Care -> Learn -> Apply

Wes Johnson Coaching and Development Cycle.png

As I get deeper into my triathlon coaching career I have seen and experienced a lot. I am constantly reminded of the need for simplicity. The knowledge we obtain can be complex and never-ending. But the application to the athlete must remain simple and straightforward. Everything within coaching and improving as a coach is summarized into these 3 simple “buckets” and is a constant process starting with caring. Caring and passion to learn, leading to knowledge which leads to applying that knowledge.

Everything always begins with caring about what you do, loving what you do, and relentlessly moving forward. Caring also means caring for and wanting the best for the individual you coach. If the athlete doesn’t believe that you care about them or are invested in them, the relationship won’t go far and the knowledge you have won’t matter in the end because the athlete most likely isn’t bought in to your approach.

Knowledge is self-explanatory. Pursuing it is never ending. We must have a thirst for knowledge and aways improving and evolving from what we know or think we know.

I hesitate to say that any of these is more important than the other. But the APPLICATION is the final touch, the crowning piece to the puzzle. There is not one single way to do it. Every approach and plan to a specific athlete should be different and looked at differently. We are often held back by specific programs, workouts, training plans, and periodization models. As coaches we often fall into coaching the same way or using the same library of workouts year after year. As humans we love simple and linear logic. This mentality restricts innovation and creativity and ability to adapt to different strengths or limiters of an athlete. Any coach who says they never fall into that is lying. We all do it to a certain degree. But an open mind is required to true high performance.

That cycles us back to caring. After a good OR a bad race it's time to reflect and use the data and feedback from the athlete to learn more and apply that knowledge to the athlete to continue evolving and growing together as a team.

These three terms are a constant cycle.

We care for an athlete, we acquire knowledge to help them, and then we apply that knowledge and care/investment/passion.

Sometimes we fail and sometimes we succeed. We learn and grow over and over again from this cycle and overtime see more success than failures. But the failures never end.

I am constantly humbled and at times feel I am starting from scratch. But there is a reason for that. We need to be humbled continuously in order to grow continuously.

Some may argue there is more to coaching than these three terms. But everything I have thought of fits into these 3 buckets. This same model can also fit into most aspects of our lives, not just triathlon. It's a never ending evolving cycle requiring optimism, reflection, and hunger for more. My goal is to remain hungry in every aspect of my life which isn’t easy, but possible.

Originally posted here.

Wesley Johnson