Awhile back, I happened upon a post from a colleague:

“If your coach gives you something to do but won’t tell you why when you ask, get a new coach.”

I understand the point: your coach should show they’ve got some reasoning behind their decisions. Most of the time, this is good advice.

Our industry is built on a foundation of bro-science, assumption, tradition, and — of course — bullshit. I’m not saying it’s all smoke and mirrors, and it’s certainly getting better, but there’s still a lot of bad advice being given out with no backing whatsoever save for “it worked for me.”

So everything your coach asks you to do, when pressed, they should be able to back up reasonably well.

That doesn’t mean references or links to studies, or — worse — too much jargon. Word salad is usually a sign you’re being bamboozled.

What it does mean is a simple explanation.

Even then, a LOT of bodybuilding protocols don’t have clear scientific underpinnings. Heck, some don’t even have LOGICAL underpinnings. They just seem to work. In most people. Most of the time.

And even that can be okay, too, provided your coach can be transparent and explain, “This just seems to work, not sure why,” and they avoid the urge to just make up more word salad to appear smart. I’ve tried to do this with my own clients.

However, there are still exceptions to the idea that your coach should always explain themselves to you.

There’s a time and a place for background information and it’s rarely when the proverbial bullets are flying.

In a few instances, I’ve refused to explain the why behind some of my coaching decisions. However, I did this with the promise that I would once we were done and the smoke’s cleared. Because too much information, even good information, can be a harmful distraction from just focusing and doing.

Sometimes what the client needs is focus. Fewer distractions. Fewer studies. Less doubt. Just a game plan, a sense of focus, and a sense of trust in the plan.

Think of the dying moments of a hockey or basketball game. Coach taps your shoulder and says go in. Do you just stay seated on the bench and ask, “But why put me in? What about Joe? And do you think this is the right play to run? I read a study that showed…”?

Yeah, no. You go in.

Or if coach taps you on the shoulder and tells you to try that new play you’ve been practicing? Do you say, “Well, isn’t that more applicable in X, Y and Z situations? I read some statistics that said…”?

No. You go in and you do it.

Save it for after the game.

– Bryan

(Now, of course, this all depends on the player trusting the coach — but that’s not exactly something you establish in the dying minutes of game seven. If you’ve got a half-decent coach, that’s not something they’ve merely assumed; it’s something they’ve built up throughout the entire season.)