Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Coaches Hat!

Ok, so enough about me in this blog. I want to talk about the guys & girls (athletes) that give me the opportunity to help achieve their goals.

A few years back I did this in an unofficial way, however last year, after a discussion with my Coach, we decided that I should undertake the same role in an official capacity.

So, going through the level 1 coaching course and gaining my accreditation, I decided to offer up some of my experience and knowledge to a few mates. To my surprise, they accepted willingly!

Before it became official:

The first 3 to take me on board as their coach were great mates, Ben Robinson, Travis Atkins & Archie Ball.

After going through the training the learning for both myself and them, Busso 2010 we all had great races. Trav went 9hrs 40min in his first Ironman, Benny once again went very close to breaking 10hrs and Arch had another solid race (suffered many punctures but fought on well).

Fast forward to late last year.

I now had 10 athletes under me, taking my advice, learning from me as I was learning from them. Heading in Shepparton 70.3 I had 4 first time 70.3 athletes coming from various backrounds along with the regulars.

The athlete list was as follows:

Ben Robinson
Trav Atkins
Archie Ball
Tom Lazarus
Clayton Stairmaid
Tim Tingiri
Jas Dwyer
Dario Sorbello

Throw in Ben Hughes who contacted me whilst I was in Kona and Andrew Mill things were going ok.

Now at Shepparton 70.3 I was a spectator, I did the swim in a team with Fos & Justin. After this I set about learning a whole lot from my guys, about their physical & mental capacities on race day. Tom had come off a PB at Yeppoon & I knew a whole lot about Ben, Trav & Arch. However for the others, I was new to their pre race, race and post race mindset.

Cutting a long story short, I think that I was happier than each one of these guys, from the first timers to the "veterans" in my group. Seeing the joy on their faces about achieving their goals to discussing looking forward to the next one. I knew then that I wanted to expand my knowledge, experience and then pass it on to the athletes that wanted to learn.

This sport is as much about learning about yourself as training the house down. Getting the balance right and you become successful as fast as anyone. Not having the balance and when things get tough, it is hard to get out of. I am a big advocate of having a life aside from the triathlons. Whether it is work or social, you need something to fall back on.

So after Shepparton, I had a conversation with Adam Kelsall who had come from a 24hr MTB back round and the stable continued to grow. Going through a few long course races over the summer and the crew was improving and the results started to come. Top 10 results have become frequent and everyone started to bond on long rides and not only do we work hard, we also have fun.

One of my favourite memories to date was when we had 15 of us turn up for a long ride in the hills. Not only was it myself and the guys I was coaching, but Luke Gillmer joined us and another good mate, Matty Lewis and a few of his crew. Meeting before dark and just seeing the lights flicker from all, just made the atmosphere amazing.

Through out this time, I have been learning so much more about myself and my ways to express my knowledge to each individual. Some required the gentle approach (won't name names) and other the direct route. As I learnt more about everyone, the easier it has become to coach them.

Not long after this, along came a girl that went to Kona and through her husband going down the pro path, she decided she wanted a coach of her own. Wow, I was walking into unknown territory, coaching a girl. How different was this going to be? All I could think about was if this was going to be too hard for me, could I handle the female ways etc. Having a very long chat to Meg, we decided we would give it a go. She has been great and I have really enjoyed the experience of coaching a female, a lot different to males!! ;-)

Another female was next, a total newbie. Another learning curve for me, another great experience and also more learning from me. Megan (version 2 hehehe) is into the short distance races and is slowly going about her ways to tick off her goals and things are going great!!

5 more athletes joined soon after this, Kev Choate, Dallas Harvey and Rene Rutze, both a little older and looking at achieving their goals. All worlds apart in life (in great ways) and both taking the advice like ducks to water. Great times!! Jane Powell form South Australia also came on board with goals to improve her Ironman WA time. Kane Roach, another total newbie joined the list and ultimately has entered Ironman Melbourne 2013.

My younger brother, Nathan asked me to help him out as he entered Shepparton 70.3 without even doing any races. Job done and this first Tri was completed not long after.

Soon after this and leading into Ironman Melbourne, 3 more athletes approached me and at this time I had to put things on hold until we all got through the race. All 3 of them appreciated this as I explained that I wanted to help all the current crop get through Melbourne and it would be unfair on all if I tried to expand too quickly.

So, Melbourne Ironman....What a day!! Unfortunately I was a little ill post race and missed some of the finishers, however knowing that the following athletes completed their first Ironman under my guidance was to pleasing from my end:

Ben Hughes 9hr 27min
Dario Sorbello 11hr 33min
Jason Dwyer 12hr 35min
Dallas Harvey 16hr 41min

Include a few veterans:

Tavis Atkins 9hr 33min
Archie Ball 11hr 47min

And it was an amazing day. The top 4 achieved their goals and went a little better. Ben Hughes wanted to break 10hrs, Dario 12hrs, Jason 13hrs and Dallas just get a finish. Trav also did a pb and Archie broke 12hrs for the first time.

6 starters......6 finishers.

I would have had another first timer in Tom Lazarus at Ironman New Zealand, however having it shortened to a 70.3 race, meant he couldn't go faster than what I did at NZ 2010 10hr 39min!! Bad luck mate and good luck beating my Melbourne time next year!! :) Ironman Cairns is where we are headed to tick off this goal.

So, post Melbourne, we head to Port Macquarie where I have another 2 first timers in Adam Kelsall and Tim Tingiri. Benny Robinson is heading there as I am.

At the end of the season I would have had 6 1st time Ironmen and have loved every second of it.

The enquires haven't stopped there, this week I am starting with Michael Harvey, Tracy Schirmer and another lady (who wants to keep a low profile).

After Ironman Melbourne, 2 other mates (low profile) want to realise their dream of getting to Kona either this year or next.

The stable is just growing. I am close to my limit as I never want to get too big and not give the individual service to each and everyone of the athletes that I coach. From the first timer to the veterans in my group, the service is going to be the same. I pride myself on this and i know that each and everyone of these athletes appreciates it. I think that I hassle them more than the contact me!

My ultimate goals in this coaching caper is to help each and every athlete achieve their goal whether it is to get that elusive Kona spot or just finish their first triathlon.

Above and beyond this, I want to get a few guys racing as fast and well as what Andrew has got me going. Do YOU want to be this person??

I want to send a MONSTER thanks to everyone mentioned above for helping me grow and develop as a person along with supporting me as I support you.

For now...


There is 1 person that I haven't mentioned above as she deserves a special mention on her own. My own younger sister & occasional chef Naomi Wood. She too has entered Shepparton 70.3 which will be an amazing effort after just having her 3rd baby, along with the knee reco's she has had and the weight she wants to lose. But I know that if anyone can achieve their goal, NAOMI you are the one who can do it!

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