10 Mistakes I’ve Made As An S&C Coach (Part Two)

Missed the first part of my 10 mistakes series? You’d better catch up here then! Today we’re moving through 5 more of the mistakes I’ve made so far during my S&C career.

  • Assume the coach knows how important we are

To the athlete their sport is their number one priority. Fortunately, the majority of athletes now buy-in to the importance of S&C and see how it positively impacts their performances and trainability in their given sport. However, the same isn’t always true for sport coaches, even at an ‘elite’ level. We must make it clear to the coach that they and their athlete are driving the train. It’s key that we involve and empower them in the process to ensure that they reinforce and facilitate the principles of the training programme – or at least attempt to!

  • Programming for females as I would for males

Of course there’s the obvious differences in terms of optimal rest intervals, volumes and so on, but it’s more the day-to-day and session-to-session variability that caught me out. Menstruation has a profound impact on a female athlete’s trainability, a concept well presented by Dave Hamilton during his talk at last year’s UKSCA conference. My philosophy behind programming for females now aims to take this into account and places more emphasis on establishing a minimum training load that will be required for a given session. Actual targets are then adjusted on a session-by-session basis in response to the athlete’s perceived trainability on a given day.

  • ‘Patronising’ athletes

We shouldn’t just be coaching athletes but teaching them about the process. If you’ve any sort of ‘academic’ S&C background then you’ll often be told about the importance of making yourself clear to athletes and coaches who don’t share your technical expertise. The danger is that you go too far the other way and dumbing things down too much. I know was particularly guilty of this when coaching junior athletes. It’s too easy to talk down to athletes and underestimate what they can understand and absorb. The skill is pitching your teaching at the right level for the individual.

  • Taking on too much

It’s the quality of your coaching experiences that will help you get on in the profession, not the quantity. You can’t take on twelve internships, volunteer at every local club in sight, start a master’s degree and hold down a job to pay the bills. Whilst I didn’t go quite to this extent (although I can probably give you examples who those who did!), there were definitely times when it was clear I’d taken on too much. Too develop as a coach you need time to reflect. This reflection is every bit as important in improving your coaching as the time you spend working with an athlete. The trouble is that the wetter behind the ears you are as a coach, the more time you’ll need to do this. When your schedule is packed from pillar to post it’s inevitable that these reflective practices will be the first thing to make way.

  • Not ‘aggressively’ networking

S&C is a boys club. It’s not enough just to be good coach anymore, good coaches are now two-a-penny. If you’re seeking get anywhere in this industry you absolutely must build and maintain a strong network of wide-reaching contacts. This is how you will create the majority of career opportunities and experiences. I’d recommend checking out Nick Grantham’s You’re Hired seminar if you’re looking to climb the ladder.


Any of these mistakes caught you out in past? Or maybe you could share some of your own? Either way, please like, share and drop me a comment below!

Coaching, Exercises, Performance, Psychology, Recovery, Youth Training , , ,

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