Glenn Pendlay and MDUSA puts out an awesome podcast every week that often includes some of the best coaching and lifting information out there. This week he published a podcast where he, Don McCauley, and Dan Bell all got on the mic and talked about coaching strengths and weaknesses. That link for the show can be found here.
Listening to those three talk back and worth was fascinating as they expressed each of their individual coaching strengths and weaknesses. It got me thinking about my own strengths and weaknesses coaching. Any good coach recognizes that they have weaknesses and that experiences is the name of the game for coach development. I have been EXTREMELY lucky to sit under, learn from, and work with some of the country’s best coaches. Stan Luttrell, CJ Stockel, Richard Flemming, Ursula Papandrea, and a couple more have all been a HUGE part of developing me as a coach. This reality has allowed me to strengthen weaknesses and learn how to coach in meets and in training.
I would say my greatest weakness is lifter development. I know the technical side and I know the exercises to get a lifter more proficient but taking a developing lifter from great to elite has been something I have struggled with. I have coached athletes to gold medals in local meets but moving them to the next tier of lifting has been my biggest struggle and greatest weakness. It take some serious personal commitment to an athletes on a daily basis to create elite level lifters. It’s hard to give that kind of commitment on a regular basis and still be focused on your own training. Getting excited for every lifter who hits a new 5RM back squat or smokes a new PR is easy BUT coming alongside them day in and day out and coaching them through their weaknesses with enthusiasm and focus is a different story. This is especially true when you are trying to train as well OR you are thinking about your training later in the day. This would be the greatest place for personal growth as a coach. I have never seen a coach who both competes at elite levels AND trains elite lifters combined into one package at the same time. I would love to sit under that coach, learn from him or her, and develop here.
My greatest strength is easily coaching in competition. This comes as a direct result of being coached by so many good coaches during competition (Luttrell, Stockel, Flemming, Witherspoon, Joaquin) that I have been able to pick up a TON of tricks to the trade. I wouldn’t say that counting cards and attempts is my greatest strength (though I do love the numbers) but preparing a lifter in their warmups to perform on the platform is something I take great pride in. I got to walk alongside and help prepare lifters for competition especially when some of my coaches need assistance. I got to start learning and assisting as early as 18 years old and all that time under those coaches I believe has developed a strength. The credit goes to those coaches for allowing me to work underneath them and learn from them but they created a great strength. I love getting a lifter ready perfectly, giving them the right last minute cues, and seeing them smoke their lifts on the platform.
Every coach is going to have strengths and weaknesses until they retire from coaching. It’s going to happen. The world’s best coaches will admit to some of their own weaknesses. However, the key to becoming a better coach as I have experienced over the last 7 years is learning from EVERY single coach you can. Allow yourself to be an open book and keep your eyes and ears open for how the best out there do their job. Great coaches keep their strengths strong and make their weaknesses less weak.