basketball player

StriveFar Co-Founder talks about his experience finding a private coach for his son

My first experience finding a soccer coach to provide 1 on 1 coaching for my son was a frustrating experience, and I was definitely out of my comfort zone  – Joshua Ross

I did not know the characteristics of a good coach, which is someone that would connect with an 11 year old and help him improve his confidence on the field. I searched on Google for “private soccer coach” and a website with soccer coaches in Denver popped up.

My selection criteria for a coach was based on price, resume, and photograph; I assumed my decision based on the information provided was solid.  Unfortunately,  my process was poor (I explain why below) and the sessions were a waste of time and money.

It has been proven that 1 on 1 and small group training will help your athlete improve and reach their goals. I have no illusions that my kids will play in college, what they choose to accomplish is up to them.  However, I want the game to be fun and for each of them to have confidence playing the game.

Finding the right coach for personal training was a very important step in this direction. Sports training is not one and done, but rather a continuous and long-term process. The relationship with a personal coach needs to be and should be approached as long term as well. ​

In order to help you not make the mistakes that I made in hiring my first private coach, we have compiled a checklist for you and your athlete to discuss prior to starting the search process. I wish I had answered these questions before and during my coach search.

Step 1. Identify the Need

What do you want to achieve through the training? It’s important to identify why you want a coach in order to find the right fit.  When you meet with a coach for the first time, you will have a better understanding of your needs.

  • Is your goal to play in college?
  • Is your goal to make a club team or play in high school?
  • Is your goal to shake off the rust before an upcoming season?
  • Do you want to improve your technique and skills?
  • Do you want to have fun and play with friends?
  • Do you want to improve your speed, strength, conditioning?
  • Do you want to gain confidence while learning a new sport?

Step 2. What is Your Commitment Level?

The commitment for the athlete and parents can be very different in each family. There is no correct answer, but it is important to identify your athlete’s commitment level prior to searching for a coach.

  • How often do you want to train?
  • How much are you willing to spend on a coach (per session or a series of training sessions)?
  • Are you interested in training in a small group (lower cost), 1 on 1, or a mix of both?
  • What is the maximum distance you are willing to drive to work with a coach?

Step 3. Search For A Coach

Now that you have identified the need and commitment, it is time to search for a coach. Once you have searched for a coach on you will be presented with a list of coaches based on distance from the zip code you entered.

You can change the filters to sort the list by price, experience, etc. As you search through the list of coaches, keep the following tips in mind:

TIP 1: Check The Coach Reviews

How often do you make a purchase or go to a restaurant without checking the reviews? The coach may have an amazing resume and career as a player, but can he or she coach? This was the mistake I made when I found a private coach for my son the first time. I focused on the resume and I was not concerned about the lack of reviews.

There is a big difference between playing the game well, and having the ability to teach the game. What you pay and what you receive are not always balanced, so let the reviews that are provided by the community help you decide if the coach is a good fit for your son or daughter.

TIP 2: Experience

Does the experience of the coach match the need of the player? Matching the coach’s experience with the athlete’s age and skill level is important. If the player is young and starting out, he/she may not need an experienced coach. They may need a coach to make the game fun and teach the basic fundamentals and rules. Remember that kids will practice what is fun, and that is what will eventually build their love for the game.

Developing into a good coach takes time.  Quality coaching most often stems from experience. Generally coaches with more experience are more expensive, but that is not always the case.

TIP 3: Be Price Sensitive

Good coaches know their value and what they can charge. If you want a knowledgeable and experienced coach that can help you reach your goals (question 1) it may cost more than you anticipated. Don’t worry, you have options such as forming a small group to reduce the cost by up to 75%.

Another option is to identify and contact a coach that has a great resume but less experience and fewer reviews. It may take a bit more work, but you can find a good coach who is motivated, and willing to charge a lower price.

TIP 4: Message The Coach

Message the coaches you have identified to ask questions and express your interest in their coaching.  How quickly the coach responds to your message and the quality of their response can be a clear indicator of their interest. ​

One note of caution here. The coaches are more athletes than business people, and they may not be the best at customer service.

However, they might be a terrific coach. If you are unsure about the coach, prior to booking a session, setup a phone call to discuss expectations and goals. Make sure the coach understands what you want out of the sessions.  StriveFar is unique from most marketplaces, in that we allow the coach and client to exchange phone numbers and speak before booking a session. We understand the value of  communication between the coach and the client, so feel free to take advantage of this opportunity!

Good luck, and I am sure you will have success with your private training experience. I would love to hear all about it. In the meantime, if you have questions – contact us at



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Joshua is married with three active children. He has experienced the good, the bad, and the politics of youth sports as a coach (12 years youth basketball coach) and a parent. All three kids have played soccer (Competitive, Development Academy, ECNL, High School) and basketball (Competitive & High School). Joshua is a co-founder at StriveFar, a marketplace connecting athletes with coaches for individual and small group training. Joshua has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver since 2008. Joshua holds an undergraduate degree in Communication from the University of Colorado and an MBA in IT from the University of Denver.

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