Getting the most out of your athletes

It has been a week since the Commonwealth games triathlon and Marc Austin’s stunning performance to claim his first major games medal finishing 3rd.

It has made me reflect on his journey and my own coaching as I had the privilege of working with Marc for 6 years during his formative years.

The key thing I want to touch upon and I feel is very important is how do we as coaches create an environment in order to get the best out of athletes and when to really push and when to back off. How often do you as coaches let athletes ‘off the leash’ and explore what is possible? It may not be in the plan but does that really matter?

5 bullet points below to make you think/discuss-

  1. Athletes want to go fast and see what is possible- too many sessions have constraints stopping them from doing things in fear of ‘breaking them’. I hold my hand up and have been in that position.
  2. Let the athlete have a say- listen to them. If they are feeling good then let them play!
  3. Set no limits. Create an environment where anything is possible. You never know what can be produced.
  4. Make training fun. Too many sessions are dictated by science and too sterile. Of course it has its place but you need to get the balance right. Set too many constraints and are you achieving what you want?
  5. Set unrealistic sessions- This is not a bad thing but too many coaches want to make their athletes feel good by always hitting sessions. Does this prepare them well for races? They cannot win every race. I certainly did not do enough of this.

I am looking forward to starting a new project with the youngsters at Arran junior triathlon club and putting into practice what I have talked about. You never know what you have got and that is exciting!