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Self-Coaching(21 posts)

Aug 7, 2002 9:55 AM
This thread is in response to the excellent thread below called "involvement in the sport" by Sherpa23. I am interested to see what you all think about self-coaching. The thread below is an excellent discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of a coach, and also what the ideal characteristics of a good coach should be.

But do any of you really enjoy coaching yourselves? This is my second year of racing, the first on the road. I have really enjoyed reading and learning as much about training and racing as possible. This year I have gone from being off the back in the first lap of my first crit to placing in the top 15 of cat 4 crits. I attribute almost all of that success to my increased knowledge of how to train correctly--a lot of which I acquired on this board--but I also read about 6 books and picked the brains of all the experienced racers I know. So what I am trying to say is that I enjoy the challenge of learning how to develop myself right now. I think that I will continue to do so untill I stop improving so quickly, then it will be time to get a coach. And I definitely plan on getting one in the future.

So what do you all think? Am I short-changing myself by not getting a coach now, or is my point of view okay for a younger racer?
self coaching and proper mentoringlonefrontranger
Aug 7, 2002 11:09 AM
got me a very long way over the past ten years: 3 state championships, a couple of stage race and series wins and lots of primes. After moving out here and getting trounced like a first-year rookie in Cat 4 races, I self-coached myself through the ranks to my upgrade this year (by going to the books and learning how to train properly). If you have the mental fortitude to learn racing's lessons by yourself, then going it alone makes sense. A good coach can help to speed the process, but you have to make the decision if it's worth it to YOU. To some people a coach can enhance their enjoyment of the game, some folks think that it is too limiting and brings in an element of work to their hobby. Unless you plan to get signed by Saturn in the next 2 years, it is supposed to be pretty much just for fun, after all.

My experiences: Once when I hit a major plateau and some motivational trouble while racing in the Midwest, I worked with a coach for six months to get my head straightened around.

I now plan to make the next step both physically and motivationally by hiring someone more knowledgeable to do some of the thinking for me.

In the end, everyone has unique needs that a coach may or may not be able to solve. I know a couple of very good elite level riders who've never been coached in their lives; and quite frankly their personalities don't cotton well to having someone else tell them what to do. That doesn't make them less good as riders, just individuals like the rest of us.
self coaching and proper mentoringLC
Aug 7, 2002 11:33 AM
I don't use one myself, but just about every good racer seems to need one and says they should have started sooner with a coach. If your like me and think that no one can tell me what my legs feel like today, then your not ready for a coach. I certainly don't always get my training perfect, but I do read a lot of books on training to help myself along. To me it is not just the racing challenge I want, but the whole package.
Sort ofSherpa23
Aug 7, 2002 12:16 PM
IMO, the best coaches work best from the athlete's direct feedback. If you do not know enough about yourself or your body to give the right feedback, then it is hard to get the most out of coaching. Now, that does not mean that you can go several years without a coach and still do well. At some point along the way, you are going to miss things that are vital to success at the higher levels and if you continue to progress on your own without picking up certain skills, you are going to reach a level and hit a wall. You are not going to be able to do well anymore, and this is independent of fitness. That is one of the reasons that a coach is so important. Here's another reason. I know a hell of a lot about training and physiology but I cannot coach myself. Why? I cannot remain objective enough to tell myself what I need every day to put things in the right perspective. I need a coach to do that. Without a coach I am either undertrained or overtrained and hardly ever right on. The hardest part about a coach, though, is trust. You have to trust the program and trust that it will get you where you need to go. Without that trust, even the best program is useless.
How much are you charging? (nm)RockyMountainRacer
Aug 7, 2002 12:58 PM
How much are you charging? (nm)Sherpa23
Aug 7, 2002 4:28 PM
Well, I have been pondering how much I am going to offer the athletes but here is what I have decided. I am going to do this as a full service type thing. Every athlete is different and everyone will need something different but in addition to a training program, I am going to do full tactical and mental coaching. This includes post race debriefing sessions as well as tactical lessons. Also, most importantly, I am going to do technical coaching and drills to help develop physical skills necessary to compete at the highest level. And I am not going to do this from a computer. A lot of what I am going to is going to be hands on. I am going to be at many of the athletes' races, I am going to go on a lot of training rides with the athletes (quantity is going to depend on location and needs of the athlete), and we are going to work on a lot of things together. Most coaches are doing a program only for $150-$250 a month. I decided that I will charge the bottom end of that - $150 a month, but I am going to include all the other things that I just mentioned. An athlete is going to need that whole package in order to progress at a satisfactory rate and learn skills useful for a lifetime and that is what I am aiming for - a lifetime's worth of satisfaction in this sport, not merely a good fitness level.
How much are you charging? (nm)Mr Good
Aug 7, 2002 10:15 PM
Hell, I'd pay $150 a month for the kind of coaching you're talking about! That's golden!

