Nowadays, regardless of their athletic backgrounds and degrees and certifications, there are a lot of coaches in Triathlon. As such, there are many different coaches and coaching styles. This has been well discussed in depth here. You may be apt to perform better for one coach than another. Assuming a good home and team support system and a healthy body, the alignment between you and your coach may be the single most important variable in how much you realize your athletic potential in the sport of triathlon.
Not Just Nuts and Bolts
Each coach has infinite variations of workouts. These are referred to as the nuts and bolts. Regardless of the variations, famed running coach Bobby McGee has said that the nuts and bolts of training are not that much different generally. However, different training stresses can be applied in different ways, in different times, and with different duration to achieve the desired goals.
At TriCoachGeorgia.com, although we have a coherent culture and similar themes for coaching in terms of promoting race readiness, we have several unique coaches with different approaches to helping their athletes achieve their goals. We wanted to distill what makes each coach unique and why you would want to interview them as part of your selection process.
What Makes Each TCGA Coach Unique
BAMF aka Coach Chuck Sims – According to BAMF, covering Atlanta for the Reapers, even after several seasons coaching out of Atlanta, he is committed to continuing education in the sport of triathlon, but does not follow conventional wisdom when it comes to coaching. Rather, he thinks outside the mainstream box to find the best approach and believes what works for the athlete is what’s best for the athlete.
BAMF is not a coach who believes in “bucket lists” or just finishing. He helps his athletes find the balance between family, work, and sport to ensure the athlete gets the right training plan to get the job done and is healthy, and ready to perform their best on race day.
Finally, BAMF focuses on the long term versus the short by teaching athletes to understand the big picture, and visualize both the macro and micro levels of training and the importance of the annual cycles.
Godfather aka Coach Chad Kimbrell – Being relatively new to the coaching game is not a hindrance for Godfather. Based in Augusta, he has been mentoring triathletes and coaching for years in similar fields. He has a very easy going way about him that makes easy to communicate with and is on top of the latest technology.
Godfather is one who makes the complicated simple. His goal is singular. He wants to help you achieve your goals. He is not afraid to work with first timers and to go the extra miles for his athletes. He is extra skilled with all the aspects of taking others’ cycling skills to the next level. Traveling triathletes may also see some benefit from having Godfather there for them.
He is also one who has learned the art of pacing and is a proud middle of the pack racer so he is realistic and wise. In addition, he gets assistance from the famed Mrs. Candace Kimbrell aka Sparkles, who clearly has better looks.
KimPossible (KP) aka Coach Kim Hargrove – Rooted in Columbus Georgia with her husband Coach Taz, KP comes from a physical therapist and competitive swimmer background. She has a ton of top end racing and coaching experience and can really help your swim form. She can also help your bike and runs with knowledge of many different coaching styles.
Not only does KP understand the body, mind, and coaching and training techniques, she understands how difficult it is to be a mother and a long course triathlete and/or in a family with a husband who is a long course triathlete. She has managed some excellent results for herself and for mothers that she has coached. Finally, she is very attuned listener.
LongMan aka Coach Karl Langenbach – LongMan has competed in endurance sports (cross country & road running, road cycling, cyclocross, obstacle racing, duathlon, triathlon) for forty years. This experience has led to a great deal of wisdom as well a sense of calm in the storms that his real job takes him into daily.
For LongMan, who has traveled the world and resides in Athens, training and racing are critical components to a life-long commitment to a balanced, healthy and happy life style. He attends to the athlete’s entire life. He also knows the ins and outs of nearly every metric in TrainingPeaks.com and WKO.
As noted, LongMan has a diverse background in engineering, business, holistic health and endurance sports. His formal and informal education has provided tremendous breadth of knowledge that he can apply to triathlon training and racing. Because of his knowledge and experience, he is able to support the athletic and health goals of almost any amateur athlete, from beginner to experienced.
LW aka Coach Lauren White – Repping the Reaper out of Greenville, SC, LW is a the perfect blend of gentle and strong. She knows when to push you and when to pat you on the back. She is a straight shooter and one with a huge heart.
LW has personal strengths as a triathlon coach that come from her extensive background of competitive collegiate sports as well as experience in self motivation techniques that she uses to motivate her physical therapy clients on a daily basis. With her PT background, she focuses on injury prevention, tailor training regimens and exercises to protect previous injuries and she has a well rounded knowledge of the human anatomy and working systems.
