(or am I crazy to want to coach myself?)
I love legal dramas… they are my favourite TV binge. I think, most of all, I love the “formulas” good script writers use to create drama and suspense.
One for the most common of those formulas is the use of a lawyer who has been accused of a crime and then, in their wisdom, they elect to defend themselves. 9 times out of 10 this plan creates hassles that could have been avoided had they decided instead to employ a different lawyer as their counsel.
American President Abraham once stated words to the effect that “any lawyer who acts as their own lawyer has a fool for a client”
So what does this have to do with coaching and training… surprisingly quite a lot.
Many Masters Athletes, through one means or another, end up acting as their own coach.
ARE YOU A FOOL TO COACH YOURSELF?
There are many benefits for this arrangement. “Self-coached” athletes often say:
- Nobody knows me better than me
And this is true. Who knows you better than yourself? After many years of training you understand what sessions feel good and which ones you struggle with. You understand the difference between “good sore” and ‘bad sore”
- It’s a much less expensive option
A good coach is a professional and they deserve to be compensated as such. However this can become an expensive option. Sometimes it comes down to resource allocation – it doesn’t cost anything to coach myself
- My life is so hectic I can’t fit into a normal coaches training schedule
One the major hassles with many structured coaching set ups is you need to be available when the coach is available. With life being so busy – fitting in to someone else’s schedule is not easy
- After so many years in the sport I know what works for me
Experience provides us with many insights. We learn what can work for us
- Nobody is more invested in my results than me
If you are keen to perform then this it totally true – you understand what you want
- I work in this field so it just makes sense
Many Masters athletes are coaches themselves… it just makes sense. We have a love of doing what we do. So why not use our own expertise to coach ourselves??!!
- I love the independence and flexibility
The complete freedom to programme and train when and how you want is very appealing
SO WITH ALL THESE BENEFITS WHATS THE PROBLEM?
“Self-coached” Athletes can:
- be too “soft” on themselves
When the pain of training starts to kick in – it becomes very easy to “second guess” your original programme. There is also the danger of programming only what we like… not what we need
- be too “tough” on themselves
There are times when we NEED to stop (injury, fatigue, stagnation) but the fear of being soft drives us on
- “negotiate” away their spare time
The flexibility of training can be a crutch when we put ourselves last, and train at the least convenient times to us personally.
- get stuck in a rut
Being your own boss (no matter the industry) can become tedious – the challenges and “conflicts” which can stimulate thinking are harder to find for the self-coached
- lose objectivity in assessing the program and results
It takes in incredibly clear mind to become emotionally involved in analysing performances and training programmes – the danger becomes we make decisions based on our emotional investment rather than on the specific needs and long term plans
- lose the ability to separate their sport from their life
Coaches, by nature, are often obsessive about their athletes’ performances. When you are self-coached this can become overwhelming due to the tendency to be constantly thinking about training/programming/recovery/performance. The critical sport-life balance can be lost to the detriment of the athlete and the performance.
- feel isolated and having to solve problems by themselves
What happens when results don’t go your way, where performances get unexpectedly worse or when injury strikes?
- lose the “critical eye”
How easy it to stand back and look at everything that is happening (positive and negative) and not look at it through the “emotional eye” of the athlete? There is a very relevant old saying along the lines of “its never as good as it seems or as bad as it could be”.
- Get a mentor
Find someone you can talk to about your training and who is happy to give an honest opinion about how they think you are going
- Find a training group
Spread the “cost” of the coach, gain many people to critically evaluate how you are going, gain a huge emotional boost from the support of the group
- Decide that the positives outweigh the negatives
Look at the lists above and decide that you like the benefits or being self-coached and that also there are negatives you are happy to wear them in pursuit of your goals
- Get a coach
Coaches add much to what we as athletes do. But there is no one correct coaching structure.
Explore your options. Look at:
(a) part-time face-to-face contact with a coach
(b) online coaches who provide the programming expertise and critical review while allowing you the flexibility and freedom self-coached athletes desire
Every athlete is different… and their needs are different. Analyse your current situation, your goals and consider which option works best for you.
For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning