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Coach - Instructor

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Most top-class sports people and serious exercisers have a coach or instructor to help them improve their performance and reach their full potential. Good coaches act as motivators and teachers. Ideally, they should be able to convey both theoretical understanding and practical instruction, and they should be sympathetic to the requirements of those they coach.

The way a coach or physical fitness instructor works varies greatly. It usually reflects the coach's personality, ability, and experience, as well as the nature of the work, and the aspirations and personalities of those being coached. (Shop Online2)The popular image of the coach, stereotyped in fiction and films, is often of a person who strives for excellence and fitness, and who presents a tough inflexible front to his charges. Some studies by sports sociologists have supported this image that many coaches are dominant; they are able to express aggression easily; they are not very interested in the dependency needs of others; and they are autocratic, often requiring unquestioning obedience. However, it is unclear whether this pattern of behaviour is a true reflection of personality or an attempt to act out the role imposed by society. Other studies have shown that coaches do not differ from other people in the way and extent to which they exploit situations and people. These studies showed that coaches exhibit a whole spectrum of behaviours, ranging from the autocratic described above, to the democratic, maintaining an open dialogue with their athletes about all aspects of their coaching.

Whatever behavioural style the coach adopts, most sports psychologists agree that compatibility between coach and athlete is a critical factor in the success and satisfaction of the athlete, so it is important to choose a coach who suits you.

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