Choose the Right Triathlon Coach for You

With so many multisport coaches available, in your locality or within the virtual community, how do you decide which coach is right for you?

Whether you’re a newbie or an intermediate to a seasoned veteran, being led by a triathlon coach is a huge step toward realizing those performance goals.

Trying to find the right coach though is not a straightforward process.   The search for a coach who can give you the detailed road map to your athletic endeavors is a bit complicated but if you look in the right places, you can narrow your options and make the process simpler.

Here are some tips in finding the coach who can fit your needs:

  • Define yourself, your skills and your goals.  If you are a newbie, find someone who specialize in teaching beginners get wet on the sport.  If you are new to the sport, it is best to find someone who is local so the interaction will be more personal as you learn the skills to tackle the sport. If you are already an intermediate athlete and looking to grab those marginal gains on your performance, virtual coaching will be fine if your skills are already developed.   And then there are athletes looking to improve on their weaknesses or limiters. Finding a triathlon coach who can improve and evaluate those weaknesses can make a difference in making you a wholly integrated swim bike run machine.
  • Knowledge and Experience.  While certifications or having an advanced degree in sports science is an advantage when it comes to a greater depth of understanding the sport, it does not guarantee a coach will be better than one who does not have.   It does guarantee a baseline level of knowledge.  Successful coaches never stop learning about the sport—they may pick up new trends and dismiss them altogether if they are not effective.  For experience, learn to know if the coach is good at dealing with beginners or is he/she a high-performance coach who has sent athletes to podium awards. In these days of social media and YouTube highlights, quick hacks are often labeled as magical formulas for performance improvements.  Learn to filter through the marketing stuff.   Which leads us to…
  • Vetting for Personality Traits and communications skills.     Ask your training buddies, someone in your local triathlon club or even a triathlon community (through forums or groups) about their working relationship with a potential coach.  Is the coach flexible to count on when I have missed workouts?  Is the coach accessible and responds in a timely manner?  Are the workouts suited to my needs, goals, and addresses my limiters? Or even ask the old guards, the ones who have been longer on the scene and have already filtered through the BS.  Asking a few questions about a potential coach will go a long way to making sure you get the most out of the relationship.   Integrity and professionalism easily trump any coaching marketing BS.
  • Budget.  Figure out a budget in mind and this will play a huge factor on the amount of expectation you have on coaching service level.   The cost will depend on the coach’s history of success and the services provided.  Group sessions will be cheaper than one-on-one sessions, and the more highly customized and personalized the coaching will be, the costlier it will get.
  • Can you feel the Passion?  While coaching is indeed a business, does he or she truly exudes passion and happiness when a student/client exceeds their goals?  Does the coach extend selfless enthusiasm on giving constructive feedback? Only you can decide on this and after a 3 to 6 months period of a working relationship, you have to re-evaluate if your goals have been met and determine if your coach is a keeper.
See also:  Weekend Wrap-up: Ironman Los Cabos 70.3, Miyazaki ITU World Cup, Challenge Forte Village Sardinia

Take the time to think about how much of a commitment—in both time and money—you are willing to invest in your athletic journey.   A successful coach can not only lead you to your triathlon goals but can also transcend to motivate you mentally into your life goals.

Initial impressions in these days of highlights and influencer marketing are aplenty but due diligence and thoughtful consideration are a must if you want to catch that long-term coaching match.

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