A major challenge in the work I do with my athletes is the amount of contact time. It’s a time old complaint and I’m sure it will register with any coaches reading this right now. Now instead of talking about how effectively a coach has to use the time they have with their athletes and ensuring key technical points are taken on board, which should be a given, I’m going to talk about how effectively a coach has to use the time they don’t have with their athletes.
A lot of the athletes I work with are currently out of the country. A fairly consistent lack of snow in the UK sees to that, although Europe doesn’t appear to be doing much better on that front at the moment. This means that communication becomes a bit of an issue. Technology definitely helps. Skype is a bit of godsend in that I can have regular contact with athletes and technical coaches to talk about training and progress. Access to the internet for the athlete is pretty much vital now and allows for much better monitoring. Having a system in place that can easily update training programs and monitor technical training volumes is something I’ve been placing a large focus on and it has a massive positive effect on how I am able to coach and how the athletes are able to train.
This time of year is heavy with technical training and races which makes program design difficult as race entry can be decided upon at the very last minute. The main focus is to manage recovery and to reduce the risk of accumulating fatigue. Monitoring signs and symptoms of overtraining is important which is also where contact with technical coaches comes in. They have the most contact with the athletes and ensuring that they know the deal with training volumes and the relationship to fatigue is important.
Using the technologies available and being innovative with them has a massive part to play in the ability of a coach to work remotely. This is definitely an area I see growing in the coming months and years.