I am in no doubt that employing a cycling coach would lead to an exponential improvement in my performance on the bike. Yet, whilst I frequently consider hypothetical scenarios for spending thousands of pounds to ‘build out’ my portfolio of bikes, I have tended to dismiss coaching as being too expensive or in some way not for me.
Today’s post comes in the form of guest submission from professional cyclist and coach Tomás Metcalfe. Tomás is going to present the case for why recreational riders should consider employing a cycling coach. If you want more information, or to contact Tomás, his website is at SwiftMomentumSports.com.
Without further ado, over to Tomás.
A Cycling Coach Will Help You Learn To Be An Athlete
I’m Tomás Metcalfe, a professional cyclist. I’ve been riding professionally for six years and started coaching two years ago.
I used to be coached by Martin Yelling, who had been British Duathlon Champion and had a Phd in Sport Science: better coaches than this are hard to find. In fact, it was thanks to meeting him that I was able to learn how to be an athlete.
Within a year I became an elite duathlete, winning most of the races I entered. Two year later I was a pro cyclist. Before that I was just a student on a £500 bike.
I have been fortunate to pass on what I have learnt to others. I coached Richie Felle in the run up to becoming an Irish elite mountain biking champion and helped Conor Murphy learn what it takes to turn pro at a training camp three years ago. Both talented guys who needed to see what it takes to be an athlete.
No Crazy Training, No Sacrifice, Just a Methodical Approach to Sport
A coach has a more objective view of your performance and is purely motivated in making you better (if he’s any good).
When you’re training yourself, you’ll be battling with your inner voice one way or another: “I should train more”, “I don’t feel like training”. You may well admit that you just don’t know what you’re doing.
Invest In Your Most Important Piece of Equipment – You!
Have you ever seen guys on a pair of £1000 carbon wheels for training, yet have a beer gut?
Coaching offers value for money versus other investments in sport because it makes you better, not your bike. Tune up the engine, then the chassis.
A gym is a great way to get fit – the investment guilts you into going to train. It’s the same for cycling coaching, except it’s tailored to you, the cyclist, not the average gym-goer.
Employing a coach means that you won’t commit easily-avoidable mistakes. Your coach will have seem them (and maybe committed them) all before.
Your Coach Doesn’t Need To Be There In Person
Training can be delivered many different ways: remotely, face to face, or a mixture of both.
Athletes do not need to have their hand held the entire way, but the occasional meeting is very useful. Data from races, tests and hard efforts is very important and it comes down to the athlete to supply the right info and train as per their training plan.
I’ve had most success meeting people in the flesh, then continuing their training via my website, e-mail and Skype.
Arguably, remote training is more challenging for the coach (although it’s a challenge I accept willingly!). The hardest thing to do remotely is understand someone’s motivation (intrinsic or extrinsic) and help set realistic goals. It produces good results, it just takes a bit longer to identify and weed out the factors negatively affecting performance.
Why Should You Consider Employing a Cycling Coach
The benefits of coaching come in three main forms:
Physical: you become stronger, faster, healthier.
Motivational: you’re encouraged to train better.
Pedagogic: you learn about the you sport at a far quicker rate than going through the process of having to make all the mistakes yourself.
Essentially the quality of a training system comes down to assessing and explaining training levels so that people train optimally.
Coaching Won’t Work Miracles … But Large Improvements Are Possible
Beginners have the most to gain. If you want to make significant gains in your cycling performance, then the focused input of a coach will help you climb the steep learning curve far quicker than if you were to do so yourself.
I recommend that you speak to a coach (and I’d be delighted if you would like to speak to me) and ask what they can do to help you achieve your objectives.
Over To You
I’m back (the Grimpeur). As part of his website mentioned above, Tomás writes a training blog, which can be found here.
So what do you think? Have you considered using a coach?
Are you already using one and, if so, what have been your experiences?
Let me know in the comments below.