Tuesday night at IFAST, one of our new interns (Ellen) and I were discussing how to start improving her coaching and assessing skills. She’s relatively new to the field, but with her eagerness to learn, work ethic, and people skills, I have no doubt she’s going to be a fantastic coach someday.
Many would say the first thing you need to do is to learn functional anatomy, how to teach XYZ lift, how to write a program, etc. And while all those skills are absolutely critical over the long haul, we often forget the most important step.
Simply allowing our eyes to tell us what is going on.
In the beginning, it’s as easy as trusting your instincts to let you know if something looks off. Maybe the client has one shoulder higher than the other. Maybe they shift to one side when squatting. Or maybe you can see their shoulder blade when they do a push-up.
You don’t have to know why something happens in the beginning – but you should be able to notice it.
Malcolm Gladwell would call this our “Blink” moment.
It also reminds me of a quote from Dr. Cobb of Z-Health fame. The quote is simple:
“Stop, and be present.”
In this day and age with cell phones, Internet, and everything else going on in our lives, sometimes it’s hard to invest our whole selves into one thing at a time.
If you’re looking to assess someone’s posture or movement, you need to stop and be present. Really dial into what you’re seeing, and start by looking for discrepancies or things that simply look “off.”
Then, the rest of your career will revolve around getting better at the observation, and of course, the “why’s.” 🙂