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Why Have a Coach?

Having a coach? Hmmm, I thought I didn’t need a coach. I grew up with swimming and running coaches all my life through college. I coached summer league swimming where I was honored with the “Coach of the Year” award and I coached my alma mater high school swim squad to a state championship. I know how to coach myself. I began triathlons in 1983 and in the off-season of 1997; I decided to try something new to tweak my training in hopes of improving my racing performance. For seven weeks, from mid- January through March, I trained 30 hours a week where 16-18 hours were training at my lactate threshold (high intensity). To make a long story short, I achieved great fitness in the short term only to begin a downward spiral into a state of chronic fatigue that lasted for a year, and even now, I still feel some residual fatigue when I train too much.

Triathlon was my career and sole source of income. Beginning in 1991, my wise father kept telling me to hire a coach, but I was stubborn and I didn’t want to “waste” the money. In hindsight, I would have made more money through prize money and sponsorship had I a coach earlier in my career. In the middle of my fatigue state, when I was barely able to train four hours a week, I knew I had to change my training regiment.

I scoured for a coach that I felt would benefit me. In 1998, I called Joe Friel, owner of Ultrafit, and asked him if he would coach me. Although we had never met, I felt his knowledge, research and demeanor fit well with my characteristics.

I had some successful seasons and victories with the three years that Joe coached me. I only wish I could have met him before my fatigue state as I felt I never could reach the same energy level for training that I had before my fatigue state. I have recently retired from triathlons and aligned my company with Joe’s Ultrafit Association. I believe Joe’s methodology and philosophy on training athletes is a great way to help an athlete achieve performance goals. Now, notice that I didn’t say the best way for an athlete to achieve performance goals. Athlete coaching is part science and part intuition. Each athlete responds differently to mental and physical stimuli. Although some coaches claim they have the perfect coaching method, I don’t know how that statement can be proven. If you are considering a coach, here are a few benefits and factors you should look for in a high-quality coach that will help you excel.

What makes a high quality coach?

© Wes Hobson Performance Inc.