Many individuals who compete at any level of cross country running do not come from a athletic background that included formal training under a professional coach. While most elite American and European runners have been groomed through the secondary school system and/or the collegiate ranks, there are others for one reason or another, have not had the privilege to experience working with a coach.
So if an individual wishes to hire a professional coach, where are some places to look? What are some reasonable qualities to expect from a professional coach and how much would it cost for private coaching? Luckily for many athletes, there are thousands of good coaches that are available and working with them doesn’t necessarily mean they’re just devoted to someone who has had no experience with a coach. Indeed, even elite runners of all levels still need to secure the services of a professional coach to help them in their effort to reach their maximum potential.
Find a Coach in the USA
For American runners, a good starting point is to check out the USA Track and Field website or its regional websites, and the USA Triathlon website. Other excellent sources would be participating in a charity event such as Team in Training or Team Challenge where people raise funds for charity and have an opportunity to participate in an endurance event such as a 10k, a triathlon or even a marathon. Perhaps an even simpler way to find a coach can be found via local health clubs, track and field clubs and also through searching for local coaches online via their personal websites or even the local newspapers.
Find a Coach in Europe
European runners also have similar opportunities through the European Athletics.org website, the European Athletic Coaches Association (EACA), the International Triathlon Union (ITU), the International Triathlon Coaching Association (ITCA) or websites that focus on a particular country such as British Triathlon.org. Of course many European communities have health clubs and local track and field clubs where individuals can find one-on-one or group coaching.
Qualities to Expect from a Good Coach
Although there are many certified coaches available in which to choose from, unfortunately not every coach is worth investing in. It’s fair to say that the vast majority of coaches that undergo a collegiate program or certification process is a safe bet but there are other times where a coach who has no formal education in track and field or triathlon is better than someone more educated. Of course, not everyone will agree with this assessment but formal training is not the only prerequisite for what it takes to be a good coach as it is just one portion of the qualities of a good coach. It’s also worth considering that each individual who seeks a coach, might prefer a different coaching style over another for the coaches are as diverse as the athletes themselves.
But the following are examples of qualities to expect from a good coach, which can be applied to athletes of all ages and coaches of a levels:
A good coach must be skilled and knowledgeable, honest and trustworthy, inspirational, empathetic, character builder, approachable, fair and motivational. There are others but they all fall into a similar fashion in regards to a successful coaching professional, while holding all coaches to the highest moral and ethical character.
People who are seeking a coach may be able to find reviews, accomplishments or related information online or simply by word of mouth in the respective communities. With respect to health clubs, an athlete may go through an initial consultation to see if a coach may be the best fit for the individual.
How Much Would it Cost to Hire a Coach
This is a tough one because of the levels of experience and clientele each working coach may possess. Typically, private coaching may cost as little as $25 an hour to more than $150 per hour. Group coaching is far less expensive, but doesn’t afford the luxury of one-on-one opportunities, which is many cases, can be far more rewarding. Private health clubs have a similar range of pricing depending upon each business. Joining a charity group allows participants “free” coaching but must raise donations that are usually at least $2500 per person.
The following links are all excellent resources in which to use for additional information on finding a coach:
USA Track and Field – www.usatf.org
U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association – www.ustfccca.org
USA Triathlon – www.usatriathlon.org
European Athletic Association – www.european-athletics.org
International Triathlon Union – www.triathlon.org