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13 Things Great Coaches Never DO

 great coaches


13 Things Great Coaches Never Do

A post about inspired by a LifeHacker article

By: Coach David de Leon


1) Text during class

This is a topic that all who know me know I feel very strongly about. As the head or assistant coach, you are saying that you have chosen to dedicate your time, attention and knowledge to your athletes. They pay your bills in order to receive the knowledge you have in your head. Do not disrespect them by texting while you are coaching.


2)  Sit down while they are coaching

Sorry, last time I checked we were in the fitness industry. If coaching for a few hours a day makes you so tired that you must sit down while coaching, then maybe you need to get back to the fitness part. Sitting is sloppy and lazy. Why any coach would feel it is necessary is beyond me. If you think you have a great reason why coaches should sit down, comment below and let me know.


3)  Try to raise up by putting down

I have seen and heard coaches call their athletes all types of names or use negative reinforcement thinking it will positively affect that athlete. This is not 1950’s PE class, we know now that negativity does not bring about positivity in others. Use your coaching skills to coach and cue. Motivate your athletes and educate them in order to make them better.


4)  Do not read or attend seminars in their field because they think they already know it all

The fitness industry is notorious for know-it-alls. Coaches get a cert and boom that is it. From that point on they never again need to attend another coaching/training seminar because it would be impossible for anyone to give them information they don’t know. Coaches, do yourself a favor and spend at least 30 minutes each day reading about different programs or styles of training. Even if you don’t agree with it, that is absolutely fine! But expand your knowledge base and know what others in the industry are doing.


5)  Try to diagnose an injury

We are not doctors. Build a relationship with a local chiropractor or physician, preferably one that also trains the way you train, and send your athletes there when they experience pain. Pain is a red flag, do not act like a doctor and prescribe exercises for pain, it is NOT your job.


6)  Say the word, “good”, even when a movement still looks awful because they aren’t really sure how to correct it. (Remember the words: Better, Same, Worse)

The word good is the most overused word in a coach’s vocabulary. What does it really mean? When I hear it I think, “well it wasn’t great, but it will do”. Coaches should always remember the words: Better, Same, Worse. Those 3 words can easily get the point across. From there a coach can cue what was better, what looks the same and how to fix it, and re-cue in order to get it away from worse. Good is a cop-out, be better than that.


7)  Answer Their phone during class

I only list things that I have heard or seen happen. Answering your phone during class should be an automatic reason for an athlete to leave your gym and for you to be fired (unless it is a family emergency). One word: Unprofessional.


8)  Allow their athletes to be in control of the flow of class

Your job as the leader is to direct the flow of the class. You set the energy and tone in the beginning of class and continue to do so as the class goes on. When you are talking and demoing, everyone should be listening, not talking to one another. When you are ready for things to happen, they should happen because you give the direction, not because someone feels they should jump ahead.


9)  Allow athletes to perform half decent movements because the movement is almost good enough and don’t want to seem too demanding

If you have movement standards, and you all should, make your athletes hold up to those standards. Speed is not the important part if the movement looks bad. A standard should be designed in order to get the most out of each athlete in a safe manner. Do not let your athletes be pressured by time in a workout if they are not yet capable of performing the movement properly. Step up and correct bad movement, it is your job.


10)  Allow a new PR because well, it was close enough.

Would you get on an airplane if the engineer of that airplane said, “well we didn’t get everything made perfect on this aircraft, but it’s close enough”? If your athlete is going for a new pr whether it be a 1, 2, 3 or 20 rep, make them get all of the reps. It is only fair to your programming and to their advancement as an athlete. Almost NEVER counts.


11) Teach advanced movements to beginners without first properly teaching mechanics and technique.

No new athlete should be performing advanced lifts under load such as snatch on their first day or in their introduction course. Occasionally you will run into an athlete who just has all the mobility and strength to perform advanced movements. But even then, assess the athlete and progressively allow them to load over time.


12)   Allow new athletes to begin programs without first properly assessing their movement patterns, basic strength, stability and mobility.

Coaches are sometimes too quick to allow beginners to start training. It is very important that all new athletes are assessed in order for you to properly prescribe movements for where they currently are. If you are allowing athletes to begin training without assessing them, their longevity in training will be greatly diminished. Assess first, prescribe workouts second in accordance to their limitations


13)  This one is just one I like…Never play Brittany Spears. Ever.

Must I even elaborate?


BC group



The reason everyone at OTL Fitness should believe in themselves.

