The Coaches Roundtable – “Coachable VS Uncoachable”
Author – Coach Scott Ribarchik, CF – L2 Trainer
More times than not, an individual that takes on the role as a coach has a divine interest in the betterment of an athlete. Often they will show a genuine interest in one’s life and display a compassionate attitude. A coach will express passion and enthusiasm for the sport and attempt to broaden their knowledge base through advanced certifications. A coach is tirelessly committed to doing their “homework” off hours so it will reflect in their performance at the gym. A good coach that is.
I have been lucky enough to teach high school students and also coach CrossFit & specialty courses for several years at two different gyms, through which I have come across many different personalities. Coaches want nothing more than to see his or her athletes achieve tasks they never thought possible, and most of the coaches I know would bend over backward to make that happen for any of their athletes. That said, you must remember the coach/athlete relationship is a two way street. A coach can motivate and instruct, but the athlete needs to be able to accept the guidance, listen to the advice, and attempt to repetitively apply that tutelage in the gym.
If a coach ever tells you to arch your back when you’re deadlifting, or drive your knees out while squatting and you reply with, “I know” or “it’s fine”, you should smack yourself in your own face……. really hard.
Actually no, it’s not fine, that’s exactly why you’re using a weightlifting belt for those 95 pound deadlifts. Oh really you know? Then how about you keep your chest up on those back squats if you know so much, before you herniate a disc in your back.
If you want to get better, you want to see results; you’re going to get there a lot faster and injury free if you’re a coachable athlete. I can’t recall exactly where I saw it, but I remember seeing a quote written somewhere: “Be a learn it all VS a know it all”. I Love it. The minute you think you know it all is the moment you stop learning and becoming better.
A coachable athlete is okay with slowing down a movement or putting a lighter weight on the barbell to practice proper form when instructed by their coach. They won’t worry about having the top score at the 4:30 pm class on March 12th, 2015 at CrossFit WhoGivesAShit (see, when you write it out like that you can see how ridiculous it sounds). They’re more worried about the long-term benefits they will gain from moving more efficiently with the barbell.
A coachable athlete is humble. Though humble, a coachable athlete will still have a fire and passion for the sport, but moreover will be more competitive with themselves and their progress then with other athletes. A coachable athlete is respectful. A coachable athlete will ask for help. A coachable athlete has courage and is willing to take risks under the guidance of their coach without fear of looking weak. A coachable athlete can adapt and change when necessary to become a better athlete.
When I look back at how I progressed as a teacher, athlete and coach, I remember times when I may have been “uncoachable” or acted like I knew everything. For that I know it took me much longer to get to where I wanted to be then it should have. I’ve seen many people go through this when they start to get a little “good” at something and gain a little confidence, it’s downright irritating, and if I could go back to those days I would indeed smack myself in my own face….. really hard. Don’t be that guy or girl.
The challenge you face is, can you step back, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I doing everything in my power to be as good as I can be? My approach? My attitude? Am I coachable?”. If you can honestly answer yes to those questions you’re well on your way to achieve those goals you set out for yourself.