Champions don't make the best coaches
So you can talk, walk, run, and jump - but can you teach someone else how to do it?
If you've been doing something for so long that no conscious effort is required, it's not always easy to remember what it felt like before you knew how to do it.
You don't need to be a champion to be a great coach. In fact, many champions don't make good coaches. If you spend years as a top level athlete, you can lose touch with what it feels like to be a beginner.
For example, some of the most helpful Kettlebell Sport coaching I've gotten is from my friend Naomi Kooiker. You probably don't recognize her name - she's not a World Champion in the sport. She competed at the World Championships in Dublin where she did 49 repetitions in 24kg Snatch. She is the coach of a small team at Jaap's Gym in the Netherlands.
While Naomi's numbers in the sport are by no means world class, she executes great technique and has an extremely sharp eye for pinpointing technical faults. Naomi has the experience of lifting and training at the Professional level, coupled with a great natural coaching ability. She spends hours watching videos of Kettlebell Sport athletes, writing training programs for the sport, and coaching her athletes (two of which competed at the Professional level in Dublin with good results). In my opinion, Naomi is a great coach - even though she is not a champion.
This is not to say that champions can't be good coaches. However, more important than a coach's personal competition results is their ability to teach in a way that resonates with you, and their understanding of who you are as a person and how you learn.
What are the attributes of a good Kettlebell Sport coach?
- Understanding of and ability to execute all Kettlebell Sport lifts.
- Understanding the Physics concepts behind the pendulum and biomechanical efficiency.
- Good eye for picking out technical nuances on lifters of various body types.
- Ablility to adapt teaching style depending on athlete's skill level and learning style.
- Usage of appropriate and effective cues.
- Ability to write a training program that progresses athletes in a safe, rational manner taking into account their abilities and lifestyle.
How do you find a Kettlebell Sport coach?
The best way to learn technique is to work with a coach in person. Someone who has a track record in effective coaching, which you can determine through their athletes' results and testimonials about their teaching abilities.
Online coaching can be effective, but in my personal opinion it only works successfully when the athlete has already reached a certain level of proficiency and mostly requires programming guidance.
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