| | | The Sacrifices It Takes To Be A Great Coach

Author / Donald Ricci

The life of a coach is not for the faint of heart. While the barrier to entry is relatively low, the hurdles and obstacles to sustain the sacrifices needed to make it in our profession become higher and more difficult as you progress and evolve.  Good. If you’re not prepared or ready for the long and lonely road that it takes to become a great coach, good riddance. As Power Athlete Radio Alum, Zach Even-Esh, always says: We don’t need more coaches, we need BETTER coaches!

As a coach, you must be willing to sacrifice…a lot. This is a vocation where you certainly have to put in your dues – to get to the top, you have to start at the bottom. I’ve outlined the 4 areas in your life that you’ll have to sacrifice the most, if you want to be in this game for the long haul.


You must be willing to sacrifice your time. Coaching requires a bone-crushing commitment of time.  Long days, lost weekends, and few vacations. Because of this time commitment, you will be forced to sacrifice time with your friends and family. You will have to miss social functions, dinners, special events, maybe even birthdays. If you’re not willing to do that, get out.


You must be willing to sacrifice your own training.  By definition, coaching is a selfless vocation, and if you’re getting into professional coaching with the mindset that it will provide you with the opportunity to train as much as you want, you’re in for a rude awakening. If you want to be a GREAT coach, your focus needs to be with your athletes, not yourself.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s vitally important for a coach to train;you’re going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.BUT, there will be many times that you will have to cut your training short, or forego it all together, because of the demands that coaching requires.  Learn to be fine with that. At the end of the day, your athletes don’t necessarily care about what you lift, they care about how you’re going to make them a better athlete!


You must be willing to sacrifice financially. When you’re just starting out, expect to be poor.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to make money as a young coach. It requires time and effort. If you want to eventually open your own facility, expect to accumulate debt and be ready not to pay yourself for the first few years in business, as you build your new career. Additionally, you’ll need to sacrifice financially to invest in your education and development to further your craft.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t be coaching with the mindset that this is how it will always be, but money should not be a driving force for why you are getting into coaching in the first place. If you are a transformational coach, the money will come as a result. Don’t chase money, chase positive change!


You will have to sacrifice emotionally. While you can ride some very high emotional highs as a coach, you also need to expect that you will ride some very low emotional lows. No matter how good of a coach you are, there will be failure. There will be disappointment. Athletes will graduate, retire, leave, get injured, or even get fired. Each one of those scenarios brings different emotions, all difficult to deal with. Be ready. Expect it. What will make you a great coach is how you deal with and ultimately traverse through those tough scenarios.


The sacrifices you make to become a great coach has its rewards too. I’ve found that the more sacrifices one has to make for something, the more rewarding the process and the end game become.

For me, one of the best rewards has been creating a positive impact in someone’s life, ranging from increased performance results, various changes in mind, body, and spirit, and possibly even in the trajectory of someone’s life. This is powerful, and should not be taken lightly!

Being a part of these positive changes in your athletes can provide some of the highest emotional highs you will ever experience. Why? Because you’ve shared the pain, sacrifice, and work that went into that success.

Another great reward that comes from the sacrifices of a coach is having the responsibility of being in a position of leadership and influence. As a coach, you must be a leader, you must be an influencer. YOU are responsible for creating the right path for your athletes, and guiding them along the way to help ensure their success.

Lastly, the bonds you create with your athletes are special. The journey you travel together as athlete and coach is special and something that very few really get to experience, so make the most of it! If you provide solid leadership and deliver impactful changes in the lives of your athletes, you will be a part of your their lives far beyond the four walls of the gym and competition field, even if just in thought and reflection.

If you’re a coach that is willing to sacrifice to be a great coach, put yourself in the best position to succeed and surround yourself with like-minded coaches. Take the plunge and sign up for the Methodology Course. If you’ve taken the Methodology Course, take the next step and test for your Block One.


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Donald Ricci

Don was a two time National Champion and All-American water polo goalie at the University of Southern California prior to getting involved in coaching strength & conditioning and weightlifting. He is the founder and head coach of DELTA Weightlifting, a high performing USA Weightlifting Club and is a Police Officer in Central Virginia.

The Power Athlete Methodology has been a crucial component in developing better overall athleticism not only for his on the job performance in law enforcement, but also for his competitive weightlifters with international level athletes and national medalists to show for it. In addition to proudly being a Power Athlete Block One Coach, Don is also a USA Weightlifting Level 4 International Coach, a USA Weightlifting Lead Instructor USA Weightlifting Coaching Courses, and a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA). Don has coached and trained athletes from virtually every sport at levels ranging from youth beginner to National Team level.

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