Lost In The Details Of Training Feedback

Coaches and athletes alike can be guilty of being so intent on providing details from training sessions by providing feedback that sometimes the most important focus points get lost by spending too much energy explaining nonessential details. 

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Several times a week I receive workout notifications from athletes explaining everything from, “I forgot my heart rate monitor” to “a kid pooped in the pool and I was forced to end the session.” What’s funny to me about some of these comments is the amount of time someone may spend typing the story when a more thoughtful approach may be simply to address the misfortune with a short comment then use the rest of the enthusiasm for typing on asking me a few questions regarding their training or simply finding a solution to the obstacle. The poop in the pool was an example where I replied to my client and asked them to use the frustrating experience and lost training session as a learning opportunity for next time by always being prepared with a back up plan. A pool closure could always turn in to an opportunity to do a core workout or run session if you have the right clothes with you. 

Let’s make a point to stay engaged in the process rather than get lost in the minutiae. I find this especially true about workout metrics. As a data driven coach, yes I love metrics, but there is a balance of what information is truly valuable. Another common coach / athlete communication fault I see happens when either coach or athlete is so determined to explain the metrics of heart rate, power, cadence or pace they simply lose sight of providing a summary of the qualitative aspects that are not measurable. In most cases I benefit from an athlete providing a summary of their perception and feel for a workout with words that capture the essence of the session without relying 100% on the metrics recording the data. I would much rather hear from an athlete that they feel strong, confident, driven or even tired, heavy, sluggish. These are words that tell a story so I have a picture of how that training day went in collaboration with the metrics uploaded. 

Electronic communication is standard for everything we do in our daily lives. In some ways communication is more efficient because it takes place instantly. In other ways we are losing the essence of what is truly important. The next time you sit down to write out your feedback notes from a training session think about what is truly important for your coach or athlete to know. Let’s avoid getting lost in the details and provide the most quality possible by staying focused on the value.

Coach Heather Casey, CSCS, USAT Level 2, Ironman Certified Coach lives in Salt Lake City and coaches full time for Balanced Art Multisport. She can be reached at Heather@BalancedArtMultisport.com or CoachHeatherCasey.com