One of the great things about being a coach is that it really allows for individual personality to shine through, which allows us to all develop our own personal style of coaching. There are some common generalizations that all of us will be similar to though, and even change from one kind to another for several different reasons. From what I’ve observed there’s three broad personalities that coaches take on in some form; the scientist, the cheerleader, and the perfectionist. Each of these have their assets, but this means that they can also draw away from other things.
I’ll start with the scientist. This is usually either a coach that has been coaching for a very long time, and they’ve gotten off on a bit of a tangent with a specific concept, or someone with an extensive knowledge of anatomy. There’s a lot of knowledge in this coach, but sometimes they aren’t great at translating it because they over complicate it. Using names of specific muscles and training concepts or methods just isn’t common knowledge to the general public, and usually creates more confusion. Having a large knowledge or experience base is of course a great benefit for a coach, but only if they know how to communicate it to all different kinds of people.
Switching to the one that may be the most different in term of outward personality from the usually more subdued scientist, is the cheerleader. This coach has everybody raring to get at the workout from the moment class starts! Keeping the music up a little bit, and moving quick from one to the next to never let the atmosphere die down. There great at encouraging people to push from the very beginning of the workout to the last seconds. The downside here is that trying to keep everything moving to fast from one thing to the next could mean missing important teaching moments. Taking moments to pause, especially with highly technical movements, may slow things down, but it gives time to focus on correcting movement faults, and spending time with each athlete to get the proper scaling set up.
The final one coincidentally often comes out in the newest coaches. It’s important to make sure people are moving properly to keep them safe, but at the end of the day they’re looking to get in a workout. Spending twenty minutes with a PVC reviewing snatches can be greatly beneficial, but to most of the population it’s tedious. It can also be overwhelming to people if giving them loads of different things to focus on, so they just ignore them all and resort to their bad tendencies. Wanting people to move perfectly is totally fine, but give them time to slowly start to moving perfectly instead of trying to achieve it all in one go. Fix the most obvious or concerning fault first and let them get used to that change before moving onto the next.
Every coach is going to teach movements and run classes differently, but that’s totally fine. Yes, ideally a coach would have a perfect mix of all these aspects, and more, but that’s not realistic. I’d actually argue that every coach having a different style is more beneficial since every athlete is going to learn differently. Some prefer verbal explanations and others prefer visual. The way one coach cues a movement fault might not make immediate sense to the person, but another could give the same advice in a slightly different way that just makes it click. As long as we’re effective in bettering the individual and keeping them safe, then there’s no wrong way to coach.