I've been working with an increasing number of remote athletes recently. Especially in the Powerlifting and Weightlifting realms, and in the simplicity of general health and fitness. However, remote coaching is asynchronous. It's a process which a plan is given by the coach, executed by the individual, and then feedback is given on the session and notes are reviewed, and the program is updated continuously to make sure goals are attained in the right time frames. But in this process, athlete autonomy also becomes crucial to make sure their own goals are attained.
With this in mind, those engaging in remote coaching need to be able to build up some autonomy in order to optimize the process. Here's a few key tips which can really help make this process easier and more effective:
Review your training the day before, and ask any questions of your coach the day before. This gives your coach time to respond, and allows you to have a game plan in case something needs to be adjusted. This is why at Littauer Strength, all of our remote athletes programs are published at least two days ahead of time (though we aim for a week these days). This gives our remote athletes time to review it, ask questions, and make any adjustments before the sessions takes place.
Give clear feedback to your coach. Especially if you're writing out comments on your program or via text/email/etc, use full sentences. Especially if you're having positive or negative feelings towards a session, how things went, or how you want them to go. I'll rag on one of my former athletes, because now as friends we laugh about how they'd text me "K" when we'd discuss feedback and their training. It was passive aggressive, and usually expressed when critique was given on something, but it made for a few awkward months of training when things weren't going their way. Once we addressed this and clearer feedback was given, the results achieved accelerated because the program was able to be continuously updated. Additionally, your coach should respond with full sentences and thoughts too.
Practice Training on your own. One of the hard things about being a remote athlete is not having immediate feedback, or a team around you. I get it, it's tough. I trained for three years alone, in a dimly lit/dark gym with no music. There was no cheers for PRs, and no one to ask what they thought of a lift. But this practice of training on my own lead to a deeper self-awareness and internal gauge of how to lift and be self-critical. It puts you in the mindset of pursuing your goals for the right reason. It increases the intentionality of your training. Plus, it forces you to think on the fly and make smart training decisions when something comes up and an adjustment needs to be made.
Now, these are all things which are intentionally practiced. The more one can practice these habits, the more autonomy they develop. Especially if you're not used to training solo, or you're used to having a coach critique every rep or set, having a remote coaching experience which forces you to do so may actually enhance your ability to reach your goals. Because you own them more, and your expression of the process increases your believe in it.
So if you're working with a coach remotely, or you've considered hiring a remote coach to help you achieve a goal, learning to use these habits can be really key in making the experience much more worthwhile.