Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Coaching - Is it really complicated??

After my last post about coaching, I copped some support and obviously touched some nerves.

This is only my view and my view only, if you get offended by what I write, feel free not to look me up.  My views don't change, they only develop with experience.

With my new venture, coaching is always in the fore front of my mind.  Ways to do things better, what not to change, who to ask, advice to gain.

Over my sporting career ranging form Basketball, Football, Swimming, Running, Riding, Triathlons & a few others, I have found that I have responded to my coaches in all different ways depending on their approach.  This is something that I have taken with me into my coaching venture.

I put it simply.... No 2 people are the same, so therefor why should they be treated the same, given the same programs or given the same feedback.  I know that I would require a different approach to my team mates.

So, what is the right "training formula"?

This I don't have an answer for.  I hear many people claiming that they have new and improved training methods, more science involved and different strategies.  Does this mean that they are better coaches or program writers?

My answer is No.

I have no idea what the best methods are, however one thing that I do know......It's my athletes, I know how they respond, and am learning every day how to get the most out of their abilities.  Does this make me a better or worse coach than the guy with the Power training, FTP training or HR training.

I don't know that answer either.

Each of my athletes are individuals and I react to the way the want/need to be coached the best way that I can.

From my experience as an athlete, I remember when I first got into tri's and did my first 70.3 back in Cairns 2000, the guy that I trained with used to flog us silly, every session was hard.  I burnt out after 3 months, walked away from the sport for 7 years.

On my return I was trained to HR, being new to this, I embraced it and got good results.  Not the results I get now, but they were still good.

What works for me?  Keeping it simple, nothing complex.  Training to perceived effort, if I was fresh easy was slightly faster compared to when fatigued.  Each session has a different result.

I am hearing talks about the traps of doing shorter sessions at a higher intensity to get better results.  What I ask is, how big is the base of the test cases? What is their back round? How long did the testing go for?  What distances are they training for?

I was quizzing Jason Shortis at Cairns recently and asking him how he continues to get great results and continue to run sub 3hrs off the bike.  His answer....TRIPLE run days, yes 3 runs per day.  Now Jason, for those who don't know has finished over 75 Ironman races.  In my first in 2008, he was at 50.  I have done 8 in total now and he has done 25 in the same period, that's without the few he didn't finish in.

So, this formula works for him, for a guy who is big for Triathlons, to run triple run days is what he needs to get the most out of himself and remain competitive.

So, what is right??

I was also talking to another pro athlete (whom I won't name at this time) and he couldn't handle the volume that was thrown at him on the run as he kept breaking down.  Now this guy has a massive swim back round, and his is short and stocky.  The total opposite to Shortis and needs totally different formulas to get the most out of himself.

Other people have a good even mix and some just talk up volume.

I am more towards the second one, mixing between volume and speed, adding strength work also.  Why do you need to run fast to run a marathon?  What is a fast marathon?

If you run a 3hr 15min marathon off the bike, it is considered reasonably fast, but is it?

I say no... 3hr 15min is 4min 38sec per k.  That is race pace, so why do you go and do your easy pace faster than your race pace??  This never makes sense to me when talking to athletes.

A common question I ask is:  What pace do you do your easy runs at?

Many many people say 4.30 - 4.45.

My follow up question is:

What pace do you run during a race?

Not many people run under 5min k pace in a race, so reality is they run their easy faster than their race pace.

How do you change this?

That is what everyone is still trying to find out.

I know a girl who used to train to power and pace.  Yes she has been to Hawaii a few times, however now she trains at perceived effort.... Yes, she is going back to Hawaii for the 4th time.

Is one formula better than the other?  Or is it simply that she is a really good athlete and can get results whatever formula she uses?

There are so many unanswered questions about the right training principles, but there is one thing for sure.  If you don't know your athletes, you are never going to know what is the best formula for them.

So, for me, it is getting to know my athletes better and adapting my programs around them.

For Now...Keep searching


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