As passionate coaches, we want to impart athletes with as much knowledge, information and attention as possible. Unfortunately, the communication process is often interrupted, both on the coaches’ and athletes’ part, by class size, distractions, time and client management, running two different workouts at the same time, etc. Here are seven ways that you as an athlete can get the highest rate of return on the coaching we are trying to dish out.
1)Show up 10 minutes early. This will help you check out the WOD by watching the previous class finish. You can get a glimpse at the scaling options, targeting times and goals for the workout and give yourself a transition time to mentally ramp up to get in the right mindset.
2)Talk to your coach. Before the workout is a great time to bring any special needs or considerations you might have to the coach’s attention. Maybe you have an injury, maybe you are scared, maybe there is something that is especially challenging for you. Before class is a great time to address those things.
3)Get in tight when the coach is talking — “like it’s cold and I’m the campfire.” Briefing the WOD or going over ways to attack the workout as well as points of performance and standards are vitally important. Having to repeat stuff takes time away from athletes, so get it in close even if it gets a little weird.
4)Slow it down if coaches are using a movement progression. We are after quality, not quantity when it comes to learning movement. Don’t be in a rush. Quiet your mind and concentrate on the concise cues the coach is giving. Work on improving little details and retain those little improvements so they can accumulate over time.
5)Get eyes on you. Ask the coach to watch your movement. It doesn’t have to be every rep, but the coach should see a few good reps for every athlete, and regardless of your ability, you should walk away with at least one cue. Wait for the coach, ask for attention. This also puts pressure on you to perform with an audience.
6)Write your cues down in a log. If there was a tactile or verbal cue that worked well with you, jot it down. Athletes internalize things in different ways; maybe squatting against the wall gives you a better lumbar curve or maybe just hearing “arch your back” gets you there. Keep an inventory of your fixes.
7)Stay after class. Pick the brains of coaches. Let them go into more details for the fixes or recommendations they made for you. This is a great chance to get the “why” of the actionable cues you got. Also, after class is a great time to do “goat” work and work on those weaknesses that challenge you. Maybe it is getting reps of the kipping pull-up progression or working on double-unders. It’s often the accumulation of this time that facilitates breakthroughs.
These are a few ways to maximize the athlete-coach experience. Understand that communication is a two-way street. We give a cue and you communicate with a physical result. But there are some types of communication that are not communicated physically. If there are any emotional considerations or things that we need to know to get you to work at the threshold of your physical and mental capacity, let us know. Coaches are usually very approachable and empathetic, wanting to help people who need it.