Finding a Coach

Michael Phelps, everyone knows of his Olympic and swimming success, has a coach. I’ve written a number of times about coaches. I believe in face-to-face one on one coaching.

A friend of mine, Andy, is not a professional coach. But, he can coach. He’s an ex-college quarterback and pitcher. He has a degree in psychology. He coaches people everyday in business. He coached me in golf.

I like golf but no longer play the game. I played for the social aspects of the game. (A lot like 3D archery) Once on a course with Andy, I found myself wedged in a trap. Before I could swing, and before making matter worst, Andy asked if I’d like some advice. He instructed me on how to get out of the jam. Following his instruction I laid down one of the best swings ever and put the ball inches from the hole. Andy’s first words were, “Man, you are very coachable.”

Well, I’ve had decades of being coached. Archery is one area where finding and keeping a coach is important. What decades of athletics have taught me is how to recognize a good coach.

For triathlon I had a good swim coach. He was not a triathlete; he was a collegiate swimmer turned coach. He was good, nationally ranked before he became a coach. He didn’t make me much faster, but he did make me a lot stronger. For the distances I raced, coming out of the water strong was important. And, after his coaching I did move up in the swim field from the bottom 25% to the top 25%.


Other coaches were not so good. There is one key element to weeding out a bad coach. That is, does that coach ‘coach’ or spend your money lecturing on his glory days. If the coach you have hired is more focused on himself or herself – find another coach. Remember, the lesson you are paying for is about how to make you better.

(To my prior archery coaches – this is NOT about any of you)