Is Coaching for You?
While a coach can help you improve your cycling performance, coaching is not for everyone. For a variety of reasons, some individuals thrive in a coaching relationship while others suffer. Before you hire a coach, answer these questions and be honest with yourself:
Am I currently improving as an athlete? Simply stated, if you're showing continuous improvement as a self-coached athlete, keep up the good work. You are clearly taking appropriate steps with your training. While a coach may be able to boost your performance even more, stick with what you are doing unless you hit a plateau where you just can't seem to improve. This will be a better time to hire a coach.
Am I committed to improving my performance? Everyone wants to ride and race faster, but are you both willing and able to make the sacrifices necessary to make this happen? Will you commit to a periodized training regimen that requires different types of training throughout the year? Are you motivated to maximize your performance and willing to traverse a potentially unexpected path to get there?
Do I have the time? Competitive cycling is a very demanding sport that requires a significant amount of time to maximize your potential. Most cyclists have to juggle training and racing with work and family responsibilities. This can be a very difficult juggling act. To get the best use out of a coach, you will need to have sufficient time, not only for your training but for your interactions with your coach. Do you have the time, as well as the support from family and friends, to make this happen?
Am I willing to listen? This might be the most important question. Are you going to listen to your coach and follow his instructions? While an effective coaching relationship consists of two-way communication where coach and client both take responsibility for creating success, your coach will have specific tasks he wants you to complete. Are you going to listen? Will you carry out the training plan as prescribed? Will you perform the workouts as directed? Or do you like to dance to the beat of your own drummer? While there is nothing wrong with following your own path, it can limit the effectiveness of a coach/client relationship.
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