Effectively Giving and Receiving Coaching - Kill Cliff

Effectively Giving and Receiving Coaching

I have been coaching for about 20yrs and have been coached for longer than that. Here are a few things that I have picked up along the way that makes both giving and receiving coaching highly effective. 


  • A cue is only as good as the outcome. Don’t give the same cues over and over if they are not working. One cue may work for 90% of your athletes but be willing to pull something new out for the 10% that it isn’t working with.
  • You don’t need to educate your athletes while they train. Don’t unload a bunch of you coaching knowledge on them when they are trying to fix something. It’s not effective and they already know that you are knowledgeable, that is why they are training with you.
  • Do educate your athletes when they are not training. The more they know about what they are doing and why the more likely they are going to effectively put in effort on something that they don’t feel is effective or might struggle with.
  • 1-2 cues tops. Give them 1-2 things to focus on and then let them practice. They can’t apply a bunch of different things at once. Pick the issues that have the largest effect on their movement and have them focus on just that area.
  • Don’t change up your athletes focus too often. If you want them to fix something give them time to fix that one thing before you throw something new at them. Keep reminding them of what they are focusing on and keep them focused on it.
  • Not all of your athletes will communicate effectively. Greet each athlete daily with, “How do you feel?” This will open up room for communication.


  • There is no secret trick that some special coach is going to give to you that will take the place of committed hard work. Often the best coaches out there are not the ones blowing up marketing with some new thing that is a “game changer.” Don’t become a coach hopper. Trust the process and your coach long enough to see if things are actually working.
  • Apply what your coach is asking you to apply. Self education within your sport/practice isn’t bad but like stated above, if you are constantly changing your focus because something new you read on a daily blog then you will keep running in circles never actually progressing.
  • Ask questions and communicate. There is an ongoing joke in the coaching industry that we are expected to read your minds and we are supposed to always know what is best for you and your goals. Your goals might change, you might be feeling something we can’t see, you might be stressed to your max outside of training and we are pushing you harder than we should at the time. Keep us updated.
  • Be kind and respectful to your gym and other athletes. As much as a gym can feel like a home and others are infringing on your space, it is a business and likely the livelihood of your coach. We need athletes to stay and sign up. Also, most boutique gyms are doing their own facility maintenance. Be careful with equipment, clean it up, throw trash away, this all affects your coaches ability to focus on you as an athlete.
  • Challenge your coach if you don’t agree or think something is not effective. Don’t just avoid the work or going at it half effort.Your coach should be able to give you good reasoning on why you are doing something and how it can help you in the long run.

These are just a handful of thing that I have encountered in the past and present. What seems to work best for you as an athlete or coach? I’d love to hear from you!!

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