I have a coach and don't care about his certifications. I got into this sport in 2009 and coached myself through 2013. Over this time period I observed a number of people who got their level 1 USAT certification and advertised that they were coaching while they themselves were/are always injured. I really don't care if someone took a class and passed a test. How can you expect someone to provide you a training schedule that will keep you healthy let alone improve your performance if they are always injured?
In 2014 I decided that I wanted a coach for the reason that I felt like I had tapped out my personal resources. I knew three guys in my area who coached people and made it a point to talk to them. The reason I chose these guys were based on 1) their personal performance in the sports. They had been to the level I hoped to achieve 2) Over time I had observed their athletes improving year in and year out 3) For the most part their athletes stayed healthy. Those were what drove me to talk to these guys, not their certifications.
This is the post everyone considering a coach should read and follow. I do a lot of coaching for young triathletes and asked about the benefit of taking the USAT course. I was told by those who took it that it helps with insurance, but you already bring far more to the table as a coach based on your knowledge and experience than anything you will gain through certification.
Now, what I would really like to see is some sort of database on how athletes do using the USAT race score as it is the best way to compare performance of someone before and after they start with a certain coach and then show that coach's impact on average on their triathletes. I also would want to see the number of injuries before and after (though that would be based on self-reporting) and evaluations. Right now, coaching selection is either marketing based (highly unreliable), word of mouth (effective but limited) or certifications (highly unreliable).
I have only been with a coach for about six months now, but my training is higher (mostly due to consistency due to accountability), I have not been injured (due in part to smart ramp of training after races rather than just jumping back in) and better race performance using my USAT score as an objective measure.
If you had the consistency, you would probably have the same results w/o a coach. But if it takes spending money to get the accountability, great, but to say the coach got your improvements I believe is, well,
I have never had a coach and never will. If I were to pay someone, then this sport, for me, would no longer be a hobby. And most "coaches" that I see, well, ...
I train like 15 hours a week, all year long. I stay at race weight all year long. I generally stay healthy. And have been USAT All american for 11 years. Why would I need a coach?
Now, the question is not what a person did before or after a coach, since even for you, that is comparing apples to oranges. If one trains more, one probably does better. If one stays healthy, one WILL do better. Do not need a coach to meet these goals.
Bottom line if it takes a coach to train consistently, and smart, great, worth every penny. But not everyone has to pay a person to do the things in training that are so obvious to many.
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