More so than ever working as a coach is not about goals, results or events, it’s about caring for your athletes in a time when many are getting lost and feeling pressure from lack of focus.
Coaches have a responsibility of care for athletes not just on the field in which they perform, but behind the scene of the athlete.
Psychological support should always be being added to training and this needs to extend into day to day care of their well-being.
For many, their events/goals are an escape, even a coping mechanism for work and even family life. With this now removed and so much uncertainty about future events and travel, it is leaving people across all areas of endurance and adventure sports feeling lost.
What can or should coaches be doing? Well, we should know our athletes and have an understanding of how they tick (all will be very different) so we apply measures to counter out the disappointment and we need to create new positive focuses for them with in training.
Personally, I have avoided an overload of online training/racing (Zwift) and have taken athletes into an elongated winter phase (when do we ever get this long to focus on aerobic specifics, weight training and more technical elements of our sports). This has been an opportunity to build a longer stronger base, which is always cut short by that race season, or multiple travel expeditions.
With multiple athletes, what I am witnessing and athletes are experiencing in this extra aerobic time has been amazing- their levels of fitness and performance have gone through the roof, thus giving a real positive engagement to their training. Be it on road, MTB, running or general fitness. Athletes are finding more speed for less effort and better FTP results. Mountain athletes are finding more consistent energy in the hills and so it goes on.
My main focus as a coach, now more so than ever, is to focus on specific elements of improvement that may sometimes be missed out on and ones that will give the athletes feedback in a physical and data focused positive manor. This helps to avoid the all is lost feeling with no events around the corner.
The Covid situation has seen people losing jobs, life security being taken away and losing their release through exercise, sports and events. We need to be there to create ways to help keep focus and hold some positivity in a hard time.
As a coach we can and should be, creating personal challenges for individual athletes or even groups where its possible.
So, step up as coach, step away from event focus and become completely athlete holistic focused. Work out what will help them get through this time, keeping them in a good mental health and physical health.
This is when a coach needs to pull on all their experience, all their qualifications (especially psychology) and start applying that knowledge.
If any coaches would like help understanding holistic care for athletes please do drop me an email, Jon@e3coach.com you are not being unprofessional if you ask for help caring for athletes you are being the most professional you could be. I have already spoken with a few coaches and offered advice.
If you are a self-coached athlete, you really need to be taking care of yourself look at your areas of weakness, really get focused on not pushing too hard to solve this problem as it will result in a rapid burn out and a huge drop in motivation and focus.
Again, if you would like any advice or help with coping in this non-event time please do email (no charge) firstname.lastname@example.org