Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Many of us know the benefits to having a coach is to get performance gains but what else should I really expect from a coach? What's the difference between the good, and the really good ones?
Well lets think about why athletes get a coach to begin with?
Well in most sports, it's pretty common to have a coach but in triathlon many enter the sport without the thought of it. As time grows and they get more involved and engaged in the sport, people look for ways to improve as they start to plateau. Some go down the expensive route of new equipment, which shaves a couple of minutes of their times but they end up back at that plateau very quickly. Those that invest into a coach have considered the long term benefits to their development. Lots of people don't see the value in it when there's so much free advice available out there. But free advice isn't always expert advice. It's very easy to search for the sort of advice that you want to see, not the advice that you need to see and hear!
Does the coaches job end when triathlon isn't involved?
Absolutely not. To put it simply, "coaching is a process that aims to improve performance and focuses on the 'here and now' rather than on the distant past or future. Coaching is also unlocking a person's potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them."
In order to get the best athletic performance from somebody, they need to be happy and performing in all ways of life. The athletes life comes first, whether that is work/school/family, then it becomes about where does triathlon fit in after that.
After all, triathlon is a lifestyle, not a way of life. Successful coaches incorporate the the lifestyle into life.
What does a great coaching relationship look like?
Well the following from all parties involved:
Coaching beyond the sport
A way of measuring success
How do you measure success with your coach?
The obvious one for most people to say here personal achievements within the sport, such as podiums, trophies, medals, PB's. But is that really all there is to it?
Well in my opinion, no! One of the best coaches in football ever was Sir Alex Ferguson. There are many stories of his time at Manchester United that he knew the names of every player and staff, whether they were involved in the first team, under 9's, kit room or canteen, ground groundstaff etc he would make sure he knew their names and as a result would always make a personal connection with them. Whether that was getting to know things about them as a individual or their families as he believed the best way to get success was by relationships. Yes your coach should have knowledge of what they're doing, the should inspire and challenge you, but they should also be able to have a laugh with you or be supportive in multiple different ways when times are hard or you have some personal issues.
A great indication of a good coach and athlete match is when you're open, communicative, trusting and you can depend on them further then just athletic development. They help bring the best out of you as a person as well as a athlete.