A Coaching Reflection

Coaching. Part of my process is regular reflection. So I thought I’d bring you into that world a bit today.  What it is I think about and how I reflect on that.


Concept: Coach Wellbeing.

I went to a Coach well being and recovery session at NSWIS a few weeks ago. Research is showing similar trends as the business world with burnout figures increasing. It was a great seminar and I have been

One of the good sides of our sport is that at a high performance level there’s a lot of awareness and research into managing energy and having energy availability for our best athletes. As such this is starting to carry over to the coaching area. Hintsa Performance has been doing some great work in this area also borne out of their efforts that originated on the Formula 1 grid. Formula 1 drivers spend something in the order of 250 days a year not in their own bed and have to travel across multiple time zones to do it. When you are driving a car at over 300km/hr with that level of fatigue then you better be good at managing recovery.

Lots of interesting stuff was discussed but they went deep into developing a periodized plan as you move into high demand periods. Similar to a football coach coming into the finals period you need to be at your best so your critical thinking skills are on point when they are needed most. For me that would mean that prior to big races I would plan 6 weeks ahead and double down on my recovery discipline. So come race week I am ready to go and thinking clearly.

Coaches are very passionate about their jobs and can fall very easily into overdoing it. They find it very hard to relax, always thinking about how they can help their athletes as they come into their biggest games or races. They want to leave no stone unturned.

So we have to make sure we periodise our coaching as well. This can mean that just like athletes we are making sure we are disciplined with our recovery processes. Things like time with family, watching movies, going to the beach, and importantly having discipline around time detached from phones and computers. Upon personal reflection, this is an area I can do much better in.

The other area is keeping in shape. Something that I’ve made sure to prioritise recently to great effect. I feel better for it and can work better also.

I believe we have only just scratched the surface here


Concept : Coaching the person before the athlete

My thoughts are they are inseparable. You can’t really put a person before an athlete. They are one thing. So you have to think of the coaching paradigm like that.

It’s the human behind the body, the bones and muscles that is the driver so it really doesn’t make sense to think you can make an athlete into a robot. I see too much of this at a development and performance level. Yes we are looking performance. We are looking for success. But that performance will come from the person.

How do I do that ? I have to work with the athlete to see how I can get the buy in needed to do what it takes physically. Endurance sport takes an incredible amount of resilience to move forward. The athlete has to endure all sorts of physical fatigue and has to be able to continue whilst suffering through extreme doubt. Faith then, has to become almost the number one quality of a successful endurance athlete.

My role as the athlete doctor.

Quite often I see athletes that worry if they come to me and have “issues”. They apologise for “bothering” me. Well that really doesn’t make any sense as that would be like apologizing to the doctor for having coming to them with a virus.


Concept : Mastery of our sport

The concept of mastery is one I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. In endurance sports we have a tendency to measure success by outcomes and what I find fascinating is that this is quite different to the martial arts. Mastery of that sport is more a life long quest for enlightenment and truly living the discipline required to become a “master”.

So how can we think like this within Endurance sport? Can we indeed be dedicated to life long learning, improvement and growth. I believe so. If we are truly focussed on the process then we can trust the outcomes. Are we in the sport only to get faster or are we in it to live the life of growth and improvement.

For me, true achievement is that one has been able to master the presence of mind to train and race with a stillness of mind and an ability to appreciate the sport for it’s true essence of competition, challenging ourselves and revelling in the endless fight against our insecurities.


Concept – The Four Pillars

Well this isn’t a new one but it’s something that comes up every single time I do a review. Working within the framework of mental, physical, tactical and technical really is the number one best thing I can do as a coach when working with an athlete on their development. Full stop. Nothing more to see here. Move on.

This is easily the biggest mistake I see in triathlon coaching worldwide. The complete focus on the physical with an almost one dimensional approach that excludes anything remotely tactical, technical or mental.


Concept – Our mental game

So the previous concept brings be to my final thought for today. Mental skills. My reflection this time has really pushed mental skills to the front of my mind.

This is nothing new of course. But I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I can do this area better. What I’m coming up with is definitely bringing it into our language more. Previously I always have challenged our mental skills via our training sessions and leaving the mental challenge almost unspoken. If we bring. It into our language more I believe it makes it as conversation we can have more easily.