I’ve had a few conversations with friends and athletes recently as we’ve expanded our coaching services. The question is: what makes a good athlete? What does that even mean?
For me, I would describe a “good athlete” as someone who is easy to coach. Not because they are the most gifted or the most fit, but because they follow the plan and provide great feedback along the way. Most of the time, these are also the athletes who reach their goals the fastest! Although there certainly are exceptions.
So I thought it might be good to expand on this, because I think most people who have hired a coach or personal trainer want to get better, right? You want to get faster, leaner, healthier, stronger (or some combination). I’m going to share my perspective on what you can do to be the athlete that coaches love, so that you can reach your goals the fastest too!
[Tweet “Want to make your coach LOVE you? Tips from @FITaspire? #FitFluential”]
Tips for Being a Great Athlete!
1. Be realistic
Your coaching relationship should revolve around goal setting. Part of that discussion should involve how much time you want to devote to working toward your goal. If you really only have 30 minutes, 3 days a week to train, let them know. If you have 6 hours a week, you have the flexibility to train for larger goals (if you want to). This will help both of you to discuss how your availability and your goal line up – so you can adjust one or the other if needed. So be honest from the start and all through training, you’ll both be happier!
2. Follow the plan
Your coach creates a plan to help you reach the goals you agreed on with the time you have available. So now your job is to follow it to the best of your ability! If you’re scheduled to do a strength training workout 3 days a week, don’t do 5 days instead. If you’re supposed to ride 30 miles in Zn 2, please don’t head out for 50 miles in Zn 3.
Remember why you hired a coach and that they spend a lot of time putting together a plan to help you reach your goals. If you disagree with the plan, talk to them about why it’s different than you expected. But please don’t just do your own thing! Obviously things will come up and you won’t be able to follow it perfectly, but do your best!
3. Give feedback
We want to hear how you’re feeling. Are you bored? stressed? too easy? too hard? don’t have as much time as you thought? aren’t enjoying it anymore? want to change your goal? All these are great conversations to have, so your training can be personalized to fit your situation.
If you’re being coached for a data-driven sport (running, triathlon, etc.), another essential feedback tool is data! Time, distance, elevation, power, whatever metrics you have discussed are so important in tracking progress. If you work in a platform that allows you to upload your data (like Training Peaks), we want all of it! That helps us to see how your training is really going. Which helps us to coach you better!
4. Stick with it
If you’re doing all the things above, stick with it. It takes time to make progress and plans are often progressive. Don’t give up if you don’t have immediate results, focus on putting in the work and following the plan. Assuming your goal was realistic (see #1) and you’re giving feedback (see #3), the results will come!
5. Give feedback
This is so important, I’m repeating it. This is the number one complaint I hear from all coaches, because it’s hard to coach without feedback. Please, please, please. Upload your data, share your comments, help us help you! 🙂
Questions for you:
- Do any of these tips surprise you? Anything you thought would be on the list that I didn’t include?
- Did you participate in coached sports growing up?