Coach Mike’s Take on Endurance Exchange

I recently spent several days in Austin, Texas at USA Triathlon’s Endurance Exchange along with several of my fellow Coaches from the Sonic Endurance Team. This was the first in-person Endurance Exchange since 2020 and… well…things have changed a bit since then, as I’m sure most would agree. COVID imposed a LOT of
unwanted change on our sport, and we are all just getting our sea legs back as 2023 looks to be the first restriction-free year of racing in quite some time.

One key component in bringing triathlon back, and having it thrive, will be collaboration amongst all stakeholders. If there’s one thing I bring home from Austin, it will be the importance of collaboration in triathlon and the process of working together with others to achieve our common goals. Collaboration is a vital aspect of modern-day work and organizations as it allows people with diverse skills and perspectives to combine their efforts and achieve more than they could individually. Those traits are paramount in order for our sport of survive; racers need to support race directors, race directors need to offer distance and venues for youth, age groupers and aspiring elites, communities need to support race directors AND athletes who not only desire to compete in unique venues, but spend hard earned dollars beyond entry fees in their towns, we need more volunteers to step up in all aspects of the sport, and we all need to find ways of giving back so there are no barriers to taking up triathlon.

However, collaboration is not always easy, requires effective communication, and a shared understanding of the goals and objectives. It is also important to recognize collaborations may not always last and keep an eye on potential conflicts which may arise during the collaboration process. By addressing these challenges, we can create an environment that encourages and supports collaboration, leading to improved performance and outcomes.

Another important aspect of collaboration is the use of technology. Thanks to a last-minute schedule change, I decided to skip the beautiful pool at UT and slide into a presentation called “Consistent Content: A Business Game Changer” by Coach Michelle Lake. Michelle’s presentation set the stage for a week of collaboration on my part as I discovered the numerous tools and platforms available to support collaboration that aren’t challenging to learn and are mostly an extension of what we already do. These can range from social media to calendar management software online graphics platforms such as Canva and instant messaging tools. By leveraging these technologies, we can overcome geographical barriers and collaborate with others, regardless of where our Athletes are.

To conclude, collaboration will be a critical component of success in our sport and offers numerous benefits. To achieve the best results, it is important to foster a culture of collaboration, promote effective communication, leverage technology to overcome hurdles, and help propel triathlon into the future. By doing so, coaches/race directors/vendors can unlock the full potential of our athletes and achieve better results.

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