T H E C A F E S T O P
Grab a mug of your favourite brew and read on
T H E C A F E S T O P
In some ways it’s hard to believe that the ‘New Year’ is more than a month old already. Yes, 2018 is already a twelfth completed. Before you know it, the card shops will be displaying their 2018 Christmas offerings, everyone will be dashing around the supermarket trying their best to guide three trollies around the aisles and the sofa companies will be encouraging us to ‘buy now’ to guarantee a Christmas delivery! Luckily for us, before all of that, we have a wonderful part in between. Spring and Summer. Yes, those months of glorious skin warming sunrises, evening brightness and super grippy dry roads are on the way! But are you ready for them? Are you ready to have your best year on the bike yet? You may be mulling over what it is you want to get out of 2018, or, you may know what you want but you’re just not sure how to get there. Have you ever thought about getting on board with a cycling coach to help guide you to make these visions a reality? It is an important consideration; a good coach can provide you with some key benefits and help you realise your potential. A few of these are:
A Coach can INSPIRE you in many different ways. The psychological benefits that a Coach can provide you with are very powerful and should never be underestimated. Cycling can be and indeed is a very difficult sport to achieve in, whether at a Professional level, your local club enthusiast or the solo rider who spends many hours alone in the saddle. Obstacles that every rider faces such as hard training and racing, injury, illness, lack of confidence, lack of motivation, can all be difficult to overcome, even more so when you are trying so hard to become stronger on the bike that you are wearing yourself down. These challenges can be both mental and physical and need attacking in completely separate ways. A Coach can help motivate you through these difficult times. Whether it be for a sounding board, an ear to bend, a person to vent frustration to, you can be sure that a Coach has what it takes to help you see the light at the end of the tunnel and help you makes steps toward it. One of the massive differences between a Coach and one of your ride mates is the feeling of accountability toward your training and your time on the bike. Tell yourself excuses as to why you’ve missed training and you will accept them. Tell a mate your excuses as to why you’ve not performed as you wanted to and they’ll say ‘don’t worry, there’s always next time’. People close to you may buy the excuses you make but a Coach never will. You knowing this, will make you hit those training sessions and reap all of the benefits they bring.
Cycling coaches have a huge amount of KNOWLEDGE that they have picked up from many different aspects of the sport. A common misconception is that a Coach needs to have been racing for many years to acquire the knowledge required to be a good Coach. Whilst a high-level racing cyclist may be fast on a bike, they may have absolutely no coaching principles or skills at all, meaning they have no sustainable way of guiding people they coach to get the best out of them. Riding your bike fast is not just about going out and riding your bike fast, there is so much more to it. A Coach will help you to see all of the inputs that make this happen, and help you develop in order to turn these inputs into successful outputs.
NEUTRALITY. An area that is hugely beneficial through being coached. As I mentioned earlier that a Coach will not buy the excuses as to why you’ve not trained, they will also help you to diagnose the reasons behind it. For example, if you struggle with certain sessions, road conditions, mental blocks, it may be difficult for you to find the reasons for this. Because your Coach will be able to detach themselves and take a few steps back it may be much clearer to them. Coaches are good at diagnosing the problem, uncovering the real cause, and planning to overcome it. It may be that you’re not resting enough, it could be you are constantly training in the wrong areas, you may need a modification to your diet, all different areas that need tackling on an individual basis. Quite a common and sometimes difficult message a Coach has to deliver is that your goals are unrealistic for where you are in your cycling development. You may want to be World Champion and are currently knocking about mid pack in the domestic scene. You may want to nail an 18-minute 10-mile Time Trial, but your existing PB sits at 29:32. You may simply want to be able to ride 20 miles in one hour, your present time stands at an hour and a half. It’s not to say that any of these targets are completely unachievable, it’s just to say that a Coach, with their neutral perspective, will be able to show you why these things potentially aren’t possible in the here and now. They will however, be able to help you plan your realistic long-term goals, and with that, all of your short to medium term goals that will make these possible.
There is of course the spin off that actually you don’t need a Coach to improve your performance. Athlete/Coach relationships are an amazing thing to be part of, but there are a number of people who do not need this in order to thrive and improve. If you are seeing your figures, your feelings and indeed your performances/results improve then you are probably in this bracket. Getting on board with a Coach may not be the right thing for you right now.
If you’ve been self-coaching for a while, but seem to have hit a flat period, a Coach maybe the answer. They will be able to look at what you’ve been doing and see what is needed to mix it up to start things moving again. It may be different sessions you need, more time on the bike, less time on the bike, whatever it may be a Coach will help you to find it out.
To make an Athlete/Coach partnership work effectively you have to be fully committed to the work that needs to be done. There will be no question that your Coach will be fully committed to producing and delivering your training plan, you must be both willing and able to make some sacrifices to ensure you get the absolute most out of it. It’s of no benefit to think about going fully head on into hiring a Coach, knowing there is a good chance that you will not be able to complete a lot of the work set. Talk to your prospective Coach beforehand, discuss these matters, it is very possible that you can work around things and make it a success.
I do know one thing. All of the individuals I talk to have the one same, simplistic high-level goal. To become a stronger rider. And that in itself drives us all to succeed.
I N S P I R A T I O N – M O T I V A T I O N – D E D I C A T I O N.
R A W S P O R T P E R F O R M A N C E C O A C H I N G.
T R A I N R A W - A C H I E V E M O R E