LW understand the demands of life and what it takes to find a healthy balance between work, school, family and fun. She takes pride in developing a strong working relationship with her clients with open communication at all times and easy accessibility.
Slayer aka Coach Harvey Gayer – Always in high demand, not afraid to say what needs to be said, and leading the brigade, is our Athens-based resident Jekyll and Hyde, Dr. Gayer / Coach Slayer, licensed psychologist and certified USAT Level 2E triathlon coach. If you don’t know about his well-traveled story, you can read more about him here. Simply put, there aren’t many like him at all in the field of triathlon coaching.
Spartacus aka Coach Brian Patterson – Spartacus has had an unrelenting interest in sports, conditioning, human performance and mental toughness since the eighth grade when he first began to experiment with strength work and nutritional biohacking. The years of research, practice and applying these principles has allowed Spartacus to detach from the mainstream fitness and nutritional dogma to guide athletes to find what works for them personally. His techniques are unorthodox and causes quizzical looks when he suggests a new approach.
Aside from all that’s in his logical and analytical brain, Spartacus also understands the emotional brain of the athlete. From overcoming his own body image issues of being a tall skinny teen to balancing the busy lifestyle of corporate America business with athletic training, Spartacus still struggles daily with making the right food choices, going to bed at a reasonable time and waking at 430am to get after the day. It’s these struggles and working to maintain a balance that makes Spartacus a special coach that get’s the 21st century demands of life and training for health and fitness.
TaxSlayer aka Coach Seth Waltman – TaxSlayer has lived in several parts of the country and understands the impact of weather acutely. Some may say he is obsessed with it! Indeed, he is a details man. Rather than call him OCD, we prefer to say he is attentive and conscientious. He makes careful adjustments to training schedules and is very good at helping his athletes plan ahead.
TaxSlayer says that his communication skills and how he interacts with his athletes is one of the ways he stand outs from other coaches. He is constantly checking in and makes plenty of time to listen to them. His math mind also helps him with assessing improvements and progressing training.
In addition, TaxSlayer has a history of being morbidly obese. He has past experiences as an overweight adult and he attempts to help others understand what it takes to lose weight, the importance of weight loss and how to keep the weight off. Finally, TaxSlayer, who is based on Athens, is helping coach the TriKidsGeorgia.
Taz aka Coach Wes Hargrove – Everyone knows Taz as a loyal, fierce, and gutty performer who has raced many Ironmans and Half Ironmans, including Kona. He has won many a road race as well. Taz has worked with some of the best coaches in the business, learning much from them.
Columbus, Ga-based Taz doesn’t just outwork the competition, he outsmarts them. Clearly, to get where he got, he had to be a student of the game and a smart man as he keeps a happy wife (KP), who also does long course triathlons, and family. He understands the little tweaks that can get you those minutes and seconds you need.
In addition to the aforementioned, he brings an enthusiasm to coaching that is a key distinguishing factor. He is on top of the latest gear and training trends and nutritional and electrolyte replacement approaches. He is available day and night for his athletes and Taz never met a challenge he is afraid of. If you want confidence, you will gain it ten-fold with Taz coaching you.
True Grit aka Coach Stephanie Middlebrooks – True Grit is fearless and loyal. In fact, she raced Ironman in non-English speaking France recently. She is smart as a whip too. Her background in education comes into play often with her coaching. She is constantly learning and testing different techniques in the field.
With two active children and based in Atlanta, True Grit knows the importance of balancing family life. She believes frequent communication from athlete to coach and vice versa is key to creating a plan that works for the athlete’s life. She works with everyone from off the couch to prior ironmen and women. In fact, although she coaches men too, she takes a special interest in coaching women new to the sport as she knows their position.
Finally, a cookie cutter approach won’t work for True Grit. She finds it abhorrent to use a one size fits all plan. Instead, she varies her methods depending on the athlete and his/her goals.
Selecting the right coach and team is important. They can help you in many ways. Hopefully, these brief biographies give you some direction as you begin to interview and select your new coach. Not only can you use each of them as a consultant, TriCoachGeorgia also has a team member option where you get access to all the coaches via the forum without having to pay for full coaching. Regardless, we hope you #DoYourJob and #ReapWhatYouSow moving forward!