Coaching takes many forms.
However there’s only ever one place to start, and that’s right where you are at that point in time…
…and that’s why face to face coaching is so effective and so rewarding.
Because I’m right there with you I can react there and then. I can make small adjustments or I can make big ones. There are no pear-shaped sessions in my world …if we’re not making headway with plan-A we make headway on a different tack. And you’ll learn from that too. You’ll become better able to make good decisions yourself.
My coaching is as individual as you are: as we identify needs we identify solutions. Working on one skill or drill often highlights a weakness which needs specific work: there’s limited benefit in doing hill reps on your bike, for instance, if you don’t recruit your glute muscles, or speed work on the running track if you land on your heels. But those things are much easier said than done. The art of coaching isn’t just seeing what’s wrong, or knowing what’s right. It’s making a difference.
My clients come to me for regular or ad-hoc sessions. These include:
Face to face discussions – normally sitting at a table but sofas, park benches and car seats have served adequately. Normally consultations are planning or review sessions but they might be structured discussions, mentoring or theory lessons. One client once asked for four sessions to learn as much about cycling as possible and arrived at each with list of questions.
Typically practical sessions focussing on one or more skill or aspect of technique. These are typically intensive, focussed and repetitive. In some cases a single session, maybe with a follow up, is enough to trigger a significant, long term change. In most cases, however, the benefits come from regular sessions and regular practise. If you are aiming for the highest level your goal is subconscious competence – the ability to perform and think clearly under pressure. In the first instance, however, you have to know what you’re trying to do (become conscious) and then learn how to do it (become competent).
Typically cardio-vascular sessions. You might find it hard to motivate yourself to train effectively on your own, either to work hard or to keep going. You might find it hard to maintain form. They say that practice makes perfect, but the reality is that practice makes permanent, or at least increasingly difficult to change. Training with me ensures that what you practice is good for you, and ultimately, hopefully, that every session is a good one.
Coaching for elite and professional competitors
Coaching and supporting athletes who compete at elite or professional level requires a deep level of understanding and experience. Not just of the technical and the physiological, but of the psychological too. I’ve been working with elite and professional cyclists and triathletes for over twenty years and have helped them to success at National, International, World and Olympic level. To sustain success at the highest level in an individual sport like cycling or triathlon, where management of resources, particularly energy and time, is so challenging you have to learn to become your own coach. Doing that on your own, however, can take your entire career. Working with the support of experienced coaches, people who can see you from a different perspective, people who’ve seen ‘someone like you’ before, people who knows the potential pitfalls that lie ahead, can save you precious time. Sure we learn by doing and we learn from our mistakes, but we waste less time if we learn from the hindsight of others too.
Continuing to find performance improvements when you’re already at elite level is tough. You know that you’re working as hard as you can and you know that what you do works well. Changing something that’s working well is risky – but you know that you’ve not reached your full potential. I can’t magic more hours in the day or calories in your food, but I might just be able to save you a save a bit of energy, find a little efficiency, build a little confidence, remove a little doubt.
A number of my clients are high performers in other fields: business, academia, medicine, the arts. They are inquisitive and highly intelligent. Their goals vary but their time, the time that they have to train and the time that they have to spend with me, is always precious. My sessions provide both stimulation and relaxation for body and mind.
“When I started playing golf I had lessons with a pro, when I wanted to improve I went back for more. Looking back, it’s ridiculous that it took me so long to do the same with my cycling.” P.D.
I charge on the basis of £40/hour for weekday sessions (£60 for weekends) in or close to Cambridge. I’m happy to negotiate reduced rates for block bookings, regular bookings and multi-hour bookings.
Frequently Asked Questions
How good do I need to be?
It doesn’t matter. It’s a misnomer that ‘elite’ coaches only work with ‘good’ or ‘elite’ athletes. I coach because it’s tremendously rewarding to make a difference and to spend time with people who are enthusiastic and engaged. If you think that you’re worth it, and you’re prepared to make the commitment to yourself, you’re good enough.
Do you provide training programmes?
Yes, but for a programme to be useful I have to get to know you. If you would like me to help you you must make the commitment to spend time with me. If I’m going to spend my time helping you I want to be sure that it’s good use of my time and your time (and your money).
How often would I need to see you?
There are too many factors involved to give any definitive answer. Anything from more than once a week to less than once a month. For some skills, such as cornering and transitions, one or two sessions can be transformational.
Could we talk over the phone or Sype?
I’m happy to talk to regular clients. The key is having a good enough relationship to be able to communicate effectively.
Do you use Training Peaks?
Yes. But not as a primary means of communication.
Can I upload my training for you to look at?
Once we’ve established a working relationship.
Do you do training with power (i.e. power meter)?
Power meters are useful but not essential. If you have a power meter I can help you to make effective use of it.
Do you do gait analysis?
I have the means to do gait analysis (a treadmill and a video camera). However developing good running technique typically involves far more than analysing what’s ‘wrong’ with your current technique. I can help you to develop an economical, ‘easy’ running technique that minimises the risk of injury. However it takes time, patience, commitment and dedication.
Do you do swim analysis?
I currently don’t have the equipment set up to do video swim stroke analysis. I hope to have it in place sometime in 2019. However, as with running, there is more to improving your swimming than seeing yourself on video and fixing the problems.
Until my endless pool is available my scope for private swim coaching is somewhat limited and I’ll continue to do most of my swim coaching through the Cambridge Triathlon Club.
Do you do Watt Bike coaching?
I don’t have a Watt Bike but I do have a turbo trainer (and a set of rollers) – so I can do static cycle coaching. However I normally do my one-to-one cycle coaching outside on the road where an hour feels like twenty minutes rather than vice versa. During the winter I run group turbo training sessions under the auspices of the Cambridge Triathlon Club. These are open to anyone.
Do you coach children?
Yes. As the founder of the Cambridge Junior Triathlon Club and the Eastern Region Triathlon Academy I have a long interest and a strong record of coaching children from beginner to regional, national and international level. Many of the youngsters that I coached and guided have gone on to become elite and professional sportsmen and women, to become coaches themselves, work in the world of sport, or simply to enjoy performing and participating at a high level alongside their chosen career.
*Best safeguarding practise means that I’m unable to offer one-to-one coaching to unaccompanied under 17s.