I remember asking myself this very same question some years back. I had pieced together a training plan as a junior mountain bike racer, reaching a point where I was racing in the semi-pro category (this was when NORBA was still running the show for off-road racing). I did well, I was keeping up with the elite racers and I thought that the harder I trained, the better I would get. I decided, at the time, I didn‘t need it, then I switched to road racing.
I spent a few more years, just riding hard all the time, and I wasn’t seeing what I wanted to see in my results. That’s when I decided to commit to a coach. My first coach brought structure, a long view to the season, and a multi-year plan to get me up to category 1. It took less than 2 years to go from a Cat 3 to a Cat 1, and being offered my first pro contract. I often look back on that and kick myself for not hiring a coach to do the planning and thinking for me, how much faster would I have hit that level and gotten the offers?
The short answer to the question is: yes. I love to say that everyone needs a coach, and I truly believe that. Even to this day, with a kinesiology degree and multiple certifications, I still work with multiple coaches.
Coaching provides you multiple advantages. 1) You no longer have to worry about whether you’re training plan is working. We can quantify that right away, plus we take all the thinking out of it. All you have to do is wha your workout program says, follow the nutrition guidelines, recover well, and that’s it.
2) Coaches provide a long term focus on your goals. It’s hard for a self-coached athlete to stay with the long term focus, especially for ultra competitive people. By keeping you down to earth and focused, the stress to perform at all times is reduced, your target events and A races become the focuses and all you have to do is execute the plan.
3) Coaches will write things you don’t like. No one sees your weaknesses like your coach. Yes, you will do long intervals, short sprints, hills, etc. Our job is to make weaknesses strengths. Can’t climb well? Guess what you’re going to do a lot of. Remember Cipollini still had to climb those mountains to get to the sprint.
4) Coaches are there to listen to your wins, your fears, your insecurities, your dreams. Think of us almost as a therapist to athletes. I spend a lot of time educating, explaining, listening, etc. Yelling from the sidelines is what people see, but that’s a very tiny part of our relationship with our athletes.
5) You want efficiency to hit your goals? Thats what we do. You need a coach who is on the same page, but is not emotionally connected to your outcome. I’ve celebrated with and consoled all of my athletes at some point. Through it all, we are a team and I’m just as invested in getting you to where you want to be as you are.
Bottom line is, coaching is an investment. An investment in your goals and an investment into yourself. No matter what level of coachIng you ultimately choose, you will finish events stronger, your placings will improve, your weight loss goals (if that’s you) will come faster, and you will enjoy your sport so much more.
Have more questions? Drop us a note and we will be happy to answer your questions.
Keep it simple, keep it hard.