The Biggest Mistake Coaches Can Make

What's one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a coach?

Getting carried away with the whole 'specificity' thing is, in my opinion a big BIG mistake. Whilst it's an important concept to understand we've been hijacked by the 'sports specific movement'. Far too many fitness coaches try and please the technical and tactical coaches by including drills that have less to do with strength and power development and more to do with the specifics of the sport itself. All too often I'm asked by a sports coach if I've experience working or playing in a particular sport. I fail to see what relevance that has on my ability to develop an effective strength and conditioning programme. I'm being employed as a strength and conditioning coach, not a sports coach.

If I understand the fundamental principles of training and immerse myself in the sport through a thorough needs analysis of movement patterns etc then I can coach an athlete in any sport and have a positive impact on performance. I've worked in a wide range of sports (rugby, football, cricket, judo, rowing, wrestling, taekwon-do, squash, badminton, basketball, athletics, cycling, hockey, figure skating, gymnastics, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, swimming, equestrian, golf, triathlon, thai boxing, the list goes on) and I've only ever competed in one, taekwon-do.

The fact that I'd never played netball didn't mean that I didn't know how to improve their fitness. The fact that I was a rubbish football player that couldn't get picked in my god fathers Sunday League team, didn't mean I didn't know how to prepare professional football players.

Far from being a hindrance, going into a sport without preconceptions is often a real bonus.

Coaches need to remember this key fact.