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By Head Coach - Richard Thompson
At T:Zero Multisport we pride ourselves on having the very best long course triathlon coaches in the country. We are of the firm belief that what makes a great coach is their practical experiences mixed with their theoretical knowledge.
There are a lot of coaches out there who promote that their theory of coaching, is the answer – there methodology is the silver bullet that everyone is after. The funny thing is that there are a lot of amazing performances in triathlon, both from the age group and professional ranks and they are all coached by different coaches using all sorts of techniques and theories.
The one thing that I think sets T:Zero apart is that we acknowledge every athlete is different – their athletic age (as well as their actual age), their strengths/weaknesses, thresholds, mental approach, work environment (and associated stresses), family life and not to forget their physical make up and what they are stimulated by in training versus the type of training that results in little response. So how can the silver bullet approach work for everyone?
The success we have had over the years, is because we do not have the ego to think one way is the right way for all. The coach’s ability to acknowledge the different qualities of the athlete and pivot to a different style of training when one approach isn’t achieving the gains as predicted, is the key to ultimate success for the athlete.
So, here in lies the problem. How do the coaches avoid holding onto one way of thinking and expand their knowledge on a continual basis? The answer – continual professional development or CPD.
Presently, there is no CPD requirements in triathlon. Not in Australia or anywhere. In our mind, this is a farce.
Almost all professions have some element of compulsory annual CPD requirements. Teachers, Lawyers, Engineers, Nurses – but somehow, not triathlon coaches.
Triathletes sign on with a coach expecting them to have up-to-date knowledge and to maintain that knowledge to be a deliver the very best professional service. If a coach who obtained their level 1 triathlon certification back in the 90s hasn’t coached for 15 years, there is no current refresher course or CPDs offered to bring them up to speed with the changing trends in the industry. They can simply go straight back into the thick of coaching athletes.
Now don’t get me wrong, the changing trends/theories out there may not be agreeable to everyone. You might spend time with another coach, consider a thesis or read a textbook that you simply do not agree with, but, the very fact you are learning what is out there and giving it consideration, makes you a more knowledgeable coach.
We have had discussions with the various stakeholders in the past about this, but to date, there still is no CPD obligations for coaches. Understanding different techniques and methodologies is so important to become better coaches.
So, we have had to set the standard. Effective this year, T:Zero Multisport has implemented its own compulsory CPD requirements for all its coaches. This makes us industry leaders, not because it sounds fancy but because we truly believe it is required to ensure our coaches stay relevant and on top of their game.
We are already inspired by our coach’s thirst for knowledge – from Coach Mon finishing with her Ironman U certification to Coach Em recently being accepted into the masters of sports coaching program at University of Queensland. The introduction of CPD requirements in the T:Zero stables will be a brilliant thing for our coaches, our athletes (current and future) and the industry as a whole.
We implore all other coaches around the country to follow suit.
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