It’s can be easy to get lost in the crowd when doing group fitness training. Group training has many advantages but also some potential pitfalls. It also provides a number of challenges for the coach or fitness trainer. Here, we look at the main issues and how to help clients manage them so that they get the most from training.
Strength in numbers with group fitness training
The strength of the wolf is in the pack. Working alongside like minded people, whether its a fitness class or squad conditioning session, provides support to the individual. Individuals work together to achieve the outcomes of the training session. There’s also comfort in knowing that others are experiencing the same level of sweat and discomfort! This is especially true of group fitness training sessions!
In the context of strength and conditioning, or team training, a group of athletes allows for more sport specific drills and games. For example, we use small sided conditioning games as part of our fitness training for football teams.
The challenges posed by training in groups
It can be easy to get lost in the crowd as part of group. Become the ‘grey man’ that goes unnoticed. There will always be an athlete that demands a little more attention from the coach. This, in turn, takes a coaches attention away from coaching other individuals. This tends to happen to those athletes that perform exercises well enough to be left to work independently.
From the strength and conditioning coaches perspective groups offer up unique challenges. With higher numbers, a premium is placed upon ensuring that the session flows and runs smoothly. Ensuring the everyone understand the instructions and nature of the practice is easier said than done. Simply keeping the session on track can take a lot of a coaches attention.
The primary role of the coach is to coach
Outside of ensuring that a group fitness training session is safe and effective the primary role of the coach is to coach athletes / clients. Every athlete is unique and therefore requires unique coaching input. The coach of a group fitness session must make sure that they get around everyone, offering appropriate coaching input. Each athlete must leave the session improved in some way from when they entered it.
One important aspect of coaching an individual is to manage their expectations relative to only themselves. By this we mean, not worrying about what everyone else is doing. Comparing oneself to others can be debilitating and counterproductive. Athletes are competitive by nature. However, in order to be competitive in competition athlete must be self centred in training. After all, improving their own performance capacity is the only way to become more competitive. Focussing upon someone else’s training performance does not improve your own.