Thursday, April 24, 2008


Most of the concepts and ideas I use in coaching are adapted (or just plain stolen) from other coaches, sports experts, athletes, and non-sport sources. Even the things that I've 'discovered' myself are not novel - someone else has figured it out before me, I just didn't read their book/article/website or attend their seminar before I worked it out myself. Most coaches will tell you the same thing, and there's no shame in it - we should be in the business of making people faster, not inventing new gizmos, or protocols, or trademarking common training terms - a pet peeve of mine.

Training can be, and should be, fairly simple - or 'clean' - that's the new word around here lately. If our approach to training is based on clean and simple principles, it's easier to adhere to those principles and stay focused on the task at hand.

One very simple philosophy we follow here was hashed out with NTC coaches Neil Harvey and Patrick Kelly during a swim practice a while back. It's so simple, it's self evident, but that doesn't stop the majority of athletes from ignoring it. Make sure you have a pencil and paper handy, you don't want to miss this one. Here it is:

Health ---> Consistency ---> Performance

(Cue the "How many coaches does it take to screw in a light bulb?" jokes.)

As I wrote earlier, it's self-evident, and it's a very clean and simple concept: Health must precede Consistency, which must precede Performance. Put another way, you can't have achieve Performance without Consistency, and you can't achieve Consistency without being Healthy.

The trick for coaches and athletes is not to simply understand the concept, but to employ it. When I talk to athletes, the conversation centers around health if they are injured or sick, with little emphasis on consistency or performance. If an athlete is healthy, the discussion moves to consistency. Consistent training should be measured in months, not days or weeks. Only when an athlete is training consistently, and maintaining good health (ie. properly managed recovery habits) can we begin to discuss performance.

How many athletes out there are focussed on a specific race performance or a 'breakthrough workout' when they aren't healthy, or haven't been consistent? More than most in my experience, and they're setting themselves up for disappointment. Keep it simple - stay healthy, train consistently, and the performances will follow.

Please note that I've trademarked this concept. Just send your annual licensing fee of $79.99 c/o Provincial Triathlon Centre if you want to use it.

I'm off to find some new coaching ideas to steal.

1 comment:

Loaring said...

Since you have 'stolen' some of my intellectual property--I am entitled to 5% of this proposed annual PTC licensing fee :-)