What is the most important skill to develop early on in your coaching career?
We've been working with a few interns and new coaches recently and have been thinking quite a bit about this…
I remember being the intern. I remember not having a clue about anything. Everything seems like information overload. I think what you suck at most should be your first guide. Mine was communication and client interaction. So, that was the first thing I needed get better at. Technical skills could come later.
It seems to me that you have to develop people skills early on. No one will pay you for training if they don’t feel comfortable around you. If your technical skills are good enough and your people skills are on point, you will do just fine.
Next, what do you want to learn? Interns are typically given the same speeches about programming, exercise technique, periodization, etc. You have to learn the fundamentals but I think it should be taken a step further. Not sure what you want to learn more of? Ask very specific questions. This, I think could be the most important point. Let these questions guide your study. You will likely find yourself down a rabbit hole and once that gets boring or you feel like there is nothing left there, ask another very specific question. Don't get too hung up on broad training concepts. The more detailed questions you can ask, the more you will broaden your understanding and the better coach you will become.
Lastly, don’t be shy about asking for help. Most people out there are more than happy to share their experience and lend a hand. When I left my last job I reached out to pretty much any gym owner I could. Not one person turned down a conversation with me. I’m extremely grateful for that and I think that is mostly what the industry is full of. Get off instagram for a second. When I was at Ball State as an intern, legendary strength coach Al Vermeil spent a whole day with us and basically told us everything he thought he knew about strength and conditioning. It was awesome to hear from such a veteran.
Very last thing….experience trumps all. Go getchu some.