How to Develop Through Coaching Others

TAGS: Powerlifting Experience 2.0 seminar, live learn pass on, Joe Schillero, coach, powerlifting

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There were a lot of things I took away from coaching at the recent Powerlifting Experience 2.0 seminar, but one of the biggest ones was the personal value of coaching with all of the experienced coaches in my group.

Our first mission at these seminars is to provide the best learning experience possible for the attendees. This is part of the Pass On aspect of our Live. Learn. and Pass On mantra here at elitefts. The over 160 PRs, new friendships formed, knowledge gained, and smiles on the attendees faces have shown up through the stories posted through our news section of the site, as well as on social media posts from those that attended.

Even beyond our attendee-oriented goals of coaching at the seminar, there is personal value for all of the elitefts coaches in working with each other. Seeing and hearing wisdom from the years of experience that our team has always leaves me a smarter lifter and coach following these seminars. No matter how long any of us have been training, we all “Learn” and “Pass On” amongst each other as well, investing in each other and building our effectiveness as a team.

This opportunity to develop through coaching is something that all coaches and trainers should be taking advantage of. While at face value, it can seem like coaching is all about the person being coached, we actually have the chance to make huge strides in our personal development through the coaching process. We have these opportunities as a part of elitefts when we coach at seminars and in our own separate circles of influence, and you have the same opportunity in your life; whether it be as a coach, trainer, or as a training partner in your lifting crew.

When I first began coaching at the elitefts Learn to Train seminars, I was very much in awe of the opportunity I was given (and still am). At times, however, I know I let the magnitude of this opportunity keep me a little more “reserved” than I could’ve been. Thankfully, I had mentors like Bob Youngs and Harry Selkow to kick me in the butt and re-iterate to me that I was there for a reason and should embrace the opportunity without hesitation.

No matter what your coaching role is right now, there is value in every single experience that can translate to your own growth. The only way this will happen, however, is if you approach these opportunities with the right perspective. Below are some things you can take from each coaching experience you have, and some things I would’ve shared with myself before that first seminar if I could.

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See Your Own Value in Your Role as Coach

Coaching carries with it great responsibility, and understanding this should humble you in your approach. Often times, however, we can easily let that responsibility weigh down on us to the point where we are reluctant to truly use all of our abilities. While arrogance is certainly something to avoid, being overly self-conscious can be just negative. It is important to understand that you were chosen for you role as a coach for a reason. Like everyone, you have areas to improve and should be humble in your approach, but your skills, knowledge, and abilities led you to the position you are currently in. Be confident in the fact that your role as coach is no accident, and your level of impact will be dependent on the degree to which you let your abilities shine through in your coaching. Instead of letting the role of coach weigh down on you, let it encourage you. Coaching and teaching takes a special type of person, and if you are in that role, it is for a good reason.

Use the Perspective of Others to Broaden Your Own

When you have the opportunity to coach with others, it is an excellent time to see other coaching styles. While it’s important to have your own coaching philosophy, you can take bits and pieces from other coaches styles and integrate them into your own. All the best coaches have had other great coaches who influenced them in their careers. Seeing how other coaches teach and connect with various athletes is an excellent learning experience. In my coaching group at the Powerlifting Experience, I was able to see how someone like Matt Rhodes would teach a concept to a certain athlete, while JL Holdsworth would teach the same concept differently to someone else. All athletes are different, and learning styles vary. This is why understanding that how we learn may not necessarily be the same way our athletes do. When others are coaching, be sure to watch and listen carefully. When you see them reaching someone that you may normally struggle to connect with, be sure to take notes on their approach.

Practice Breaking the Complex Down with Simplicity

As coaches we should always be in a learning process. We do this through schooling, reading books and articles, and other resources. Many of the concepts we learn in regards to training are complex in the sense that they are multi-dimensional and apply to different athletes in different ways. When we explain those concepts to an individual athlete, however, we need to be able to break them down simply. This is where the knowledge and skills of coaching blends into an art form. Breaking down the complex into simple and specific terms is something that takes practice. While studying the broader concepts of training, be sure to watch how other coaches are translating these to individual situations and athletes. While you may know all the reasons that intra-abdominal pressure is important and the neuromuscular and stability effects of it, the athlete may have never even breathed correctly before.


MORE The elitefts Powerlifting Experience II: With Great Risk Comes Great Reward


They need to take a few simple cues that they will be able to remember under a heavy barbell. So while you may know the deeper concepts of why this is important, the athlete just needs an easy way to remember to push their abs against their belt. Learning simple cues that work will also translate to your own lifting. Sometimes it just takes a simple cue like “break the bar” or “protect your armpits” to have a concept like getting your lats tight before a big deadlift. Click. The cues that you learn to use with athletes can be more helpful to your own lifting than you might think.

These are just a few of the opportunities you have in coaching that you can use to develop and grow personally. Coaching is both an art and a science, and the journey of improvement never ends. Be confident in your role, and diligent in your opportunities to learn. Remember that athletes are calling you coach for a reason.

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