Ways to Not Overcoach Your Athletes

     Overcoaching athletes/clients is definitely something that may haunt newer athletic development coaches like myself or even personal trainers.  The catch is that no one wants to continually be told how they are doing something wrong.  This is why coaching is an art in itself.  I tend to criticize myself a lot on how I coached any day and what exercises I did not cue as effective as I wanted.  Being able to explain an exercise in a short effective can be a great way to get groups of athletes through their programs effectively and efficiently.  Sometimes though, besides the cue, there may be some other areas we need to look at that may not just be a “cueing” problem, it may be a host of other things that once changed, the movement becomes better.


Reducing Weight- this is definitely one of those things that you may never see in certain settings.  Leave your ego at the door and realize that movement quality is more effective than weight used.  I am not saying that we do not want to get stronger, but we also need to put a premium on both full range of motion with the weight being used.  Often times if you just lower the weight slightly the form can clean up quite well.

Regressions/Progressions- having exercises that allow for regressions and progressions is always a must.  Any exercise you choose should  have a regression or progression in order that you maximize results.  Also, regressions are a great way to help athletes/clients realize that they can do an exercise just that they are not at that point even though they will in the future!  I believe that no matter the athlete or client, you make sure you show them what they can do as opposed to what they cannot do.

Yelling At Athletes- this falls under the category of what NOT to do.  It is one thing to encourage an athlete/client on a lift and trying to fire them up, but not on the other side of the spectrum.  I remember when I first started coaching track and it was pretty much “my way or the highway” mentality with workouts.  This is not the era of Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler (top college football coaches in history) where you bury kids into the ground physically and mentally. One of the best quotes I heard was “nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”  To me, unless someone is flat-out screwing around or being disruptive to other athlete’s training, it is best to really show positive criticism or just flat-out encouragement.  Athletes or clients should not leave the facility feeling beat up mentality.   So Jillian Michaels, relaxxxxxxxxx : ).

Do not think a real coach has to yell at their athletes unlike this Sidney Crosby look alike

Repetitions- This definitely pertains to younger populations.  Inexperienced lifters need reps to get proficient at movements.  Sometimes it is crucial to maybe lay back on the cueing for a few reps to see if they can figure out the movement as long as it does not become injurious.  Often times, depending on the athlete, I find that the younger athletes may not get the first few reps down but find the movement as they progress further in the set.  Another “gray” area I think because sometimes certain athletes need a lot more attention and cueing because they flat-out just do not get it.  

Young athletes don’t need curls, they need good movement

These are definitely some things that I continually work on and hope to improve upon on the cueing side of things.  If there are any ideas out there, post some comments on how you’ve improved upon the coaching of your athletes.


Categories: Strength Training

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