Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Roles of the Coach from A to Z

Coaches wear a LOT of different hats. I thought about that especially this past week as Coach Jim donned the extra hats of Sports Psychologist, Life Coach, and Psychic/Mind reader. I've been a little higher maintenance recently.

I try to be pretty low maintenance as a coached athlete - be clear on my goals, follow the plan, bring my best to workouts, log my data and times, etc. I strive to be positive, not complain (as differentiated from reporting valid concerns), and not question merely for the sake of questioning.

There are fluctuations in my level of neediness, and I might hit "high maintenance" for any number of reasons -- I am shopping for a big piece of gear and have a lot of questions, am honing in on an A race, planning for the year, or coping with an injury.

This past week made me think about all of the other roles in addition to "Coach" that he, and other coaches, may be called to fill for us, from A to Z (and a few specific examples):
  • Analyst
  • Bike tour guide (let's ride up to Mountain Lake and back!)
  • Bike mechanic (no, you won't notice a difference between an 11 and 12 on the cassette.)
  • Counselor
  • Drill Sargent (stick with those intervals at ALL COSTS!)
  • Efficiency expert (especially transitions)
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Financial planner (it's probably not worth $200 to save 8 grams)
  • Interventionist (2010 phone conversation: that bike might be just fine but you don't need to buy it tonight.)
  • Life coach (balance and family first)
  • Mind reader/psychic (please don't run this any faster, don't add more, ...)
  • Motivational speaker/writer
  • Philosopher
  • Physical therapist
  • Reference librarian
  • Sports nutritionist
  • Sports psychologist 
  • Strategic planner
  • Teacher
  • Timer
  • Technical consultant
  • Trail run leader
  • Videographer (I know it feels like you are swimming like that, but here's how it really looks)
  • Weather forecaster (you won't need a jacket on the bike leg, I promise you'll be fine)
  • Zen master (leave the GPS at home and hit the trails!)

I'm sure this list is not exhaustive (what am I forgetting?). But I am exhausted when I think about all the needs that he deals with and handles on a daily basis. Just the volume of email must be incredible.

As we head into race season, I just want to say THANKS to Coach Jim and to all the coaches for lightening our load and for wearing so many hats!


  1. You are too kind Cortney! Coaching you (and the majority of my athletes) is a REAL pleasure. Thanks for listening to my advice... more often than not:)

    1. ah, yes, I do try...and succeed mostly :-)

  2. I love this!!! haha! A lot of those titles sound like awesome jobs/majors too...Sports Psychologist & Exercise Physiologist jump out!

    1. Sable, I can see you wearing lots of those hats. You do alot of those things already through your writing!!

  3. AHAHAHA!! This is so true. DW spent a little time as a career coach at one point when my clients weren't able to organize themselves well enough for us to plan a week of workouts around them. He helped me set some boundaries with them so that I could regain a little control over my life. What's so funny (sad?) is how fast I make him change hats. I would like to think I am easy to coach but I doubt it. A good coach is indispensable. It is the best money I spend.

  4. I'm guessing the attributes of a committed athlete are not always low-maintenance attributes. Or so I tell myself.

  5. A coaches job is alot tougher then anyone thinks

    1. I can only imagine what it's like taking on the needs of so many people!! Not everyone could do it. My coach has been coaching 20+ years and still does it totally cheerfully!! That is impressive!!