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Coach or No Coach, a Guest Post

0 Pam Sayler

Pam Sayler wrote this guest post earlier this year. Somehow it was categorized incorrectly in my email and I found it during holiday break. I believe this is a great post to start thinking about plans for 2012. Coaches, and if you need one is a common questions as people start pushing themselves in the sport.

While pushing the Kirby this weekend my mind drifted to the subject of coaching. Why would the average rider hire a cycling coach? What advantage would a coach have to one whose cycling ambition is less than the current world champion?

I paused vacuuming long enough to check in on my son who was practicing piano.

Jacob is in his second year of lessons and progressing nicely. But like many 9 year olds he looses focus and spends about ½ of his time just playing. While I try to take a back seat and not micro manage him I do find it necessary to step in and make sure he is completing the work of understating music theory, structure and technique. By ensuring he spends time on developmental drills I am assured that my investment has a positive
return and Jacob has a broad awareness of music, stronger hand to eye coordination and simply plays better. Even if he does not have the desire to become a concert pianist Jacob’s father and I see music as a door to many future opportunities and will give him a well rounded view of life.

It took me vacuuming the remainder of the family room and down the hallway to connect those dots. Just as I stand behind Jacob seeing he stays on task a cycling coach will help me ride more efficiently – prevent injury and cycle longer. Not just that one day, but cycle longer in life.

In turning to a coach you are entrusting someone to look over your shoulder. Not to compete against, but to draw along side of you and guide you. Coaching is that special mix of relationship and expertise. One needs to trust their coach. A technical and certifiable background is necessary but equally important is the human factor; how well you interface. Before signing on with a coach, ask yourself the following:
Why do you want a coach? – specifically, what are you looking for?
What is your budget?
What is that person’s experience and education?
How much interaction do you want? Individual, group, online?
During the interview process look for someone who asks these questions and has good answers for your questions. Determine how long it will take to reach your goals and make sure your to contract for a brief period first – a longer contract can be drawn up after you are confident this coach is the right one for you.

And finally, remember that no matter how good a coach you hire, and how lofty your ambition nothing will happen if you don’t set aside time and stick to the plan. The investment in yourself will only pay off if you apply time and effort. Otherwise you are just throwing away money. And if you have money to throw away, please let me know. I’ve got a few years of piano left to fund.

Pam Sayler is the North American Sales Manager for Kinetic
She lives in Minneapolis with her Bike-Shop owning husband and their children. Last year Pam commuted 2,000 miles to work on her bike
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