Who is a Coach?

Who is a coach?

Because we are celebrating National Coaches’ Week (Sept 18-26, 2021) this week, we thought we’d look into what makes a great coach.  

In most jobs, you are given a specific title, e.g. exercise therapist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, massage therapist, athletic therapist, aroma therapist that describes your training and what you do.  Coaches work in many different contexts and have many different levels of training, but they are all referred to as “coaches”.

“Coach” can describe what level of the gymnasts they train: Recreational (Parent & Tot, Beginner, Advance), Competitive, Interclub, Provincial, or National.  

“Coach” can refer to various levels of education and training: In-Training, Trained, Certified, or Master.   

“Coach” can refer to a particular sport (like RG) or a specific sub-set of athletic abilities, like Strength & Conditioning, or Flexibility.

To give us some help, we’ve asked our Foundations coaches-in-training over the last few years to draw who a “coach” is.  Here are some of the most common descriptions we’ve come across.

A coach is someone who…

Is kind/caring

Coaches aim to treat their participants as PEOPLE first, gymnasts second.  They ask how you’re doing and show interest in your hobbies and experiences outside the gym as well as inside.

Is strong (physically)

If you’ve ever watched a recreational class, you’ve seen a coach run, jump, skip, throw, twirl a ribbon with the gymnasts while calling out instructions, feedback and encouragement.  That takes a high level of fitness!  Coaches at higher levels sometimes spot or assist gymnasts with their skills and that can take a lot of strength.

Is knowledgeable 

The National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) aims to develop coaching competency – basically, a life-long appreciation for knowledge and learning.  Coaches can take various courses that emphasize physiology, motor learning, leadership, nutrition, psychology, managing conflict and developing athletic abilities (to name a few) to help improve their general knowledge.  On top of that, coaches also take sport-specific courses (courses in rhythmic gymnastics) to help develop knowledge about their sport.  Coaches may not know the answer to every question, but they sure do make an effort to be as knowledgeable about their sport as they can be!

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Is keen to learn new things

Many coaches continue taking courses and attending workshops long after they’ve been certified.  There’s always something new to try – whether it’s a new skill from a high level gymnast on YouTube or a podcast about strength training in gymnastics, coaches often strive to go that extra mile.

Is encouraging

Coaches are ALWAYS talking!  They give a lot of instructions and a lot of feedback throughout a class.  Most often, coaches try to find ways to inspire and encourage their gymnasts to grow and become better.

Lends a hands

Coaches often step in – to give a pat on the back, a high-5, or stand in for a missing group member during an exchange.

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Is inclusive

Coaches find as many ways as possible to make sure everyone is successful and active throughout class.  They create activities to challenge ALL levels and abilities.  They use different teaching methods.  They find music of different genres and styles to encourage gymnasts to move in different ways.

(Last, but not least) Is a leader

Of course, coaches stand at the front of the class and lead…but they also do so much more.  They set the example they want their gymnasts to follow.  They motivate and inspire with words and actions.  They help to create a sense of team and belonging, a gymnastics family so to speak.

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So, coaches are a lot of things to a lot of people.

Let us know what your coach means to you (ellie.rgalberta@gmail.com)