Have you seen that commercial by the car insurance company with the woman who mentions that after several revisions of multiple spreadsheets, she finally found the perfect car? But, after a claim to her insurance company for a collision she wonders if all that research should have been for the car insurance company. Well, instead of spending your time looking at the “just for you” training plan available in magazines that are read by hundreds of thousands of runners, or look for “run your best xx race” on the internet, perhaps you should spend your time researching a coach who can write a plan just for you with your current abilities and race goals. And when selecting a coach, you want to be sure you get a good match.
So, what makes a coach a good match? For starters, the coach should be certified. Just because someone is in the swim, or bike, or run or all 3 does not mean they know how to coach someone else to become a faster triathlete. Look for credentials and for those credentials to be current. But, while spending some time with “book learning’ or lectures then passing a written examination may be a necessary component of a coach, it is not sufficient to make someone a good coach.
Experience is a key component of a coach. Has your prospective coach been doing it for a long time or only just starting out. Not that just starting is something you do not want in your coach. Their other experiences may outweigh their recent move to becoming a coach for hire. Has your prospective coach coached athletes with similar abilities as yours, of similar age, or similar goals? Has the coach helped athletes with the race distances that are the same as yours?
What is the coaching approach? This may be hard to assess since one reason you are looking for a coach is because you feel you need to change the approach you have been using. With some questioning of the coach and independent checks of things said, you can understand the validity of what is being said. As the same questions of the different prospective coaches. Do you get the same answer? That may be an indicator that it is a valid approach. If you hear differing answers, some more questioning may be needed to understand why each thinks a different approach is needed for you to achieve your goals.
Probably the most important attribute of a coach that is a good match is one that is accessible to you. Whether a local or remote coach, how will the coach communicate with you and how often. Is it restricted to written means, such as email or text message, or do you have the opportunity for voice communications via phone or Skype ®? Is the coach accessible when needed or only for a specific period of time, or does your coaching arrangement even limit you to only xx number of contacts per week?
And lastly, can you end the relationship? No matter how good you feel about the coach at the start of the relationship, as time goes on, you may find things are just not working out as you planned. Do you have an out? Hopefully this does not happen because while you may be able to get your money back, your time to prepare for your race cannot be retrieved. Firing your coach is the last thing you really want to do. Hopefully, as part of your selection process you have learned of your coach whether it is all about you and your success or all about your coach and the coach success/financial gain.
While I would like to become your coach, I may not be the best match for you, but to discuss the contents of this article in more detail, contact me at 860 202 5229 or info@TriathlonCoachCT.com