Tips on Finding a Tri Coach
There are a lot of Triathlon
Coaches out there and the number just keeps growing. From
elite triathletes that have won championships to the personal
trainer looking to offer one more service to their clientele,
the variety is immense. How do you weight factors such as
athletic success versus communication skills? And what
about all of the other factors. Here are some tips to
consider before making your decision.
- Cost: Let's be realistic; we'd all love
to be driving a Porche but most of us can't afford
it. Triathlon Coaching can cost anywhere from $20 for a
basic program to $1000 a month for elite guidance.
Determine how much you can afford before even
starting to look. The average athlete will be
paying in the area of $100 a month for a
personalized program with some feedback.
- Qualifications: As we all know, a piece
of paper is no guarantee of performance in any
discipline. That said, at least it's a
starting point. We're not going to ask to see
a certificate from Dave Scott or Mark Allen, but
what about the other triathlon coach that has a much lower
profile? Ask for their qualifications and then
do a little research so you understand the source.
While Mark and Dave have proven themselves to be as
skilled at coaching as competing, success in races
is no guarantee that an individual will be a
successful coach. You must be confident that
they also have the skills to listen to your needs
and the ability to provide wide ranging training
advice instead of only sharing the one approach that
worked for them.
- The Right Experience: Some tri coaches
are blessed with the ability to truly understand and
guide all levels of triathletes, from those training
4 hours a week to lose some weight, to Kona
qualifiers. Ensure your coach has experience
fulfilling goals similar to your own.
- Program Personalization: At a basic level
you can buy a pre-set program that is not
personalized to your circumstance. Level two
is a template selected based on a very basic
profile. From there the profiles or
questionnaires get progressively more in depth,
hopefully resulting in a program more carefully
constructed around your own circumstances. At
the upper end, the process can also involve
consultations in person or over the phone.
- In Person or Virtual Guidance: If you
want work on your technique, it is important to have
a coach who can observe and correct your skills.
Some online coaches provide remote video correction,
but nothing is as effective as in person. If
you are after programming then the virtual/online
route is as effective as any, with exponentially
- Follow Up: One of the greatest
contributions a coach can make to your season is
their ability to change and adapt your program based
on your progress and results. What looked like
a good plan in April might now be less than ideal
due to anything from injury to accelerated progress.
You may also have questions or require clarification
on the contents of your program. Ensure that
you have chosen a coaching option that allows you
the appropriate level of access to your coach be it
via email, phone or in person.
There is no right way to train and no
one coach has all the answers. There are many
excellent coaches out there with diverse
philosophies regarding training athletes and many of
them will be able to get you where you want to go.