Happy Thursday everyone! All I'm going to say this week is that sometimes I'm happy I get to live in my own little sports bubble where thing don't really matter, even though we act like they do. Today I have a nice feature to maybe answer questions about what's the best training modalities when getting into this field for yourself.
There are many settings to train people in and some like one, as opposed to other’s. Perfectly legit and I don’t hold anything against anyone that prefers one over the others, neither should you. Today I want to look at the pros and cons of what I see in each format that I’ve been in.
Semi-Private: I’m leading with this one because I think it’s my favorite and preferred format most of the time.
Pros-It allows me to get more people coached in one shot so I’m not dragging my day on for 2-3 extra hours of coaching in a row. I can still give everyone an individualized program and the attention they need. Also as a financial bonus I can get more people training in the same hour that I’m paying to use the space, and the price goes down from private prices for these clients, so this is a win win about 99% of the time. It also builds a community where people can get to know eachother, eventually hold eachother accountable (even better than just me) and support eachother through the lift and life. Gives me more practice to nail coaching cues to top it off.
Cons-I am not always able to give someone my full attention RIGHT in the exact moment they may need it. This is a rare occurrence, but it does happen. Space and equipment availability can also be a factor, especially if I’ve planned bench for multiple people that are in that session (what a mess). A client that is very gun-shy about working out and doesn’t have a ton of confidence, might be worried about embarrassing themselves in front of someone else. This person also will likely pull a lot of my attention on certain days, but it’s not often that this happens (see beginning of this paragraph).
Team: There’s some similarities to Semi-Private and team, but I also think there’s a distinction. I would consider team training with 4-8+ trainees and even more when the space and numbers allow for it.
Pros-A big team atmosphere is generally awesome for camaraderie. When people see a lot of hard work around them it makes them want to work hard too. Again I get a lot of athletes/clients trained within a more limited time span. I can still make sure everyone’s needs are met in their program and there’s enough bodies to spot others when needed as a bonus.
Cons-The same issues as semi-private crop up, only amplified. Also the programs really can’t be super tailored to each client/athlete, because simply the sheer amount of them can be overwhelming and take time away from other areas of the operation/life just to program. Likeliest thing will be is that I modify for each person as I go. Coaching cues need to be on point here, not a ton of time to make errors in that.
Private: First of all it’s been said by a lot of people that straight up one on one training is dead. No it is not, it’s not AS prevalent as it once was, but it is still alive and well.
Pros-Complete attention gets paid to the client. I can pick up every little nuance and hitch of their movement. Program is absolutely customized for the client. I also get a chance to get to know the client one on one (assuming I’ve gotten their guard down). Coaching cues can be honed here just like semi-private as well.
Cons-The client is solely relying on me to pick them up and keep them up, especially on their rough days. Not really a bad thing, but sometimes, I'm just running on empty and it’s tough to do so. I also only get paid for that one client that day AND private training tends to get a bit pricier than other formats. I best get along with the client well too, otherwise that’s a long awkward hour plus.
Group: When done right this can be a favorite of mine believe it or not. Could I coach in this format all day every day? Not a chance. Strategically done once to a few times a week this stuff gets fun real quick.
Pros-More people can join in on the action. When the space allows(ed) for it I would welcome upwards of 10-15 trainees into a group session. Nowadays it’s closer to 6 max, but that’s still good. Like I said this gets fun when everyone is working hard, being successful with their lifts and drills, and getting their sweat on. Again that whole cost thing also benefits the clients here as the price point can get really cheap, especially for the quality of the product (in my opinion at least). Once I formed a good group it was nice to know the clients (trainees) had someone else waiting for them at the facility, not just me.
Cons-Some of these also come from the team training aspect. It’s a fairly generic program (I didn't say bad), which means I’ll need to change things for someone on the fly now and again. I can’t quite give that attention that some people may need or want, depending on where they are in their training level either. Those coaching cues, yeah they need to be on point here too, not a ton of room for honing here. Remember that equipment availability issue from team and semi-private? Yeah it definitely exist here, but can be navigated when given it some thought.
As you can see there are upsides as well as drawback to the different formats. It all depends on which of those pro's you really want and which of the cons you'd prefer to avoid. That's what I got for today everyone, go out there and get after it!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS