As triathletes, we train for an individual sport but rarely get to the finish line entirely on our own. Seeking expert knowledge, motivation and constructive feedback may have more of an impact on your overall success than any other single component of your regimen.
One effective way to ensure you receive expert knowledge, stay motivated and receive constructive feedback is to have a coach, or become a member of a coached group.
Here in Wellington, we have a host of great coaches and coached groups for all types of athletes (beginner through to professional) which form an important component of the Wellington triathlon community.
Determining your coaching selection
Before selecting a coach or becoming a member of a coach group, you should first answer the following questions to make an informed decision:
Local Coach or Coached Group or Virtual Coach?
You need to ask yourself what interpersonal engagement do you require to develop you as an athlete to be as effective as you can be? Do you require in-person one-on-one coaching? Alternatively, are you happy to train in groups where the focus may be placed on the team as a whole (with less individual support at times), although this approach may provide a greater level of competition to develop between group members? Or perhaps you are less concerned about the interpersonal relationships and more about the results from specific sessions designed by a coach who may be from another location or even country?
In this digital age, your pool of prospective coaching sources is almost boundless. But so is your opportunity to cement a coaching relationship with the ideal candidate, who may happen to live locally or thousands of miles away. It is your choice!
Ask potential coaches or coached groups exactly how available they’ll be for you. Some will state on their websites how many emails, phone calls, Skype calls or in-person meetings each athlete will receive: Make sure it’s a reasonable amount of contact for your needs.
No matter how smart, experienced or high-profile a coach or lead of a coach group is, he or she will be ineffective at guiding you if your personalities aren’t compatible. You need to consider your goals, and then ask yourself what type of support you require to have the best shot at achieving those goals. Is it a coach who takes a firm hand while pushing you? Or perhaps a bit more nurturing is in order? You might come to the conclusion that it’s a bit of both.
To be truly effective, a coach must be flexible in his or her administration of workouts. It’s essential to be bold and ask questions about his/her philosophy on adapting a program to fit your needs. What happens if a workout is missed? Will he or she consider modifications based on what feels better to you as your training continues? Sure, all coaches think they have the best approach to training an athlete, but without the willingness to adapt that method to fit the individual, there will be eventual roadblocks in the progression.
Do your research! Talk to other athletes who endorse coaches or coached groups and ask them to explain why? And then undertake the necessary research to determine their qualifications and skill sets. Do the coaches have Tri NZ accreditation?
You’ll need to reconcile your day-to-day life with training. A good coach will consider your family schedule, working hours and social activities when writing a training plan. He or she should be available and willing to adjust workouts based on what’s happening in your life.
It is essential to create a positive working relationship. But how much of a buddy should your coach be? Remember that you aren’t hiring an enabler, but a trainer. Here, are a few questions to ask a potential coach—and yourself—to make sure you get the most out of the relationship.
- Will I trust him/her?
- Am I open to feedback?
- Is he/she flexible to respond to my needs and circumstances?
- Will he/she help me mentally?
- Can I feel the passion?
Refer to our page on Wellington Triathlon Community Coaches for a list of coaches and coached groups which have an important connection to developing triathletes of all types in the Wellington Community.