Choosing a Strength and Conditioning Coach: Considerations for Parents
If you are a parent to a child athlete, you may have considered working with a strength and conditioning coach. A good coach can work with your child one-on-one to achieve personal sports performance goals, reach new levels of strength, and build confidence. However, it is important to choose the right person to work with your child, both as an athlete and as an individual. Read on to learn more.
Consider Your Goals
One of the most important elements when it comes to choosing a coach is your specific goals for your child. It is critical that you have a clear idea of what you and your child hope to accomplish through training. Strength and conditioning are great for most serious child athletes. If your child is more interested in a casual and recreational relationship with their sport, this may not be necessary. If, however, they are hoping to pursue a more serious athletic track, whether in school or as a career, a strength coach is a great idea.
Be sure to have lots of clear, communicative conversations with your child and any other adults they work with in athletics, especially coaches, before deciding to pursue strength and conditioning training. Everyone should be in agreement that your child can benefit from training and that it will not interfere with their performance in school or their mental and emotional wellbeing. This decision is extremely case-by-case and requires the thorough consideration of a number of unique factors.
Do Your Research
Now that you have decided strength coaching is a good choice for your child, you will want to try to find the right person. There are lots of options out there when it comes to training, even for child athletes. However, you need to find the right person to motivate and inspire your child individually. It is important that kids feel comfortable with the adults in their lives. You will want to do lots of research before choosing a coach to try out.
Read reviews that you can find online and check out their websites. You will likely find valuable information in testimonials and other sources of feedback. Negative reviews are likely a sign to stay away. Ask around, especially amongst the parents of other kids on your child’s sports team. It’s more than likely that you will find at least one or two solid options this way, and you can ask about their specific experience with the coach.
It is always important to vet the people you allow into your child’s life. For a strength and conditioning coach to be effective, they need to be able to help your child meet milestones. Consider asking the following questions while interviewing a new coach, in addition to any of your own:
- With which age groups do you normally work?
- Have your students succeeded in high school/college/beyond?
- How do you track and measure progress?
- How do you customize your training to each client?
- What do you do to prioritize safety?
- What types of athletes do you usually work with?
- How do you prioritize mental wellbeing?
- What are your off-season, in-season, and pre-season plans?
- How do you train around injuries?
A strength coach can be a perfect fit for one type of child athlete and not for another. Try to find a coach who has worked with a wide range of athletes or with athletes who play your child’s particular sport. They may have experience with athletes of all ages or with children in particular, but try to ensure they have at least worked with youth athletes at some point. Take a look at their credentials and the services they have listed on their website. If you are looking to train your child with a specific goal in mind – i.e. better soccer performance – you might want to try to find a strength coach who can target the muscles and abilities needed for this particular sport.
Listen to Your Child
The most critical part of choosing the right strength and conditioning coach is listening to your child. Any adult introduced into your child’s life must be trustworthy, safe, and secure. If your child feels uncomfortable or intimidated by an individual, they are likely not the right fit. An effective coach must be able to communicate openly and comfortably with an athlete so that they can work together towards a goal. If your child is unhappy working with their coach, they are unlikely to progress and meet milestones. Make sure to always listen to your child and prioritize clear communication to ensure they have access to a safe, positive role model in their coach.