I have been in the cycling coaching business since 2000 and during this time I have seen the evolution of a huge amount of technology to try and make coaching a more exact science. Over all this time, the one thing that stands out for me is that we can have all the knowledge in the world, all the best equipment and technology and we can spend hours behind computers analyzing data but, if we cannot connect with an athlete, all the above means nothing.
Someone once compared what we do with coaching race horses and his comment was that if his horse trainer doesn’t get results, he gets fired. Coaching humans is so much more complicated than training animals … the one big difference in my opinion, is human emotions.
Emotions drive what we do. If we experience something as being good, we enjoy it more and often perform better. If we experience something as being bad, we often just don’t perform. If we have an emotion of fear, we will try our best and sometimes even out perform our own expectations in the short term, but then everything implodes, and results reduce.
The relationship between the athlete and the coach is pivotal in enabling the athlete to go faster and further while still experiencing an emotion of joy and fulfillment. Of course, there are hard times and disappointments and sometimes this can continue for a period that will be frustrating for everyone concerned. But, if the trust between the coach and athlete is strong, the results will come.
Trust does not come easy, it needs to be earned. An athlete will trust his coach if he knows without a shadow of a doubt that the coach is equipping himself every day to be the best coach he can be and that his focus is 100% on the athlete.
No, we are not coaching machines … Increasing knowledge and embracing technology won’t guarantee results, but it goes a long way in instilling trust in the athlete that the coach is committed to helping him get fitter, faster and stronger.
Johann Wykerd – Head Coach @ Absolute Motion