I have friends who ask "when are you going to get a coach?" and I just say "you mean an internet pen-pal who tells me how many miles to ride?" But you're obviously talking about the real deal.

The comprehensive coaching you're thinking of offering may eat up all of your time, however. Please consider the reality of time commitments when setting your rates, don't sell yourself short!
How much are you charging? (nm)RockyMountainRacer
Aug 8, 2002 6:54 AM
That sounds like the right way to do it Sherpa. When and if I get a coach, I will be looking for someone like you, a local person who actually knows me and can give real-life tips. I have researched the internet-contact coaches, and they all charge more than you are charging, for nothing more than e-mail contact. I think the real value of a coach comes from someone who can actually see what and how you are doing training-wise, and either push you or hold you back accordingly. I agree with the other poster though, you may have to charge a bit more! Even if you don't take on too many clients, the kind of commitment you are offering will take up a lot of your time. Your time is valuable, as you need to spend a lot of it on your own training as well.
Sherpa -- just a suggestion on something to includebrider
Aug 8, 2002 7:50 AM
I don't want to tell you how to run your business, but something to pay attention to and teach is how to ride without getting hurt. I remember the first track class I took, and the first week was totally dedicated to riding in the "safe" positions relative to another rider, and bumping drills. Add some tumbling drills(how to crash and not get hurt) and you have a complete package.

Hope that helps.
perception based on what you chargeColnagoFE
Aug 8, 2002 8:35 AM
funny thing about charging a low rate. it usually gives the impression you don't know what you are doing or are a rank beginner. i'd charge around the average rate. if you are way below the average you might be thought of as some kind of hack. then again don't charge so much you won't get clients. gotta find a balance.
Pricing:Len J
Aug 8, 2002 10:31 AM
Pricing:Len J
Aug 8, 2002 10:41 AM
A couple of observations FWIW. I managed pricing for several large corporations in my career & would suggest the following:

-You can always lowere prices if they start out too high but it is 4 times as hard to raise them.

-You can always come off your "Stated" rate for specific students who can't affors you but you still want to coach them. In other words a published rate is not etched in stone.

-In the final analysis, either a product is worth what it sells for or it doesn't. If it isn't, it wont sell in the volume you want, if it is priced below it's perceived value, it will oversell. In your case, you will be swamped.

-Based on the full package you are delivering, I would suspect that if you are not careful, you will be working 90 hours a week and end up with an hourly revenue that is less than Dunkin Donuts pay their part time help.
15 people at $200/month = $3,000
4.5 weeks/month @ 70 hrs/wk = 315 hours
$3,000/315 hours = 9.50/hr
Are you worth more than 9.5/hr? I would think so.
Remember that in addition to your coaching hours you will need billing hours and collection hours etc.

-Will you also bill for expenses of getting to & from races?

I personally think that you are undervaluing what you are providing, especially if you follow thru on all that you promise.

