Tip: Painful Advice for New Coaches & Trainers

New to coaching? Want to train top athletes? Here's a reality check.

Tags ,

The Entitled Newbie Coach

Coach Mike Boyle tells a story about a hotshot intern who, at the end of his first day, asked when he was going to be handed his first professional athlete to train. Mike's response was a combination of raucous laughter and the sound you make when a chicken bone gets lodged in your larynx.

Sadly, this isn't a rare occurrence. The overwhelming sense of entitlement by some trainers/coaches in the fitness industry is off the charts. This isn't to say that your goal shouldn't be to train pro athletes. More power to you if that's what you want to do.

What's irritating is when 1) new trainers expect to be handed a million dollar arm on the first day as if it's a normal occurrence and 2) it's beneath them to slum it in the trenches and train "regular" people.

To put things into perspective, I didn't train my first pro athlete until I was six years into my career, and it was never a goal of mine in the first place. Up until I started training professional baseball players in 2007, I worked with many different people from many walks of life (and I still do) and considered it an honor that anyone would pay me to write their programs.

If you're a young fitness professional with bills to pay, are you really going to play the uppity douche card and flip your nose up at the regular Joe who just wants to lose some fat?

What's more, entitled trainers are more concerned with when they're going to write the next great e-book, despite never having actually trained anyone... ever. Like in real life. Worse still, many suffer from grand delusions of four-hour workweeks and six-figure salaries and feel they're beyond putting in the work like everyone else.

We have trainers out there who, when asked to name the muscles of the rotator cuff, will stumble over their words (that's like, in the shoulder, right?), yet feel they're ready to grace the world with an e-book or that they're owed a client roster of pro athletes because they have an Instagram account. These guys are concerned with building a "brand," not building a foundation of knowledge and skills.

Unfortunately, we live in an era where a person's number of Twitter followers–or perceived popularity–carries more weight than their actual work. You can buy Twitter follows. You can't buy experience.

And we can't forget the coaches who are fervent readers with a wealth of book knowledge, yet have little or no experience putting what they read into action.

They're analogous to the "financial wizard" who promises you the secrets to being a millionaire, yet has filed for bankruptcy twice. Or the "relationship expert" who's memorized the Kama Sutra, yet has never gotten past second base.

I've seen interns come in with an impressive resume, but when asked to take a 14-year old client through some deadlift troubleshooting, collapse under the pressure.

Experience does matter. Get some.