March 30th, 2009

Robertson Training Systems Newsletter 5.06

In This Issue:

– Robertson Training Systems Updates
– Coaching 101

Robertson Training Systems Updates

IFAST Physique Transformation Challenge!

Bill and I have a very cool contest coming up here at IFAST, and I wanted everyone on the newsletter to know about it.

IFAST Physique Transformation Challenge

If you’re interested, definitely drop us a line ASAP to let us know.  We still have a few spots open!

IFAST Core Training Seminar – August 22nd, 2009

In other related IFAST news, Bill and I will be holding the 2nd annual Indy Performance Enhancement Seminar on August 22nd, 2009.  The topic this year will be core training, and it will be slightly different from last year.

In this case, we’re going to hold the seminar at the gym, and make it very hands-on.  We’ll be mixing up some lecture presentations to discuss our rationale and the research behind our core training, and then following it up with hands-on training of the various lifts and exercises that we use.  It should be a great event.

However, due to the scope and set-up of the seminar, we’ll most likely limit the seminar attendance to 20 attendees.  Stay tuned for the seminar registration, as we’re sure that we’ll sell out very quickly!

Coaching 101

The other day at IFAST, we were having a discussion about what separates good coaches from bad ones.  I think every industry has its share of good and bad; people who are really passionate and care about their clients, and those who don’t care at all and are simply there to take home a paycheck.

When discussing coaches and trainers, I started to think about what makes someone really good at what they do.  What separates a really good coach/trainer from an average one?  Here are a few things I came up with.

1- Being present

It sounds silly, doesn’t it?  In reality, though, it’s not silly at all.

After spending some time with Z-Health creator Dr. Eric Cobb, one of the things he preached throughout his seminar was to “Stop and Be Present.”  For most of us, both in coaching and in life, this is a great point.

When you’re taking the time to coach someone, forget about what you’re doing later, the fight you had with your boyfriend/girlfriend that morning, or how you can’t wait to watch Transformers for the 25th time this month. Instead, really try and be present and focused on your client.

Are they doing things correctly?

Are they executing the exercise exactly the way you want them to?

What can you do to help them do this better in the future?

It’s not easy, that’s for sure.  I always tell other trainers I’m a pain in their ass, because now they have to coach warm-ups, activation exercises, stretches, etc.  In other words, you have to really focus on your client for the entire time they’re working with you. Now get to it!

2 – The ability to KNOW what’s wrong

The first point is simple – it really comes down to focusing on the client, and being observant of what they’re doing.  The next step takes it a little further – now you actually need to know what GOOD exercise technique looks like.

Unfortunately, this skill can’t be honed over night.  You need to spend tons of time in the gym, watching clients move, to get a good idea of what good technique looks like.  It could also mean educating yourself outside the gym as well; resources like Building the Efficient Athlete are great for teaching you how to coach athletes properly.

As well, it’s important to know that everyone is a little different with regards to their levers, movement capacity, strength, etc.  So while there’s standard “textbook” technique, there are also subtle deviations that can be seen when people have different body types.  This is important to note, as not everyone moves in exactly the same manner.

3 – The ability to CORRECT what’s wrong

Taking it a step further, once you know what’s wrong, with someone’s movement the next step is to actually CORRECT it!

Here’s where things start to get sticky.   Plenty of average trainers are in a bad position because, first and foremost, they don’t know what good technique looks like.  But if you can imagine, there’s actually a trainer out there that’ s worse than this guy!

The worst kind of trainer (in my humble opinion), is the one who knows what good technique looks like, sees their client using something less than optimal, and is flat out to lazy to try and fix it!  To me, this is really annoying – it’s almost like they’re too cool to really help their clients.

Once you know what good technique looks like, getting your client to demonstrate that same technique time and again is very important.  This is where the art of coaching comes into play.  You need to have an absolute arsenal of cues that help them achieve the proper body position, alignment and activation that you want time and again.  You may go through 10 cues that all mean the same thing, but it’s not until you use the 11th that the client figures out what you mean.

Remember, each and every client is different, so different cues are necessary to be successful with a wide variety of clients.

Nobody every said that coaching was easy.  But if you’re really passionate about helping the clients and athletes you work with, you’ll make it a priority to work your ass off, both inside and outside of the gym, to take their strength, physique and performance to the next level.

Stay strong


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