What Makes a Great Coach?
By Bryan Troianello
What makes a great coach? Is it being a great athlete? Not always, otherwise every great athlete would be a great coach. Is it passion? No, otherwise every internet warrior on a forum would make a great coach. Is it experience? Sometimes, but experience doesn’t mean that you have been successful, just that you have tried a bunch of times. Is it intelligence? That depends, an analogy that I use often is “if you take the best engineers in the world and tell them to build a car they would build a terrible car. Why? Because they are not car guys.” How about being a good teacher? Though important, that doesn’t mean you know anything about the point you are trying to get across.
To be a great coach is to combine of all these things. I’ve seen some of the best athletes in the world struggle at teaching because what they are trying to teach comes very naturally to them. You need passion to dive into a subject, learn as much as you can yourself, which also means constantly learning. You need to be intelligent, to know what works and what does not work, when you need to push and when you are pushing an athlete too far. In a sport like bodybuilding where there are “no rules” it is easy to push too far. Many coaches push for quick results because unfortunately Instagram and the rest of the internet has promoted instant gratification such as transformation Tuesday and everything leaning towards quick progress. When the reality is yes you can push training and supplementation short term and make short term progress but at what cost? I don’t know about you, but I want to be doing this when I am old, I want to train with my daughter when she is my age and eventually be the “old guy” at the gym that everyone looks up to because I did it the right way and still look great.
Lastly I do think it is important that a coach has put themselves through a process at least as difficult as what they are asking of their athletes. I know how it feels to do hours of cardio while starving, pushing weights that can crush me, taking care of a family all while needing to be productive at a full time job.