Whether you’re a new or experienced player, health coaching is an intense form of physical training. You start a fitness training program as if you were a beginner, but as you improve and gain experience, you are able to modify the sessions accordingly, for example by increasing the frequency or intensity of training. That flexibility means that health coaching is the perfect program for players who want to progress quickly and can’t wait to start their first season in the new club.
Coaches at a professional club can learn health coaching and take it to a different level, to a totally different realm.
Coaching health is so important in professional football that a professional team in England has a special clinic for coaches to learn how to incorporate health coaching into their sessions. What is health coaching? It’s a form of physical training, so it must be strictly physical. You go to the clinic, listen to a training program, then adapt it to your own personal condition and input. By the end of the training program, your coaches can see that you’ve taken their guidance to a new level, that you’re improving significantly. Then, you can go back to your team and teach them the method you learned at the clinic. That’s health coaching.
What are the benefits of health coaching for a professional player?
Health coaching is a coaching strategy that has been developed specifically for athletes in training. I think health coaching is a really important thing, because you don’t see so many sportsmen doing this kind of training. Health coaches at professional clubs can learn health coaching and take it to a different level, to a totally different realm. They can tailor the sessions to the athletes. For example, they can modify the sessions so that the athletes can rest or recover more effectively. If the coach asks you to do 20 kilometers of running and then asks you to rest for 30 minutes, and you cannot do that, what is going to happen? You’re going to lose all the performance and then the coach is going to punish you.
In health coaching, we work on creating an environment where players can be healthy and perform on their best. They can rest, they can exercise, they can go out for health food, they can go for sports nutrition. That’s a complete scenario that can work for an athlete in professional training. That’s health coaching.
I think health coaching is a really important thing, because you don’t see so many sportsmen doing this kind of training.
This is an elite professional sports team, but I’m sure many athletes in other sports work on their own fitness, and if they do it at a different level, they’re probably benefitting from the benefits of health coaching. I’m also aware of those sports in which the coaches aren’t certified, but they work on their own fitness and what they know about health.
Obviously, health coaching is not the same for all athletes. If you are a professional tennis player, then health coaching might be an advantage. But if you’re a professional footballer, you can still benefit from health coaching, especially if you’re training regularly, playing frequently, and you don’t know what you should do. What can the coach do for you, if you don’t know what you should be doing?
In a professional environment, health coaching is not just about coaching fitness and fitness nutrition. The health aspect is one thing, but the coaching part is another, and if you work on health coaching, the coaching part is quite complicated.
When I talked to a player who was a beginner, health coaching was easier for him. He was able to listen to the coaching, take it to a certain level, and understand. If you look at athletes who have been training for some time, they can see their improvement.
If you’re a professional player who’s young and new, health coaching is a good thing to do. If you’re a professional player who’s at the end of his career, health coaching is not so important. It’s less urgent, because if you’re at a certain level, you can do health coaching, but you’re already at the end of your career. If you don’t work on your health, you will develop a health condition. You can’t expect a professional footballer or a tennis player to be taking health coaching to a new level.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if you had a coach?
Some coaches are really good at health coaching. Some coaches, I think, are not that good at coaching and health coaching. I think a coach has to have some special knowledge.
When I talk about health coaching, I think coaching on health is maybe a little bit more difficult because the coach has to do a lot of input. If you’re a coach working with health coaching, you have to do a lot of coaching input. Because you’re working on a more complex situation, you have to learn a lot of coaching skills. That’s where you can learn health coaching.
On the other side, when you work on coaching, coaching is quite simple. You have a structure, you have a coach, you’re just following the coach. For health coaching, the coach is doing the coaching, and he’s doing a good job, because he’s coming from a different background. You can’t work on health coaching in the same way, because you don’t know so much about health, and maybe it’s not the right environment.
But what does it mean to have a coach? What are some positive aspects?
I’m talking now about coaching, because health coaching is a new thing for me. For a coach, it’s not really new, because the coach needs some knowledge about health. You have a coach who knows how to coach fitness and how to do sport nutrition, and that’s pretty good. That’s coaching.
For a health coach, the coach needs some knowledge about health. I think it’s important that the coach has a real understanding of health. I’m not talking about health as something personal, but health is for everybody. It’s something that every person needs.