As athletes begin to excel in any sport, they will almost always be learning training tactics as they advance. This would lead one to believe that as they get to a certain point, they can surely maintain their fitness on their own. While this is true, I also know that athletes who excel in sports want to continually get better. This is where a coach can come into play for these reasons below.
Keeping an Objective Approach
One of the hardest things for any athlete to do is look at their training objectively. Too many times I’ve heard an athlete say sentences such as “I trained really hard Thursday, so I can probably take Friday or Saturday off”. They begin to make deals with themselves and justify their lack of focus or lack of structured training. For this reason alone, a coach who can look at their training objectively can make a world of difference. Having a coach to hold you accountable may be the biggest benefit to any aspiring athlete.
Continually Seeking Advanced Methods
While you are surely researching your job as a teacher, marketing expert, physical therapist, or company CEO, your coach dedicates his/her time to researching exercise physiology studies, new equipment, and training methods. If your coach is taking his/her job seriously, then they are going to be up to speed on the most efficient means of training and increasing performance. This will save the athlete from doing long research of their own and instead, the athlete can put that time back into their own training. Simply put, having a coach can help make your time in the sport more efficient.
Managing Life, Training, Responsibilities
When an athlete is training themselves, they often have to wear many hats at the same time and continually juggle their schedule. One of the biggest impacts I hear from many athletes is how much time they have in their schedule due to having a coach with a set training calendar. The coach can objectively look at your work schedule, family commitments on weekends, race selections, and piece together a plan that allows for racing goals to be met without sacrificing other responsibilities in life. By having a coach, you can focus on your training when it happens, but still have plenty of time to manage all of the other important aspects of your life.
Understanding When to Push, When to Recover
From keeping an objective approach, training efficiently, and keeping your life in balance, a coach will develop a plan to push your limits and then recover when necessarily. Many self-coached athletes get into the mindset that more is always better. This just isn’t the case. When you have someone that is dedicated to monitoring your training load, you are continually being analyzed for whether you can keep pushing your training or if its time to back off and recover. What most self-coached athletes get in the habit of is chasing a number and wanting it as fast as possible. This number chasing can lead to over-training and eventually injury or burnout. By having a coach in place, the athlete will methodically advance towards their training goals in a safe and efficient manner while also maintaining the balance of their day-to-day lives. This sort of balance is key to success and something that is OFTEN overlooked by self-coached athletes.
Is coaching for everyone? Maybe not. However, I do know that if you are serious about your training/performance then a coach will do nothing but help enhance your abilities. I know from a personal standpoint that when I get ready for a big event I want to do well at, I seek the abilities of a coach to help keep me honest and moving forward. Regardless of how much we may know or how much we may help others, we often need someone else to analyze our training from an objective angle to ensure that we are progressing as athletes. Hiring someone who can objectively look at your training mixed with your responsibilities of life may be the most powerful thing you can do for your athletic career.
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