OPINION: What makes a good coach

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
A good coach will have the knowledge and skills to push those under their care to achieve more.
Camera IconA good coach will have the knowledge and skills to push those under their care to achieve more. Credit: Tim Robberts/Getty Images

What makes a good coach or, more specifically, what does a good coach do to get the best out of their “students”?

In my time, I have been a member of about 50 different sporting clubs and gymnasiums, and I have realised the most effective trainers and coaches share many of the same qualities.

Firstly, they are not your friends — far from it.

Trainers need to be in a position where they are telling you some hard-to-accept things.

A good coach works on your flaws as much as your strengths.

It’s tricky for a friend to lay out some hard truths, shying away from difficult conversations

Coaches know their stuff.

This may seem quite obvious but an excellent, (or even adequate) trainer needs to be an expert in their chosen sport or field. Whether it’s hockey, netball, CrossFit or boxing, if you expect your coach to be able to push you, they need the knowledge and skills to do so.

They are exceptional listeners.

A good listener gets to know you, gets to know where you have come from, where you are and where you need to get to.

They combine this with the skills needed to map out a direction to push you forward.

They push you hard, but not to the point of breaking. I know my CrossFit coach pushes her classes to just before breaking point on a regular basis.

We often end a workout flat on our faces, struggling for breath, wondering what just happened.

But none of us ever feel like we don’t want to come back.

It’s the mark of a great coach that they can leave you exhausted but not overwhelmed by a workout. They analyse and then improve their methods and results. A great trainer takes feedback, learns from results and implements change effectively.

By contrast, a poor coach or trainer is rigid and unwilling to adapt or learn.

They also have the best toys!

Whether it’s a gym, sports club or personal trainer, they need to have the right tools for the job.

I am forever grateful to the trainers that have helped me turn my life around.

I am especially grateful for the skills and knowledge they have in abundance.

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