As an athlete is the programme the most important part of your training or is it the coaching? Let’s look at programming. A programme will get a person fitter, no matter what programme it is, as long as it’s consistent and progressive. It also has to be relative to what the athlete needs; there is no point a powerlifter following a marathon programme and expecting results in powerlifting. Programming has also to take into consideration the fact that the athlete will have weaknesses to work on and that there needs to be time built in for recovery. This can mean that generic programming may not be the best idea for everyone in your gym (this will be another blog post).
So programming can and will get you fitter; it doesn’t matter which program but the more personal it is the better. Personal programmes will address weaknesses and be specific to your own personal goals. However, even with this personalised programming you can and will get to a point where you will stall at a certain level, or worse case you’ll get injured.
Why? If you are not getting coached you will either be performing exercises with bad technique which could lead to injury or due to poor mechanics you’ll stall at a certain level of competency. If you don’t have a coach you are more likely to lose motivation when you do stall in your fitness journey because there is no-one to help you problem-solve. A coach will also address your weaknesses and guide you in the direction you need to go to improve whilst also protecting you from serious injury.
Now let’s talk about coaching. Many coaches will say they coach and many of you will say you attend coached classes but this is far from true. If you are a coach and you coach a class on your own with more than 10 people (and that number is being generous) I would say you are not coaching, yes you may throw the odd “cue” out there at people or tell the odd person that they need to work on something but is this really coaching? If you coach a class properly you should be mentally and physically tired and need a rest once it is over. If you coach a second class after the first they will not receive the same attention as the first because you should be fatigued from the first. If you train through the class with them, then you are just a member. If you see bad movement and address it with a cue but then with no further coaching or method to address why the fault is there in the first place then you are not doing your job.
In my eyes, the coaching is just as important as programming. They go together like yin and yang. Without one, the other is not useless but will give you substandard results and possibly could lead to an injury.
In short, if you can’t get both find a good coach…