Thursday, October 18, 2012

Do I really need a personal coach?

  For experienced athletes who wish to reach higher levels of competition,  hiring a personal coach may be necessary for continued success.  Most people assume that since they've done it on their own so far, they can continue do so, but good coaches do more than just hold a stopwatch.

How do I find a coach?

Keep in mind that you're probably not going to find the perfect coach in your first Google search.  It can take weeks or months to find someone who compliments your training style.  Start by contacting your local clubs, many have individual or group training sessions that you can get for a reasonable price.  Ideally you should choose someone who has a few years of experience, a good knowledge of your sport, and is someone with whom you feel you can have a good coach-athlete relationship.

What are the benefits?

With the right coach, an athlete can get objective, honest feedback from someone who has a greater breadth of knowledge than they've got.  Coaches can help you improve form, construct an individualized training program, recommend cross-training activities, and advise you on nutrition and hydration during training or competitions. For most athletes who wish to compete at higher levels, coaches can also be the person to teach the athlete to listen to their bodies in determining when to ignore the pain and when it's essential for your body to rest. 

How much will it cost?

Many coaches will charge based on their experience or reputation, while other coaches will accommodate athletes on a budget.  Expect to spend between $100-150 a month for a coach although prices vary depending on the level of coaching you require.  Even for beginners, sometimes spending money on professional instruction is an added motivation to stick to their new training routines.  Online coaches come at a lower cost and may not be as effective as having someone in-person giving you feedback, but videotaping your training and posting it online can help the process as well.

With a little patience, determination and a variety of options in clubs, gyms and online, it shouldn't be hard to find the right coach to suit your needs.

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Cross K. Carving Out Your Coaching Niche. IDEA Trainer Success. June 2007;4(3):1.
2. Lena F. Characteristics of Self-focused, Task-focused, and Athlete-focused Coaches. ICHPER -- SD Journal. Fall2004 2004;40(4):11-15.
3. Mageau G, Vallerand R. The coach-athlete relationship: a motivational model. / La relation entraineur / athlete: un modele de motivation. Journal Of Sports Sciences. November 2003;21(11):883-904.
4. Manfre P, Titlebaum P. Performance Enhancement for Athletes: Hiring a Strength Coach Outside Of the College or Professional Setting. Applied Research In Coaching & Athletics Annual. 2005;20:181-189.
5. Wertheim L. What a racket: are personal coaches really necessary on tour? And if they are, why can't they coach when players need them most?. Sports Illustrated. January 31, 2005;102(4):78.

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