The Best Students: A Coach’s View

Have you ever wondered from a coach’s perspective what makes a great student? There is a difference, you know? Students evaluate themselves by their workout scores, their strength, and their skill set. Sure, students may take into account someone else’s character or their ability to crack quality jokes at 7 AM, but the students’ lenses are, in deed, different.

Coaches celebrate things you’d never think of. Did you know we’ve got an incredible set of norms based around how class moves along? Heads roll if class goes seconds beyond the alotted hour. If you notice, there’s a point where coaches change their tone as they are fighting conversation, teaching different skill levels, and their own shot clock to start and finish the workout (that they aren’t even doing) on time. This adds a whole other element. Coaches have to predict the future and plan for students of all different fitness levels to finish on time.

Crazy, huh?

Coaches also know attributes that make great students. They recognize the process oriented ones, the students of the game, the listeners, and the ones that find a way to “show up.” Maybe these students don’t  always win workouts. Maybe they lack even basic foundational strength. Yet, they are coachable, committed, and persistent. In return, they will have access to limitless progress.

I mean think about it, we are teaching skills here. If you wrap your head around the idea that everything we do from running to gymnastics to weightlifting is a skill rather than feat of talent, then you’ll be able to advance your abilities as far as you’d like. The moment you start to think, “She’s fast, but I’m not,” you’ve missed the message. In contrast, if you’re here to learn to run better, you’ll enjoy new found speed.

This Monday morning, I swung around behind Andrew during his snatches to take a picture. The idea was to try to catch him in action without using the hook grip (as he’s historically chosen not to use it). To my surprise, I was looking through the lens of my camera at Andrew Jayne using the hook grip. hook grip


Success! As a coach, it’s when athletes are willing to develop their skill set that we’re most happy.

For example, I understand that you can half-jump-reverse-curl that barbell. Wonderful. What I’m interested in, however, is whether you can clean it. If you can, then you’ll be able to lift countless numbers of weights that are, in fact, impossible to half-jump-reverse-curl. That’s the skill part.

Too often, students choose scaling options and maneuver in workouts as if everything was a feat of strength or a test. Given that perspective, when is the time for learning? Monday morning Andrew made as much progress as he’s made in any one day as an athlete simply by choosing to use the hook grip.

Think about that…


Logan Gelbrich


Wednesday’s Workout:

Tall Cleans

Complete the following for reps:

2 Min Max KB Snatches (53/35)
6 Push Ups
12 OH Step Lunges (45/25)
24 Lateral Jumps
2 Min Max KB Snatches

*Athletes receive 2 scores (AMRAP & Total snatches)





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