Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Am I a Personal Trainer?

I mentioned previously that I'm looking to get qualified as a tennis coach. That's mainly because I absolutely love playing and I've now learnt alot about all aspects of the game and want to pass this on. Plus I've learnt a lot of things that aren't common knowledge and I'd like to pass these on to my students as well to help them gain an edge.

I got thinking about it and wondered why I hadn't become a personal trainer in the first place. The reason being my skills and my passion extend far beyond the one sport and also cover health and fitness among other areas. Health and fitness was the prime reason for me doing my A levels and then my degree. I know, I know a sports degree isn't particularly specific to health related activities. Well it's because I like to be active and I wanted to learn about the active side of life and how it can help.

Anyway the reason I've never ventured into personal training goes back to my days as a gym instructor. My impression has always been that there are a few important barriers you have to over come. One main one being, where are you going to train your client. I found that most gyms seemed to already have their 'resident' personal trainer and that the trainer wouldn't be too happy about you 'working their turf'. I thought that without the support of a gym it'd be awkward to work the whole body easily. In truth I was concerned customers would be put off because they woudn't have access to the comforts and facilities available at a gym.

I think I just wasn't confident in myself. it seemed like a really big intimidating thing to do and it was also something that often takes a while to take off and get enough clients. Now I'm realising how blinkered a vision that is. I'd forgotten all the exercise I already knew that didn't need a gym. I'm also remembering that specific exercises are very easy to come by. With the right knowledge you can create something specific to the client or pick from any number of sources a set of exercises that are right for your client. The key is having the knowledge and that is what I am strong in.

So now I'm seeing that one of the major barriers may not be so big at all. I've advertised as a 'Tennis Coach in Training' but the response I'm getting so far is that I need to be qualified first before any one will be willing to give me a go. Fair enough. I'm looking at going through the RPT accreditation to get qualified, as it's cheaper than LTA but just as good.

Thinking about it though I just don't want to restrict myself to Tennis. It's too narrow a focus particularly given my focus has always been on understanding the human animal itself, both in a performance and health context. I've covered a lot of different topics to gain a good understanding but then that's what I like. Lots of different angles on the same problem.

I kind of wrote this article as an exercise in thinking on paper and I feel it's helped a lot. I feel I need to figure out what skills I should prioritise first rather than spreading myself too thinly. To do that I need to see if there is a label out there that already fits.

Next up is the concept of Life Coach. The thing is I don't know exactly what they do, so I'm going to have to find out so I can figure out if that's me or not.
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