How to Find a Coach to Help you Achieve your Athletic Goals

with Lisa Tertsch, Liv Racing Collective athlete

Finding a good coach can be critical for your happiness and success in your sport. A good coach helps you stay motivated, engaged, holds you accountable, and is an advisor when you face challenges – in addition to providing you with a training plan. Coaches help you focus your energy where it is important by guiding you in decision making and structure. In short, a good coach improves the probability of reaching your short-term and long-term goals in your sport and can be a key figure in the pursuit of your cycling or triathlon dreams.

Lisa Tertsch with her coach

Determining what you need from a coach

Before you go out and start looking for a coach, it can be beneficial to take some time to think and become aware of what you are looking for. Here are some questions that can help you find a coach that suits your needs:

  • Do you want in-person coaching or online coaching?
  • What style of coaching do you like?
  • What level are you at and where do you want to go?
  • Why are you doing the sport? How can the coach support you with this?
  • What do you want the coach to provide you with? 
  • What availability do you expect? How do you prefer to communicate?
  • How much are you willing to pay?
Lisa Tertsch racing aboard the Langma

How to start your search for a coach

Once you have a good idea on what you want and need, you can go out and look for a coach. Your answers can make your search much more targeted and allow you to filter intentionally. Here are a few options for starting your search: 

  • Join a triathlon club or cycling team. If you prefer in-person coaching, one easy way to get started is to join a local triathlon club or cycling team. You will likely have a coach who is guiding you through the sessions (plus people to train with). Especially if you are a beginner and do not have had much experience yet, this could be an easy first step. 
  • Ask your training partners or riding buddies. When you get together, ask them about who they are coached by, how they like it and what other coaches they know and would recommend or not recommend.Be aware that your training partners are providing you with a singular perspective and your coaching needs may be different than their needs.
  • Search online training platforms. If you would like online coaching, you have wide variety of options available. If you are using an online training platform to record your workouts, see if they have a list of coaches who are using the platform. One such platform is Training Peaks that lists more than 1500 coaches at the moment and provides various tools such as questionnaires to match athletes and coaches. 
  • Scour social media. Online communities such as Facebook groups as well as different triathlon and cycling forums can be a great place to find other people’s recommendations. If you want to go straight to the source, you can look at personal websites, blogs, Instagram accounts etc. of different coaches to get a feel for how they coach. Chances are that if you like their online presence, you will also enjoy their coaching.  

Finding the right coach for you can have a huge positive impact on your journey as an athlete and can make all the difference in the pursuit of your goals. Working with someone with experience and knowledge can take a huge load off your shoulders and allow you to focus on what you like to do the most. Hence, it is worth pouring some time and energy into the effort of finding a coach that is a good fit for you.

Lisa Tertsch winning a triathlon