Both Tim Crowley and Justin Trolle have traveled all over the world as elite coaches looking after teams of all levels. They noticed during their travels overseas a consistent willingness to share ideas and accept the open debate of the ideas and practices. Now more than ever in the USA is the apparent lack of willingness of US coaches to share information with each others because of some falsely held belief that sharing information we would somehow affect a coach's competitive advantage.
For those of who have been coaching for a long time there is a realization that this thought pattern is not only naive but will limit a coach's ability to reach the highest level. Also, this limits a coach's effectiveness when working with athletes, limiting the athlete's ability to compete and win internationally. It is no surprise that the majority of the top American athletes work with a handful of coaches.
There are three major problems within the coaching community:
1) Coaches make bold statements or comments and don't allow for open conversation and debate. This leads to an influx of incorrect information, which causes confusion for athlete and coaches alike.
2) Additionally some coaches use big words or create their own terms in training to make what they are doing sound different or unique. Most ideas are just are simple principles and ideas repackaged. Ideas that have been used for decades but adding additional redundant terms just creates confusion and makes it harder for athletes to learn what they need to know.
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
3) People are utilizing massive amounts of misinformation and confusion to create a platform for pushing gimmicks and false principles as fact. This weakens the perception and reputation of what an endurance sports coach is and stand for. The need to do more, share more and work together to better the sport. Hiding behind a confusing fog of misinformation, technical terms and gimmicks will only detract from what all coaches should be trying to achieve, the betterment of athletes and performances.
USA Triathlon has fostered an environment of sharing with their seminars and continuing education programs, but as professionals need to take the next step
Over the past 25 years of coaching Tim and I have done numerous coaching courses both as presenters and participants. However, despite this wide background in coaching education at least 80% of the knowledge we have has come from other coaches who were kind enough to share the knowledge with us.
Over the past five years that I've been in the United States I have tried to do the same, sharing knowledge wherever I could in an effort to help other coaches in the same way I was helped. Through this process I realized quite quickly that the sharing of knowledge does not detract from your competitive advantage but rather raises your knowledge and understanding of the sport to a higher level and in doing so make you a better coach.
It is this reason the Vanguard Endurance is open to the sharing of knowledge. The goal is to provide information to coaches and athletes that is both informative, applicable, usable and most of all correct. The end goal is to provide you as coaches with information that allows you to become a more complete and confident coach.
Over my 25 years as a coach, I can say that I have learned the most from coaches who were willing to share their knowledge and experience. It seems like the better the coach the more they are willing to share. I have found this to be a key trait of truly professional coaches.
I have been fortunate to work in collaborative team approaches with many elite athletes over the years. These relationships require trust and openness. It is this path that will allow all both athlete and coach to succeed.
When I was first approached to assist in developing Triathletes Workshop, I was excited to have the opportunity to work with some off the best coaching and athletic minds in the sport. In addition, this concept will allow us to help athletes succeed.
Every time I present at a conference or clinic, my goal is to give away as much as I can. This often leads to emails and phone calls long after the conference, which has led to some great coaching relationships. I find these exchanges the best way to learn and get better as a coach. Be willing to put yourself out there and make a difference.
About Tim and Justin
Tim Crowley and Justin Trolle are both USA Triathlon Elite Level 3 Coaches. Tim was the USAT 2009 Coach of the Year and a coach of the 2008 Olympic Team. Justin Trolle led multiple USA Elite Teams and USA Under-23 Elite Teams since 2008. Both are founding members of Triathlete Workshop.
Both Tim and Justin want to help grow this concept of sharing in the United States. USA Triathlon's email listserv for coaches is a phenomenal place to start, as well as their upcoming Arts & Sciences Symposium in San Diego. Triathlete Workshop will take it one step further. Any coach who is interested will be able to sign up for a "Coaches Only" forum. This free forum will be for the free exchange of ideas, debate of concepts and conversation for coaches of all levels and abilities. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be on part of this coaching roundtable.