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  1. #1
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    How to find a good coach

    I started a thread http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...a-Coach-or-not and one of the questions was how do you find a good coach. So how did you find your coach. What do you look for in a good coach

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    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnobles View Post
    I started a thread http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...a-Coach-or-not and one of the questions was how do you find a good coach. So how did you find your coach. What do you look for in a good coach
    consider a "mentor" or a "club" instead.
    "have fun and be kind"
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    Someone who has actually raced (a lot). Maybe even someone who is still racing, since its an ever evolving sport.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    In the Pain Cave thechemist's Avatar
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    How important is it to having a coach close to home? I can find some great coaches online and through say peaks performance group but... Should I really hone in on someone local to my region? Someone who knows my races or is it not as important with technology where it is?

    I have some guys on my team with coaches that live up the northeast coast and I believe some that are in my state.

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    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    my coach lives about as geographically distant as possible within the continental US. We just met for the first time and it didn't involve riding.

  7. #7
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
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    This.
    Category 2 | | Velogames BikeForums Leagues: 1st - 2012 Veulta, 1st - 2011 Vuelta, 2nd - 2013 Vuelta, 3rd - 2012 Giro, 4th - 2012 TdF

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    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thechemist View Post
    How important is it to having a coach close to home? I can find some great coaches online and through say peaks performance group but... Should I really hone in on someone local to my region? Someone who knows my races or is it not as important with technology where it is?

    I have some guys on my team with coaches that live up the northeast coast and I believe some that are in my state.
    If you are looking for specific race advice, having a coach that has raced some of those races can help. I find many other areas of coaching much more beneficial so don't mind if my coach is in the region or not.
    Category 2 | | Velogames BikeForums Leagues: 1st - 2012 Veulta, 1st - 2011 Vuelta, 2nd - 2013 Vuelta, 3rd - 2012 Giro, 4th - 2012 TdF

  9. #9
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    my coach lives about as geographically distant as possible within the continental US. We just met for the first time and it didn't involve riding.
    Funny, the same is true of my coach. Except it involved riding in the sense i rode my bike to meet him.

  10. #10
    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    Well, in the past five or six years, I've been through five coaches and am about to sign up my sixth.

    The first one was a friend and an athletic trainer, and he built me a plan for free. At the time, I was only a year into riding and hadn't raced at all. But I wanted to get faster and stronger, and I asked for his help since he was the fastest guy in the area and trained people for a living. His plan quickly had me riding much faster. But I was warned by several people to cut his workouts in half. I did not, and I soon I was suffering from over-use injuries. His plan was better suited for someone with more miles in their legs than I had. Also, since he worked as a strength and conditioning coach for a nationally ranked college football team, he wasn't around much from July to January and would nto have been able to coach me much during those months anyway.

    The second and third coaches ended up bailing on me.

    The second one was a guy I rode with occasionally who had worked with a couple people in the area. He had a decent reputation and produced decent training plans. I got stronger, but I'm not sure I wouldn't have seen the same results from just riding more. He encouraged me to get a power meter, which I did. But shortly thereafter, he just told me one day he couldn't coach me any more.

    The third guy I found on USA Cycling's site after I moved across the country. I called several listed coaches in the area and discussed their coaching philosophies. The one I went with was the most local, least expensive and had a decent philosophy. His plans were ok, though did not seem to be overly individualized for me. He didn't really use power, though I worked it out for myself. After about six months, he stopped replying to emails and phone calls and stopped sending me plans, despite having been paid in advance. I was not pleased.

    The fourth guy was on my cycling club. He coached a few other people on the club, and they had good results and suggested I talk with him after my coach bailed. He did a good job with producing training plans, though his communication could have been better. His plans were good though they focused largely on short burst power and sprinting, which was his area of expertise. I notched my first win under his direction, and I'd have kept him as my coach had I not been offered free coaching. He did not use power.

