When I was coming up through the ranks in cycling, I always made lots of excuses about why I didn’t have a coach.
And looking back they were all big mistakes!
Apart from the fact that the internet was only just starting to become common place back then – and that you couldn’t just look up ‘MTB COACH’ in the white pages – one of my major barriers for not having a coach was simply that I didn’t really know any coaches.
It might have been a good excuse then, but now all you have to do is throw in a quick google search and it appears that everyone is doing coaching! While this obviously has its pros and cons – namely, knowing how to find a GOOD coach – people often gravitate towards a coach who lives close by.
And I say this doesn’t have to be.
DOES COACHING REMOTELY WORK?
In a word: YES.
I have lived in New Zealand for the last 5 years. This is a long way from the majority of my athletes and the cycling scene I grew up in in PA, USA.
And as funny as it may sound, I haven’t even met some of my athletes in person yet! But this doesn’t stop me from understanding them or stop them from attaining their goals.
TECHNOLOGY IS KEY
With the power meters, heart rate monitors and internet software, I can get a very good sense of exactly what an athlete has done.
There’s even a comments section in the software where athletes can leave their thoughts and feeling on a certain workout.
By knowing what to look for, I almost feel like I was on the ride with the rider!
This is one part of coaching.
PICK UP THE PHONE
To me, the other part of coaching is the relationship building.
It’s important to learn how an athlete is feeling or thinking, especially at key points in the training phases. This certainly influences key decisions or training trajectory on the coach’s end.
And I know I sound old-fashioned about this, but the best way to build a relationship across a pond is by talking on the phone.
HOW I DO IT
Some athletes are not yet ready for an Exclusive or Elite (or even Custom) plan, which I find out in a Pre-Training Questionnaire. These athletes usually complete a Carbon plan and we save the phone for later.
But with all other athletes we talk regularly on the phone.
Sometimes we just talk about the last sick ride we did. Other times we talk about the nitty gritty such as testing their critical power and W’. Or whether we need to rest. Or whether we need to pace differently. Or whether to eat pizza or burritos.
And each of these conversations is valuable.
I use Viber to call my athletes. This allows me to call them from my computer or phone wherever we are.
As I wrote this it got me thinking.
How do cyclists actually find a coach?
Is it the athletes the coach works with? Their education or experience? Their price?
I’d really be curious to now how you found your coach!
Send me a message and let me know how you found your coach and how it has worked well for you.
I’ll use these responses to write the next article: HOW TO FIND A BIKE COACH