Good Luck

Aug 8, 2002 12:00 PM
I had thought about it and I know that it is a lot under what others are charging. Len, thanks for that nice analysis. I will have have to raise the rates, especially considering perception based purchase behavour. Brider, I have those "safety" lessons already all mapped out, including some falling and bumping but also balance skills. Thanks for all of your advice, everyone. I really really appreciate it.
You raise a good point about the objectivity of self coaching.allervite
Aug 8, 2002 8:46 PM
The same thing exists with doctors. They do not doctor themselves, but trade with another doctor. So why don't Elite racers do this? You know, coach each other. There would be the problem of a conflict of interest, but that could be solved by creating some kind of organization where your coach would be anonymous. Also, if you did not like your coaches performance you could get a new one. This would save the Elite Athlete (who is practicly working for charity anyway) a lot of money, and could really improve the quality of domestic racing.

What do you think?

I came up with this brilliant idea on my third hill interval, so it is possible I am horriblly delerious due to lack of blood sugar. I am going to go have some juice.
Say no to CoachingGutterball
Aug 7, 2002 3:03 PM
I'm gonna save you alot of time and money....Ride base like you have no life Dec.-March. The rest is luck and circumstance. Sure you can train by numbers, but that's just fine tuning. My advice would be to ride with a mentor-someone who is a lot faster than you, and who rides daily. Everything will fall into place. As long as you ride enough and listen to your body, you will get better.
re: Self-Coachingozone
Aug 8, 2002 7:47 AM
It depends on what you want out of the sport. If your goal is to upgrade to a Cat 3 and not get dropped, then self coaching is probably all you need. If your goal is to see how far you can go I would consider a coach.

If you are not willing to commit 100% to your coaches plan then don't waste your money or their time. I have been with my coach for 3 years and can probaly count on one hand how many workouts I have missed. I also can not remember a single block of training that she did not change at some point to adapt to how I was responding. It never fails though that come the first race of the season I am amazed because I am always faster then I think I am. I never really understand how she does it but she makes me faster every year. I never think I have put in the amount of effort it takes to be fast. If I was training myself I would probably be doing more junk miles and huge efforts because that is what I thought it took to be competitive. I know a lot of people who put in more hours and longer efforts then I do but I consistently beat them.

If you are looking for guidence read a book and ask friends. If you are looking to take the stress out of trying to figure out what and when will make you reach your goals get a coach. Just remember to relax and trust.
ride hard and lots, nothing more to know as I see itishmael
Aug 9, 2002 8:36 AM
been working for me.
Yeah, that works in the beginning...JSchneb
Aug 9, 2002 10:01 AM
but once you hit C3 and above you need to put a little more thought behind your training...
what kind of thoughtishmael
Aug 10, 2002 5:44 PM
My stategy might not be best, but then again I think it is. Here it is. Ride the toughest rides around, preferably with cat 3's and 2's and take a day off every 2 or 3 days depending. Drink lots of water, stretch after you ride and eat well.

I think motivation is the biggest limitation. If I were to try to regiment what I did I think the excitement would be lost and I wouldnt ride hard and I'd never get faster. And I'd be bored. Informal competiton on each ride is all I need. This doesnt work for you? Or maybe there arent any good rides around you.
If you ride, you will get faster...hayaku
Aug 11, 2002 5:12 PM
That is true but how do you know you wouldn't go *even faster* with a structured program. In my experience, having a program to follow has helped my motivation hugely. Riding is still just a hobby for me, but it's a hobby with dirrection and that makes me pursue it with even more desire.
May work, may not...JSchneb
Aug 12, 2002 6:10 AM

Your strategy will definately work, but depending on your goals for each season not having a *Structured* program is as likely to leave you undertrained as it is overtrained when it comes time to race your most important races.

The best way to get faster, especially for less experienced riders, is to just ride alot and ride w/those who are faster than you (that's exactly what I did). I'm not sure what level you are at, but I found that when I got to the higher levels the competition kinda leveled out (everybody was just as fast). Now to get faster (or just better), I have to plan around which races I want to do well in (can't hold onto peak fitness all season long - I'll just burn myself out).

I basically structure my program to allow me to reach my peak fitness in time for my most important races. If I just rode haphazardly, I'm as likely to be flat on race day as I am to be in shape. By following a *structured* program you are just hedging your bet that you will be in shape on race day.