Coaching 101 – Triathlon Potential

The Covid break gave me a chance to clean out my old triathlon resources. As I scanned through countless books and articles, it made me realise that what we think is some awesome new approach to training that we have devised has all been done before.  Even when I look back at what the Lakers were doing at training when Tony Neil was the coach 25+ years ago, I can see that we are still following similar principles and even locations as we start up Thursday nights from Grange. 

When I read of the training the big four were doing (Molina, Tinley, Scott and Allen) you realised they were probably training just as hard and probably more than most elite triathletes today. There strategies were pretty raw but you can’t argue with the results they were able to achieve.

It made me think that science is partly to blame as we get all number focused and fear going too hard. In the past there were no boundaries they just keep exploring the edges. Yet today we often fear the edges because in the past people have broken when they spent time there. But it needn’t be the case for everyone.

The coaches were also extremely philosophical and looked at coaching from a whole of person perspective rather than just analysing numbers. Sally Edwards was one of the early pioneers in the sport as an athlete and a coach came up with some interesting questions of analysing your triathlon potential that I thought I would share:

  • Do you know your personal style for establishing and working towards goals
  • Can you lay out your present schedule and either find to create time
    • lunchtimes, commutes, kids sport
  • Can you adapt to change and accommodate the unforeseen
  • Can you dispense with the self-punishing guilt and see training as a flowing process, not as something that s either built up or destroyed easily
  • Can you balance other competing values and compromise when facing diverse demands without abandoning something dear to your life
  • Can you share your commitment with loved ones by inviting them into your vision
  • Can you recognise truth and avoid fooling yourself (be honest with yourself about how going about things)
  • Can you delay ultimate gratification by savouring small pleasures on the way to achieving the big ones
  • Can you follow your intentions, keep in step with your own rhythms and ignore inappropriate advice or gamesmanship
  • When a setback occurs can you accept responsibility for initiating remedial action, knowing that no matter what got you into a fix, you have to get yourself out
  • Can you deliberately approach pain again and again yet respond repeatedly to its warning to back off, even laying off
  • Can you readily learn new physical skills and maintain good form even when you are fatigued

Sometimes if we want to move forward there is benefit in looking backwards. And sometimes if we want to change who we are on the outside we need to look inwards for the answer. I think Sally’s list can get you thinking about how you apply yourself to your trade and to learn areas that may be holding you back.

Photo by Jorge Romero on Unsplash

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