I wonder and have doubts about the idea of being properly analytical about your own training. I think it is possible but I think you have to monitor yourself very carefully. I hate the term “self coached” since that implies you almost came up with stuff independently, however for the bulk of my 20s and all of my 30s so far I have been self coached inasmuch as I haven’t had what you’d call a regular coach monitoring my training and helping to develop me. This means that I’m completely self-reliant when it comes to motivation, managing my rest, managing my effort, and deciding where my weaknesses and strengths lie.
I’m certainly not complaining. My lifestyle allows me to train pretty much every day, often twice per day, and my education and career allows me to perform a lot of the analyses above with a good degree of accuracy. However I do sometimes wonder if I’d be further along in skill or have achieved more competitively if I’d had a regular and more traditional coach. Having thought about it a good deal, I think it’s a case of what I’ve lost on the swings, I’ve gained on the roundabouts.
Firstly, there’s little doubt that if I had put as much time as I have done into training while having a regular coach to help me along, I would have progressed more quickly. That’s not arrogance, that’s just a reflection of the fact that if you put someone of modest athletic ability (ie. me) in a regular training programme with a decent coach, you will get results. Add to that the fact that there are nights in my own gym where I have had no training partners or have been the odd man out, and you have a lot less actual training than just hours spent watching others train.
Against that you have the fact that even when injured, not well, demotivated, or during periods of heavy work or the like, I have had to show up to the gym because it was my job to be there. For example when my second son was born I had little sleep, a wife to help out, and work to do, but I still had to show up to train and coach. This probably wouldn’t have happened if I was a regular trainee. Also, coaching allows you to be very analytical about technique, and there are many times I’ve discovered something about a movement or a technique by being asked a question about it. In essence, my regular students have been my coaches.
So by and large I think it about evens out. I don’t spend much time dwelling on it but it does come up in conversation from time to time. Sure, put in hour after hour on the mats doing nothing but training, with no worries about the development of those around you is better for you, but how many of those guys end up spending as long in the sport as I have? It’s up for debate, but I think coaching has kept me in the sport when perhaps there was some notion of quitting in my head.
Just a fairly random thought for your Tuesday morning. Have a good day!