Shane Farmer is a rowing specialist, a coach, an entrepreneur, a 4-time CrossFit Games athlete, and the founder of Dark Horse Rowing and Dark Horse Academy.
Farmer is known in the CrossFit community as a rowing specialist who has worked with elite CrossFit Games athletes, including 2017 CrossFit Games champion Clair Toomey, Kari Pearce, Lauren Fisher, Garrett Fisher, Sam Dancer, and others.
In this episode, we dive into how to develop your coaching experience and philosophy, how to allow yourself to grow as a coach, shifting your paradigm, and more. Enjoy!
Fun Fact: Shane Farmer worked with our friend Drew Canole (episode 294) on FitLife.TV back in 2011. Here is a taste:
The Art of Coaching
Shane Farmer fell in love with rowing in college and has been surrounding himself with top notch coaches ever since. He always wanted to learn more and make a big impact. That’s how he became a rowing specialist and master coach.
Farmer went from giving people rowing advice at the gym, to coaching one-on-one, to coaching small groups, to recording and sharing YouTube videos, to running seminars, to now running Dark Horse Academy, which is an online seminar for coaches on how to train their clients with Farmer’s rowing methodologies.
Farmer became a great coach because he has been open-minded and attuned to his clients over the years. He became an effective coach by looking for physical cues, feeling the energy, and assessing how his clients feel. He learned to adapt to situations and translate the messages in his head to appeal to a wide audience. Today, he teaches other teachers his coaching philosophies.
- What to do when your athletes don’t care about rowing — Farmer has been working with the crossfit community for the past few years, he discovered the best way to get athletes excited about rowing is to relate it to other crossfit movement, such as kettlebell swings, snatches, and deadlifts.
- How to develop your coaching experience and philosophy — As a coach you need to start by learning from others, then apply what you’ve learned on yourself, then coach one client, then five, then ten, etc. You need to gradually own the content you’ve learned and figure out how to deliver value. If you don’t have real clients to experiment with, start by coaching your spouse or kids.
- Allowing yourself to grow as a coach — Being a coach is more than teaching the movements and how to breathe. Coaching becomes an emotional exploration with your clients, which is more than movement expression. Clients usually want be around their coaches for other purposes whether it’s lifestyle or their physical energy. As a coach you need to make space for growth and allow yourself to grow. Listen to verbal cues, feel the energy in the gym, and talk to your clients.
- How to grow from an instructor to a coach — You need to be able to internalize things, learn from them, and change as you grow. Understanding why you’re what you’re doing takes knowledge and experience. It usually takes around 10 years to really understand what you’re doing as a coach.
- You need to have humility to learn — The best athletes and coaches don’t see themselves as good enough and have always have a desire to learn and grow. They don’t care about looking like a beginner or being one.
- Shifting your paradigm — In rowing, you need to be able to connect to the machine. It’s not about speeding up or systemic speed, or just moving faster yourself. You need to apply the right force to the handle, which measures force, acceleration and distance. When it comes to rowing, Farmer likes to teach the concept of changing the paradigm from pulling to pushing.
- How to learn rowing basics — Start by focusing on good static positions, then perform the movement very slow, hitting all the good positions.
Connect with Shane Farmer
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