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Remote Coaching Best Practices: 3 Tips to Maximize Athlete Engagement

CoachNow Blog: Remote Coaching Best Practices 3 Tips to Maximize Athlete Engagement
We asked, you answered.

A few weeks back, we asked what you wanted to see from the CoachNow Blog, and the answer was heard loud and clear.

You want advice on how to leverage CoachNow features to improve outcomes for your athletes. Specifically, coaches requested our best practices around delivering feedback to athletes for both in-person session and asynchronous, remote analyses.

So that’s exactly where we’re gonna start.

February’s blog posts will be all about improving your feedback loop, the various ways you can ensure that feedback is received and, more importantly, ensuring the feedback is implemented to help your athletes improve.

To kick it off, this week let’s focus on remote coaching.

Today I’m sharing my 3 tips for maximizing athlete engagement on CoachNow when you and your athlete(s) aren’t together in the same place.

In my view there are 3 critical aspects of successful remote coaching on CoachNow: (1) providing focused and impactful video feedback, (2) emphasizing the importance of context, and (3) maintaining rapport and momentum while you’re apart.

I’ll also be leaning on some past content throughout to keep this post from getting too long, so be sure you follow those links for a refresher if needed.

With that, let’s get to it.

1. Enhancing Your Feedback with Video Analysis

Quick reminder: Video Analysis is ONLY valuable if it improves you and your athlete’s COMMUNICATION and creates a SHARED UNDERSTANDING for your coaching relationship.

This is what I’ve previously dubbed the “Best Kept Secret of Video Analysis”. And it’s just as true now as it was in 2022 when I first published that blog.

For more on Video Analysis, be sure you check out these past posts for advice on how to optimize your communication with CoachNow’s Video Analysis Suite of tools:

Video Analysis: What Most Coaches Get Wrong

The 3 Biggest Mistakes of Video Analysis

The 3 Key Benefits of Video Analysis.

But none of that advice is useful if your athletes don't actually watch and ENGAGE with the videos you post. So how do you ensure the feedback you're giving is received and implemented?

Easy. Ask questions throughout your analysis. Make it clear that your athlete must respond in the comments.

I suggest asking a question at the beginning, middle, and end of your analyses. And don’t just ask general, vague questions or make statements about what they are doing.

Ask questions like “What were you thinking during this movement?”, “How did this feel?”, or “Do you notice what you did wrong here?”.

Ask leading questions that don’t just give the answer. Encourage them to engage with their videos and follow up with their thoughts in the comments of the post.

It’s a classic strategy from tutoring - help your athlete reach the conclusion you want them to see. Don’t just say it. It’ll make them much better at analyzing their own technique, take ownership of their skill development and help them improve much faster in the long run.

I also want to touch upon a newer feature that can greatly improve remote communication - CoachCam.

As you well know, CoachCam allows you to activate your phone’s camera and opens up a small “picture-in-picture” window over any video analysis.

Many coaches use this feature to add personalization to their voice overs – athlete’s love being able to see their coaches while they give feedback to a video they posted.

Here’s an idea: try using CoachCam to actually show your athlete what you want them to do.

To enhance your feedback, try enlarging the CoachCam window, stepping away from the camera, and demonstrating a movement, drill, or correction.

And, as I emphasized above, ask questions throughout to prompt their response in the comments of the post.
Here's a great example from a CoachNow member who tagged us on Instagram:
There is tons more we will say on the topic of video analysis in the coming months. Stay tuned!

2. Context, Context, Context

Many other coaching apps rely heavily on chat-based interactions. But here’s the deal: it’s really difficult to find chats more than a week old. In short, chats are a terrible coaching medium because they often lack organization and CONTEXT.

Here at CoachNow, we emphasize contextual learning through rich media posts (video, images, voice, docs and text), comments, and channels.

Because remote coaching isn’t just about having conversations - it's about creating a purposeful, context-rich environment for growth, your coaching feedback loop.

My biggest piece of advice for remote coaching: Ensure Spaces remain organized, intentional, and context-rich.

Because here’s the deal. It’s impossible to analyze a video without any context.

I see it all the time - athletes posting a video of, say, a golf swing, with no caption (or something super simple “what do you think?”).

My response is always: Well… What do you want me to look at? What was the result? What are you focusing on? etc.

Helpful analysis depends on context. And, as a coach, it’s crucial that you help your athletes communicate exactly what they need from you by providing context for feedback.

When interacting in person, the context is usually obvious. You’re usually explaining a movement or drill, and watching them perform it.

But it’s different for remote coaching. That context needs to be more explicit for the interaction to be meaningful. Plus, you’ll save yourself a ton of time if you don’t have to decipher what your athlete needs from you in any given moment.

In order for remote coaching to be successful, it needs to be efficient. You need to set the rules of engagement and ENFORCE them.

Trust me. It really can make a world of difference in saving you tim and making you more money. All while your athletes get better, faster!

More on Spaces:

Rapid Fire Overview: Spaces, Groups, Best Practices

5 Tips to Unlock the Power of Spaces

3. Maintain Momentum While Apart

A big challenge with remote coaching is keeping athletes engaged and committed without you watching their every move.

In past posts, I’ve stressed the importance of minimum requirements for athlete engagement. It really is crucial that you don’t just encourage, but require, their interaction between your live coaching sessions.

Part of this is following the advice in the previous sections of this blog. Namely, requiring context for posts and asking questions throughout your videos that you require them to answer in the comments.

Another key aspect of maintaining momentum comes down to effective onboarding. From day 1, your athletes should understand WHY CoachNow will help them, and how they can benefit from regular posting and engagement.

More on this: 3 Best Practices for Onboarding Your Athletes Into CoachNow.

You can also leverage View Data and Read Receipts to ensure your athletes remain engaged.

Monitor the posts in your athlete Spaces, and if you notice posts are going unviewed for long periods of time, address it directly with them. Ask why they haven’t logged in. Re-emphasize the importance of regular interaction FOR THEIR IMPROVEMENT.

Remember, you can also tap the “notify me” button to get a notification when an athlete views your post. I recommend using this during onboarding to encourage good habits from the start.

You and your athletes will gain SO much more from your live sessions if you have an ongoing rapport on the platform. And it’ll become second nature for your athletes in no time.

Final Thoughts - Don’t be Scared of Remote Coaching

To wrap this up, I just want to address a concern I hear constantly: that remote coaching only causes additional stress and work.

This is simply not true. When done correctly, adding an asynchronous component to your offer can help you make more money while coaching fewer athletes.

You’ll save so much time in the long run, and you’ll be able to grow your business in a way that’s simply not possible with only in-person “lessons”.

You just need to structure this correctly. I’ve laid out a playbook for doing exactly that, check out these posts to learn about Long-Term Development programs and the power of a subscription coaching model:

How to Introduce Long-Term Development into Your Coaching Business

Stop Selling Time for Money

To summarize those posts: a hybrid remote subscription-based coaching model is a win-win-win for you, your athletes, and your business.

I hope this helped! See you next week with the next post in our Feedback series: “Best Practices for In-Person Coaching”.
Coaching Best Practices Video Analysis