Six Crucial Skills You Must Develop To Be An Effective Trainer

Having a certification and being in shape don’t automatically qualify a person to be a trainer. After all, training is much more than counting reps and putting together movements in a rep scheme. Below are six skills a person absolutely must have to work effectively with clients.

1. Teaching

While it’s important to understand anatomy and physiology, using too many clinical terms when working with your clients is sure to confuse them. (You’d be amazed at the number of PhD’s out there who have trouble teaching a basic squat.) Instead, dial back the big words and think about how you’d present the information if you were teaching a second grader. Then go with that. It’s how we train all of our coaches to explain movement!

Tip: Keep It Simple!

2. Seeing

During any move there are two types of movement to watch: Static and Dynamic. (Of these two, dynamic can be more difficult to see and assess since the person is in motion. Two important keys to “seeing” better are:

  • Knowing how the proper movement should look.
  • Putting in countless hours actively watching movement (purposefully studying both the static and the dynamic forms).

Tip: When leading a large group, scan the whole group for Static position at the start and finish. During the Dynamic Phase, focus on one individual only. It isn’t practical to try and assess more than one at a time.

3. Correcting

Identify the issue that’s causing the mechanical/movement issue, then communicate the FIX, not the problem. Watch the client perform the movement again, and reassess.

Tip: Short, actionable cues work best. They can be verbal, visual or tactile. The goal of the cue is to produce the correct result.

4. Group and/or Gym Management

Come to each session prepared and with a game plan from warmup through workout. This will help you keep things running smooth and safely. Being prepared also lowers your stress level and allows you to have fun with your athletes.

5. Presence and attitude.

Are you having issues with retention in a specific class but it’s your most knowledgeable employee? I would say it’s safe to say there is an issue with this person’s presence and/or attitude. If you are a younger coach this is the area that will allow you to develop as a trainer while have good retention.

Tip: Have a running joke with your members and keep them smiling the entire hour (which they will likely do each time their hard work helps them hit a goal). A great quote to live by is: “They won’t remember what you did for them, but they will remember how you made them feel.”

6. Demonstration

How do you move? Are you setting a good example for your athlete? If you said no, then you need to work on your own movement. Being aware of your flaws is key to your development. I learned a great strategy after a surgery. Unable to demonstrate movements myself, I would use individual athletes in my class to help demo what I wanted. It was great because it forced me to figure out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, and it gave them opportunities to stand in the spotlight. Who doesn’t love showing off what they are good at?

Tip: It’s useful to exaggerate a move to clearly demonstrate what is expected.

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