The Difference Between Great Competitors & Great Coaches

Want to Be a Great Coach? Make Others Around You Better

When committing to a martial arts or MMA school, there’s a common misconception that if a coach is a successful competitor, then that must mean they’re a great coach.

But being a great coach is a completely different skill set from being a successful competitor, so much in fact that competitive athletes make some of the worst coaches.

In BJJ and MMA, there aren’t a lot of high level competitors who are also coaching. You don’t see a lot of people competing in the UFC who are also coaching. That’s because their time needs to be dedicated to themselves, or they wouldn’t have gotten that far. Those guys are being coached, not coaching. And behind every high level competitor who’s invested in their training, there is a great coach who is invested in their athlete.

Time & Energy
You only have so much time in the day to work at the thing you love and so much energy to be the best at it.

To be a successful competitive athlete, you have to be selfish with your time and energy to improve your own skills. You have to take care of your body and put everything you have into being the best fighter in the ring.

As an athlete, you ask yourself, “How can I improve my skills? How can I be a stronger, faster fighter?” You measure success by wins and losses.

To be a successful coach, you measure your success with a completely different metric. The metric isn’t, “Am I getting better?” Instead it’s, “Are my students getting better?”

As a coach, you need to ask yourself, “How can I make my students better? How can I prepare them for competition? How can I engage and connect with them? Are they getting better at what I’m teaching?”

When you train with the school that has the best coaches, you’re getting a coach who’s going to dedicate all their resources to you and your training.

As an athlete, everything is about you. As a coach, everything is about your students.

Keeping the doors open.
Just because you’re a skilled athlete doesn’t mean you can run a business.

When you look at whose gyms fail and who does a bad job at running a business, it’s often former athletes. Those guys go broke. There are some rare exceptions, but the successful ones become great coaches only after they’ve retired from competition.

Being a coach and running a school also means you’re running a business. You don’t need to be a successful athlete to be able to do that. It doesn’t matter how good of an athlete a person is, if they can’t run a business, then that business fails, and students are left high and dry.

Great coaches work hard and give all they have to keep the lights on, the doors open, and to give you the best training possible.

A Teacher & Role Model for Life

Think about your favorite teacher in school. How did they make learning a fun and memorable experience?

No matter what the subject, everyone will say it was the teacher who was enthusiastic and energetic and made students excited to learn. You never hear anyone say that their favorite teacher was someone who was brilliant in their field, a total introvert, spoke in monotone, and wrote a bunch of notes on the board.

Choose the school with coaches who make learning fun, engaging, and memorable.

Choose the school that takes itself seriously and runs like any legitimate business that is committed to providing the best service for its members.

Choose the school that is going to make everything about you.