Be Strong, Be Kind

Strength coach, trainer educator, writer, mom to three awesome kids, pie enthusiast. Creating monsters since 2009.

Can Good Judgement Be Taught?

Sara Fleming

In a conversation with one of my fellow instructors, the title of this article was the main subject.  To be more specific, we were talking about teaching our students and what we hoped they would get out of our seminar. Over the past year, we’ve struggled to define explicitly what it is that we teach.  Our goal is to take our group of students, pull back the curtain and show them how it all really works.  And once they realize there are no magic methods or fool-proof formulas, our hope is that they will walk out with some new found wisdom about their own training practice.

The truth of the matter is, however, the most important learning they will get will not be from our relatively short two day seminar.  It will be when they get back home and put what we teach them into practice.  We don’t have any magic wands and we certainly can’t replicate years of experience, failures, and practice in sixteen hours of instruction.

However, I am very optimistic for our students.  Most of them know far more than they need to and they certainly don’t lack in enthusiasm.  What they tend to miss more than anything is context.  One of the biggest leaps one makes in going from student to teacher is learning to take all the knowledge one has acquired and turn it into a process that can be applied to a broad population.  Knowing all the training methods in the world will not help you train better unless you know how to apply them appropriately.

Some fun being had at CF Geneseo. 

In addition to being a trainer and weightlifting coach, I teach College Math and I see a lot of similarities between the two practices.   I often refer to training as teaching because I am teaching my clients to move correctly as I teach their bodies to get stronger and more conditioned.  Learning is an adaptive process, you learn by being exposed to and practicing new ideas.  Training is an adaptive process, you become more skilled, stronger, agile, powerful, etc., by being exposed to and practicing new movements with various loads.  Physical training is teaching your body to become more efficient at doing things well whether that be deadlifting five hundred pounds or walking ten miles.

In my opinion, a good trainer is one who thinks about the needs of their clients as individuals and trains them according to their specific needs.   Ongoing assessment and planning based on the client’s progress and goals are a very simple way to keep your client happy and achieving results.  Its not always easy, but if we can put aside the confusing background noise of the fitness industry, the way to do this is can be rather clear.  We are very much looking forward to teaching our seminar at Crossfit Geneseo this weekend and are even more hopeful that our students come away with a fresh outlook and enthusiasm towards their training practice.

And to answer the question, yes, I think good judgement can be taught.  It is, indeed, the foundation of all learning.  When a student truly understands the lesson, he or she can easily teach it to someone else.  


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