The Art of Coaching: It Isn’t Cheerleading

The Art of Coaching: It Isn’t Cheerleading

Today’s post will be short.

There’s no denying that coaching is an art: we plan drills, program fitness programs, teach lifts, and play the part of psychologists.

And I’d argue that psychology is one the of the most critical components.

I was inspired to write this piece after a recent conversation with a fellow strength coach. We were discussing the myriad of athletes and their responses to different styles of coaching.

At our facility, our culture is based on grit, passion, and hard work. If athletes can’t handle it, we tell them they belong to a strength coach that pats them on the back 24/7/365.

And my fellow colleague made an excellent point during our discussion:

“Athletes aren’t coming here to be told ‘good job’ all the time. They’re coming here to be corrected and pushed.”


Personally, I’ve become a lot stricter on my athletes. Not only does this propel them to become better athletes, but also better people.

If a kid can’t learn to take criticism, then the rest of life’s oscillations and adversities may prove tough. Hard working athletes = hard working students, professionals, and people.

As an example, we had a group of 30 soccer girls do off-season training at our facility. When they were told they were wrong in an agility drill, half of the girls slouched. Later, we found out that group said we were “too mean.”

The other half, however, asked for feedback and what actionable steps they could do to execute the drill better.

Which segues me to another point. It’s okay to be strict on your athletes as long as you aren’t yelling or emotionally abusing (this is the scope of another post).

Always remember: the point of coaching is to teach and correct. Weak athletes will respond with poor body language, and elite athletes will adopt fervor and confidence.

And lastly, kids’ parents aren’t paying money for a cheerleader. They’re paying for a coach.

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