10 Professional Coaching Credentials

1. A coach must have acedemic qualifications;  a coach must have the educational training to be able to understand the cutting edge science that is available. A degree in sport science is fundamental to understanding the core elements of sport and human performance.
2. A coach must understand the fundamentals of workload and intensites.
3. A coach must have the ability to incorporate and understand  speed, heart rate, watts and perceived exertion as key indicies of training.A coach must be able to design a yearly program incorporating the principles of periodization, micro/macrocyles, rest/regeneration, etc.
4. A coach must have the knowledge and intuition that can only be developed through years of training to be able to recognize when an athlete is ready to change their program(eg. due to overreaching/overtraining, sickness, burnout, or to maximize results)
5. A coach must have the training and understanding of the biomechanics of swimming, cycling and running and other endurance sports and the ability to adapt that knowledge to be able to prescribe drills and exercises to the athletes benefit. A coach should have national coaching certifications with a minimum of Level 2 or higher.  Additional education in strength training and mental training is also important.
6. A coach must have the training and understanding of endurance nutrition and race nutrition and be able to communicate that information to the athlete.  This should be demonstrated through additional certifications in the field of nutrition.
7. A coach must be able to give advise and guidance for race day tactics.
8. A coach must be experienced in training and racing in those sports and related activities in order to really understand ‘what it takes’.
9. A coach must have excellent communication skills; if you are working with a coach personally or electronically they must be able to deliver ideas and schedules and support to the athlete.
10. A coach must be able to motivate.

***  Coaching is not just about  rewriting your own personal training plan and fitting it to another athlete.  A coach must be able to recognize what an athletes needs are and then be able to formulate a plan to accomplish those needs/goals.  Coaching is not about “selling” a product or service without believing in the benefits to the athlete.

***Most Importantly***  Do not accept a coach who is not professional; being up to date through current education and qualifications, belongs to a national professional coaching  association or has current or past racing experience.  Without these three key credentials the system breaks down- the system is full of a) athletes turned coach(experience is not a substitute for education) and b) the educated turned coach(racing experience is essential too).

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