. As you’ll see below, many of the podcasts that I listen to are not related to strength and conditioning, but can help me prepare and expand my skills in other ways to assist in my coaching roles.
Bulletproof Radio (just started listening, but I like it)
3. Make Visits
Just because you may have moved on from the “intern stage” does not mean you’re done learning from other coaches. If you have a chance, go visit and observe coaches in your area. Learn from them! Many times we take this opportunity for granted. Make the effort! Even I get wrapped up sometimes, but I always try to take our intern class on a field trip to visit at least one coach each semester.
4. Practice What You Preach
Every coach should practice the movements they have their athletes perform. At the very least, one time, so that you can demonstrate effectively (something I will write on as an individual topic soon). The better a coach can visually demonstrate a movement, the more their athletes will respect them. I believe this is especially true for snatches and cleans…but I’m a little biased 😉
Get out there and practice! There aren’t enough coaches that move well!
I challenge you to do more to improve you current level for the sake of self-improvement, not to be better than someone else.