USAT Coaching Clinic Recap

I was in Baltimore last weekend for my USAT coaching clinic.  What an experience.  There was just tons of info and it was really inspiring to listen to all the presenters.  Most of them are coaching athletes, elite and otherwise, and to hear about their approach to coaching was really educational.  This weekend really solidified my desire to coach.  I know deep down that I can do something here that benefits athletes of all levels.

The good stuff:
  • Anything that was covered by Bob Seebohar and Justin Trolle.  I know that sounds hokey, but I'm serious.  The day and a half that these two alone spent with the group was simply amazing.
  • Building a proper training plan
  • Great content from all the Level III coaches, and hearing how they train their athletes and build their workouts.
  • Great ideas all around on how to improve transition times and mental prep.
  • The discussions on nutrition were amazing.  I could have spent hours on this alone.

The "me being critical" stuff:
  • The swimming presentation left a little to be desired.  Now, most of the other participants thought the lecture was very good, and that there was a lot of good information shared.  I'm being overly critical as I have a swimming background, and there was just nothing new that I hadn't heard before.  I thought it was a little light in content.
  • Wait, no SWAG?!

The "are you kidding me?" stuff:
  • The apparent lack of basic knowledge of triathlon fundamentals shown by a few of the participants.
  • Individuals, who are currently coaching athletes, showing a lack of understanding of how specific workouts impact a training session. 
  • Future colleagues dozing off and simply not paying attention.  Obviously, these individuals won't endure the test of time, as athletes will eventually see their shortcomings.

As I said earlier, there were two presenters that really stand out in my mind:  Bob Seebohar and Justin Trolle.  These guys gave, in my opinion, the best lectures and presentations.  These two individuals are an absolute wealth of knowledge.  They're coaching elite and national team athletes and they were nothing but inspiring.  This isn't to say that the other coaches and presenters weren't up to snuff - far from it.  But Bob and Justin were just tremendous.

In the end, it was very exciting to gain a new understanding of applying some theories, training techniques, and more importantly the building of a proper annual training plan.  I was embarrassed at how poorly I'd built my own previous 1/2 Iron training plans after seeing what Bob and Justin put together on a regular basis for their athletes.  Moving forward, while more complicated, my training will be taking on a whole new format.

More to the point, this clinic made me think again about how some coaches put together a plan for you with next to no pertinent information.  Based on what I heard, saw, and digested, there is simply no way you can build  a customized training plan - with periodization and proper fitness testing - without spending a significant amount of time with the athlete in question.  Having someone fill out a web form just isn't going to give you the information required.

And where I thought I was doing proper step-back weeks, and getting the rest I needed - wrong again.  Where I was sure that my plans had all the quality workouts cooked in without overdoing it on quantity....hmmmm, not exactly. 

Next up, CPR certification, and the USAT test for certification.  Then, a business plan!