How To Tell Your Coach You Want To Train Elsewhere
by George McGinnis
For those unfamiliar with the term “cross training”, it generally means to work with other people and teams outside of your primary school as a means of supplementary training. This could mean that you travel to another school for a day, or that you simply wish to invite someone to train with you. The goal is often to share ideas, roll with new people, and experience new curricula and training styles.
The trick is to approach the subject in a way as to not raise a “red flag” with your instructor. When a student takes the appropriate measures in terms of asking their coach if they can train with other people, their request is often well received, and accommodations and compromises usually follow. When the situation is approached in a less than ideal manner, it can set a rocky tone between a student and their trainer for some time to come.
Some examples of going about it poorly may be:
– To travel to another location without speaking to your instructor beforehand. This can come across as “shady” or inconsiderate. Some coaches may even take it as disrespect.
– To approach the situation with a demeanor of, “I’m going to do what I want regardless”, is not the best way to go. Instructors generally do not respond well to students that are self-serving and “pushy”. Consider approaching it as a “polite request” vs. an “entitled demand”.
Ways to approach it correctly can be:
– To put your thoughts together in advance; via notes and solo brain storming. Having your goals, needs and ideas together in advance will show initiative and care for the situation.
– To approach your coach at a convenient time. This could be after practice, by a phone call during off hours, towards the end of a private lesson, a moment in private, etc. Most trainers are on auto pilot during school hours (you can trust me on that).
– To assure them that your intentions are well intended. Let them know that your happy with their service (should you be), and that it is not a reflection on them. Reiterate that you’re just looking to mix things up on occasion. Disarm their potential concerns of you’re “jumping ship” by explaining that this again, is not your intention.
– To allow them a feasible amount of time to process your request, should they need it. Some instructors won’t mind in the slightest, while others may need a little time to mull it over. They may or may not have reluctance due to previous requests that were made in the past.
– To put yourself in their shoes. This will at the very least give you the advantage of some additional perspective. It will also allow you to anticipate questions and concerns your coach may have.
It is natural for a student to want to spread their wings on occasion. Curiosity is in human nature. It is also understandable for an instructor to have a little apprehension about it in the process, as not every student before you has likely proved forthcoming. This is why good ol’ fashion communication is key! Make your goals and needs known while keeping your instructors position in mind, and the process may be less painful than you think. Good luck!