Cheerleading vs Coaching
Who has not been to a football game? No matter what happening on the field, the cheerleaders are always doing their thing. They bounce, jump up and down and say hurray us! Hurray we are losing by 50 points but it doesn't matter cause we have spirit! Hurray! You typically do not see anyone go to the pom pom squad and ask for ideas for the next play.
On the other hand, the coach is pacing the sideline, wondering where he went wrong in his recruiting class or if he didn't practice that ball handling enough or some other skill that is not being reflected on the field or how to best exploit the opportunity . The coach is responsible for preparing the players to go out and execute a plan or strategy while on the field. The coach gives an ass chewing when needed or a slap on the butt to the QB before he runs back to the huttle before that crucial play. The coach is there to get the most our of every player to reach a combined goal. You typically do not see the coach on the sideline cheering "B-Aggressive, B E Aggressive" - with brisk hand claps. You get the point?
Cheering is about feeling good. Coaching is about being good. Coaching is about performance. Cheerleading is about emotion. Here is the crux of the matter: They are both important. Coaching fitness, those roles are not mutually exclusive. Coaching real people in the real world is not so neat or tidy. The role of the fitness coach/instructor/trainer will often be cheerleader one moment and critical coach the next and then flip flop the next moment. Saying the words, "More depth, faster" and then end up saying "better, keep it up, you can do it," the next. Praising people for their effort is a positive.
One advantage a sports coach has over the fitness coach is the sports team has a fixed goal and fixed time to achieve it in. Regardless of the sport, there is a conference or game time where the players need to be at their best. Everything done on the field and in the training hall is geared toward the end result - The Championship. The coach can uncover errors in technique or conditioning and make corrections during practice the next week and overcome the problem for the next game. The players come to practice with the burning desire to win the next outing. The culmination of the season being the end and the underclassmen begin working toward laying the foundation for the next season.
A challenge for the fitness coach is everyone is training for a similar but different goal. Training in the gym, people come to us for a myriad of reasons. Lose weight, be better at their sport, be stronger or for general heath and fitness goals. General fitness training really has very little to do with specific goals. The ultimate goal of people to train with us is to be healthier and have better quality of life. In all classes, people want to end up being better and feeling better.
Coaching performance lets us end up so we can be cheerleaders. Teaching correct mechanics, techniques and sequences are foundational to good training. Working on flexibility so one can correctly execute the movements, getting stronger to build to being able to do the movements as prescribed are example of being coached. Getting you to get the last rep and finish the WOD is a role of a cheerleader. Praising once people get to the point where their movements are sound then the role grows into being a cheerleader. One of the primary jobs a client needs to be coachable.
Coachablilty has to do with attitude. Being coachable means people need to be receptive to constructive cues and movement critiques. The first phase of a client is to learn the movements. The teaching points of every skill needs to be ingrained so the client does it automatically and without thought (much thought). The client has to understand that no matter what we are doing, we can always improve and be RECEPTIVE to coaching. Time erodes skills. We often forget key point and need to be reminded. Coaching people to past their comfort zones is a key aspect of performance based coaching.
Athletes tend to be coachable. They have a limited career to reach their potential. College lasts four short years its end is the typically the end of a career. Athletes tend to focus on performance horizons to supply motivation. The next meet or games. The conference and then the nationals (And hopefully a bowl game). Everything the athlete and coach does is to maximize the end result which is displayed on the playing field. How hard is the challenge to train at a high performance level when there is no finish line?
From our perspective, the role of the coach is to teach movement, write programming, maximize performance and encourage our our clients to achieve their goals. The clients role is to consider specific goals, communicate them with the coach and have the determination to achieve them. Many people's life long goals are pretty similar. They tend to center around living a long time and having a good quality of life. The key variable are long and what a good quality of life is. If people train with us, they tend to think about the ability to move and the long view. People's success and failure hinge on their ability to have attainable short term to daily goals to support their long term goals. Coaching requires goals. Cheerleading requires goals to have something to cheer about. Perfecting movement is the role as coach - passing out high fives is our role as cheerleader.
Establish Goals to be Coachable: Goals can be broken down from large big picture to intermediate to daily goals whn it come to fitness. The life long goals are quality of life that in many was are generic. Our perspective also considers goals in terms of specific objectives.
Examples of Life-Long Goals (typically 3-5 year goals)
1. Slow down the ravages of time.
2. Maintain quality of life.
3. Keep all health markers in the "fitness" range of the CrossFit Health/Wellness/Fitness model.
Examples of Intermediate-Term Goals (Typically 1-3 year goals)
1. Significant Strength Goals - i.e. Deadlift
2. Train for special sports specific goal - i.e. Weightlifting meet, Triathlon, or bike event or similar.
3. General improvements in all performance metrics.
4. Specific body composition goal based on daily eating goals.
Examples of Short-Term Goals
1. Specific events or challenges
2. Daily performance tracking - WOD performance and food intake.
3. Near terms sport specific goals - Benchmarks or races.
4. Training Volume - Number of times per week to achieve goal.
Goals set up what it to be coached, cheerleading helps maintain motivation. The idea is that if the client has specific goals and targets and time lines to hit them - we coach you how to achieve them and then we can become cheerleaders as the clients move forward. The short terms goals support intermediate which support our lifelong goals. Recognition of milestones - first pull-up, personal record in anything that highlights success is part of a support system.
Our people need both coach and cheerleader to achieve their goals. The role of the coach in the gym sometimes is both coach and cheerleader. Coaching involves seeing and correcting movement faults. Getting people into the right mind set prior to effort. The cheerleading part of the job is to praise and motivate. People need to be able to taught to move right and cheered on to keep at it.