Well yes. Actually no. Not even close.
In this little blog series I will break it down, tell you all the dirty secrets I have learned in the past 7 years of coaching and help you dispel some of the myths or misunderstood things about the art and science of coaching.
Let’s start at the beginning. How do you choose a potential coach? This is the fun and possibly stressful part. Let’s get in to it (in no particular order or priority)
- Interview 2-5 coaches. Ask friends, get a few different recommendations. You will know when you talk to the right one. The personalities will fit, their experience will fit and your goals will all be aligned, or very close.
- There is not one coach that is good for all athletes. Coaches are people and have their own personalities too. Make sure it works!
- Know your goals and needs from a coach. Some coaches offer different “packages” or tiers so knowing what you want/need will go a long way towards narrowing the search
- Does a more expensive coach make them “better”? No, it doesn’t just like “Does a cheaper coach make them not as good?”. This is something that is very unique (regardless of my personal opinion) in the endurance industry. There really isn’t even a baseline or ceiling for coaching because it is a service and coaches can charge as much, or as little, as they would like.
- Without getting into the overall industry economics too much, I think this is something that hurts the industry and can give coaches a bad rap in the public eye. This can be an uphill battle for a talented coach who sometimes loses out on truly helping athletes because the athlete was burned in the past
- In the industry there is some undercutting that happens because there is no standard and coaches aren’t forced to “get better or get out” due to not making money
- Does it matter if the coach does it as a hobby/part time or full time? Yes and no. I personally am a little conflicted in this area and see it both ways. I started as a part time thing and earned my way to a career with it. Others do not have the opportunity or do it because they enjoy it (see the pricing piece above) so does that make them lesser qualified? No.
- This is where you do your homework, chat with some of their current athletes and make the determination of what is best for you.
- Understand the coaches experience and strengths prior to working with them. This is a tough one because I am always learning what I am good at and more importantly, what I am not good at. Over the years I have learned that no matter how bad I want to or how hard I try, I just am not good at working with certain personality types. I used to try to force it and it ended up with not a good environment for coach and athlete.
- So ask the coach what their strengths are. Are they data focused or go off of feel. What do they require of their athletes, etc
- INTERVIEW the coach. You are about to make an investment in the most important thing, you and your dreams! While it is a fun journey you are about to (or have) embark on, it is one that will challenge you and you will need to trust those around you!
- Does my potential coach’s race results and race experiences matter? That is up for you to determine. I would consider race experience, personally and specifically courses more than anything.
- How fast your coach is/was should be considered an irrelevant point, unless you consider it as experience. Just because they have never ran a 6 minute mile does not mean they do not understand the process to it and how to get you there
There are so many pieces to this but I will leave it at that for now. Remember, YOU are the one CHOOSING a coach! Take part in the process and enjoy it!
Part 2 will be about the foundational pieces of coaching
Thank you for reading!
– Coach Jeremy