Martial arts represents more than just a sport or form of exercise– it encompasses an entire journey of self-improvement, personal growth, and skill progression. While your own dedication, hard work, and consistent practice are undoubtedly important, there’s another often underestimated factor that plays a significant role in your development as an athlete: open communication with your coach.
“Openly communicating is like building a bridge that connects two islands together,” says Arvada’s Coach Omar.
So why, exactly, then, do we want to build this bridge?
If you want to grow as an athlete, open and trusted commucation is an essential key.
Communication ensures that both you and your coach stay on the same page regarding your goals as an athlete. Where do you want your BJJ or Muay Thai to take you? Where do you want to be in this sport in one year, three years, five years? Do you have a desire to compete at a high level, or are you focused more on perfecting skills over competing? Do you have aspirations to coach yourself someday?
These are all questions you should ask yourself, and can and should articulate to your coach. Clearly communicating your goals and aspirations allows your coach to tailor your training to your specific needs and do a better job helping you. Whether you aim to become a black belt, improve your self-defense skills or compete in tournaments, your coach needs to know your objectives to guide you effectively.
Feedback, corrections and improvement
In martial arts, progress and safety require technical precision. Make sure to always keep that feedback loop between you and your coach around your performance and areas of improvement. You will always have new things to work on and improve, and you should expect your coach to tell you so.
Open and direct communication with your coach provides the opportunity for them to offer immediate feedback and corrections which will keep you on the path to success. Whether it’s refining your stance, adjusting your strike or perfecting your grappling technique, your coach’s guidance is essential in helping you consistently make continuous improvements.
Communication also becomes extremely necessary when it comes to your overall health on and off the mats.
If you’re feeling overtrained, tell your coach so they can adjust the intensity of your training that day or week. If you’re consistently showing up to train tired, you might need to reassess your program and take a look at your recovery to help ensure you don’t get injured.
BJJ and Muay Thai are weight class sports, so keep in mind that certain weight classes may not always be sustainable for you as an athlete. Having an open dialogue about your recovery, training intensity or any nagging injuries can keep you healthy.
Motivation and encouragement
Martial arts can feel physically and mentally challenging, and there will be times when your motivation wanes. Your coach doesn’t just exist to teach techniques; they also want to provide you with inspiration and encouragement.
Sharing your doubts and concerns with your coach can help them know how to provide the right support. Sometimes we may feel insecure or nervous about something and just need someone else to tell us how truly awesome it is! External motivation can help keep you on track and provide strategies for overcoming the mental blocks you will run into from time to time.
Martial arts is a journey of continuous improvement, and if you want to take a strategic approach, it’s essential to track your progress.
Regularly speaking with your coach enables them to assess your development, help you set new goals and adjust your training regimen accordingly. Your coach can offer valuable insights into your strengths and assess areas that need improvement, both short-term and over time. They can also create a clear path with strategies to help you overcome your obstacles and develop mental resilience along your martial arts mastery.
Building trust and connection
Strong relationships are built on trust and connection. By communicating openly and honestly with your coach, you build a relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. This trust is a foundation for your growth and development as a martial artist.
By sharing your goals, concerns, and progress, you and your coach can work together to create a training plan that maximizes your potential. Moreover, this partnership extends beyond the physical techniques; it encompasses the mental aspects of the journey bringing you the motivation and mental prep you need along your journey of personal development.