By PCG Elite Coach Bill McLaughlin
Great coaches strive to do right by their athletes - treat them well, motivate them to succeed, and provide support and guidance to meet their individual needs. This is very often easier said than done because coaching takes time, skill, and careful planning.
While I don’t presume to have a fool proof plan since there are always new challenges to face, I have developed a series of techniques that have proven beneficial to me as I continue to work to bring out the best in my athletes.
The following “tips” are my ‘not-so-secret’ 5 secrets to successful coaching.
1. Successfully develop a relationship with your athletes. Learn their goals. Learn what they feel their strengths and limitations are. You need to know how experienced a rider/ racer they are. Discuss their life outside of cycling, and where cycling training fits in. It's important to know other stresses: job, family commitments, and when do they have down time to relax. Ask questions, listen and guide the goal setting. I also try and relate with personal stories, and I praise ALL achievements.
2. Cycling workouts are really just one facet of training. As a coach, you need to be ready to refer them to other specialists that can also help them reach their goals. I won’t hesitate to suggest a sports nutritionist to specialize their diet, to improve weight management, or proper fueling to optimize their training. I will recommend a good bike fitting as well.
3. Athlete input when scheduling training is necessary. I prefer to have a block of workouts built up in advance to allow for them to review. We discuss changes due to life events (travel, work, family.) I know consistency is key, but things happen, and as a coach, you need to be able to adjust the plan to keep them on the best track to meet their goals. You need to be flexible, and be willing to work with your athlete, when making any modifications to the plan.
4. Keep reading! A coach has to keep learning and stay up to date with all advances in coaching. Read coaching advice and techniques from successful coaches, and not just in cycling. Learning about what is happening in other fields and sports helps me bring a fresh approach to the work I am doing for my athletes.
5. Remember YOU are an expert in your field, surrounded by other experts! The great advantage of working with Peaks Coaching Group is in the network of coaches. There are 50+ coaches that you can reach out to and bounce ideas off of. Our athletes have the benefit of not only us as their individual coach, but also a vast coaching knowledge base, second to none, with the common goal of helping them succeed!