Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Quality Feedback

In coaching, feedback is a highly sought after commodity.  Coaches ask their athletes for feedback on how training sessions went for them.  Athletes ask for feedback in return from their coaches on how they are doing.

What gets lost however is a clear understanding of what quality feedback really is.  As an example, I often ask my clients to tell me how specific sessions or a week of training went for them in hopes they provide me some insight that will allow me to make adjustments to their training based upon the feedback provided.  In 6 out of 10 instances I get back "fine", "good" or "okay".  It is tough to determine much from that response.

In 3 out of 10 instances, I get a highly detailed report which often necessitates pouring a cup of coffee.  Truly enjoyable reads and lots of insight provided from which I can offer back feedback, praise, solutions to problems arising or address something the athlete may not have known was an issue.  Reading a historical perspective of a week's training logged with detail allows me to see patterns of positiveness as well as negativeness.  Perfect starting points for meaningful discussions and addressing potentially season ending issues.

What does the final person report with?  Nada.  Silence.  These are the difficult athletes to work with as we know very little of what is happening in their training and life.  Silence is a killer.

Starting in the fall of 2012, we will be utilizing Training Peaks software as a means to communicate with all our Customized Clients.  In the trial period thus far, I have found it a highly valuable tool to prescribe training programs, receive power meter or GPS files and receive and provide comments.  I have been using it myself and I find the accountability in logging my files and comments to be highly motivating.

The Endurance Coaching Team is expecting each of our athletes to diligently record, upload and post their data and comments in a regular manner so as to allow their coaches the ability to modify and adjust training programs in a more timely manner.

Uploading power or GPS files allows the coach to see what you actually did or did not do.  If a higher average or peak power value is recorded, we can inform the client of it and perhaps modify their training zones.  The same for running in which the software can calculate the impact of running on an uphill gradient had on your session.  The athlete may have thought they "sucked" that day but in fact when variables were factored into the equation, we can report back that no you did not "suck" today and were right where you needed to be.

Needless to say we are excited to offer this service starting this fall which will increase the communication between our coaches and athletes!

No comments: