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User since:
Nov 26th, 2014
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MichaelRochus said 6 months ago

Online Coaching Effectiveness

I’ve been sceptical of online coaching in the past, but a quick look at Oldster’s online roster may be making me change my point of view:
Tessier: 2:30:xx, masters record holder, national silver medalist etc.
Colin Fewer: PBing as a master and a threat to take down a highly competitive half marathon national master’s record.
Jeff Costen: National marathon bronze medalist, has been incredibly consistent.
Eric Bang: 2:19:03 in Chicago

All of those athletes are coached via the web, and all are improving and reaching high levels in the sport. Have I been wrong that internet coaching isn’t as good as attending a club workout? Could this be an equal or better alternative for some runners?

Discus.

Cheap plug : Eric was on this week’s episode: https://www.trackie.com/track-and-field/TrackieRadio/epi-101-evan-dunfee-walks-with-cause-and-eric-bang-breaks-barriers/1232/)

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  • oldster User since:
    Sep 25th, 2013
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    Oldster said 6 months ago

    Full disclosure: I was against it myself until Dylan and I were basically forced to do it when he couldn't find a good local option as a young post-collegian in Providence. It worked pretty well with him, so I added a second athlete-- a young Rejean Chiasson. True story! I still think a group is better, but really good groups can be hard to find. Groups dynamics can be really tricky sometimes, as anyone who's ever been on a university team will know. For some athletes, the online thing really is the best option, I have learned.

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    Anonymous said 6 months ago

    Have had my best results from online coaching.

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    Anonymous said 6 months ago

    Quoting: Oldster
    "Full disclosure: I was against it myself until Dylan and I were basically forced to do it when he couldn't find a good local option as a young post-collegian in Providence. It worked pretty well with him, so I added a second athlete-- a young Rejean Chiasson. True story! I still think a group is better, but really good groups can be hard to find. Groups dynamics can be really tricky sometimes, as anyone who's ever been on a university team will know. For some athletes, the online thing really is the best option, I have learned."


    fair to say, easier to use for a marahtoner than a track athlete? most marathoners seem to be off grinding mileage by themselves most of the time anyway

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  • oldster User since:
    Sep 25th, 2013
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    Oldster said 6 months ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "fair to say, easier to use for a marahtoner than a track athlete? most marathoners seem to be off grinding mileage by themselves most of the time anyway"


    In general, yeah. But, again, it depends on the athlete. A track guy who is fine with his own company, paces well, and follows instructions carefully could certainly make it work. A good online program might work better for someone like this than a relatively undisciplined group. And I actually think a big part of what a group contributes has nothing to do with running workouts beside someone; it's simply the camaraderie-- having people to commiserate and/or celebrate with during warm-ups/downs, etc.; just having people around who know and understand better than anyone else what you're trying to do every week. And you can have this as a remotely coached athlete simply by having a serious runner friend or two in the general vicinity.

    Speaking of all this, here's a little gem of piece on the general topic of making-do as an athlete, courtesy of the great Jon Brown (look him up, kids). https://medium.com/@jbmilesandmiles/appreciating-imagination-e16bf198eae8

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  • cummings User since:
    Apr 1st, 2006
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    Cummings said 6 months ago

    As someone who has coached adults and youth athletes in person and online to varying degrees of success and failure; my experiences are admittedly not with the "elite" type of athlete clientele mentioned previously in this thread. However, I have coached several provincial medalists, a few who are running post-secondary now and seeing success, and have coached athletes who under-performed and are no longer running. I think the key difference with successful vs. non-successful athletes under my guidance wasn't the mode of transmission for workouts and training structure; it was a combination of the motivation and discipline of the individual athlete and the type of relationship I have/had with said athlete. Self motivated, driven, disciplined athletes will be successful in whatever type of training environment you give them. I do believe a combination of group setting and online coaching works best for these ones however, having autonomy and solitude is usually invigorating for most runners I tend to observe (at least the ones who actually love running), thus always being in a group isn't beneficial.

    The ones who have not been successful either have not followed my advice, questioned my training structure too much (it's good to question, but constantly being skeptical does not instill confidence in a training program), and were not really passionate about running. Key point is they wouldn't have been successful in any situation because of their attitude.

    To add to this however, I think the single most important factor for a successful coach-athlete relationship is communication. Communication doesn't always have to be positive, but there has to be trust. With athletes who have been successful under my guidance, I have had very good relationships with them. Even if I am coaching them online, I am getting weekly, sometimes daily feedback via phone, text, or in person if possible. For athletes I coach in person it is obviously easier to have a chat and see how everyone is doing.

