| Mastering The Coach Fundamentals

Author / Hunter Waldman

8-12 minutes read

The master himself Louie Simmons once said “a pyramid is only as tall as its base”. 

You know who needs to hear that? All the athletes and coaches who skip the fundamentals in the pursuit of so-called “viral” exercises and/or unproven training schemes. For athletes, I get it.

But coaches? We must KNOW better. And DO better.

And build that base that Louie Simmons spoke of.

Social media shows that coaches today lack an understanding of why first developing a base level of strength is essential in any athlete that has not exhausted a basic linear progressive program. 

How about the coach that mistakes athlete effort and training intensity as a key marker for program success? This might result in acute success within a coaching business model, but it will result in poor client retention and higher injury rates. 

The fundamentals always will remain the base of any coaching pyramid. But what does that base consist of and how can a coach widen the breadth of their own base?

Enter the Power Athlete Foundations Course

A course designed by some of the brightest minds in strength and conditioning, including 10-year NFL veteran John Welbourn, to empower coaches to create stronger, fitter, and healthier clients by mastering the F out of the fundamentals. 

This course empowers the trainer in 1-on-1 or group class settings working primarily with general pop clients and the curriculum focuses on changing health behaviors, improving coaching communication and writing intelligent programming specific for health, strength, and fitness goals.

Always a White Belt

Here at Power Athlete, our coaches remind each other to keep a white belt mentality. 

In other words, you do not know what you do not know and never assume you are the smartest person in the room. So, whether you have been in the strength and conditioning realm for decades or just starting out, the Power Athlete Foundations Course will take you through a series of lectures designed to refine your ability to Define Movement – Model Movement – Shape Movement – Reinforce Movement.

This is an ad. Please consider our shameless self promotion.

Movement is the Base

Why the emphasis on movement? Because maintaining correct posture and position is the barrier between success or injury for your client and as the coach, it is your responsibility to correctly coach (not simply cue) your clients.  

Ever watched a client complete a back squat and never been sure how to correct movement faults because of lack of experience or there are 10 other clients you are trying to manage simultaneously? 

As a coach, how do you develop a “coach’s eye” that allows you to identify and coach the mechanics that could result in injury, while managing the incorrect patterns that are simply hampering movement efficiency? 

This is part of the base the foundations course aims to improve upon, by teaching you what to look for, where to look for it, and when to expect to see it in your clients.

Define Movement

What does your client need to know for what you consider a successful repetition as it relates to the exercise they are about to complete? Define this verbally for them, prior to modeling it.

Model Movement

Modeling movement for your clients can accelerate learning. Research has extensively demonstrated that when someone is presented with prior knowledge, they are more likely to succeed at a faster rate and with less attempts than someone who was not presented with prior knowledge. Therefore, as coaches it is important that you model correct movement for your clients.

Squat Example:

 Set-up : Toes forward – knees over instep – A-frame between feet and hips – tight trunk – neutral neck – bar at the base of the traps – grip barbell one thumb length from the smooth

Execution: Coach from the bottom up

Externally rotate hips – initiate with a hip hinge – depth determined by athlete’s ability to maintain correct posture and position – accelerate barbell back to the starting position as fast as possible

Shape Movement

As the coach, it’s important that you are moving around your athlete to see multiple angles as the movement is completed. In addition, you are also applying micro and macro views, where micro views are a sole focus on one client at a time and a macro view is the group as a whole. 

While scanning a client or group, you are looking for common faults which can be observed across each movement. In the squat, this might be valgus knees or losing posture and position in the trunk. You shape movement by applying the law of learning:

Explain → Demonstrate → Client Imitates →Correction →Repeat

Reinforce Movement

Finally, once a client has successfully completed the chosen movement, the coach should provide opportunities to repeat and reinforce correct movement patterns. 


If you read this, chances are you learned something you did not already know.

In other words, your base was widened! 

Now imagine how much more your base can grow with an in-depth curriculum that contains ~3 hours of video content, several additional topics not covered in this blog article, and is completed at your own pace? 

At Power Athlete, we are serious about performance, about improving client health and fitness, and about empowering the coach to be the best coach they can be. 

If you have the white belt mentality and believe there is more to learn from our course, then we would encourage you to check out the Power Athlete Foundations Course.

Related Content

EDU: Certified Power Athlete Coach

EDU: Power Athlete Methodology

EDU: Power Athlete Foundations Course

Podcast: EP 664 – A Coach Needs A Coach

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Hunter Waldman

Hunter Waldman is a former DII collegiate linebacker who found his passion in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology during his undergraduate years. After working as a Strength and Conditioning coach/personal trainer for several years, Hunter pursued his doctorate in Exercise Physiology while also serving as a Sweat Scientist for the Gatorade Sport Science Institute (GSSI) in Florida. Hunter is now a Professor of Exercise Science at the University of North Alabama, Researcher, Director of the Exercise Biochemistry Laboratory, and Power Athlete Block-1 Coach. Hunter's research area is in Nutrition and Metabolic Health/Performance, where his lab is attempting to understand how to increase cell stress resiliency via nutrition, supplements, and exercise.

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