Our triathletes’ relationships with their coaches have varied over the years. They’ve ranged from very close friends to an online relationship only. Regardless, it has always been with someone they can pour their hearts out to when they’ve had a tough race; someone who truly understands; and someone who knows exactly what to say to make it all better. I’ve seen my husband literally write pages to his coach (poor Don) after a disappointing race, just so he makes sure to get all of his thoughts down. He wants to know what happened and what he can do next time, so it doesn’t happen again. He also writes when he has a good race, too, so he can hone in on a wining formula. Regardless of performance, he always gets a “yer the man” and he smiles, which makes me smile.
When triathletes get together, a topic of conversation is often their coaches and a comparison can ensue in the back of their minds. Does it amount to coach envy? If someone is having a great race season or talks about being inspired by their coach, there can be the feeling that the grass is greener on the other side and perhaps they could find the magic bullet with someone else. Then there is the “cred” of the coach in terms of their background (pro or age group status) and who else they coach (well-known pros). To be honest, I’ve rarely seen an actual change in coach ensue, however, and most do acquire their coach through a referral from another triathlete. So, it seems to be a fleeting thought, at best. But the point, do you stay out of the discussion or get involved?
I personally knew my husband’s first coach. We traveled together and had him over to dinner many times. It was extremely difficult for my husband to part ways due to their close friendship and it took a long time for him to work up the courage. I think the relationship just more or less withered on it’s own. We rarely see this coach anymore, but I like to think they are both on different paths now and it had nothing to do with the “break-up.” Regardless, we owe him so much for “suggesting” that my husband get involved in this sport and being there to make sure he stuck with it. I have not met his current coach and quite frankly, am not sure if that is a positive or negative. What I am sure about is that all of this talk of coaches raised multiple questions in my mind:
- Is it important for the significant other to know the coach, based on their close relationship or is it unimportant?
- Does it affect the athlete/coach relationship one way or the other?
- Should the significant other be involved in selecting a coach?
- Should the significant other be involved in the training plan?
- How can the significant other offer support when a break up between the coach and the athlete happens?
- Is it best to keep the coach/client relationship professional or is it okay to be good friends?
I’m personally grateful for my husband’s coach. He is there for him when either I don’t have the right words to make him feel better or truly don’t want to listen to it anymore. Should I feel guilty? We thought all of these might be relevant questions to ask, so we have developed the Coaches’ Corner just for you, the supporter. It will be someplace for you to go for behind the scenes answers and information. We have some excellent coaches lined up, including a winning pro. Stay tuned.