Bad Strength Coach? Bad Coaching & How to Not Be Bad

Niki & CJ discuss what makes a bad strength coach and how to avoid the pitfalls of bad coaching. Being not bad, a very good place to start.

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Bad Strength Coaching

Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced a bad professional at one time or another. Whether they were unprofessional, rude, incompetent, sleezy, inattentive, we can all relate to the experience of knowing we’re dealing with a bad professional.
So what makes a bad strength coach?
Bad barbell coaches fall short in at least one area of coaching.
  • professionalism
  • competence
  • integrity
  • client-centeredness

Professionalism, Integrity, Competence

You can be professional and have integrity on day one as you coach your friend.

Take what you’re doing seriously and commit to learning. Show up on time. Wear appropriate clothing.

Honest and integrity go toward professionalism, but as a coach people are trusting you with their time, body, goals, and money. Respect these.

Furthermore, tell the truth about your current experience & competency level. If someone asks you a question about something outside your expertise, be honest that you’ve never dealt with that but you can look into it. If it’s completely outside your scope or something you don’t want to deal with, you might look up some sources or professionals they can look to to learn more.

For competence, of course, tell the truth about your competence, but if you’ve never lifted and have no direction to provide for a lifter, you probably shouldn’t coach. Learn some teaching progressions and cues, have some understanding of common programming adjustments and problems you’ll encounter, and commit to learning.


You can’t coach without clients, and you’re ultimately working to accomplish your clients’ goals.

It may be true that more well-known coaches can be selective about who they coach and can say “my way or the highway.”

If this is you and you’re doing okay for yourself, then great, but more than likely you haven’t developed “a way” and you need to understand and appreciate your clients’ needs and goals.

If you never examine your coaching and always blame the client, you’re not improving. Don’t do this.

When a client asks a question or suggests they’re not quite happy with how things are going, don’t dive into defensiveness. Embrace the discomfort, and consider what you could have done better. What can you learn? Take it as an opportunity.




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