Do I need a coach?

Coaching Sign

Paying for coaching might initially seem like a big outlay with no tangible benefit. As a coach myself, if someone asks, “Do I need a cycling coach?” the obvious answer would be that of course you should get a coach. However, I do always bear in mind that not everybody is at the stage in their career where they would benefit from professional coaching.

Experts in the cycling world agree that there is no better way to improve your performance than to hire a coach.  In Simon Burney’s excellent book, Cyclocross, he says, “one of the best steps you can take as a young rider, or even as a more experienced rider new to ‘cross, is to get a good coach.”  This advice applies across all cycling disciplines.

The benefits of having a coach

There are several good reasons why I would answer the question, “Do I need a coach?” in the affirmative:

  • A coach can watch your technique and provide detailed feedback or small pointers that might make a big difference to your racing. For example, I recently worked with a cyclocross rider to help improve her technique when remounting on slopes. This has allowed the rider to gain much more confidence; she just needed some small pointers and a coach there to reassure her that she could do it.
  • A coach can provide you with a properly sequenced training schedule to ensure that you are in perfect condition for your key races. They will also ensure that you are covering all the types of training you need to be in peak physical condition.
  • A coach is a mentor who will take an interest in your racing. They will follow up to find out how a race went and then work with you to make changes to your future training to improve in the areas that require improvement. A good coach will make the rider feel like part of a team and will feel the same emotions as the rider; when the rider does well they rejoice.
  • An experienced coach will know the sport really well. This means that they can provide advice on every aspect from equipment to tactics and race strategy.
  • Paying for coaching advice can make a rider more motivated. It is an obvious statement that you are serious about your sport and can make you work harder to achieve your goals.
  • Having a coach makes you accountable to somebody else. If you are coaching yourself and don’t fancy doing a particular session because it’s not one that you enjoy then it can be easy to justify not doing it. However, if that session has been set by a coach then you might not want to explain to them why you don’t feel like completing the training that has been set.

Before hiring a coach

Before agreeing to coach any rider I always spend some time talking to them about their aims and goals. In particular two questions are important in determining whether the coaching relationship will work:

  • Are you committed to achieving your goals?
  • Do you have enough time to put in sufficient training?

If the answer to either of these is no then you probably do not need a coach at this point in your sporting career. Otherwise the coaching relationship may be at risk of ending in frustration and disappointment for both the coach and rider!

If you answered both these questions with a resounding yes and think that I can help you then please get in touch.

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