Personal Trainers
December 7, 2020

The best way to really embrace personal training athletes

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Personal Trainers
The best way to really embrace personal training athletes
Matt Tometz
Blog Post Summary:

Player Choice: Find out the best ways on how to really embrace personal training athletes by giving them the "Player Choice" on how they want to train.

Find out the best ways on how to really embrace personal training athletes by giving them the "Player Choice" on how they want to train.

Imagine this:

You’re somewhat relatively new to training or relatively new to the coach you’re working with.

You might be a little apprehensive about training, or maybe you’re experienced and the workouts are becoming a little dry, and the first thing your coach says is “what do you want to do today?

They give you some options, you work together to make a workout you can both agree on, and you have an awesome session.

Are you going to come back next time?

The biggest problem we run into in the personal training space is that our clients don’t have to be there. They don’t have to show up. They’re not on a sports team with mandatory workouts.

You’re inexplicably trying to convince them to continue spending their money on you.

Although I am a performance coach (that’s why I call this “player” choice), I’m in the private sector where nothing is mandatory.

Outside of creating a technically sound program and helping them progress toward their goals, what are you doing to make them want to come back next time? You give them a lot of what they need (the program and training) and a little bit of what they want (“player choice”).

There is one main benefit and theme to incorporating something like “player choice” in your programming and coaching.

You are giving your client autonomy; them feeling like they have a say (which they do) will make them feel like it’s their program, it’s their choice to do it, and it’s what they want to do.

More autonomy, more enjoyment, more consistency, more results.

The approach

Here are some examples of player choice:

  • A little “player choice”: “We can do A, B, or C, which do you want to do?”
  • Moderate “player choice”: “we got biceps and triceps coming up, pick your favorite exercise for each.”
  • A lot of “player choice”: “what do you want to do today?”
  • Indirect “player choice”: “If there are things you really like or really don’t like, please let me know and we’ll do more or less of that accordingly.”
With that being said, know that you always have the ability to say “I lied, we can do whatever you want besides [their suggestion]. Pick again.”

I know this might be a little uncomfortable to think about. Taking a step back and giving away a little control with your coaching; your clients suggesting something that might not be part of the plan; you having to be adaptable and creative without a script.

“But Matt, what if their suggestions don’t lead to the best results?” But reader, what if your results-oriented program isn’t that enjoyable and they don’t come long enough or consistent enough to achieve those results?

I understand both sides of the coin, believe me. However, if consistency is the foundation that all other training and results are based on, shouldn’t that be addressed first?

Ultimately, making them want to come back is another way to say “how do we make sure our clients are very consistent?” Often that is the X factor in training.

Which will be more effective: an 85% technically correct program done 3x a week for 10 weeks or a 100% technically correct program done on and off for 10 weeks?

However, some clients literally just want to be told what to do the entire time. If that’s the case, don’t force giving them “player choice” but still have this in mind being conscious about what they enjoy and how you can do more of that.

To conclude

Determine how much player choice you are comfortable giving as a coach and determine how much player choice each client has earned through your trust. Not every client will want player choice nor will every client earn it. Some clients literally just want to be told what to do, get sweaty, wake up a little sore, and do it all again the next time. And some clients are going to light up at the opportunity.

Plan out your “player choice” structure. Different types of warm-ups, different types of finishers, different types of specific workouts, etc..

This could be to give the client explicit options, or this could be so you know in the back of your mind what the options are to help steer the client toward one of those option.

You have “coach choice” to determine your “player choice.”

Implementing “player choice” in your programming and coaching is what you make it. It’s not for every coach and it’s not for every client.

This might be a new tool in your coaching toolbox to help you indirectly get the results you want: increased enjoyment, increased consistency, increased results.

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Written by
Matt Tometz
Sports Performance Coach
M.S., CSCS, USAW, ISAK - Sports performance coach & the host of the Talking Shop podcast

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The best way to really embrace personal training athletes