My coaching philosophy has adapted and evolved over the years, as my knowledge has increased my coaching style has changed. As a coach I believe you need to give your athletes the tools to make decisions, know what they are doing and know why they are doing something. I believe that having the athlete buy in to the programme helps to produce the best results. As a coach I need to be adaptable and open to feedback, criticism and be able and willing to adapt the programme at any stage. In order for me to be able to do this I need to have a good relationship with my athlete and other parties involved, at no point can I think that my programme needs to be more important then any other aspect of the athletes overall plan, the end goal and the intended outcome of the athlete is the most important factor in this process. It is my job and the other coaches and therapy staff involved to get the athlete in the best condition possible, the programme must progress appropriately and efficiently with the goal date in mind.
Having open communication will make the programming process more efficient, if I know my athlete does not respond well to certain movements, there is no point in me programming this into my athlete’s plan. All the parties involved need to know that if something needs to be changed that they can communicate with me and together we can accommodate the needs and work around any problems that may have arisen. Injuries and strains are an unfortunate occurrence in a lot of athletes careers, these problems and issues need to be communicated in the first instance, having a good relationship with my athlete and athlete’s team will make it easier for them to communicate these issues to me, so we can adapt and overcome problems along the way making their programme fit the situations and be suitable for continued development and improvement.
Understanding the process in which they are going to travel through for me as a coach is very important, it is less likely to catch them off guard and they will know what to expect and what it is likely to feel like at any given point throughout their plan. Very rarely do we have the privilege of being able to coach an athlete daily and in this case we need to know that they are going to stick to the plan and for this to happen they need to be invested into the programme or to have brought into the plan. Letting the athlete have an input in their own programme helps with this process, they are going to have to execute this plan and they have first-hand experience of how it feels to them and the effects it has on their own physiology, ignoring this part of the process would be a huge mistake on my behalf and gaining as much information and input from the athlete as possible is invaluable information. Some athletes will blindly follow what you are prescribing to them just in the knowledge that it will get them to their goal even if it is boring for them, most athletes on the other hand will need to be given reasons why are they doing this? Why do they need to do this? What will this do for them? Is there a different option available? This is where athlete buy in becomes important! By the time an athlete starts their programme they should know, what they are doing and when, why they are doing what they are doing, and we should know that they are going to do it to the best of their ability and resources.
When prescribing a programme I need to know that first of all it is safe for my athlete’s to execute this programme, They have to have the necessary motor skills and abilities to be able to safely perform the prescribed exercises. I would not prescribe an exercise that I do not know my athlete can perform safely without supervision, if this requires the use of multiple exercises to get the desired outcome instead of putting their health and safety at risk just for that one exercise, I will use the multiple option and continue to up skill my athlete until I can adapt their programme to use the most desirable exercises for their programme. It can obviously a very lonely process spending sometimes hours training alone therefore having open lines of communication for support and guidance need to be in place, they cant feel like they are on their own at any point, the need for support and guidance from a coach is of the upmost importance. My athletes should know they can come to me with any problems and I will try to support or adapt where possible and if needed help to open the correct line of support for them. Working closely with other coaches, physio’s and necessary professionals is important, taking advice and input from multiple sources is my job, I have a good understanding of how to rehab an athlete but lack some of the necessary skills a physio will have so I would be stupid to not take this information on board and use it to elicit the best possible outcome available for my athlete. When working with multi-sport athletes or athletes that have specialized coaches, having clear and open channels of communication is of the upmost importance, for most athletes strength and conditioning is a tool to get them to their goal and not the desired outcome so this needs to be accounted for in their periodization, If they are in a high milage peak in their running programme for example, we will have to taper the strength and conditioning plan to accommodate the areas where they need to have the most required stimulus from.
As a coach I need to make my job redundant! By the time an athlete leaves me to perform their programme I want them to be self-efficient independent athletes. I don’t want an athlete to blindly follow the process, I want them to learn from the process so they have the necessary skills to be able to adapt if required, safely and effectively be able to perform the movements required and have a bank of movements available to them in their tool box. Having a good relationship with me and having the ability and knowledge that they can communicate with me. This is their process, and I am here to guide them through, but they need to be invested and then I can get them to where they want to be.