Philip Hatzis

As a Coach

Triathlon Coaching for Philip started with his University club and from there his passion for it has continuously grown. Philip strives to develop his knowledge beyond that of his level 3 coaching qualification by optimising any opportunity presented to him. Alongside the conventional development through many CPD course he has also been fortunate enough to work alongside experts in the fields of Physiotherapy, Strength and Conditioning, Nutrition, Psychology, Biomechanics, Sports Medicine. Putting this knowledge in to practise he has worked with thousands of athletes to various degrees, from training holidays in Portugal, clinics in the UK and online coaching. 

As well as his BTF Level 3 coaching qualification, Philip is also an IRONMAN U qualified coach.

Though his expertise has taken many of his coached athletes to World and European Championships in all distances to both medal and compete, he also loves the challenges at the other end of the spectrum where athletes are worried about completing events.

 

As an Athlete

As a keen and passionate athlete himself, who has raced very competitively as an Age Grouper. Philip has competed at the IRONMAN World Championships 3 times with a 5th place AG and multiple finishes, he certainly lives and breathes the sport of triathlon. However, will always be the first to point out that he is a coach first, then if there is time, an athlete.

As the founder of Tri Training Harder, Philip epitomises the tagline: Believe, Strive, Achieve.

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Q & A
When did you get into triathlon? I started being involved in endurance sports from the age of about 15 with cross-country running. However, only started doing triathlon when I was about 17 and competed in my first race in 2008 and then beginning my coaching career in 2010.

How did you first get involved in triathlon? I remember having a conversation with my then cross-country coach where he asked me if I fancied doing an IRONMAN? My naive reply of “Yeah, sure, what is it?” has certainly defined my path as an athlete, a coach and now as a career!

 

What is your favourite discipline?  I don’t have a favourite discipline as such. I really enjoy the sport of triathlon. I come from a running background, and love racing at the end of an event, but at the same time the brutality of bike training sessions and the camaraderie of swim squads has meant that I really do love each of the component parts of the triathlon.

 

Why did you choose to take up coaching? Initially I began coaching in other sports (sailing and informally golf) as a by product of wanting to learn a greater mastery of the sports themselves. However, triathlon coaching bred out of a necessity for my university club to have coaches as well as the fact that, as the more experienced athlete in the team, I found myself being asked all the questions anyway – If I was going to answer them, I may as well answer them correctly! Thereafter, I recognised that I enjoyed it more and more and found myself loving the additional challenge of working with an athlete rather than just trialling “coaching skills” on myself.

 

What is your greatest athletic achievement? I have been fortunate enough to race in some great places and compete on some big stages. I have some good successes as an age-grouper (5th place in the world championships and multiple Kona finishes). Apart from numerous victorious inter-brother competitions in various sports, I still think my first IRONMAN in Sherborne (the original location of IRONMAN UK) was my personal greatest achievement as I literally had no idea how my body was going to react. I loved the fact that on the simplest level I had asked myself a question, worked very hard and then answered it.

 

What is your greatest coaching achievement? In 2016, I was celebrating with one of my athletes who had been the fastest British Female Age grouper at Kona, IRONMAN World Championships, when I realised that one the the GB team whom I knew was at risk of missing the cut-off. Though I didn’t formally coach her, we had met for lunch a couple of times and I knew how much she wanted to finish, I felt a real sense of duty! I set out to the 20 mile marker and made sure she came home with a medal too. Reflecting on the polar ends of the competing spectrum, it reminded me that as a coach we work with people’s dreams. Everyone’s dream is their most important thing. We, as coaches, should never focus on the dreams of only those we deem as more special. It is that ability to make someone's seemingly unachievable ambition suddenly tangible which drives me as a coach.

 

What one piece of advice would you give someone new to triathlon? Be patient. Be patient with your training. Be patient with your equipment. Be patient with your results. Be patient with the lifestyle. Be patient.

Love the sport, live the sport, but don’t forget to not take yourself too seriously! Just have fun, the rest will come.

 

Favourite quote: When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear!