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Coaching can improve through progressions and practice. James Hobart offers cueing tips and drills to help you communicate with your athletes better.

“A trainer trains.” —Greg Glassman

Our coaching job might be simply stated as follows: help people move better. But that isn’t always simply done. Our efforts to get droopy shoulders more active and wavy midlines stabilized don’t always succeed.

While we frequently rely on tactile and demonstrative cues, verbal cues often present the easiest and quickest choice for fixing issues, especially in larger groups. Sometimes they can also be the most misleading. We will bark “more vertical!” “explode!” and “elbows up!” but elbows will drop, torsos will dip forward and poor hip extension will still linger. Even the most sincere desire to coach Billy Badass to his next PR falls flat every once in a while.

As coaches, we want to improve alongside our athletes, and the general prescription for becoming a more effective coach requires experience and practice—and lots of both. A lot can be gained from considering cueing like a high-skill movement. Skills, drills and progressions can be used to refine one of our most foundational coaching practices.

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3 Comments on “Coaching as a Skill: Verbal Cueing”


wrote …

This is an awesome article, James!!

Another thing we have found super helpful in our affiliate is that good form is contagious, so once you get most of your members moving well, the rest will imitate it and thereby develop good form without an excess of cuing.


wrote …

Great work my friend.

Printing this one off for my next coaches meeting.

Thanks JH,



wrote …

Very helpful, thank you

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