Dealing With a "Difficult" Student

Becca Borawski Jenkins
Coaching, Strength and Conditioning, Martial Arts

As coaches, we have all had those moments – a student won’t listen, is argumentative, or just won’t do what we ask. One of the biggest elements separating good coaching from adequate or bad coaching is the instructor’s ability to communicate. A ‘difficult’ student is a quick and clear litmus test for the coach’s ability to communicate effectively.


Last week I spoke with CrossFit LA’s Michael Stanwyck about the elements of good coaching. He comes from a unique perspective being both a fitness coach and a life coach. This week he and I discussed how best to handle those stressful, challenging moments in coaching. Michael shared his thoughts on the hardest situation to deal with:


One of the most challenging things to deal with is when someone gives up completely on the mastery part of the workout and goes for pure conditioning. It doesn’t matter what anything looks like to them they’re just going to do it. It doesn’t matter if they’re going to hurt themselves; they’re just going to do it.


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