    The fifth guy was another friend and a member of my new cycling club. He thought he could propel me from a solid cat 4 into a solid cat 3 and maybe even a 2. His plans were created specifically for me, to the point that he would often call me up after seeing my training numbers and change my workouts. He did not work with power himself, but he understood it enough to use power in my training plans. And he had me do monthly FTP tests. We talked almost daily during the racing season. He raced or came out to watch the races. We rode together a lot - sometimes it was he and I on a training ride and sometime we were both on the local hammer ride together. Either way, he always offered his thoughts on my riding. He even chewed me out one day for not winning a race that he thought I should have won - and he was probably right.

    Unfortunately for me, he moved up to the middle of nowhere in Vermont, and he now has two small kids that take a lot of his time. So, he is not training me anymore.

    The new coach is a person I met through this forum. We've been exchanging emails about racing and training over the past year or so, and it seems like he will be well suited to coach me. This will be the first time I do a long-distance coach.

  11. #11
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    I think the one thing that may not have been addressed is what type of personality type you are.
    When I started riding years ago my first, and only coach, was with us Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. He had a scooter and a voice like a megaphone. I learned a lot very quickly and got strong very quickly. I believe that was due to the fact that I was already very athletic and had great direction and teammates but ultimately I was internally motivated and had endless drive to succeed. Though I learned so much from him I do believe that I would have gotten there quick quickly.
    If you are the type that needs hand holding through it all this sport will be very difficult.
    As I have said I coach guys, none of which I have ever met and it seems to work (you'd have to ask them) based solely on the fact that I am very accessible (spend most of my day on/near my laptop) and I am open to feedback and criticism as I will never profess to know everything.
    A good coach in my opinion has to have the following:
    1. Race Experience
    2. Knowledge of varying training approaches
    3. Empathy - **** happens
    4. Compassion - life happens
    5. Life experience - everyone is different
    6. Flexibility
    7. The ability to tell when someone is overdoing/underdoing plans - I have 'fired' guys for not putting the load in and making excuses
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  12. #12
    You blink and it's gone. rbart4506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    consider a "mentor" or a "club" instead.
    I would agree with this when first starting out. I originally went with the online coaching option and yes it did help, but not as much as my situation now. I was with my original coach for just over a year before I ran into some pretty severe physical and emotional issues. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say training was not worth it and the cost of a coach did not make sense. At the tail end of this period I joined a local team/club and started racing/training/riding with them. The guy who runs the team is enjoys helping people who want to get better. I asked, he said sure and started providing me with training guidance and a pretty straightforward monthly plan. Nothing fancy, just basic stuff that followed the CTS principles, but really fits with Friel's jargon and Coggan's as well.

    He allowed me to grow at my pace, never pushing me to go above my head... I can do that on my own, I usually need to be reeled back in

    Things started slowly in the spring, but my late summer I was still improving. This was not normal, since usually by this time I would plateau and never seemed able to move to the next level. I continued to set PB's in my local club TT as the season progressed and teammates were noticing the improvement on team rides.

    When I started working with him he said I'd have my best year ever and damn he was right.

    There are options and the club\team mentor is a darn good enough and usually a fair bit cheaper
    "On the other hand riding down a hill at 55 MPH wearing (essentially) women's underwear and a Styrofoam cup on your head is the epitome of rational life-extending decisions." - RacerEx

  13. #13
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hermes View Post
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    sistrrs

    twitter.com/ygduf
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  14. #14
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    I got a coach almost right away when I started racing. I found having one very helpful in a lot of ways. One of the things that stood out was when I told him I didn't think I'd every be a crit guy. He disagreed, which actually turned out to be right.

    I'd add in "age appropriate experience" to Hermes list. You don't relate to a 20 y/o like a 50 y/o from a training/life/racing/health perspective.

    Also:

    -Ask about communication. How, how often, topics, Etc. Especially how often you'll get feedback.

