From the BarryS Coaching Training Library

Questions and Observations for an Athlete when Selecting a Triathlon Coach

by Barry Stokes

  • Meet face-to-face with the Coach; Sit down with the coach to discuss your goals and their current schedule. Can the Coach match the Athlete’s wants and needs? where does the Athlete fit in? Is the Coach willing to meet for a face-to-face sit-down interview?
  • Is the Coach a full-time Coach or does the Coach manage their Coaching program around their day job?
  • How long has the Coach been Certified? Through what organizations? Is their Certification current?
  • What meetings has the Coach attended in the prior two years?
  • When is the Coach available? Can you contact the Coach at 6PM on Friday and ask for an alternate workout for the weekend?
  • Does the Coach have customized Team training and race kits, shirts, hats?
  • Does the Coach have agreed upon discount codes with various swim, bike, run equipment companies for Athletes use?
  • Does the Coach organize Team Building activities – group rides, runs, swims? Post-workout cookouts, happy hour, end of season gatherings, etc.?
  • Once you hire a Coach, give the relationship a few weeks to see if you sync with the Coach; if not, don’t be afraid to cut ties. Any Professional Coach will do the same to the Athlete.
  • The Coach being a former pro doesn’t mean they are a better Coach. Some of the best Coaches in all sport were never super-stars in their sport – but rather they understand how to coach, how to execute a plan, how to get the best from the athlete and how to create a race day strategy.
  • Has the Coach worked with an Athlete like you?
  • Most all Professional Coaches upload workouts to Training Peaks or another recognized platform. Ask what platform the Coach uses to deliver training plans. Old school, hand written or excel delivered plans can work, however the post-workout data collection is difficult.
  • Determine what you want out of a Coach and discuss your wants with the Coach….discuss your wants, in plain English, during the interview.
  • It is incredibly important to communicate clear expectations – Athlete/Coach and Coach/Athlete.
  • Consider asking the Coach for a reference or two. AND call the references!
  • Look for signs of Professionalism…does the Coach have an active and well organized, updated website? Does the Coach have a useful and information driven Social Media page? Does the Coach have a private Coached Athlete page used for private, team building and support, organizing group workouts, coordination of activities, etc.?


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