Coaching and cheerleading…there’s a BIG difference. Coaching involves teaching, a good eye, cueing, more teaching, a better eye, and more cueing. It takes a long time to become a coach, and an even longer time to become a good or great coach. Everyone, however, can be a cheerleader and yell “Pick up the bar!”
Let’s look at cheerleaders first. I love the fact that anyone and everyone will push you to go faster and harder or lift heavier during a WOD. All that yelling can get the adrenaline pumping and be great motivation…and motivation is great! But, you don’t need your coach to be a cheerleader. You need your coach to fucking coach you. Your friends encouragement is free. You pay your coach.
Let’s define these differences a little more.
Cheerleading: Come on. Pick up the bar. Let’s go. Almost done. Rest is coming.
Coaching: Knees out. Chest up. Heels. Hips. Flat back. Jump and shrug. Speed through the middle. Long straight arms. Shoulders back. Dip drive. Stay aggressive. Head through. Drive under. Breath and fire.
Can you see the differences? Anyone can be a cheerleader. My 63 year old mom can come cheer anyone on any day of the week, but she’s never coached a day in her life. Anyone finishing the wod before you can cheer and we are glad for that push. But when you are going through a brutal WOD or lifting heavy weight you need to hear cues, even if you have done the movement 100s or 1000s of times. Hearing how to move more efficiently and safely is vital.
You may have heard the Mark Rippetoe quote, “Bad form in the gym is caused by insufficient yelling.” He didn’t mean cheerleading, he meant coaching. If you are a coach, or call yourself a coach, and just sit idly by while people butcher form and you say shit like “keep it up, almost done”, you’re only kidding yourself, you are not a coach, just a fucking cheerleader.
Coaches must be able to see as well. You can’t learn what you think you already know and you can’t see or teach it either. Having a good coaching eye takes time. Our good friend Jerry Hill, CF Old Town was quoted saying this: “Do you know how they train FBI agents to catch counterfeit money? They study perfect bills. So when they see something out-of-place, they know right away it’s a fake bill. If you know perfect movement, it’s easy to pick apart the flaws.”
Teaching is the last big piece to what makes a coach and not a cheerleader.
“Do it like this.” “Watch me”.
This is not the way to teach. You should be able to break it down; in simple, doable steps, every movement you program. Know how to teach a progression for things from the squat and push up to the complex muscle-up and snatch. Don’t just show proficiency with your teaching with a pvc, but with near maximal loads. We know the pvc can be a good teaching tool, but who cares if you tear up snatch balance with a pvc but can’t handle 135? You must teach your people the basics before they get the cool advanced shit. No one learns calculus without taking algebra 1.
This is not little league t-ball…..the exact reason you need a coach, not a cheerleader. Your coach should be able to cue you on strength days as well was conditioning days, be able to see the technical mistakes you make and explain to you in layman’s terms for you to understand. They should also be able to teach you everything that is going to come up in your boxes programming from gymnastic movements to olympic lifts to kettlebell movements. If your “coach” is just cheering, maybe it’s time to reevaluate his/her role and find a real coach.
-Thanks to Sam for this Post!
Max Strength: Box Squat
Work up to a 1RM in 15 minutes
50 x Thrusters (moderate to heavy)
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