Are Coaches REALLY Worth the Money?
Coaches like me are expensive. We charge big money and then turn right around and make YOU do all the work. What gives? On the surface that sounds a heck-of-a-lot like a scam!
If you peaked into the window of my gym tonight, you'd likely see me sitting on a plyo-box (sitting, mind you, not actually exercising), drinking a mocha, with my cowboy boots up on a bench out in front of me, looking very relaxed while my lifters - literally! - do all the heavy lifting.
I don't do jack while they all work their tails off - and they PAY ME for it. Why in the name of all that is good and holy do my athletes fork out the dough to hammer themselves into the ground while I chill and drink mochas?
Because without me, their rate of progress would be less than half of what it is with me. Not because I'm SO special. But because I've paid dues they won't ever have to.
Do What I Say, Not What I DID!
If you've been getting interested in CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Gymnastics, or really any fitness activity that kicks it up a notch, then you've likely been shopping around for a place to train and a coach to teach you how to do this stuff, to motivate you, and increase your rate of progress.
Here are the questions I'm sure you've asked yourself: (If you haven't, you should...they're valid!)
- Do coaches REALLY help all that much?
- Are they WORTH the money?
- Can't you just Google all the information you want and do it yourself?
Seriously, you aren't crazy for asking these questions. I'm not so greedy as to tell you that EVERY last person on this planet NEEDS an Olympic Weightlifting coach! That's stupid. Some do, some don't. You have to make a decision that is based on your own needs.
However, in order to do that, you need all the facts.
So in order to make my point, I'm going to tell you what happened to me, so that if your goals are like mine were, you can avoid the pitfalls that befell me.
I want you to follow my lead, not my example.
My Story, OR, How to Minimize Your Talent in Maximum Time
When I first decided I wanted to get into Olympic Weightlifting, I did what any member of my generation would do. I googled for a Weightlifting coach in my area.
You know what I found?
As far as I could tell, there wasn't a single coach in my area that could help me. (I found out later that if I was willing to travel a bit, I could have seen Coach Tom Hirtz, a great coach about 2 hours away from me who has become my "coaching mentor" over the years. But, I didn't know that then.)
I was stuck with books and DVDs. (Remember that this was a time before YouTube!)
That made things tough, but what was crazy was this: Even though I didn't have any idea what I was doing, I decided to start my own Olympic weightlifting club.
That's right, I wasn't satisfied with not knowing anything. I just HAD to rope in my friends and my girlfriend (now wife) into my sphere of ignorance. I used shear persistence to convince people Olympic lifting would be fun, all the while holding my tongue about the fact I didn't know what I was doing!
My lifters and I made ridiculously SLOW progress in the early years. We hadn't the faintest idea what was going on! But we were having fun, and I was progressing both as a lifter - and more importantly, as a coach. Not fast, but little by little.
Now, seven years later, I've got a thriving business, I'm a well-known Olympic weightlifting coach, and I can take any lifter farther in 3 months than I was able to take myself in 3 years.
Here's what I learned from "going my own way":
- I learned a lot about what works.
- I learned even more about what DOESN'T work.
- I have a ton of sympathy for my lifters who are struggling.
Here's what sucked about it:
- My progress was mind-numbingly slow...crazy slow!
- I got injured more often.
- I wasted away many of my prime athletic years.
Don't feel sorry for me. That's silly. I wouldn't change a thing. I'm a coach first and an athlete second. I wouldn't trade those years of in-the-trenches education away!
But if you're an athlete, you can't afford that kind of time. Don't reinvent that wheel. Buy a high-end wheel from someone else and get to racing!
The "Do I Need a Coach?" Checklist
If you answer "yes" to even a few of these questions, then you should invest in a coach. If you answer "no" to ALL of them, then maybe you can go it alone.
- Are you actively competitive in your sport?
- Do you want to be?
- Do you want fast and efficient results?
- Will you be unhappy a year from now if you are basically in the exact same place you are now? (Trust me, if you don't have a coach, there will be years at a time where your progress doesn't budge AT ALL. Guaranteed.)
For example, my lifter Brandon gained 60 kilos on his total (Snatch + Clean and Jerk) in his first year. Based on what he's been doing so far, he's on track to gain about 40k this year.
Ben snatched bodyweight in only 6 weeks and added 50 pounds to his front squat in 8 weeks.
If you're a young lifter who hopes to compete, are you making those kinds of gains?
My masters lifters often make 10k, 15k, 20k or even 30k increases per year on their totals. (Depending on age, work schedules, family life, etc, of course. Coaching Masters lifters is an art all its own.)
Are you seeing progress like that?
Anyone can make gains the first 3 to 6 months doing almost anything at all. It's a no-brainer.
It takes some serious work and planning to make rapid gains for 3 to 6 years.
A good coach will give you exactly that - if (and only if) you do everything they say!
There is a VERY high correlation between how often a lifter comes into my gym to train with me and how fast their progress is. Very very high.
I'm not unique, here. And I'm not at all saying this to toot my own horn.
ANY coach in my sport should be able to pull that off once they've gone through that pain-in-the-butt process of trial and error. But, figuring that out is HARD and extremely time consuming.
By hiring the coach you benefit from their mistakes, not just their successes. The former are FAR more important.
Now go over to Google, search for a coach in your area who teaches what you want to learn, and be happy that they're drinking their mocha while your working your buns off.
You'll thank them later.