By: Coach David de Leon


When OTL Fitness was being created, I was sure to keep my hopes and dreams amongst a small circle of people. These were mostly family or friends I have known for several years. The hopes and dreams were kept close because I did not want to be told otherwise. All negative energy was shunned and I continuously sought out the positive people in my life. Just as I developed this community by surrounding myself with people who had faith in me, I expect all of OTL’s members to understand that we have and will always have faith in all of you.

No journey, even when we are prepared, is easy. As coaches, we understand this and want to help you through your journey as much as possible. However, there is a catch. The easiest way for us to maintain faith, is by first having you demonstrate how eager you are to reach your goals. If you constantly TALK about what you want to do but have very little action, then our faith tends to diminish. But, if you show up every day, don’t make excuses, and work as hard as possible, then our faith in you will continue forever.

We expect set backs and bumps in the road, but we do not expect quitting. To quit on your goals in the gym truly is a reflection of your ability to quit on other important things or people in your life. You must first be able to dedicate time to yourself and establish faith in yourself before anyone else can do the same.

I speak for all of the coaches at OTL Fitness when I say, we have faith in all of you.



– Coach David de Leon

3 Things To Do The Day After Your Competition



Fall marks a time of sports and athletic endeavors. For some, their Saturdays will be spent in front of a TV watching football, baseball fans are counting the last few games their teams have left to qualify for the playoffs, and those who compete in fitness competition, like CrossFit events, see a spike in competitions in their towns/cities.

If you are one of the many competing in the latter of the list, here are 3 recommendations of must do’s the day after your all day long competition. If there is something else you like to do, comment below and let us know!


1) MOVE: It is common to want to sit around the next day and just bask in your soreness. You may be experiencing the “I didn’t know I could get sore there” syndrome that usually occurs the next day, but this should not stop you from getting out and moving. I do not recommend going and doing an aggressive workout, but instead just active recovery. Personally, I like a 30 minute walk or row. Very low impact and intensity, but it allows blood flow through your body which can help alleviate damaged muscle fibers from the day before. Do not sit, get up, and keep moving!

2) I often fall victim to “Now I will eat a really crappy meal since I just worked out so hard”. If there is ever a time your body needs excellent nutrition for recovery, it is immediately after your workout. Don’t go straight to the inflammation causing pizza dough or burger just yet. Get a clean source of carbohydrates in and hold off that over the top “I deserve this meal” for 24+ hours. Your body will thank you.

3) Drink lots of water. I always stress the importance of PERFECT hydration the days leading up to a competition, but you will be most dehydrated at the end. Not only from working out, but from just being outside for that long. The beer can wait, get hydrated ASAP. Don’t be afraid of grabbing some pedialyte or some form of electrolyte to drink during and after your competition. Your hydration will help eliminate your prolonged soreness.

These are just a few of the things you can do the day after your competition to help rid your soreness and for better maintenance of your body. If you are competing, you are taking your body to the next level. Be sure to help it with next level recovery as well.



– Coach David

The Feeling of Being Overwhelmed

Coach David here!

Last night an athlete asked me if I had any posts on being overwhelmed with work, life and all of those other crazy things that tend to come up from time to time. The question was great because it was aligned with what I was going through for the past 2 weeks. Being overwhelmed happens, but I believe how we respond to “busy” is really what makes things worse.

No matter what we do for our day jobs, one thing is true, we are all busy. Sometimes we are busy for days or weeks straight and other times it is an all of a sudden feeling of too much happening at one exact moment. My advice, don’t react, respond. It is our human nature to quickly react physically or emotionally to a situation. Look around you, people are constantly reacting to things happening around them. Drivers yelling at drivers, teammates high fiving after a good play, kids screaming because no one is sharing. The problem? Too often our reaction is negative. As a matter of fact, the word “reaction” usually has a negative connotation. As Zig Ziglar once put it, “We react to medication with hives, but we respond to the treatment very well.”

Let’s take this into our lives. Yes we are busy, who isn’t? Yes we all believe we are busier than everyone else. But why is it some people who are extremely busy, don’t seem to let it bother them? Because they have learned to respond to the situation. They readjust their schedules, they create the time to sit down for a  few minutes and enjoy the “me time”. No matter the stress level of your job, it is your RIGHT to take 5 minutes, and just relax.  If you are extremely busy, have you taken time out to mark down a daily agenda? I mean filling in every minute of every day with what it is you are going to be doing? Probably not. Why? Because we instead let the day happen and continuously react to events as they happen through the day. If we only took the time to tell our day what it would look like, then things would run much more smoothly.

If you take 1 thing from this write up, take this quote, “The  secret to your success is determined by your daily agenda.” Things will arise, but respond to them appropriately and life will become much less stressful and the feeling of being overwhelmed will go away.