At Bullett Performance, continuing education is at the forefront of our coaching model. We designate one hour each week to a classroom style, staff in-service to improve our coaching knowledge and skills. This past week, we delved into a book from a good friend, Brendon Rearick. Brendon recently released his book, “Coaching Rules,” and I thought it was a great time for our coaches to dissect some of the rules he highlights in his book.
Rule #7 - Give great demonstrations
When coaching clients, there is nothing worse than showing a bad demo. It is imperative you can “perform what you program” as a coach. A client that is shown a few great reps will quickly earn your respect. Additionally, if you are coaching foreign athletes that may not be great at speaking the same language as you, showing exceptional technique during a rep will bridge that language gap.
Rule #11 - Sometimes the best cue is no cue at all
When you are fresh on the floor after getting your first personal trainer or coaching job, you want to start to “WOW” your clients/athletes. We all have fallen victim to bombarding our clients with information to show why we are the most qualified coach available. It is tremendously important that you keep coaching points to a minimum, think, less is more! The best coaches sometimes sit back, shut up and allow the client to perform imperfect reps, then provide feedback that is short and sweet.
Rule #15 - Using external cues instead of internal cues
Building off the second rule, when it is your turn to give clients cues, it’s sometimes more beneficial to address errors with external cues rather than internal cues. Using external cues have been proven to result in a better understanding of the outcome you desire as a coach. For example, if you were setting up for a big deadlift, and you wanted your client to engage their lats, you might say “try to bend the bar,” or “imagine oranges in your armpits, and I want you to make orange juice.” Opposed to, “engage your lats, or externally rotate your shoulders.”
Rule #8 - Using other clients to show off their progress
It is frequent clients enjoy demonstrating progress, and coaches can use this to our advantage. The next time you have a client who needs a demo, grabs another client who performs that exercise well and allows them to show off their hard work. It’s a win-win situation for you as a coach. The client experiences a great demo, and the other client continues to build their confidence through your and the client observing’s admiration.
Rule #12- Position. Action. Feel.
Keeping your coaching cues simple and direct, allowing for you to keep your athletes engaged and not distracted. The P.A.F. rule will help when you begin to instruct your clients.
First, start by coaching the Position that you want your client to start in.
Second, coach the Action you want them to execute.
Lastly, coach where they should Feel it.
Coaching in this manner has allowed our coaches to keep clients engaged, sessions to remain in the duration of time we promised to parents or clients, and finally allows our clients to get in the amount of work desired without stopping for minutes each time we have to teach a new exercise.
Rule #25 - No one conditions alone
Plain and simple, nobody enjoys going through the conditioning after they have made it through a tough day of training, let alone by themselves. That’s where this rule comes into play. It has been something that we have implemented at BPT and has had tremendous outcomes and built strong relationships between clients and coaches alike. It shows your support of the client and the rigorous work they keep coming back for, in addition to building the respect of fellow coaches that practice this rule.
Rule #21 - Body Language and what it is saying
Ever wonder what you look like as a coach on the floor? I’m sure you have seen other coaches/trainers and said to yourself, “I wonder what I look like when I coach?” The solution is simple…video yourself, and watch. It’s one of the simplest ways to help improve your coaching skills. Your body language is one of, if not the most important skills to master. Simple clues like hands in the pockets, crossing your arms, leaning against the wall, or sitting down may give clients/athletes the notion that you are not fully focused on being there which doesn’t turn out well for the long-term goal of creating an enjoyable training environment.
Rearick, B., (2020). Coaching Rules. A How-to Manual for a Successful Career in Strength and Fitness