Coach Christian Anto has started a series on the differences between remote coaching and personal training, and when to opt for one or the other. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages, which I will leave to his series to explain. I would like to allow some insight in how to get the most as a remote client.
Why should you listen to me? For years, I have been a remote coach that uses a remote coach (who often also has a remote coach). The internet has furthered the reach of great coaches world wide. I have been able to benefit professionally by adapting my style of coaching and packages it in a matter of minutes anywhere in the world. I have also been able to receive coaching from people that I TRULY deem the best in the industry. I have seen both sides of the remote coaching dynamic, and offer the following to those who are committing to the process.
Set clear goals and be honest with starting points
Remote coaching should always begin with an assessment of some sort. Where are you, physically? TRULY where are you? If your coach sends you a questionnaire asking about your abilities, you should have some sort of CURRENT idea as to where you are when you begin with them. One of the biggest frustrations for many coaches is getting a remote client with stated capabilites, only to find they are reaching back to their all time best and not where they currently are. While those can be valuable metrics, the most important bit of data you can give your coach is a true assessment of where you are presently.
Voice any and all concerns, questions, and expectations
Like any relationship, communication is vital. While online programming is inherently more hands off than one-on-one programming, you still should feel comfortable making mention of how your day went and concerns you have. I personally ask that all my clients tell me via email or in my training software if they fail to hit a rep or feel exceptionally strong that day. The more feedback you can provide your coach on your progress, the more in depth your programming can be.
Gather your thoughts and EMAIL your coach
Facebook messanger, texting, IMing and other forms of mobile messaging can be very valuable communication tools for most long-distance relationships. However, gathering your thoughts and emailing is a sure way to make sure your coach is in the correct mindset to respond thoroughly to your questions, concerns, and make changes to your programs. Texting/IMing MAY seem quick and easier, but be aware that most remote coaches are often on their feet / driving / having dinner with their families and sifting through facebook messages when it comes time to make programming adjustments could easily slip their mind.
Video when necessary
Videos are immensely helpful for your coach to assessment movement patterns, coach corrections, program specifics, and (when necessary) refer you to a specialist. If you are feeling iffy about a movement, video and send it to your coach. Hitting top sets want to see if you are nailing movement standards? Video it and send it to your coach. Going for a training PR?…you get it.
Follow the plan
*NOTHING* will grind a coaches gears faster than throwing their time, energy, and intellect in the garbage and doing your own thing because you just felt like it. This typically occurs on weeks with lower intensity/volume work. Trust me, every athlete gets the itch to just go all out. However, doing so doesn’t just throw the day off, your entire plan is likely to be altered. You risk not being able to perform well when the program calls for it because the blew it prior and are still gassed. Follow the plan, then assess your improvement on a long timeline.