    -How far ahead he/she schedules. If you're getting a month or two of daily plans at a time you're not being well served, fitness, success or failures during workouts should all be part of developing the plan and you can't forecast out where someone will be in a month. That's not to say you might not have an overall plan (base/build, Etc) that might forecast out, and if you're periodizing and have an "A" race you should have such a plan.

    And what Kwaki wrote also has a lot of wisdom. Mentally this sport can be brutal.

  15. #15
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    my coach lives about as geographically distant as possible within the continental US.
    Same here. I look at that as a plus. The other coach I was going to use races in my field. Having your competition know everything about you isn't exactly smart.

    I think a coach for a new Cat5 is fine, but should not be a priority. If you are someone who takes direction well and learns fast, it might be a good idea. If you are someone that likes to experience things for yourself first and focus on improvement once you have an idea what you'll need, then race for a bit before employing a coach. Cat5 isn't about results, anyway.

  16. #16
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Maybe I should look at your coach in case things with my coach don't work out.


    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Same here. I look at that as a plus. The other coach I was going to use races in my field. Having your competition know everything about you isn't exactly smart.

    I think a coach for a new Cat5 is fine, but should not be a priority. If you are someone who takes direction well and learns fast, it might be a good idea. If you are someone that likes to experience things for yourself first and focus on improvement once you have an idea what you'll need, then race for a bit before employing a coach. Cat5 isn't about results, anyway.

    my only point was that given we're generally not talking about skills training I think someone should at least do a race to see if they like it before going too far.

  17. #17
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    Maybe I should look at your coach in case things with my coach don't work out.

  18. #18
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    but i heard your coach is crazy, like De Niro in Taxi Driver crazy.

    Do you think he'd be a good fit for an aspiring cat-3 breakaway artist ?

  19. #19
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    "have fun and be kind"
    - an internet post

  20. #20
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    well, there's something to be said about picking the right parents

  21. #21
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    my only point was that given we're generally not talking about skills training I think someone should at least do a race to see if they like it before going too far.
    How could anyone not like it?? That's crazy! Racing is one of the most fun things I've ever done

  22. #22
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    but i heard your coach is crazy, like De Niro in Taxi Driver crazy.

    Do you think he'd be a good fit for an aspiring cat-3 breakaway artist ?
    More like Hannibal Lecter.

  23. #23
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
    How could anyone not like it?? That's crazy! Racing is one of the most fun things I've ever done

    Look at the plentitude of guys who think they need a crit bike and football pads. Racing in a crowd isn't for everyone. I know some really fast guys who were basically neutralized by entering a race and wheeling up to the line with 75 guys or so.

  24. #24
    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    Why I think you should ride and race for a while first before choosing a coach, by gmt:

    There are a huge number of coaches in cycling nowadays. They could be anywhere on the spectrum beginning with people who just have an interest in the sport spurred by places like this forum (but no actual coaching experience) on one end and on the other end, people who have made a full-time profession out of coaching world-class athletes.

    Some of the best coaches are not actually people who were the best athletes. Coaching is not the same as competing. There is a component of psychology. There is a component of attention to specific details of the person which might not happen in a coach who spends more of his energy on attention to his own details than on yours.

    In order for you to find a proper match between yourself and your coach, you must be able to know what sort of athlete you are. In regards to cycling the only way to know this is to have at least some degree of experience in it first.

    There is nothing wrong with paying for a coach when you are new. I simply do not feel that this is the best time for it though, since, with a bit of self-assessment, a proper fit and a few pointers from some riders with more experience, you can easily embark on the period of adaptation which new riders must before they start specializing and following specific plans of training.

    Then hire a coach.

  25. #25
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
    How could anyone not like it?? That's crazy! Racing is one of the most fun things I've ever done
    Going to add to g's comment. When you start out fresh it is a ton of fun. WHy you start to have some 'white knuckle' type races (i.e. cold, rainy descents, massive aggressive crit fields) things change.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

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