Written by: David Bayer | Head Coach For META
The Crux of Weightlifting Coaching
It is common practice when you are thinking about getting into a certain field for a career to survey people that have found success. As I have pursued becoming a coach full time I have asked a lot of the most successful American coaches what they have done to find their success in the sport. If you were to do the same it wouldn’t take long for you to find out that coaching is not the most.. lucrative of career choices. There is a LOT of work that all of these coaches had to do outside of knowing the best programming or technique just to make ends meet. I refer to this commonly known dilemma as the crux of weightlifting coaching because while you must be focused as a coach to produce high caliber athletes or to positively impact your clients your attention will constantly be pulled to having to figure out how to make money. Unless you’re one of the handfuls of coaches that benefit from generational wealth of course.. So here I am to try and make this process as seamless as possible. To share all my secrets and tricks in hopes that you will be able to focus more on your coaching and save the stress for when it counts the most.
Pricing Your Services
“Hey David, I appreciate all this but I just want to coach. I don’t want to focus on business, it seems sleezy.” Well dear reader, unless you plan on coaching being just a fleeting hobby you may want to be a bit more.. open minded.
Now, if I have your attention.. What is the main source of income for weightlifting coaches at the start of their journey? Membership fees. Especially at the beginning of starting your online coaching team. What kind of income do you need to match your expenses? If you need to make a minimum of $3000/m you could have an extremely hard time meeting that with a membership of $60/m. So here is the next question.. How many members do you think you can coach at one time without your services losing quality? Take whatever your total income needs to be and divide it by the total number of members you think you can reasonably coach at once. That is what you should charge. (Desired Income / Total Members = Recommended Price). If you think that price reasonable to charge you’re in a good spot! If you think that price is high then you have two choices. Increase the amount of value that you bring each client so you feel confident in your pricing. Or increase the capacity of athletes you are able to coach. I will give you some tips for both! Note that you can also use a pay scale. This is common practice in the social work community and something I am currently working on implementing myself. It allows people from less fortunate financial circumstances to have the opportunity to work with me!
One of the traits that I feel makes Weightlifting so amazing is it’s sense of community! If you grew up in the sport watching old Mike’s gym, Cal Strength, MDUSA training videos you know this. It’s something a lot of coaches at major Weightlifting clubs engineer and tend to meticulously!
As an online weightlifting team it may seem impossible to recreate such a comradery amongst athletes who live in different countries and/or states. One of the things that has made META Weightlifting so successful is taking on that seemingly impossible feat. I have had athletes in Hong Kong, Sweden, Belgium, Lithuania, and all across the US. I am very proud to say that they are all looking out for each other and challenging one another to do better. So how did I do this? I have several group chats with everyone on the team, one for general chat and one for PR lifts. I give them as many chances as possible to engage with one another and at a certain point they do it on their own!
Another value based service I provide are monthly meetings. On the first Sunday of every month the team and I get together and discuss how our training is currently going. I try to prepare a guest to come in as well! I bring on athletes from other teams, coaches, and health care professions such as DPT’s and DC’s. Bringing on successful athletes from other teams gets my own athletes out of their echo chamber and allows them to see how other athletes find success. Bringing on other coaches as guests builds confidence for my athletes that I know what I am talking about and reassures them that I don’t allow ego to get in the way of doing things that will help them along in their journey. As for healthcare professionals they help my athletes take care of their bodies before or after an injury!
As you can see, there are lots of ways to build value. And as an online team the most powerful thing you can build that will bring the most value is a community. This will increase retention, engagement, and word of mouth. Other than this you have more standard ways of providing value such as individualized evidence based programming, video review/technique critique, and one on one coaching sessions.
Streamlining Your Work and Increasing Capacity
If you feel you’re already providing the most value that you can to your athletes AND you at your maximum capacity you essentially have two options to break past this plateau. Automating and outsourcing.
Automation doesn’t have to mean hiring robots to organize your merchandise inventory. Automating could also be using programs like Train Heroic, CoachNow, Coaches Eye, Procoach etc. Some of these apps can automate the tracking of data for your clients programs and progress. For me, I was really hesitant to invest into these programs because of how expensive they are. But they save coaches so much grief.
I have learned as someone with ADHD that outsourcing is extremely powerful. I have hired plenty of people to accomplish things I need for my business that I myself did not have the time to do, couldn’t do or things I just flat out didn’t want to do. From artists, to spreadsheet techs to website designers. Reddit, fivver and upwork are great sources for hiring freelancers. Before you do that, consider hiring within your circle. Do you have family, friends or peers that you could hire? I personally try to hire from marginalized communities for the sake of equity and equality. For instance my determination for liberation merch line was exclusively designed by artists from marginalized communities. Worth noting is there is a fine line between outsourcing and exploitation. Pay your people well and consider how you can positively impact them. Not just how they can benefit you and your business.
Although; it is common practice when you are thinking about getting into a certain field for a career to survey people that have found success, you don’t have to fit into the exact mold of other successful coaches. Something my business coach has had me work on a lot (Jane Carter) is projecting who you are to attract the type of clients you will do well with. You don’t have to be the next Glenn Pendlay, you don’t have to be the next Cara Slaughterhead, you don’t have to be the next Spencer Arnold or Dave Spitz. In fact, trying to do so will likely lead to insecurity, imposter syndrome and ultimately failure. You have to uncover what kind of coach you are through imperfect action, practice and experience. In this article are a handful of tips and tricks that I think will jumpstart your process and I hope you find it helpful.