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How to Choose the Right Strength Coach in 5 Easy Steps
So, you have decided you want to get fitter, faster and stronger to help reach an athletic or aesthetic goal. Maybe you are looking to make some serious gains after years of maintaining the status quo. Regardless of your current state, working with a strength coach is one of the best ways to reach your new strength training objectives and improve your athletic performance and endurance.
Finding the right strength training coach to match your individual needs and goals can be challenging. A simple Google search of “strength coaches near me” may produce hundreds of results, but not all strength coaches are created equal. I will discuss some strategies for identifying the best qualities in a strength coach and some easy steps for finding the right fit for you.
What Is a Strength Coach?
If you are relatively new to athletics, the suggestion of hiring a strength and conditioning coach may be foreign to you.
Strength and conditioning coaches are similar to personal trainers in their knowledge and experience. The only major difference is that strength coaches work with amateur and professional athletes who are interested in boosting their athletic endurance and performance levels, as well as individuals with a specific athletic or aesthetic goal, whereas personal trainers work with the general population on overall health and fitness goals. Personal trainers may be tasked with helping their clients to look and feel better, while strength coaches focus on functionality and performance.
Not just anyone can hang a sign outside their door and claim to be a strength and conditioning coach. Most strength coaches have earned a degree in Exercise Science from an accredited four-year college or university. They may also wish to receive additional education if they plan to specialise in strength and conditioning for a specific sport. Additionally, they may be a member of the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association, the accrediting body for strength and conditioning coaches in Australia. This nonprofit organisation provides courses and accreditation for members, as well as additional professional development and ongoing support.
Tips for Choosing the Right Strength Coach
Every athlete – from amateur to pro – can benefit from working with a strength and conditioning coach. Ensuring a successful experience depends on choosing a coach with the right knowledge and experience to help meet your goals.
1. Establish strength and conditioning goals
Why are you hiring a strength and conditioning coach? Exactly what do you hope to get from the experience? Compiling a list of your strengths and weaknesses, along with statements about your specific goals, is the first crucial step. If you are unable to define what it is you are hoping to achieve, it will be incredibly difficult to find a coach capable of meeting those needs.
2. Ask for recommendations
If you are an athlete, chances are you are on a team with other athletes who may have benefited in the past from working with a strength and conditioning coach. Ask around for recommendations from individuals you know and trust. If you do not know anyone who has used a strength coach, an online search in your area will produce some suggestions. If you go that route, pay attention to step three below.
3. Check references and reputations
This should go without saying, but it is important to ask for references for any strength coach on your list of candidates. Make sure you call each reference. Ask them about the coach’s personality, disposition, and coaching techniques. The coach must be a good match for your personal strength goals, so mention what they are to the reference and ask if they think their coach would be a good fit for meeting those needs. Lastly, inquire if this is a coach they would work with again.
4. Verify education and qualifications
Degrees and certifications are important things to consider when choosing a strength and conditioning coach. It is important that the person you work with understands anatomy and physiology and the basic principles of and safety guidelines for strength training. To be effective, coaches should have an in-depth understanding of sports and the skills needed to advance a player in sports. ASCA and Fitness Australia can verify whether a specific coach is accredited.
5. Ask the right questions
Once you have drafted a list of coaching candidates and checked references and qualifications, the next step is to interview the candidates. Some questions to ask include:
Now that I have discussed the five easy steps to finding the right strength and conditioning coach, let’s talk about the qualities that make a coach a great fit.
Have additional questions about choosing a great strength coach? I would love to hear from you. Reach out to me today!