What Makes a Good Coach
What makes a good Coach? Coaches come in all different sizes and shapes but what are the core values that makes a great one?
In this podcast, Coach Frank describes the inspiration behind the podcast and what he considers the qualities of a great coach starting with these four core qualities:
- and Experience
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The 4 core are just the outer layer and I think there are many many layers and combinations of qualities underneath those 4 core. When you consider there are many types of coaches from World Tour Coaches at one end of the spectrum all the way to junior an high school NICA coaches at the other. National Team Coaches and Collegiate Coaches but for the purposes of this podcast we’ll be talking about the kind of one on one cycling coach you’d hire - where they work for you.
As opposed to a Football coach who’s job is for the TEAM to produce results. Sure they need to motivate the athletes too but at the end of the day THEY are the boss whereas in a For Hire Coach-Athlete relationship I consider the athlete to be the boss. Back to the many layers under the four core: results, knowledge, experience and education, I think its important that a Coaches have the ability to
- Make the Coaching fun - create an Enjoyment of the Process
- Ability to have/achieve positive Coach-Athlete Relationships
- Ability to Earn Athlete’s Trust
- Salesmanship - to sell ideas and hard work
- Ability to help athlete as an athlete and as a person and know when helping the person is more important than the athlete
- Ability to help athlete be their best in sport and life - that life balance we keep mentioning
- To be a good motivator
- Are they a good person that genuinely cares about the welfare of the athlete
3 of my favorite coaches I’ve studied and learned from are : Jim Valvano Nick Saban Mike Krzyzewski All three have great books where they lay out their coaching philosophy and describe their trials and tribulations in their coaching career. Definitely worth a read if you have the time. They all speak to those 8 qualities above. These are all collegiate coaches, coincidence? Not surprising given I coached the CU Buffs for 2 years.
Nine Qualities of a Good Coach
1. Enrichment - WHEN YOU ENRICH THE LIVES OF OTHERS YOU ENRICH YOUR OWN This quote is the words we live by. Coaching is in our DNA because all the FasCat Coaches have an innate altruistic personality and ample personal experience training, racing and riding recreationally. Our goal is to use that experience, along with scientifically proven strategies to help you improve your cycling. We’ll tap into our enthusiasm for the sport to coach you better by leading the way (core value #7), keeping you motivated and having fun.
2. GOLDEN RULE OF COACHING “Do unto our athletes as we would want to be coached”. The FasCat Coaches have all had coaches at one point in their cycling careers (many of them coached by FasCat Founder Frank Overton) and know what it is like to be coached. We’ve all had moments where we’ve needed some extra attention, motivation or an objective opinion. Unfortunately too, we know what it’s like to receive bad advice and coaching. Thus, we place a high value on treating each and every athlete we coach with the highest degree of importance.
– Creative Solutions
4. POWER-BASED TRAINING & SPORT SCIENCE
Exchanging power data enhances the coach athlete relationship and maximizes what we can do for you because power data is the ultimate form of communication. Power based training has been around for 20 years by now and if you are using a powermeter the coach you hire should be well versed in the art and the science of power based coaching.
When you hire a good Coach, you don’t just get a custom training plan, you get a relationship with a coach that has similar interests to you and that is responsible for your goals. Your goals are your coaches j.o.B.
A good coach will listen to your feedback and learn from your data to figure out what makes you tick. Your coach will understand your life outside of cycling and the balance you need to maintain in order to continue to enjoy your cycling. That life balance again. The net results are trust & faith which is essential to coaching & being coached. A good coach will build this kind of relationship with athletes because together they can accomplish more than they could otherwise.6. LIFELONG LEARNERS
No one knows it all and if they give off the vibe they do, watch out. I am constantly learning news things about the athletes I’ve coached for years. The best way to do that is to ask them what’s going on in their lives - seek out the stuff that you won’t find in the power data. Get to know them. Now I bet you thought when I mentioned be lifelong learner you were thinking academically, And that is true BUT its the not the end all.
At FasCat we continue to search out ways to help our athletes perform better, ride faster, increase their power output, recover quicker, stay motivated and reach their goals. A good coach will Learn as much as they can about the athlete to help them - alot of that comes down to what motivates the athlete, what makes them tick, and what ways can the coach get the athlete to get the most out of themselves. One of the holy grails of coaching is a motivated athlete and then a motivated team of athletes working together as one.7. TALK THE TALK, WALK THE WALK
We train hard, race hard and compete hard. We are bike racers just like our athletes. Our race performance is a direct reflection of our ability to coach athletes well. We were all beginners once and have applied the proper amount of work, experience and science to improve. I firmly believe all coaches need to have gone thru the kind of improvement you want to achieve if they are able to successfully lead you on that journey.
At FasCat, I only hire Cat 2 or equivalent coaches and higher. That achievement alone tells me the coach knows what hard work and the the journey is , and Therefore, we are qualified to show the athlete how to improve as well. We I firmly believe a coach needs to lead by example and know exactly what it is like to suffer while performing intervals, to make sacrifices from taking on a goal and to get psyched up for a race. When we practice what we preach we continue to develop as coaches capable of coaching our athletes better & better.
Another talk the talk walk the walk rule I have is that the coach needs to have competed in the event for which the athlete they are coaching wants to compete in. I personally have never done a triathlon and therefore I do not feel comfortable coaching multisport athletes. Same for cyclocross - they coach needs to or have been a cyclocross athlete themselves. As I get older (I’m turning 50 this year) I struggle with the walking the walk part because now many of the athletes are younger and I’m not training as much as they are. However, I think the experience speaks volumes in this case.8. ACCOUNTABILITY
A good coach will take your training, racing, performance and coaching seriously. In fact your goals are our jobs as I said earlier. Tell us what you want to achieve and a good coach will show you how to do it. They’ll hold you accountable to the plan they develop and expect you to hold them accountable for doing a good job.
A good coach is your accountability buddy. I also think a good coach will reach out if he or she hasn’t heard from from the athlete under their normal communication patterns; it is likely you’ll receive a pro-active email and/or phone call/ text. Good coaches are open to communication about if the athlete is not feeling they are on the right track. Equally as important, expect a call from your coach if you are not training in a way that is aligned with your goals.9. Ninth and final QUALITY COACHING + GOOD PLANNING + HARD WORK = SUCCESS
There are no magic bullets. No elixirs, supplements or trademarked workouts that you can buy to obtain results. There are no shortcuts in cycling. Your improvement is like the Smith Barney slogan, “We make money the old fashioned way, we earn it”. If you talk to a coach that is selling you on something otherwise, run for the hills With that said, a good coach is not going to prescribe a 15 hour training week if you only have 8 hours to train. Instead they are going to use scientific principles to help you make the most out of your limited time.
For example Tempo and Sweet Spot advanced aerobic endurance training. A good coach will work with you from the start to develop an Annual Training Plan and teach you how to train properly in order to improve and reach your goals. Will be your mentor! A good coach will have you work as HARD as your goals are HIGH and we’ll even help you set tiered goals in order to balance your time on the bike with the rest of your life.
That is the essence of good quality coaching and what you can expect from a good coach. And that my friends and what I’m recruiting at FasCat - check out our job posting we are seeking a new cycling coach with all these qualities and perhaps more. Get in touch if you are interested.
Work Hard, Ride Fast, don’t forget to Switch from Base to Race, Have FUN and as ALWAYS FtFP!
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