Sure, the evaluation may come first in our process when we start working with new clients. We feel pretty strongly about taking our new clients through a Functional Movement Screen and a few other orthopedic evaluations.

However, the evaluation never ends…and here’s why.

People Don’t Come with Manuals

Everyone has a story. I bet some of the stories I’ve heard in my day would absolutely blow your mind. Sure, many of our members walk through the doors of SOS with a relatively simple sounding goal of dropping a few pounds. Others are sent to us after years of dealing with nagging orthopedic issues. I’m not talking about just an old ankle injury that flares up from time to time… I’m talking about the constant, chronic nagging injuries.

Regardless, we always do our best to help. We never make promises that we can “fix something,” but we will always do our best to make sure you receive the highest quality of care possible whether you train in house, or we refer you out to a doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist or elsewhere!

When someone comes to us with nagging aches and pains, reoccurring injuries or even just specific goals, we need as much information as possible in order to help them best.

People aren’t cars. Our clients don’t come with a manual. Click To Tweet

Unfortunately we don’t have specific directions on what each individual needs or how to fix things that aren’t working the way they should.

Since we do not have a manual with black and white directions here are a few things we can do:

  • Ask potential clients the right questions
  • Utilize various screens
  • Evaluate each individual
  • Program in a smart fashion

Even once we get through the above information, we need a game plan. Sure, in a perfect world, we would evaluate a client, write a program, execute the program and know we’ll be successful every time, right?

Man, I wish!

Success is far from linear. Sticking to the program doesn’t always do the trick.

The Ongoing Evaluation Process

The screening and evaluation process doesn’t end after the first session, just as our client’s story isn’t over yet. That’s right, the screening and evaluation process needs be ongoing. A good coach will make the necessary changes to help client’s improve function, movement competency, and improve performance.

{5 Ways to Become a Better Coach}

A large portion of my clientele is people recovering from some sort of injury. Each case is unique and often times, I end up changing something on the fly. Sometimes my original exercise selection was not optimal so I determine a better choice. Even after many years of experience, this “initial evaluation” process generally lasts a few weeks until I design the best program for my client given their current scenario.

If you look in my client’s folders, this tends to be my chicken scratch you’ll see in their first couple of weeks of training.

The Evaluation Never Ends

What I’ve shown above is just a piece of the puzzle and eventually the program will come together and go into a word document. That doesn’t mean we are ever set in stone. Even after a few solid weeks when I feel really great about a client’s program, changes usually need to be made based on the client and his/her daily needs.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned training people with reoccurring injuries, it’s that you need to build flexibility right into the program. This is not permission to have your client skip sessions, take it easy or give up. It’s simply permission to make smart modifications and keep checking in.

The Evaluation Process Never Really Ends

One thing in life that’s constant is change. We all know that, right? If you are a coach who cares about your client(s), hopefully the beginning of each training session is some sort of a quick evaluation.

You’ll ask questions like:

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • How is your back feeling?
  • How did you sleep?
  • How’s work going?

These are all questions that help you gather quality information as to what realistically should be done during a particular training session. You may not be running your client through a full formal evaluation like you did the day he/she started, but you are absolutely evaluating their current state. Always.

There are some days when your client will need a bit of extra foam rolling. Other days, perhaps a little extra static stretching will do the trick. Let’s be real here, life happens. And you will have days when you need to skip the lift altogether and in lieu of some light aerobic work.

Be a Smart Coach

Listen, most people don’t get paid to work out and as coaches we need to understand this. People hire us to move better, feel better and perform better. They need a training system for life. Be a smart coach. Know when to push your clients, know when to stick to the plan and also knows when it’s a good idea to pump the brakes whether for a day or a month. Remember, the evaluation never ends.

The only place fitness comes before health is in the dictionary. - Brett Jones Click To Tweet