My 3 Biggest Coaching Mistakes

In most parts of my profession, you can probably label me a "Boyle" guy.  

What does that mean?  Well, usually that means you have a penchant for single leg work, but I like to think it also applies to several other areas - one being that you're not afraid to admit when you're wrong.

Mike Boyle has famously changed his opinion on a ton of exercises and philosophies, and for that reason, he tends to catch a lot of flak.  But, if you got cojones, and are truly forward thinking, then you shouldn't be afraid to admit when you're wrong.  After all, I look at programs I wrote 6 months ago and think "what in the heck was I thinking?"  

To be totally honest, I've made more than 3 mistakes (a whole heap of a lot more), and by sharing these it's my hope that it'll help me grow as a professional.  I never want to be too much of an "expert" to ever stop learning and growing.  And so, here we go:

1. Putting too much of an emphasis on corrective exercise, rather than making people sweat.

 You killed it on  those leg lowers and dead bugs today.  Go ahead, do it.

You killed it on  those leg lowers and dead bugs today.  Go ahead, do it.

Don't get me wrong, corrective exercise definitely has its place, but I'm pretty sure no one has ever said the following: "I really killed it on those t-spine rotations today. Bro high five!" 

Suffice to say, when people come to see me, they want a workout.  I could put my clients through a series of tests and assessments only to find that they lack internal rotation in their right leg, their scapula wings medially, and that their left nostril is clogged.  But, what's the real point?  There was a time when I felt it was needed for me to correct all of their issues.  Now, I believe that my role is to give them a program that keeps in mind all of their restrictions.  After all, movement should be corrective, and most people don't get nearly enough of it.

2. Over-cueing the deadlift.

Even the best intentions can have a poor result, and one example where this rings true for me is the deadlift.  Early on I drank too much of the "don't ever round your back when you deadlift, lest you will shame your entire family and shatter your spine." kool-aid.  In truth, everyone's spine is different and what is neutral for one person may make their back look like a question mark, while someone else's neutral may be completely flat.  

 Besides not packing his neck, it looks like he may be in hyperextension through his spine.  But, you can't know for sure unless you assess him!

Besides not packing his neck, it looks like he may be in hyperextension through his spine.  But, you can't know for sure unless you assess him!

Now, I tend to use time spent elsewhere to determine what is "neutral" for that person, and cueing them appropriately.  Why?  Over-arching your back on a deadlift can be just as bad as a rounded back deadlift, and I've seen the sore backs to prove it.

3. Having the curse of knowledge.

On that note, I'm pretty sure every trainer goes through the following train of thought: "I need to sound smart to impress my clients, because if I sound smart, they know I'm smart....and then they'll want me to train them!"

Well, that's just not how it goes in real life.  As Mike Boyle has said before, "No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care."  And amen to that.

Is sounding smart the real marker of intelligence?  I don't think so.  Instead, I believe it's having the ability  to break larger concepts down to something even a 2nd grader can understand.  After all, if no one else can understand it, how do they know you're smart in the first place?

Nowadays, I get through what I can with a client, and don't necessarily worry what they think.  If they think I'm smart, all the better....and if not? Well, I'm comfortable with the "meathead" title.