With the help of the Internet, we as athletes now have access to a plethora of resources for online coaching and programming. It’s not very difficult at all to find a “coach” or programmer to address our specific athletic goals. The most challenging part of this situation is actually being the remote athlete. Here are a few tips to improve your experience:
Build confidence in the coach-athlete relationship by keeping an open line of communication. Don’t fear asking questions about programming, how to execute specific parts of the program, or even about progress (or lack of). If you don’t understand, ask!! Don’t chance learning bad habits, getting injured or wrecking the plan by doing it incorrectly because you’re too proud to ask.
Reena had a PR weekend with 65/80kg in the 53kg class and works online with her weightlifting coach and on nutrition with Renaissance Periodization…
2. Follow the Plan
Every coach writes a program in a way with certain goals in mind for their athlete (or they should be). There is always some “method to the madness,” even if we can’t quite see it ourselves. Do what’s written for that day!!! Nothing more, nothing less… Unless your coach says it’s appropriate or you’re injured. You can screw up your training for the next day when you start adding or taking out things for no reason!
We all want to lift heavy, we all want to do the movements we are best at, but it’s not always appropriate. Follow the darn program!!
And if you don’t see the progress you are expecting, go back to #1: communicate!!
3. Record & Share
I mean this in two ways. Literally record/film as well as record your training in a log book.
One of the best ways to receive coaching from afar is via video. There are several great smartphone apps to download, for slow motion review and sharing.
Keep your own log of your training so you can discuss programming with your coach and past cycles and remember what practices were hardest, when you felt strong, slow, etc.
These are great ways to track progress.
4. Be Open to Feedback
Just as you would be with a local coach, keep an open mind to feedback to improve. I’ll go back to the suggestion for video review: coaches can use these apps (Coach’s Eye or Ubersense) to edit feedback straight onto the original video for you. It’s the next best thing to live instruction.
5. Understand the Difficulties of the Situation
Online/remote coaching is not always easy. It takes a little more work, by both parties, but it can work. As with any athlete, in any circumstances, training will be difficult some days. Learn from mistakes and get back to it the next day.
Finding a training partner or someone to workout at the same time as you do might also be helpful for the mental aspect of training.
*Side note: Before paying a coach or programmer for services, make sure you openly speak with them about your goals and ask them what to expect from working with them (as far as daily training, how to expect to receive the program and if you can send video for analysis, etc.). Ask other athletes who work with them for a review of their services if you don’t know much about them. There are a lot of Internet know-it-alls and self-proclaimed coaches out there… Make sure you’re not paying an unqualified individual for professional services.
Dr. Reena Tenorio, is a weightlifter/CrossFit athlete based in Orange County, CA. Reena competed at the 2013 American Open in weightlifting, the 2012 and 2013 CrossFit Southeast Regionals (team) and is a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy. Reena’s diverse athletic history and background in physical therapy gives her a unique perspective when examining training.