Coach Them All The Same But Differently
As a strength and conditioning coach we build a system of how we do things. We have a plan, a script, a series of exercises or drills that athletes go through to develop themselves to the fullest. Based on experience we know that if we do X and Y we will get Z.
Make no mistake coaching is an art form and two coaches with the same athletes will get different results. Former Houston Oiler head coach Bum Phillips, a former player under Alabama’s famous Coach Paul ” Bear” Bryant said this… “Bryant can take his and beat yours, and then he can turn around and take yours and beat his.”
Doug Scott is a strength coach at the Pingry School in New Jersey, he has a solid plan for each athlete, but knows this about getting the most out of his athletes…’Long Live The Difference’
I was fortunate to learn early on in my career that there is an “art” to coaching. Good coaches have developed a style of getting the most out of their teams by having their players get the most out of themselves. Coaching is about relaying information. Knowledge is great, but if you can’t relay its value to your team…failure ensues. This is why “getting to know” your athlete’s is so important. In coaching female athletes for over 13 years I have learned that there is a coaching difference between individuals and many difference between coaching men and women.
5 subtle differences in coaching female athletes
1. Let girls talk: Whenever I meet a team on the practice field to start practice the first activity is a five minute jog around the field. Why? Because, I have learned that girls like to talk about their day with each other. The seniors on the team lead this activity. After the first five minutes, it is amazing how fast the mood shifts once we begin our exercise routine.
2. Watch what you say: Girls intellectually know the value of weight training. A stronger muscle is a healthier muscle. However, many (especially younger girls) are afraid of getting stronger and developing “man muscles.” This fear holds them back from high effort productive training. Using words like, develops explosive power, athletic muscles, or lean body mass may feed into this fear, even if the coach is well intended. Instead use; promotes tendon health, develops strength and stiffness in the muscles and develops sound work habits. A softer approach to hard training will just as effectively relay the benefits.
3. Listen, Listen, Listen: Female athletes are much better at expressing their concerns then male athletes. If something is bothering them about the program, don’t just shrug it off. Work together to find a productive alternative. Teach them how to make the program theirs by allowing them to have a say in what is done. This goes a long way.
4. Choose exercises wisely: When training girls, seek to find the minimum amount of exercises needed. Ladies would rather invest their time in the weight room than spend it. Train them hard, and train them brief. Address all the vital body areas, but do so in an efficient manner.
5. Ladies first: always remember they are young ladies and somebody else’s daughter. Treat them with respect. Teach them how to be self reliant, and teach them how to Get Strong…
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