In this part of the UpCoach overview series we start with the base of the pyramid, safety. I’ll begin with some advice I was given by my friend who owns one the most successful restaurants in a city where I used to live. ‘Ray, don’t ever let a customer leave unhappy…EVER! If people leave happy, they’ll only tell a few people about their experience…if they leave mad, they’ll tell fifty.’ Hurting someone because you’ve pushed them too hard or didn’t allow them to work through the proper progressions is a fantastic way to make sure your clients won’t come back, or many others.
Two ideas form the base of the UpCoach model, acute and chronic training load. Acute training load refers to what the athlete experiences in a single session, or a week of sessions. Did you teach them the proper way to squat with good form so they didn’t get hurt? Did you figure out the exact right weight for them to use in the WOD to make sure they were able to target the ‘why’ of the workout? Did you scale the exercise properly so they were able to perform the movements? Did you warm everyone up properly to be able to handle the tasks and movements? These are some of the considerations a good coach will make to ensure that each athlete experiences a class that gets them to bend, but also makes sure they don’t break.
Chronic training load is how an athlete experiences the classes that they attend from week to week, month to month and year to year. Are you making sure that a beginner isn’t going flat out, 7 days a week, doing ‘two a days’? (You know how that story ends.) Are you making sure that your clients’ deadlift technique is good enough to support how strong they’ll be three years from now? Are you making sure that your clients are slowly adding volume to their training programs from week to week and have the ability to recover with proper rest and nutrition? Is your gym following a periodized training plan that has the explicit goal of maximizing health/performance outcomes while reducing long term injuries?
Not only do you need to understand how to keep clients safe, productive and moving forward inside the 60 minutes of the class, you’ll have to make sure all of those things are happening over a multi-year time frame. Start with the fundamentals of movement, make sure you can scale properly, understand the ‘why’ of the workout, and then become familiar with the principles of periodization and long term athlete development.