I love the phrase “Good, fast, or cheap. Choose any two!”. When selecting a coach, there are three big factors. If you find someone solid in at least two of these areas, you will have a great experience.
Three Big Elements
When it comes to coaching, experience coaching matters a lot. How many students they have worked with and how long they have been doing it is a big factor. An experienced coach has a larger repertoire of techniques, can more quickly discover issues, and has more ways to express or teach solutions. There isn’t any way to shortcut real-life experience.
Attention and Time
Is your coach willing to spend loads of time with you? Are they fired up and down to spend time researching and explaining? Will they make you a best of video? Spend time on skype calls doing homework? Give you jump plans or video debriefs even when they aren’t with you?
If you find a coach who is willing to go the extra mile(s) with time and attention, you will get more out of your experience.
Technical Expertise (competitive history)
In skydiving, most coaches have competed at a high level. A skydiving coach should have gone faster at some point in their career than you hope to go. In our sport, you learn how to do something right and how to understand what is wrong by spending lots of time working out the issues on your team.
There are exceptions – not every basketball coach is Michael Jordon. However, these exceptions are usually at very high levels and involve an incredible amount of technical and competition knowledge.
Choose two! (…or high levels of all three)
Pick at least two of these areas of strength and you will have a great time!
Have a pro coach who has been coaching full time for ten years who was a former member of a professional team? Gonna be awesome.
Have a local hero who was never professional, but has been working with teams for decades and is super excited to help your group with lots of time and energy? You’ll be great.
Does your DZ have an up and coming team who has done well competitively and is down to put in the effort despite lack of coaching experience? It will rock.
Not everything is this black and white. You will probably encounter some level of each of these in prospective coaches. But be assured if you have two of these qualities you will have a positive experience.
X-factor: Coaching Style
Every pot has a lid. Every student has a coach. Pick someone who you gel with.
Some people communicate easily together and some do not. Some coaches are strict and direct; others are positive and wordy. It isn’t an insult towards a coach to not care for their style!
Choose someone you respond to and understand. Everyone will be happier!
Want to try some coaching? Contact Fury Coaching of course! If you’re a team, arrange to work with me locally in Southern California. Individuals join me for some tunnel! If you can’t make it here, contact me now about arranging remote debriefing for your group.