Coaches are on the front line, day in, day out, helping train our athletes right from being tiny tots, to competing on the World Stage.
It seems that the industry is happy for them to be responsible for the majority of the movement those individuals do…until they get hurt.
Then coaches are taught that injuries aren’t their responsibility and they should find alternative exercises until such time that the individual can seek professional help.
And that’s fine. In an ideal world.
I completely agree that it is NOT the responsibility of coaches to try and FIX injuries (be VERY wary of those who claim to be able to and if they haven’t got any qualifications to back it up – run. Run away!).
When an individual has pain, it is only right and fair that they get advice from the people who know the most about the issues they’re having, leaving the coaches to get on with coaching.
You see it’s a team.
Teamwork gone wrong
Individuals, coaches and therapists, all working together to help the individual reach their potential.
Except it doesn’t really work.
Once a person has pain, they stop training, or are put on modified activities until it gets sorted out.
But by doing this, the coach gets left out of the loop.
They might be able to programme a little, depending on the severity of the problem, but usually, the coach is waiting on the go ahead from the therapist for the athlete to resume training.
This has GOT to stop.
By excluding the coach in this way, the whole system breaks down.
You see, coaches are the ones who dictate HOW an athlete moves. They say how many reps and they say how long the session is.
They are also responsible for how an athlete THINKS about what they’re doing.
These two things make them a powerful force when it comes to injuries.
Their practices shape the habits and attitudes of their athletes, whether they say anything or not.
In the same way that a parent teaches a child that they don’t really mean it if they say “no”, and let it happen anyway, a coach influences attitudes towards various elements of the session.
An example would be if the coach pays more attention to the main work out than anything else (despite doing all the other appropriate parts), they are teaching the athlete that the workout is the most important thing, and the other elements don’t matter so much.
If this pattern is reinforced each time an athlete attends a session, eventually it will lead to behaviours such as missing out stretches and cool downs.
I did a quick survey a couple of weeks ago for both coaches and individuals, and EVERY SINGLE person who responded declared that they thought they were responsible for injuries.
But how can a coach do anything about injuries if they are left out of the loop once they happen?
And how can they use their extensive influence to create better habits if they’re not even aware that it’s happening?
The Current Solution
Coaches can do all sorts of courses to become someone else.
They can become a Pilates or Yoga teacher to become “qualified” in adding more flexibility into their sessions.
They can do Specialist Instructor courses to learn more about injuries.
But these courses are expensive, time consuming and leading coaches away from what they love (coaching their sport).
In all of these cases, once qualified, coaches are then left to figure out how to cross their skills over to create unified sessions. Which often doesn’t work. Sessions become fragmented as coaches try to include a bit of each skill (at least until they get more experienced), which is frustrating for the athletes, who often just want to get on with their training – or the athletes are advised that they need to add more sessions to focus specifically on the new topic (eg. Yoga/Pilates/Injury), which adds time pressure to already time-poor people.
And what about the volunteer coaches?
Where’s the structure for them to learn more?
A Better Solution?
The problem with the current solution is that in each situation, the coach has to learn a different style of coaching.
They’re taught the new “method” and left to fend for themselves when in comes to making a cross-over or blurring the boundaries.
There’s also a very strong focus on doing the new style “correctly” – because that’s the theme of the industry (after all, if we were all moving “correctly”, we wouldn’t need to pay anyone to teach us how to do it).
This gives rise to the belief that there’s ONE method that is THE way to fix the issue of injuries.
But that’s not true, otherwise injuries wouldn’t be happening anymore – and clearly they are.
But what if the coach could use the framework of how they’re coaching now, making some very simple tweaks that are HUGELY powerful when it comes to injury prevention?
What if they didn’t need to know anything about injuries to make a difference?
What if every single session they taught was based on injury prevention and the athletes couldn’t even tell?
What if this information was easily to accessible to ALL coaches, at whatever level – volunteer or not, and it cost less than a meal out?
That’s exactly what the SMARTT™ Coach Level 1 course is.
Simple. Accessible. Affordable.
It’s my aim to get this information to every coach in the country so that coaches can stop being left out of the injury loop.
We need to stop ignoring the most powerful asset we have in the injury cycle, because coaches are the ones who have the most influence on whether injuries happen in the first place or not.
It’s time to wake the industry up.
It’s time to ruffle a few feathers.
It’s time to make a change.