I just found out that in 2017 I will help the 2017 Warrior Pak Ambassador Squad as their coach should they want any training advice, help, or information, and I am being recognized for the third year by Brooks Running shoes as a coach and I realized that after more than a decade of coaching and hundreds of athletes in that time, I might have some words of wisdom, tips, to share with other coaching out there. Here are my top 5 thoughts on coaching:
1) Coaching is 80 percent listening and 20 percent talking. Athletes know themselves best. Athletes will often tell you what you need to know to coach them. You need to ask them; you need to see the process as collaborative. They have critical feed back for you. Listen.
2) Ask questions you know the answer to. Having an athlete reach the conclusion will vest them in the process. Athletes need to understand why they are doing something; this is critical if it’s something they don’t want to do. Get them to the answer with the right question and they will do the work and buy into the plan.
3) Be emotionally supportive. Athletes need encouragement more than we think. Even top athletes.
4) Be motivational. Find out what drives them and go with that. Training plans are important but for the right athlete dropping an f-bomb in the training plan or some other motivational element might be the difference between doing the workout and doing it well.This is even more important if you call someone out and try tough love. Always add the love. This is as important with men; who don’t want to be honest about how much support they need because it’s “unmanly.” Trust me, they often want high fives and hugs too.
5) Don’t confuse you and them. Your goals and experiences aren’t theirs. Take each athlete on their own terms and know this has nothing to do with you. Coaches in endurance sports are not rock stars; we are roadies. It’s a service industry job. Check your ego at the door because it won’t get much out of it..