A common questions that is asked of coaches these days is “Why do you coach?” Well for me the answer is simple but you need to know a little bit about my background first to fully understand it.
My parents will tell you, I wasn’t exactly a “normal” kid growing up. I become obsessed about sport from an extremely young as, so young that nether my parents or myself can remember me ever not being obsessed. So it’s no real shock that my passion for endurance sports started at the young age of 9 ,when I started competing in athletics. It was around this time that I first fell in love with triathlon and multisport thanks to the original F1 series as well as started following cycling. A few years later my parents asked if I would like to give cycling a go. It’s been 20 years, almost to the day, that I had my first race on the track with Geelong West Cycling Club (now Geelong cycling club). The bite of the bug was almost instant, I was hooked.
It was during this period that I first become interested in the idea of becoming a coach. I was already helping out at school with showing and explaining technique for different athletics events and really enjoyed passing on my knowledge and helping out others. My dad started coaching athletics at the time as well and for fun I used to read his coaching manuals. As I said before, not a normal kid. I was also fortunate to have a number of good coaches at the time that I trained under. This had a huge impact on myself as I took in what information I could from them. Where it be from a technique, programming or an athlete interaction point, I just tried to take it all in knowing one day it could potentially come in handy. There is actually a few things that I still do that were ingrained in me by my first running coach when I was 10.
In my early 20s, cycling took centre stage for me as I tried to reach the highest level I could and throughout that time I continued to look for opportunities to learn more about coaching and sports performance. Whether it was from my own coaches, other coaches I knew, what the pros where doing at the time to even asking questions to AIS staff at National Road Series races I was competing, I was thirsty for knowledge. Even seeing the way other riders interacted with their team managers provided potential nuggets of useful information. I was also very fortunate to be an athlete coming through when I did. It was a period in which change was happening. Power meters were starting to become more main stream and science first started to play a major role in the way we did things as athletes.
After competing at two U23 national road championships and a handful of NRS tours I was at a bit of a crossroads of my athletics career. It was reading Chris McCormack’s book while I was sick and missing out on my main race objective at the end of 2011 that I decided on which direction I would take. I chose to step away from cycling and chase a goal that I originally had as a 12 year old kid of competing at Powerman Zofingen. This race has been something I’ve focused on now since 2012.
This change also provided a new stimulus mentally as there was now a whole new sport to learn about training and coaching. I continued to employ my learn at every opportunity approach across both duathlon which I was competing in as well as triathlon, the sport most of my new training partners where competing in. I also started looking into further learning through this period and looked to expand on different areas of knowledge. I started to look into data and the way that can be meaningfully applied, I looked into what other high performance sports where doing with their athletes, I looked into learning about physiological testing methods and even looked to strength coaches and the way they approached different problems they faced.
In 2017 I felt I was ready to start coaching athletes. It was important for me to feel like I was ready for it from both a knowledge base but also from a level of maturity. The main aim of passing on what I have learnt from the coaches I have worked with over the years while helping achieve their goals. This is ultimately why I coach.