In these interesting articles Jimmy Smith and Marisa Inda overviewed a relatively new business perspective for Strength Coaches worldwide, Training from a Distance or Online Training.
The most important point of view of “training from distance” could be reconnected to the need of clients for specific training, therefore specific coaching knowledge even if they can’t satisfy it because of the distance.
In fact, many athletes need to be trained by their coaches, or by specific coaches from all over the world, but the limit of the distance could prevent to be trained exactly as they like or need.
If you have several clients placed in different locations, it wouldn’t be comfortable to follow them (or it will be impossible at all).
Every PTs have to deal with the question “how many clients can I train each day? And how can I increase that number in the same work-time without losing quality?
Strength trackers with a “train from distance” system can make you be with all the athletes you train at the same time, checking how they perform, thanks to the specific indexes whereby you can realize if they’re working in order to reach the goals you set for them. You can set every training schedule from the web portal and send it to your client through the app, you can see when they’re training and how they’re doing it; you can modify and also create exercises in order to offer a tailor made service to the clientele.
“Remote training” or “Training from a Distance” opens new business possibilities to many Strength and Conditioning Coaches out there.
Athletes in need of breaking their plateaus, who can’t find their local gym instructor helpful anymore are now turning online to find that specific knowledge and experience.
The web has once again broken the barriers of distance.
Coaches into the Strength business are looking to expand their reach for clients because their local niche is too narrow. We all deserve the best, and we all try to get the best we can.
The ultimate goal of Strength training is to evolve and we’re into this world, because we all share this will for constant progress.
The key when you train online is feedback.
- Subjective Feedback
This goes from the athlete to the coach and it regards the session and how it felt from the athlete’s point of view.
Technique, loads, reps, rest, sleep, nutrition, what the athlete did and how it felt after, are there any pain or soreness etc.. You may start from RPE and I would keep this open to anything surrounding the single training session.
This is the foundation of the athlete – coach relationship and if this relationship is honest, be it positive or negative, both the athlete and the coach can get better.
You may also teach your customers modern Autoregulation techniques like Bryan Mann’s APRE or Verkhoshansky’s DAPRE and Cybernetic Programming to adjust the workout on the fly. Here Mark Watt explains how he implemented them in a team settings .
Here is the chance for the athlete to explain how it felt and the reasons behind some choices.
These techniques are great tools to deal with the chaotic and stressful life of different typologies of customers, from the college student athlete to the globetrotting business man with some experience in training. The huge disadvantage for the “Online Coach” being this techniques either require a decision from him on the fly DURING the execution of the workout or some kind of decision from the athlete’s himself.
Obviously a coach can’t rely on the solely decision from the athlete’s feelings and experiences since you’re physically not there with them.
There is really no strength in your “remote” performance if you can’t really know what really happened. On the other hand by requiring the coach to be available to any of his customers’ workout would lose most of the appeal. You need to coordinate and relate the Subjective Feelings with Objective Data. This leads us to the second point.
- Objective Feedback
“Evidence” for the workout can be of two different forms: Video and Metrics.
These tools are of great use for both the athlete and the coach.
Video is just the best way for a coach to address technique issues, today a lot of apps are available where the athlete can shoot himself the video, share it online with the coach and get a telestrator kind of correction with audio notes.
Metrics like Bar Speed and Power are the next step. With the latest development in technology and motion recognition you can have your athletes wear what basically is a tiny Tendo Unit at their wrist for cheap.
Metrics may be used for many purposes and you can find quite a lot of information online about how to use them, here the two most important one:
- Bar Speed is an easier and more effective way to give your clients some Prescriptions different than percentages so instead of 1RM and how to read and adjust percentages the coach can teach how to adjust Load and Volume with metrics (also known as Autoregulation).
- Quantify results and optimise the training method
- Instant Live Feedback improves the training performance of the athlete during the same workout (see studies from Randell et al on rugby players, 2013)
- Final Feedback
The final part of this process goes from the Coach to the Athlete and it is a final sum of the workout with an eye to the next one and Periodization.
The coach sums everything above and adjusts the prescriptions for the next workout including:
- How to correct technique issues
- Prescriptions and adjustments for the next workout with new target metrics (this can be done in a while with a Cloud based system)
- Congratulate your client by showing him/her progresses, in the end this is why we do it!