If you’re a sports or fitness coach who wants to level up your coaching skills, help your clients achieve as many results as possible and boost your knowledge along the way, then look no further than injury prevention.
Because, contrary to popular belief, injury prevention does not start with mobility training, stretching or even massage.
If we want to prevent something happening, we have to be looking for the clues and the signs of what makes that happen in the first place. An example of this would be the seatbelt in the car.
The whole point of wearing a seatbelt is so that you don’t go through the windscreen and end up injured, but the reason the seatbelt works so well isn’t because it stops you going through the windscreen…it’s because it stops you from leaving the seat.
The forward momentum created by the impact causes the body to leave the seat, so rather than looking at ways of improving the windscreen, or putting obstacles in front of it, the REAL solution came from looking at what happens BEFORE you hit the windscreen.
And the same can be said for preventing gradual onset sporting injuries.
Yes, the interventions we naturally think of (and mentioned before) are helpful, but they aren’t the FIRST thing that happens, and that means we can take our coaching skills AND our fitness outcomes and whole stage further.
We look for the clues in our clients’ body language and behaviour to understand their potential injury issues before they become painful – and oftentimes before our clients are even aware that they have any issues, because these are the FIRST signs of problems.
These clues can be found in the subtleties of how our clients act – for example, when they completely overreact to a tiny situation, or consistently sabotage their own progress (particularly with nutrition).
They can be found in the subtleties of how our clients sit, or stand – for example, when they stand with one leg crossed in front of the other, or when they distractedly fiddle a necklace or ring.
These small signs might not seem like they have anything to do with injury, or even coaching fitness, but these are clear signs, that I have seen countless times before, that our clients’ bodies are struggling with some kind of movement restriction.
And it’s these movement restrictions that gradually build up and eventually lead to pain.
When you are in tune with these subtle signs, you’ll be able to tailor your sessions much more effectively and, more importantly, make your clients feel safe and cared for in your sessions – which is more important than ever right now.
Will you make drastic changes to how you coach? No, but the subtle changes you do make will have a HUGE impact on your clients.
Let’s say you’ve asked a client to do a shoulder press.
They’ve done the shoulder press a thousand times before, but this time for some reason, they seem to have lost all confidence. They are telling you that they can’t do it.
If you’re not aware of the subtle clues, you might think that they’re just not motivated, so you might encourage them to try to “push through” – after all, they’ve done it a thousand times before, right?
This time it’s different.
Why? It could be a hundred different reasons, but in this case, the weight of the dumbbells increased which led your client to lose faith in their grip strength, which they’d been just about managing with up to that point – but the thought of increasing the weight pushed them that tiny bit too far.
The trouble is, they don’t want to admit it. They might not even be aware of it. So, they just tell you that they can’t do it.
But if you’re aware of the subtle clues, you’ll have noticed your client shaking their hands between sets, you’ll have noticed how curled and tense their hands are, even when they’re down by your clients’ sides – and that gives you much more power in your coaching.
Now you can look at the actions you might take. Now you can look at mobility…but through a totally different lens.
Being able to spot these subtle clues can be the difference between your clients feeling like they’ve failed at something – or not.
It’s the difference between you finishing the exercise on a perceived failure, labouring on a negative, or adding a tiny intervention that helps them succeed.
In this case, a small break from the lifting to reduce the tension in the hands, forearms and elbows, will help to restore your client’s grip strength, and build their confidence.
Oh, and of course, this tiny shift will help them to feel like you understand them and that you truly “know your stuff”, which will develop a much tighter client-coach bond.
But not every coach wants to understand their clients at this level.
Most coaches don’t even think beyond the physical aspects of exercise.
If you want to take your coaching skills to the next level, stand head and shoulders above all the other coaches out there and make even more of a difference to your clients’ lives, then I’d like to invite you to my FREE online training called “How to Squeeze Hidden Results from Your Coaching Practices (without spending ages on mobility or adding yet more jobs to your endless list)”.
You’re just the kind of coach the world needs more of – and you can grab your place on the training here
See you there!