Do good athletes automatically make good coaches?  Does someone who is extremely fit make an expert fitness coach?  The simple answer is not necessarily.  They might do but there isn’t a direct correlation.  Why is this?  The skill set required to be an outstanding athlete is quite different from the skills required by an elite coach.  Some elite athletes can transition into elite coaching roles but it takes time.  Many also fail.  Some elite coaches were / are very average athletes.

At NK Fitness we place a premium upon coaching first and foremost.  All of our mobile personal trainers working in Ascot and the surrounding area are masters at the craft of coaching.  Here we look at the key differences required to perform at the top level as an athlete versus a coach.


Differences between performing and coaching

Ever wonder why elite gymnastics coaches don’t look at all like they were ever elite gymnasts?  This seems to especially true in Women’s gymnastics at the elite end of the sport.  It is not the job of the elite coach to perform upon the competitive stage.  Broadly speaking, their role is to prepare others for this task.  The elite athlete needs to hone the physical, mental and emotional qualities for elite performance.  They do this through a range of training, lifestyle, nutritional and medical habits or behaviours.  The elite athlete has to be in tune with themselves on all of these levels.  Therefore, high level performers are often very self focussed.

In contrast, elite coaches need to be able to focus upon others, namely their athletes.  They must be able to identify, plan and implement effective training strategies and interventions that improve an athletes performance.  Elite coaching requires an in depth understanding of key performance indicators and an outstanding ability to relay this to athletes in order to effect change.


Potential benefits of coaches being performers

Surely there are some benefits of being a performer when it comes to coaching?  Yes of course.  However, these only come into play if the ex athlete has the basic coaching skills in place.  High level performers command a lot of respect.  This can be very motivating to athletes aspiring to reach the same level.  However, all coaches are ultimately judged on their ability to coach rather than their playing record as an athlete.

Former or current athletes possess unique insights into the sport that coaches may not have experienced.  Therefore, high performance athletes can empathise with their athletes in certain situations.  Small details like this can strengthen the coach athlete relationship and enhance the coaches effectiveness.


When it comes to selecting a personal trainer or fitness coach one of the most important considerations is to think ‘coaching’.  They must be an excellent coach first and foremost.  How much of the personal training industry is judged by looks alone.  That model in the shop window of Sweaty Betty may not have the first clue on how to get you fit!  You need to find out.  Personal training is about the client – it’s not about how well the trainer is doing.  For a free, no obligation consultation on how we might be able to coach you to better fitness click here.