For me, it’s all about skins on the wall. I personally would not pay for coaching from someone who has not competed at a high level in my sport, AND coached at least a handful of athletes to major accomplishments. I hired the coach I’m working with now because he’s won, for the last 2 years, the 198 class in USS Strongman at Nationals. That’s the thing I want to do next, so who better to learn it from than him? I hope to be sharing a podium with him next year (unless he becomes a 220). He’s a full time coach in Austin, Tx, so he’s also close to me. I can do in person and online training with him.
So that’s my threshold for advice, at my current level.
Here’s what I would advise beginners to look for, if they’re not ready to pay for coaching, but want to learn from online resources:
Ignore the youtube videos from the youtube/IG-only personalities. Meaning, if someone is only making videos, but isn’t writing anything, and isn’t necessarily accomplished in the strength sport of their choice, they’re not worth watching. This eliminates the folks like Rich Piana (RIP), Blaha, the Hodge twins, etc. The youtube videos that are worth watching are put out by guys who are using the channel for additional exposure, but the nuts and bolts of their lifting involve actual competition and coaching. Brian Alsruhe is a wonderful example of this. So is Mark Bell. Or Chris Duffin.
Focus on reading guys that, as I mentioned above, have walked the walk and also coach professionally, when it comes to articles. You may miss out on some good coaches who have not necessarily competed at a high level, but know their shit, but that’s ok. You’re at least a little more assured that you won’t be following bad advice. The odds of getting shit advice from a high level competitor who also coaches others to do well is low.
DO NOT rely heavily on forums as a beginner. Period. Don’t try to discern which of the anonymous posters on forums are giving good advice and which aren’t. I realize that by saying this, I’m suggesting that beginners should not come to me for advice. And that’s alright. I don’t believe they should. I believe they should spend years reading articles, as I did, before posting a single thing on a weightlifting forum.