He has a coach. Why isn’t he winning? A phrase I’ve heard so many times over the years. If you would have asked me this question a few years ago I would have probably had a problem coming up with an answer. But today I have one. A very good one. But to better understand why coaching isn’t just about winning races we first have to understand why athletes seek out help from a coach.
Working as a cycling coach on various levels from Pro to Amateur and even Weekend warriors really opened my eyes. We all agree that working with Pro level athlete can be quite different as compared to working with a recreational rider. How? Well, let’s look at why athletes seek out coaches.
Each athlete has its own reason why he wants an outside help. He might need a second opinion or just someone to motivate him. Or he has no idea what he is doing and needs someone to guide him. Let’s have a look at the most common reasons:
- They want to improve performance
- They want to have planned every second of the day
- They want someone to motivate them
- They want to use the time they have for training in the most efficient way
- And many other reasons
Now we have the WHY athletes decide to be coached. What’s next?
Well in my philosophy I divide coaching into two categories. I call the first one Performance Coaching as it involves Pro level and Amateur riders with strong racing ambitions. In the other category we have recreational riders and weekend warriors for which performance is not the primary goal but well being and time management and only then comes the performance.
OK, so what does all this mean? Well, you might get an athlete who concomitantly with being a family man has a 10-hour construction job and has eight to ten hours per week to spare for the bike. His main goal is to effectively incorporate training into his everyday life so he can manage work, family, and training.
So, for this athlete, it is not about winning races. For him, a win is having his day organized so he can handle a whole day without problems. And having that sorted out is a win. Even though he is not winning races. For some being healthy, having a good relationship, and smashing occasional PBs means winning.
So having a coach doesn’t necessarily mean someone will be winning races all the time. We have to ditch that point of view. Having a coach means you are willing to accept the help of a third person who can see and solve a problem you do not see or do not have a solution for. And a problem does not necessarily need to be race result or performance-oriented, it could only mean having daily activities organized so that you do not end up being tired all time time.
A good coach can help you with much more than just a training plan. He can become a great motivator when you have tough moments. With his vast experience and objectivity, he can help you reach the desired goals that were previously unobtainable.