Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Choosing a coach...

Stepping up from a recreational athlete whose goal is merely to finish, to a competitive athlete who has either a time goal or qualification place at stake is a big step. It requires a conscious decision to up both your game and your training commitment. The first step should be to join a club. I'm a member of Ful-on Tri and regularly swim with the guys there. Ful-on Tri is a great Club based in West London, well organised and well run. The club Head Coach - Alan Hanley sets the weeks training schedule. Members can dip in and out of these sessions, but the general idea is that these sessions provide the base for development and improvement. This should be the first step for many athletes looking to make faster improvements. The structure of a club offers a number of benefits from having training partners to a social network. For many athletes the club structure offers them every thing that their level of commitment and time constraints allow, but for a few willing to devote further free time, hard work and perspiration there lies an alternative or complimentary path..... the personal coach

A great coach is not easy to find and requires a very unique set of talents and skills. Choosing the right coach is a difficult decision. The coach has to understand you, the way you think, what drives and motivates you and on the flip side, what turns you off and de motivates you. They need to be able to push the right buttons to help you achieve your goals, being able to communicate their ideas and strategy. Its really important that the athlete believes in their coach. There needs to be complete trust and respect. Often coaches have had a historical background in the sport and this respect stems from their historical achievements, but this is not always necessary.

I met Richard Hobson in 2005 I went on the Volcano Triathon camp in the early season with a view to kick starting my fitness. I struck a great friendship with Richard on the camp and I really bought into the Tri-living philosophy

'Everyone can always improve, no matter what age and what ability. I always believe this and as long as the athletes I coach believe this then they will improve'

It was shortly after that he began coaching me. Since then we have worked together to help achieve my goals. My advice is to take your time in selecting a coach, there are many that will farm out a generic program dependant on the distance that you're racing, but there are others who will take the time to listen, who lead by example, and are prepared to motivate and innovate....

A coach like this will inspire and empower the athlete to realize and develop their potential. This is the coach that will help you reach your goal......

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