Complete Athlete Support and Wellbeing: A Coaches Perspective
As a recreational or competitive age group athlete, “going it alone” without a coach may bring some good results - occasionally. However, ask yourself this: Are you side-lined more than you are crossing the finish line? Do you cross the finish line with a smile and arms aloft or is it head dropped with a limp in your step? Do you put more emphasis on spending on new tech and stealthy looking carbon that makes you look fast? Do you train harder and longer yet the finish line does not appear any faster? If this is the case it may be time for a change in approach to your training.
So what am I talking about?
As an athlete “going it alone” is without 'change' so the result is likely to stay the same. From my observations of athletes over many years generally their desired results are well below their elusive goals. However, those elusive goals are not necessarily unrealistic they are just often not approached with the correct support to get the job done.
That post race feeling of achieving your goals
What I would like to do though is look at athlete support and well-being from a coaches perspective.
My journey as a triathlon coach, from volunteer club coach to qualified level, has afforded me the opportunity to observe and learn from athletes and their well-being in a variety of different guises. I have noticed the more consistent performers are those athletes that have a broader support network focused on the outcome of their sporting pursuits. Firstly, they have the support from family and friends and secondly, these athletes have a coaching network in place.
This coaching 'network' consists of more than just a performance coach. In addition and in conjunction with the coach (and in an a perfect world) you would have a sports
(S&C) professional to name a few all working together like a well oiled machine and complementing each other. Frequently people have parts of this in place but rarely is everything well integrated or 'oiled'.
To put this into some form of context I will reflect on a situation observed during the past season’s Tri Training Harder training holiday in Portugal. A colleague and very good runner, James, arrived in Portugal full of run speed. Within a relatively short period of time he developed an injury that hampered his running ability. If left to his own devices he may have tried to run through it or potentially he would have compensated elsewhere to reduce the stress of the injury. The lead coach for the week (let's assume this person to be 'The Coach') instructed James to refrain from training that would aggravate the injury and to set an appointment with our Physio. Treatment was administered and a 'back to running' plan implemented. This included ongoing Physio treatment and Strength & Conditioning work. James got back to running in a relatively short period of time and more importantly came back stronger and with better running form and without recurring or ongoing niggles. The relatively short period of time away from training meant that James did not significantly de-train. Had it not been for the support, the down time from training would most likely have been much longer and the detraining affect far greater, making the comeback path longer.
Coach James running on the track
In this negative scenario we can all empathise with the athlete’s frustration. This, in my coaching mind, is evidence that having a team of professionals working together all supporting you makes for far better, quicker and consistent results. Having a coach who can objectively make a call on training, a Physio that can fix and put the body into the correct position for sport and an S&C coach who can prescribe the correct and appropriate gym work to strengthen the muscle group(s) in order minimise the risk of a repeated injury. In addition to the more physical aspect, a Nutritionist would add value by tailoring nutrition and dietary needs for both performance and rehabilitation periods as well as enhancing recovery the process. The Psychologist would give you the essential tools to be able to focus on the mental challenges faced during a lay-off from training and the road back to full performance. Go too hard too soon and you could find yourself back at the door of 'injury despair’.
“An Ounce of Prevention is better than a Pound of cure.”
Waiting for an injury to sideline you is not the best course of action to encourage you to get this support network in place. As has been said many times: “An Ounce of Prevention is better than a Pound of cure.” (Benjamin Franklin). The reason prevention is always going to be a better option is the discomfort and pain of injury is very unpleasant. The cost could lead into big numbers and in a worst case scenario even lead to surgery that could mean the end of your sporting goals.
Coach Trevor coaching a holiday group in Portugal
We all at some point use the services of the above mentioned professionals, mainly when we are trying to fix something or are in a bit of a panic to get to the start line in one piece. So why not prevent all this anguish and routinely use these services as a matter of a 'total support package', along with the all important support of family and friends.
Do you want to build your team?
to see how we can integrate your support network with your current coaching package and start how this can improve your training. Training correctly should be a fun and exciting time use as many of your contacts to ensure everyone is talking together – a system we believe is the only way to truly coach at the highest level.
is a Tri Training Harder Coach and is based in southwest and Portugal. If you are interested in finding out more about how a coach could help your current training routine, please give us a shout on
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