    For athletes whom I have not been successful with, for the most part, there just wasn't a functional relationship. It might have been because the athlete wasn't that passionate about running; maybe our personalities did not mesh; or perhaps I made a mistake somewhere along the line where trust was hard to gain or recover after it was lost. Either way, the relationship did not work, did not matter what the mode of instruction was. One thing I do think is worth mentioning however is that I have learned WAY MORE from situations that did not work in comparison to when they go great. As a result of these learning experiences, negative situations have become fewer and further between, but the reality is that you are never going to please them all. You learn what you can and try your best as much as you can to make the most positive experience possible for everyone that comes under your tutelage.

    Another thing that I have learned is that coaching is a great privilege, no matter what the mode of instruction is; and if you have fostered relationships with athletes that trust you with their athletic prowess, you clearly have a gift and that shouldn't be taken lightly (I am going to stop here so I don't sound like Uncle Ben).

    There are many ways to skin a cat, if you have good relationships with your athletes, you can probably make them successful in pretty much any mode of instruction. That being said, I do think disciplines like Ultra-Running or Marathoning (with mature athletes) are more easily set-up for online coaching success than coaching track/XC, sprinting, multi-events, or age class athletes. I do believe a coach acts more like a consultant in those longer disciplines rather than a direct instructor; but a part of that is because of the age demographic largely associated with longer endurance events. Generally with youth athletes or speed events, you need observable feedback to help make corrections in tactics or training to aid in improvement; racing is also more frequent and gauging fatigue levels is really important when periodising training through a track or XC season. Again, despite these realities, you can still accomplish these goals with good communication if your athlete is mostly instructed online, just might need a bit more creative thought when it comes to receiving and providing feedback.

    This post was edited by Cummings 6 months ago . 
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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    KMaser said 6 months ago

    Quoting: Oldster
    "In general, yeah. But, again, it depends on the athlete. A track guy who is fine with his own company, paces well, and follows instructions carefully could certainly make it work. A good online program might work better for someone like this than a relatively undisciplined group. And I actually think a big part of what a group contributes has nothing to do with running workouts beside someone; it's simply the camaraderie-- having people to commiserate and/or celebrate with during warm-ups/downs, etc.; just having people around who know and understand better than anyone else what you're trying to do every week. And you can have this as a remotely coached athlete simply by having a serious runner friend or two in the general vicinity.

    Speaking of all this, here's a little gem of piece on the general topic of making-do as an athlete, courtesy of the great Jon Brown (look him up, kids). https://medium.com/@jbmilesandmiles/appreciating-imagination-e16bf198eae8"


    Great advice from Jon.

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  • kinrunner User since:
    Sep 27th, 2013
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    KinRunner said 6 months ago

    Interesting thread and my apologies for coming late.

    I think largely it’s dependent on the athlete. But I don’t think it’s only for marathons or longer distances.

    I coach multiple juniors online , I may only see them 1/ month and some stretches even longer and have had success 1, coming 10th at OFSAA Xc as a grade 11 and another went under U 18 steeple standard exclusively coaches online.

    I think it just comes down to what’s available locally and you’re determination to get out the door. Honestly both these athletes struggle sometimes but in the long term they are likely better off than what they may have had locally.


    I will say it does take some skill and good communication skills both ways to effectively coach online.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Anonymous said 6 months ago

    Back in my day reading a book on running was considered online coaching

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  • milesdavisandthecool User since:
    Jan 21st, 2014
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    MilesDavisAndTheCool said 6 months ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "Back in my day reading a book on running was considered online coaching"


    This comment is useless without PBs.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Really Am Skuj said 6 months ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "Back in my day reading a book on running was considered online coaching"


    Books. LOL.

    Why, in my day I often had to talk to a coach on the (rotary dial) telephone. We even had to send letters to each other from time to time. You know......pen......paper.....Canada Post.

    (My PBs are........oh, nevermind.)

    But seriously though, the thing about all this, and as alluded to above, is COMMUNICATION. Verbal, written, visual. Coaching is not all about "being physically present". In fact, physical presence may be a minor aspect of the whole equation.

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  • xlushpuppy User since:
    Mar 21st, 2019
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    xlushpuppy said 1 month ago

    I have no access to coaches. Is online coaching really helpful with throws?

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  • new-post-last-visitanonymous Anonymous
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    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    Quoting: xlushpuppy
    "I have no access to coaches. Is online coaching really helpful with throws?"


    If you are able to send videos to the coach of your throwing technique it certainly would be more helpful than getting advice from a book.

    In this era of Skype you could get immediate feedback from the coach.

    If he's just giving you strength exercises and workout plans you are probably wasting your money.

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