My running example of what a crappy coach is has always been a baseball coach who would yell at his players to "hit each other in the chest" with each of their throws. The players were young, like 12-14 years old, and while all of them understood the concept of what he was talking about, none of them could figure out how to do it. They would throw, and maybe one of every 6 would hit the chest. The rest would be high, off the ground, wide right, and so on. And the coach would just continue to yell: hit him in the chest!". Finally, in frustration, one of the kids said "I understand, coach, I'm trying, I just don't know how!" The coaches response: " you need to aim for the chest and throw it there". Ugh...
I've experienced and seen this form of under-coaching for years. In fact, I would say it's one of the most common things you'll find in a coach. Unfortunately, it's not good coaching. Constantly telling people WHAT to do without explaining HOW doesn't do anything for about 98%+ of the population. And that small population who it does work for either had really good coaching before, or they just "get it".
I'm so sick and tired of listening to coaches in the gym tell people to "flatten your back", "don't pull early", "just drop under the bar more", "get deeper" and on and on. If you literally JUST explained the mechanics of getting deep on a squat, and allowed the person adequate time to show they have an understanding for how to actually perform the squat properly, then your cue of "get deeper" works fine. But of you just tell people to do it, one of two things will happen the vast majority of the time: they might get deeper, but put themselves at a risk because they are pushing themselves in to something they don't know how to do. Or, they simply won't get deeper. That does not make them bad athletes. It makes the coach a bad coach.
For all coaches out there, I think a huge thing to remember is that most of the people that come into most gyms are not as "into" fitness as you are. This means that when they leave the gym, they don't spend the next 24 hours obsessing over movements and researching clean and jerk videos. So, when they come in a few days later and you tell them to grab the bar and get onto a front rack position, event if they've done it 100 times before, you may have to give them a little more detail than that.
And the best way to have your athletes become more knowledgeable in the movements you are trying to teach them? Explain WHY and HOW every, single, time. If each and every athlete is constantly hearing why they need to PULL under the bar on a clean and/or snatch, and they also have a deep understand as to HOW to go about doing that, they will feel a closer connection to the lift and remember it more and more going forward. If you went into some detail once or twice, then just give general cues, I'm pretty sure you're going to have a gym full of people who don't really know what the hell they are doing. Honestly, this goes for teaching just about anything physical. If I just stood on a basketball court yelling at a group of athletes to "make shots", I'm not doing much to help them. It's more complex than that; and all athletes/clients need those extra details so they can find consistency in their practice. You will always progress in a forward trajectory if you truly understand the whys and hows of training. And as a coach, I have found the best response come from athletes when you take the time and effort to explain these details to them in a way they can understand.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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