Teachers, Trainers and Coaches oh my
What’s in a name? What’s the difference between a teacher, a trainer, and a coach?
A teacher is one who teaches the fundamentals of the subject being learned. If you are learning ballroom dance, the teacher is the one who shows you the difference between a waltz and a foxtrot, and the difference between a tango and a tarantella. She “larns” y’all the steps, shows you how to move gracefully and correctly, and starts adding a bit of polish, so that when you start working with a trainer, you have the foundation to progress.
A trainer (who may or may not also be your teacher) presents you in the ring or on the floor. The trainer takes the basic material provided by the teacher (hopefully good, solid foundation material) and polishes it, teaching poise, ringmanship (floorcraft for dancers) and showmanship. This applies in every subjective sport from acrobatics to zen.
A coach adds the “je ne sais quoi” that separates the good from the great. A coach usually visits occasionally, or just meets at the competition to provide warm-up and good advice, and to critique.
My eventing teacher (a once-in-a-lifetime find) was more a coach than a trainer, since she left us to get on with it outside of lessons, but would provide occasional fine-tuning.
My current dance partner/teacher/trainer/friend is as much moral support as physical support (I lose my balance and he saves my butt – literally). We get BNDs (big name dancers) in periodically for coaching sessions – it’s always good to have a third eye on the couple, since my partner can’t monitor everything I do while we’re in dance hold!
And my driving teacher/trainer/coach in the new world of Saddlebred driving is doing one heck of a job being all three!