Thanks to Stacey, Kelly and Jen I was able to attend my first in person coaching conference in January at Endurance Exchange. I had attended last year, but the conference was virtual, and while the presentations were informative, the ability this year to meet in person, see and talk to other coaches, and participate in interactive sessions was beyond helpful.
My words of the conference and what I took away from the sessions is “It Depends,” which I found interesting in that in my day job we here that all the time from the FDA. Not all the sessions I attended ended in “It Depends” but a good bit of them did. This is not to say that it depends is wrong or bad, it provided me with a new thought process on how to approach coaching athletes and the use of data.
The swimming sessions had a lot of discussion on what swimmers should focus on to be faster/more efficient and to kick or not to kick. As expected, there were varying opinions on what to focus on and what was more important – the answer is not one thing – all are important in their own way and it depends on the athlete. Because each athlete is unique and brings different skill sets, our job as coaches is to help determine what is needed and where/how to prioritize.
The state of the sport was an interesting perspective into what race directors and athletes see in the sport and how to grow the sport. The data presented was very informative, and again the answer to how to grow the sport was It Depends – and it depends on where/who to focus on as there is a difference in what new, veteran and competitive athletes want from a race.
Pretty much It Depends is based on data, in order to help determine what is best for the athlete we need to gather the right data and we have plenty of data to gather. The question is what data to gather based on the athlete and what the plans are for the athlete.