Today there is a wealth of health and jump rope fitness information at our fingertips. As individuals become more educated, they are more insistent on programs that meet their needs, their schedules, and offer a variety of activities. They are looking for a program designed specifically for them. If you find that you are losing interest in your current activity, your performance has plateaued or even declined, or you are frequently injured, then the time may be right for you to consult a coach.

Many have chosen a coach to personalize their activity in a safe and enjoyable manner, and provide the latest related scientific information. Someone who is accomplished in a sport may or may not be a good coach. In pursuing a coach, look for someone who is certified by a governing body. Coaches may be certified as fitness professionals, personal trainers, instructors, or coaches. For general fitness programs, look for certifications such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). If you are interested in a specific activity, then look for a coach who is certified for that sport or activity. For running, track and field sports, and racewalking look for certifications such as USA Track & Field (USATF) or American Racewalk Association (ARWA). For skiing, the United States Ski Coaches Association (USSCA) or Professional Ski Instructor of America (PSIA) would be appropriate. Certification programs require continuing education. This helps insure the coach is current in fitness, health, training, and skills issues. A coach should also be certified in CPR and first aid—and carry liability insurance.

The definition of coaching is the organized assistance to an individual or group in order to help them develop and improve. However, being a coach goes beyond teaching sports skills and improved performance. The complete coach wears many hats: TEACHER imparts new knowledge, skills, ideas; TRAINER -improves fitness and performance; INSTRUCTOR – directs activities and practices; MOTIVATOR generates a positive approach; DISCIPLINARIAN – administers systematic rewards and consequences; FRIEND – provides support; SCIENTIST analyzes and solves problems; STUDENT -listens, learns, and looks for new knowledge.

A coach must have a well defined coaching philosophy to be a successful and efficient coach. Their philosophy, which has been formed from opinions, attitudes, and a lifetime of personal experience, determines every thought, every action and every decision they make. Therefore, a coach should operate under a code of ethics that places the rights and needs of the client before those of themselves. In some instances the coach may even find themselves looked upon by their clients as a mentor-a very significant role.

A coach should have a solid foundation in: Anatomy and Physiology; Biomechanics; Training Theory; Sport Specific Skills; Sports Psychology; Nutrition; Injuries and First Aid. The coach should have an understanding of anatomy, kinesiology, physiology of exercise and care and prevention of injuries. The importance of good coaching in protecting the health and safety of athletes cannot be minimized. Careful conditioning and technical instruction leading to skillful performance are significant factors in lowering the incidence and decreasing the severity of injuries. We may also think of a coach as the “safety official” in sports. After an injury, it is the coach who decides whether an athlete continues to train or perform. A coach without medical instruction is in a compromised position – morally, ethically, medically, and legally. A responsible coach will always take    the conservative approach.

In conclusion, a coach can help you find answers to such questions as “What’s best for me?”; “How do I get started?”; “How can I stick with it?” Whether your goal is to loose weight, run the Portland Marathon, walk the Portland To Coast Relay, or just look and feel fit, a coach can help you formulate a safe program and realistic timelines for achieving them. A coach should be a fit and motivated role model, be able to explain and demonstrate proper technique. A coach should stress safety and sound training principles. To locate a coach you may contact certifying agencies, fitness clubs, sports organizations, or ask friends and associates for recommendations. A good coach will have good references. When working successfully with a coach, individuals feel empowered for being able to loose more, lift more, walk, run, bike, or swim faster or further than they thought possible-Thanks Coach!