Touching base on the last few weeks up in Jhb has been a nice way to go back and reflect on a few experiences and coaching in general from my side. Having Joe Friel come through with the Training Peaks team for TP University kicked things off.
I have been on TP as an athlete since 2011 and then as a coaching side also from the last few years and so from an experience point of view I am very familiar with how it all works. My expectations of the University side were fairly high and I was very keen to learning the more intricate details and tricks of the trade. I walked into the venue not expecting too many people to be attending really but was pleasantly surprised to see around 50 coaches from respective fields in the room to attend the 2 day sessions. It was fantastic to have so many heads in one room with a really deep understanding of endurance sport and keen to learn more about TP. The MTD crew were obviously all there and was very cool to have us there as team and sharing the knowledge between us as we do. The course offered a lot of the basics and as we went into the 2 days it increased in depth and details around how the systems work and providing great insight into making the life of a coach that more efficient and enabling us to be that more professional in what we do. Having chatted too many coaches there and listening to the questions I was really surprised to see how little the other coaches actually knew about TP and how advanced the MTD coaches are actually compared to them. With a system like TP out there to assist with program structure and analysis, it would be crazy not to tap into the knowledge and science as you not only limiting yourself as a coach but also your athletes if you can’t use it to the best of its ability. Overall a great experience and definitely a great course to have attended.
Having Joe Friel around for a couple days after the university and getting involved after with our MTD Triathlon clinic, we couldn’t have asked for a better combo. We positioned 3 sessions of swim, bike and run over the two day clinic and structured each into some theory in the sporting discipline and then a practical to put a few things in place. With over 70 athletes and coaches attending the clinic it was a fantastic return for all those who attended. Joe really has a fantastic way of taking his experience and knowledge and putting it into a language everyone can understand and implement , whether be it from a beginner or a pro’s point of view. As a coach it was great to spend time with Joe and brush up a few questions I had around planning, systems and ideas and to see many of my Jhb athletes taking in all the experience around them was really great to see. One of the biggest learning opportunities is being able to ask questions and watch others as everyone brings something new and exciting to the table of triathlon and it’s the ability to take it all into consideration and fine tune the factors that have the biggest impact on you as an individual, as a coach and athlete that make the difference.
If you fail to have the drive and passion to learn as a coach, then you doing things wrong. You can never stop learning as a coach; there are always new techniques, methods and athletes. Learning every about every athlete as an individual is the greatest test of all as each one I need to fine tune very differently. Each day they encounter new challenges at work, training or family life which shape them into specific athletes. The greatest coaches around are not the ones who just make programs but are the ones that take the time to get to know an individual. It definitely works both ways and trust is a huge factor that is earned over time. What an athlete is willing to give a coach on an emotional and metal side allows the coach to direct that energy and passion into creating the program that bring the best out in that athlete.
A huge advantage in the MTD setup from a coaching side is the sharing of knowledge, experience and ideas. You can’t beat a group of coaches that are willing to share that kind of knowledge with one another. It takes trust and team that is fully committed to a team goal in order to do that. With Kent I get a different angle to coaching than I would from a conversation of Claire and having worked with them many years as an athlete and coach we have had many a debate, argument and brain storm to discuss the best possible programs and way to handle coaching specifics. We all bring something very unique to the table and what it does is bring the best possible coaching returns to our athletes and the other coaches we have on board.
I was very privileged to have raced, trained and coached by many exceptional athletes\coaches around the world and being able to take all that in and shape it into what I believe is the best combination of factors that produce the best possible athlete is my greatest drive. I learn every day and I am challenged into getting results. In my squad all athletes are equal and you will never find an ego at a training session as I won’t allow it. An athlete trains for a goal and there is no athletes goal that is more important than another as we are all equal as humans so what we create is an atmosphere of encouragement and an environment that is contagious to be a part of and that challenges athletes to be the best they can be. We are moving in the right direction as a club around the country and I think we are in for a very exciting year in 2018 with some big results to come.
Happy training and keep it honest out there