Coaches: Get Organized!

Coach Mike Ricci with a clip board
December 13, 2016

Mike Ricci


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Triathlon coaching in the modern hi-tech world of the internet has created its own challenges for coaches and athletes alike. The key to being a successful coach is being organized. Coaches typically take on more than they can handle and the athletes get less attention than they want. Many times as a coach, you'll feel overwhelmed with how many phone calls you need to return or how many emails are in your in-box. In addition, you have schedules due to your athletes and training logs to review. If you aren't careful this can turn into a vicious circle of always playing "catch up". Depending on how many athletes you coach (more on this below), you can break your athletes into three groups. For example I coach 12 athletes and I break these athletes into 3 groups of 4 athletes and the maximum number of schedules I write is 4 schedules per week. I like to create my athlete schedules in 3 week blocks and go through the cycle every three weeks. Knowing how many athletes you can coach is usually different than how many athletes you can coach well. What you think you can do and what is reality is usually very different. It took me a number of years to realize that I couldn't coach 30, 20 or even 15 athletes at a time. I know my "sweet spot" in the number of athletes I can coach and I set a limit of 12. Quality coaching is in high demand, if you can do a superior job, typically you will get rewarded quite well for it. Trying to coach 20 athletes at $150/month can be much harder than coaching 12 athletes at $250/month. Once you can establish yourself as a high quality coach, you will be able to cut back on the number of athletes you coach and ultimately charge more for your services. More quality work, less overall time that should be your goal.

Goal Setting

Why is this important to your success? Organizing and managing how many schedules you write keeps your stress in check and allows you more time to meet with and to actually do the all too forgotten "in person" coaching.

Since we've started the internet coaching era, coaches do less "coaching" than ever before. One of the best ways to actually see how your athletes are faring in their workouts is to actually see them training even if it's once per month. Setting up a weekly or monthly training session goes a long way to keeping multiple athletes happy and on track to their goals. A group session let's you view multiple athletes at once, and it allows your athletes see you coaching which will create a lot of credibility with your athletes.

The internet is an easy way to keep in touch with remote athletes and believe it or not you can actually see and converse with your athletes live with web cams. If your athletes can get videotaped while swimming, biking or running, you can also see how they are training and make adjustments without actually being there. Nothing will ever take the place of actual in person coaching, but there are ways to successfully coach from a distance.

At D3 Multiport, we use an incredible training program system from this system allows us to load our plans quickly, keep track of our athlete's progress and to know when an athlete has completed a workout. On top of that we have access to food logs, downloading power and heart rate monitor files. I know when an athlete has completed and logged a workout on Training Peaks when a simple email is delivered to my inbox, with the athlete's comments. I can check this rather quickly and if action is needed I can email or call the athlete immediately. This makes managing my athletes quite easy. I typically set aside Mondays to look over the training week to see how the actual time spent training compares to what was scheduled. On Tuesday and Wednesday I have my scheduled phone calls taken care of and on Thursday morning I write my next block of training. This leaves me with Friday to either follow up on athlete questions or make changes to schedules if needed. Once again, there is no perfect week, but I try to stick to this schedule as best I can and if something comes up unexpectedly I have the time to take care of it. Being able to have the time to be accessible to your athletes will go a long way towards promoting yourself as a high quality coaching service that delivers the goods that your athletes expect.

Mike Ricci, USAT Coach of the Year, and a Level III USAT Certified Coach is the owner and founder of the D3 Multisport coaching group. He is no stranger to business ownership and the exciting ride that brings. Having navigated the triathlon industry on the business side for over 15 years, he has learned what it takes to bring a business concept to the industry, maintain the course through difficulties, and to savor the success which is often hard earned. Mike is passionate about helping his athletes achieve their goals, helping the D3 coaches develop their own strengths and to initiate new business ideas and partnerships through D3 Multisport. Mike has a BS in Finance and an MBA in Accounting. He is a US Marine Corps veteran.

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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