On Coaching

Coaches are a special breed of people. 

My old Karate instructor, Jack Parker, was a coach. I learned a hell of a lot form him.
I trained under Jack from the age of 11 untill I left town at 19. But his lessons stayed with me right through till today. And today I wear the hat of Coach and each day I try to be at least half as god as he was.

1 – Walk the Talk

You don’t have to be the best, in fact many of the best athletes make the worst coaches, but you have to walk the talk.
Do you or have you competed? If the answer is no, how do you know what your athletes are going through mentally as well as physically when you push them ever closer to their limits?
You must train. Better yet, from time to time train WITH your athletes. Nothing is more inspiring than a leader who leads from the front.
And a good coach must always inspire.

2 – Learn Everyday

Never go to bed without having learned something new.
Right now, I’m writing this, I have only just turned on the computer, scanned my Facebook feed and opened 5 tabs across the screen. Each one of those is an article or blog post I saw that has been shared by one of my coaching friends on Facebook.
That means that before I go for breakfast, I have had the opportunity to learn 5 new things.
When I do go to the coffee shop for my breakfast, I’ll take a book. I have many on my bookshelf, many with dozens of bookmarks sticking out of them. As I fuel up, I can learn. And there’s still the whole rest of the day to go….
This incessant thirst for knowledge is what sets the good coaches apart from the mediocre.

3 – Get to Know Your Clients

I don’t necessarily mean go round their house for dinner, but I do mean find what makes them tick.
You should be able to tell how their feeling simply by the way they walk through the door. You should be able to read their body language, pick up on the vast amount of non verbal communication that every body sends out.
You need to know if today is the day to push them to a PR or is today the day you hold them back and go light.
You need to be there to listen to them bitch about their wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, bosses, team mates.
And you need to know what buttons to press to get them out of that moaning, bitching mindset and into an arse kicking, name taking mindset.
It’s a lot like being a Dad.

4 – Have A Laugh

Don’t take yourself so bloody seriously.
Have fun, make jokes, be silly. Encourage the people you train to do the same.
When its time to work, when the set begins, yeah, it’s head down and charge, but in between, take the piss out of each other and let them take the piss out of you. 

5 – Develop a Training Philosophy

You have a set of principles that you expect your guys to follow, be it certain nutritional practices, a particular style of warming up and adherence to high quality technique, an attitude of moving forwards. These things all become part of your philosophy, an idea that you promote through your teaching and your actions. The philosophy may change as you change, but it will be some thing that the athletes really buy into, the real reason they train with you and not in the gym down the street.

Being Coach isn’t always easy, but it is incredibly rewarding.



Dave Hedges


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