My Thoughts On Becoming a Coach – One small fish in a huge Ocean!

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My Thoughts On Becoming a Coach – One small fish in a huge Ocean!

This post is a little something about my thoughts on the journey to becoming a coach. 

To start things off, I look at coaching as a huge pyramid, with a very large base building up to a fine point! As I write this, I am 1 of thousands who sit at the bottom of that pyramid waiting to embark on their journey as an aspiring coach, striving to try & reach that summit of success where some of the worlds leading conditioning coaches are training professional sports teams, controlling fitness regimes and maintaining the populations well-being. 

After deciding to try & fulfill an ambition as a strength and conditioning coach, I began to research and see what it would take. The first step for me was the Internet, endless blog posts, articles & links gave me hundreds of pointers with regards to becoming a good coach. Different people had different opinions on what they believed was going to yield the most success as a coach. With such a variety of information, I then went on to email people, again receiving some helpful responses and also not hearing anything in return. So I then decided to think about it myself. What values I feel will make a good coach. 

I am only at the beginning of a long hard road & there are people out there who have been coaching & gaining experience longer than I have even been alive, but I feel that there are a couple of characteristics & traits that every good conditioning coach should have. And here they are; 

1.      Paying your dues – This is something I feel that should be implemented from the start. Any individual pursuing a career in the fitness industry needs to start by paying their dues.  Everyone has to start at the bottom, even the leading conditioning coaches in the NFL, at one point they were in my shoes, they had one heck of a long journey ahead of them, but they kept moving forward in order to be successful. Whether its sitting there and filing out a data sheet for 1,000 athletes on Excel, Making a coffee or cleaning up some trash, the be all and end all of it is RESPECT. Being respectful is a huge part of being a coach, especially when you’re just starting out. Respect what your coach, other coaches, your players & clients have to say. It leads to good discipline & it’s also good practice. 

2.      Experience – this is a huge point. A lot of questions I have found myself asking in the past are ‘what certification do I need’ or ‘what course will be best’, these additional certs are great for enhancing knowledge, developing your practical skills as a coach, learning different techniques& applying them in real life situations. But just because you may be certified doesn’t mean a day after completing a course your going to be a world leading coach. It takes years of experience, raw practical experience & good hard study to adapt new knowledge. Understanding movement patterns, efficiency and technique is essential, but being able to implement this to a variety of learning styles, learning speeds, to people of different age and gender, to people with greater experience than others, this is where it begins to get tough. Not everyone was born to move perfectly! Having the experience to critique a Clean and Jerk from seeing it once, being able to spot a weakness and fix it can’t be practiced over night. It takes years of experience. Watching reps after reps, understanding athlete’s weaknesses and spotting where their technique may be letting them down. This is also a massive focus point for myself at this moment in time, as an intern at a CrossFit gym, getting used to different people, interacting with them, understanding their learning patterns was just the beginning. You then have to express your knowledge in a way they will understand and appreciate. As well as demonstrating appropriate and correct knowledge in order to help the person you’re working with. It is a long process that takes years to master but something I am willing to pursue.

Although I have a few more ideas, I want to mention one final point that covers a few areas, so here it is.

3.      Being a mentor, motivator & mate M.M.M. – As a coach you seem to fulfill a huge amount of roles without realizing. Some days you will be there to offer motives for people completing 1RM’s, whilst another day you may be there to help someone who is going through a tough time at home and needs a little someone to talk to just to get things straight. Regardless of the situation, I believe the key to it all is POSITIVITY. If you can remain positive as a coach, I feel that the people you work with, the environment you create will lead to the best results from your team, your athletes or your individual clients. At times take a back seat and listen to what they have to say, point them in the correct direction, create an environment of enjoyment & hard work, it is a tough balance but once found it is one heck of a working force which reaps some great results. 

Well that’s pretty much it, I understand I am still 1 of millions with a small voice in a huge world of people pursuing similar ambitions & driving towards that goal of becoming a world leading strength coach. People have different opinions on what works and what doesn’t, the nuts and bolts of it are whatever you put in you will one day get out, if you remain persistent& give 100% hard work and dedication, you are heading in the right direction.

Thank you very much for reading.


James Burns 

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