Looking back on my coaching career I can remember specific scenarios that took my career to the next level. I now have over fifteen years of experience in the field, worked at a few different gyms and learned a lot along the way! Hopefully this article will bring you some insight.
When I was starting out as a coach I didn’t have a lot of experience. I remember watching the older coaches in the gym and trying to model my classes after theirs. I would constantly ask for their advice. Following guidance from more experienced staff is a sure way to go. They have more years under their belt and chances are they are doing what they do for a reason! You don’t want to copy exactly what they are do because that may get boring. I always took the parts I liked and combined them with my own personal touch.
Another great way to learn is from… you guessed it the internet! There are thousands of Youtube videos, Instagram accounts, Facebook pages, blogs and websites dedicated to coaching. Here are a few helpful sites:
Kids thrive on consistency. I don’t mean teach the same exact class each week. The shell of your class should be the same, for example: warm up, 3 rotations, and finish with a game. It is the meat & potatoes of your class that should vary from week to week. Try and rotate through different warm ups, skills, and games. Kids love change… as long as it’s consistent! haha
You should also be consistently speaking with the athletes parents. You can talk about progress or the weather! Parents want to know the people who are teaching their kids so they feel comfortable leaving them at the gym. Having a constant flow of communication also creates comfort. Building a relationship with parents makes it easier if you ever have to discuss a problem or an issue about their child. It also makes you approachable if a parent has to talk to you.
POSITIVE ROLE MODEL
This should be pretty self explanatory. Whether you realize it or not, these kids look up to you! If you are sitting down being lazy in the gym, chances are your athletes will not be motivated to work hard. If you have a positive attitude and are ready to work chances are your athletes will be too! Practice what you preach, mean what say and watch your students perform to your expectations.
Knowing what the goals of each athlete are, or why they are taking the class will be beneficial to everyone. For example: I had a private lesson with a five year old and I asked the mother what she wanted me to work on with her daughter? She said that this lesson is for fun and we didn’t need to work on anything specific. Now that we were all on the same page, I knew I didn’t have to be so serious and we could work a little bit of everything! Each athlete will have different goals and motivation. Some will want to have fun, some will want to progress to the next level and some may just want to conquer their back handspring. Knowing these goals upfront will help you tailor your coaching and their classes to each individual athlete.
If you are a new coach or a veteran, hopefully you can take a little something from my experiences. Keep calm and coach on!