As an athlete, there really shouldn't be anything worse than being called uncoachable—especially if you’re on a team sport where it's important to be easy going and low maintenance.
Some people, though, are completely oblivious to their uncoachability. As a coach, I've learned it’s usually because they’re competitive and impatient and have created their own timeline and vision in their head, which stops them from wanting to listen to a coach who they feel is holding them back (I know because I've been there).
If you have experienced any of the situations below, or similar situations to them, it might be time to rethink how coachable you really are.
• Your coach tells you you’re better off doing tuck-ups or v-sits than to struggle through toes-to-bar, where you keep missing the bar, in the conditioning workout—or dumbbell shoulder press instead of handstand push-ups, or ring rows instead of pull-ups (the list goes on)—in order to keep your intensity up and preserve the stimulus of the workout, and you say: “Nah, I think I’ll try the toes-to-bar. They’ve gotten a lot better lately and I really want to try them in a workout.”
There's a reason you're doing ring rows...
• Your coach tells you to place your hands closer together on your handstand push-ups. You do it for one set, but it feels harder. When you notice he’s no longer watching you, you resume your wide-ass hand positioning so you can get through your sets and reps faster.
• Your coach advises you to take 20-lb. off the bar because your form is suffering, and you say, “I got this. I’ll focus on my form this time. I promise.”
• Your coach gives you some homework to do after class. You try it for a week but don’t notice any instantaneous benefit, so you abandon it.
• Your coach tells you to slow down to a 2:05 pace while rowing on the first round of a five round workout, but you notice the person next to you is moving faster than you so you choose to try to keep up with him instead.
• Your coach tells you you’re not allowed to come to the gym tomorrow because you’ve been there 10 days in a row. You show up anyway.
• Your coach tells that until your loud hacking cough clears up, to steer clear of the gym, so you go for a run instead.
• You’re following an individual program but you don’t think today was hard enough or had enough volume, so you stick around for another hour to hammer through two more met cons.
But the ULTIMATE sign up all that you’re uncoachable is when the coach stops giving you feedback at all!
If any of the above is something you can relate to, it’s time to start working on your coachable-ness. Don’t fret: Like anything else, for many people being coachable is a learned skill. It involves a willingness to be patient and to put your trust in someone else’s hands. One thing that helps a lot of people become more willing to trust is to speak up if and when you have doubts. In other words, ask WHY!
Why do you want me to do that?
Why do you want me to reduce the weight on my bar?
Why aren’t I ready to try a muscle-up?
What do you mean that will be better for my long term development?
And on and on…
A good coach should be able to answer you questions in a way that helps you understand and embrace the process.