Hire a Coach. The right way. (1)

Filip Taylor

We’ve dunked on opportunistic overcoaching enough in our previous articles. Let’s talk about when to hire a coach – and why.

A coach will always benefit you but there’s a time and place for everything, and a coach will benefit you in different ways at each stage of your journey.

As a beginner, your local BWL registered club coach would be your first point of call. Learning the movements correctly, in person, will progress your weightlifting exponentially quicker than an online sessions with an Olympian. Again, time and place. When first starting out, go local. You’re never far from a CrossFit box nowadays if you can’t get to a BWL club. The basics remain the same wherever you go.

Don’t wait to get to a certain ‘competence’ before looking for a coach. Its far easier, and safer, to learn movements and good technique cues with a coach to start with, than it is to un-learn bad habits later down the line.

A BWL registered club also comes with 3 key benefits.

  1. It requires someone to have completed a BWL Level 2 coaching qualification, meaning there’s likely at least a few competitive lifters at the club and a coach who can help you out if you too decide to compete.
  2. The ‘team’ atmosphere you develop training with fellow weightlifters is something you won’t get at a Globo gym and atmosphere is everything. Arguably more important than a coach.
  3. It’s likely they’ll have beginner friendly equipment at the gym such as varied weight barbells, PVC pipes and most importantly a structured class timetable.

Beginners’ - main thing to look for is a personable and communicative coach with a good discussion process. Knowing that you can bring things up with your coach for a reasonable and understanding back-and-forth is the main thing to look for.

You don’t know enough to evaluate a coach right now, nor do you need the ‘best’ coach. The most important thing you can do is work with a good person. That’s all it takes, and you need to respect their approach, more than their thesis on what makes an elite athlete.

As an intermediate lifter, a coach will teach you the basics of programming, point out technique flaws and guide you once you start needing more structure to your training than you did as a beginner.

This is the point at which you can make or break a weightlifting career, so absorb information like a sponge, stay humble and stay an intermediate for as long as possible. There’s nothing fun about training like an advanced lifter. Advanced just means it takes you several months to hit a PB. Allow yourself to be an intermediate lifter first. It’s an education process through this phase!

As an advanced lifter, you’re likely self-sufficient for the most part, but a coach will provide an external pair of eyes and second opinion. You may know where things go wrong in your lifts or training in general, but you might not be addressing the actual issue.

A coach will help you squeeze every last bit out of your performance. That doesn’t just mean fine-tuning your technique but also programming to ensure you peak perfectly for competitions – and that’s why the standards for an advanced level coach are higher. You want a coach with a history of landing the best performances for their athlete at the biggest comp(s) of the year.

So, as an athlete. How do you find a ‘good’ coach?

Well, firstly, you have to ask yourself. What do you want?

If your ambitions rest on international competition and the Olympic games. Your choice of coach is rather crucial and likely the most important decision you make as a weightlifter. But if you’re a recreational gym goer, weightlifting simply because you enjoy the sport and the benefits it has to offer, your choice of coach likely isn’t that important.

Either way, find your local BWL registered club and coach first, you can always build up from there.

If/once you need to, or decide to look around for your ideal coach… we’ll cover some points to consider in Part 2.

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Hire a Coach. The right way. (1)


What to look for in a Coach (2)

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