DO YOU REALLY NEED A COACH ? By Pav Bryan

If I answer straight up yes, do I seem biased? Of course I’m biased, I have bills to pay (!), but let’s open this question up a little more. Can you benefit from working with a coach? Yes. Do you necessarily need one? Well, this will depend on what your goals are.

Covered in this blog

  • Why work with a coach?

  • Knowledge and experience

  • Accountability

  • Motivation

  • Therapy

  • Do you really need a cycling coach?

  • Top factors to look for when hiring a cycling coach

Why work with a coach?

If your “training” consists of mainly riding your bike comfortably, you’re not interested in improving, or you have a goal that you should achieve with relative ease, then you probably do not need a coach. Having written that, as your goals grow and evolve – along with your personal expectations of your cycling performance – your need to work with a coach will grow too.

To make this clearer, you probably wouldn’t hire an electrician to replace a bulb in your home, but you almost certainly will if you decide to rewire it. The scale of your ambition should dictate your need for working with a coach, especially as your goals start to really grow.

Is coaching worth it? Yes, working with a cycling coach will likely be the best thing you can do to improve your cycling performance. What a coach will teach you will help you improve far more than any piece of equipment, a new bike, or anything you can eat – what you will learn will last a lot longer too, but why else should you work with a coach?


Knowledge and experience

A good coach will bring with them a vast array of knowledge. Any coach you work with should be qualified, ideally, that will be to the highest national standard, and also in the tools or software they use. That coach will also be constantly working to improve their knowledge as methodology and best practise is constantly changing and evolving.

A great coach will have both knowledge and experience. Experience shows that the coach has been practically applying that knowledge for a long period of time. Look for proof the coach has experience. This might be from references, testimonials, partner companies, or published books.

Accountability

This is the reason that I work with a coach when I’m training for something big. Accountability will work in a couple of strong ways. First, you’ll always want to work harder when you know someone is watching. Second, you will want to get your money’s worth, from coaching, when you’re paying for it.

Working with a coach also removes any bias from your training. While I like to compromise with my athletes when they want to do something specific in training, I do stop them from doing what is often either repeatedly too easy, repetitively too hard, or just lacking enough variety.

Motivation

Motivation is incredibly important. You can’t, and won’t, be awesome, or feel awesome, all the time. Almost everyone wants to feel great on the bike all the time. The challenge with striving to always be in peak performance is that you often end up living in mediocrity as your body plateaus – eventually, mediocrity becomes poor performance, which often leads to athletes quitting. It’s simple training 101.

A coach, who you have unlimited communication with, will be there to answer your questions. They will be your cheer-leader, your analyst, your friend, and often your therapist.


Therapist

My clients often describe me as a “cheap therapist”! A truly meaningful coach and client relationship will get quite personal. It’s not something I force, but often just comes naturally. Many of my clients will tell me all about their day, the challenges in their daily life, and quite personal information.

A great coach will want to help you perfect that tricky work, life, training balance, as, after all, when your life is running smoothly so will your training. While this might not be important to you initially, it can be refreshing to speak to someone unbiased and who has your best interests at heart. Don’t worry, your coach will keep what you tell them secret!

Do you really need a cycling coach?

If you are reading this, I’d say yes! Why else are you here? You might not need to work with a coach forever, and I always like to ensure that, someday, my clients will be able to understand how best to approach their training anyway.

Pav Bryan, our cycling performance editor.

Learn more about Pav here.


Meet our team of experienced coaches here.


  1. Maxim Pirard : Cycling & Gran Fondo

  2. Lionel Vujasin : Zwift & Cyclo-Cross

  3. Robin Ernst : Road Cycling

  4. Vitor Alexander : Road & Gravel

  5. Karl Guillois : Mental & Cycling coach

  6. Martin Vanhaeren : Cycling & Motorsport

  7. Rodrigue Montulet : Triathlon

  8. Tom Galle : DNA Nutrition

  9. Pav Bryan : Performance coach



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