The Learn to Coach Series: Using the “teaching sandwich”

May 17, 2021

Written in conjunction with Strength Coach Podcast Ep. ###

In our last episode of Learn To Coach series, Kevin Carr discussed Hands On Coaching and Kinesthetic Cueing. This week we’re going to discuss how to use the “Right. Wrong. Right.” or the “ Do this. Not this. This.” approach to coaching to effectively teach anything.

The “teaching sandwich” was made famous by the great Coach John Wooden. How it works:

  • Demonstrate how to do the exercise properly. (Do this.)
  • Show the common faults you don’t want them to do. (Not this.)
  • Finish with another good demo emphasizing the major teaching points. (This.)

I’ll use the squat as an example:

  • I want you to drive your knees out. (Good demo.) 
  • I don’t want your knees to collapse. (Bad demo.)
  • I want you to drive your knees out like there’s a band around them. (Good demo.)

Another example regarding spinal position:

  • When you pick up the barbell, I want you to keep your back flat. (Good demo.)
  • I don’t want you to pick it up with a rounded back. (Bad demo.)
  • Pick the bar up with your back as flat as a board. (Good demo.) 

Important: Don’t end with a bad demo. The last thing they see and remember should be the exercise done properly.

Why does this work? In order for people to know what to do, they need to know what not to do. If you don’t know what bad is, how can you know what good is?

The next time you coach something in the gym or on the field try using the “teaching sandwich” – Do this. Not this. This.


Our Certified Functional Strength Coach Level 1 Online Course is designed to provide you with the same experience you’d get attending our live Level 1 workshop. Complete with the same pre-workshop materials, our Online Course includes a ‘Virtual Live Workshop’, where you will follow a CFSC instructor through an entire Level 1 Workshop complete with instruction, demonstration and question and answer as if you were spending the day at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning. Keeping with our rigorous practical standards, all enrollees will be required to complete an online exam and a coaching practical featuring video and open ended questions to complete their certification.

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