The difference between a sports coach and personal trainer

by frank-stuart

If you want to pursue a career in sports education, you have to think about what direction you want to take. There are numerous career pathways in the broad spectrum of “sports education”. Before you decide which path to take, it’s important to understand the difference between training and coaching. They are often used interchangeably, and they both involve the transference of knowledge from teacher to student, but they are not the same thing.

What is coaching?

In business terms, coaching is often seen as non-directive. That is, the coach doesn’t offer solutions to problems, but rather guides their pupils in a direction where they can identify and solve their own problems.

Sports coaching is a bit different. Sports coaches will instruct, and athletes are expected to follow directions. But a sports coach will also empower athletes to take responsibility for their own performances. They will seek an athlete’s feedback on how to improve. Sports coaches often coach athletes who already have a great deal of knowledge, and it’s their job to implement strategies to further build on that knowledge.

What is training?

Training is generally thought of as more instructive. The trainer imparts his or her knowledge onto the trainee. It’s more of a one-way process, with the trainer telling the trainee what to do. With a trainer-trainee relationship, the trainer is an expert, while the trainee has minimal knowledge.

Sports coaching versus personal training

Both sports coaches and personal trainers help people achieve their goals, but their roles are very different.

Role of a sports coach

Sports coaches help athletes and teams reach their full potential. This is done in a variety of ways:

  • Implementing training programs
  • Analysing progress and performances
  • Counselling
  • Motivating
  • Creating a winning culture

A sports coach has the responsibility to create an environment where athletes can flourish. This can be a daunting task, especially if the coach is in charge of a group of athletes, all with differing personalities. A coach’s role will change according to the aptitude of their athletes.

A coach’s main role might be to develop skills, but at a more professional level, their role is more likely to be about developing strategies for athletes to maximise the skills they already have.

Role of a personal trainer

A personal trainer’s role is to help his or her trainees achieve their health and fitness goals. The main aim is not to win, it’s to reach a personal target and maintain it. The personal trainer’s first priority is to implement a safe and effective fitness regime that will help their clients reach their fitness goals. Personal trainers also need to be able to motivate their clients. While personal training is more instructive then coaching, a personal trainer should be able to educate clients about healthy living habits.

At ACPE Academy, we offer three personal training courses to kick start your career – the Certificate III in Fitness, Certificate IV in Fitness and Cert III & IV Combo. Plus, for the month of August, we’re giving any student who enrols in the Certificate III and IV combination course, for any of our upcoming 2013 intake dates, a FREE Career Kick-Starter Pack worth $880! Find out more about our special offer >

Visit the ACPE Academy website for more information >


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