Coaching: Don’t Rush Into It! – TriCoachGeorgia

HOSS aka Bradley Odom, a former long term TriCoachGeorgia team member, joined another coach and team briefly and recently asked to return to the team of Reapers. As part of his request, he wrote this blog to help others that are in a predicament where they are in a hurry to achieve goals. Here, he writes about his learning process. We hope that something can be gained from Hoss’ experience and that the takeaway is not that something was wrong with who coached him or the other squad. We hope you see how important goodness of fit and the coaching alliance is. Read up on his process:

Coaching by definition is the following:

Coaching is training or development in which a person called a coach supports a learner in achieving a specific personal or professional goal. The learner is sometimes called a coachee. Occasionally, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people, of whom one has more experience and expertise than the other and offers advice and guidance as the latter learns; but coaching differs from mentoring in focusing on specific tasks or objectives, as opposed to general goals or overall development.

I grew up as a sports loving and playing kid. My coaches were, and still are some of my greatest role models. They’ve help to mold me into the person I am today. I was fortunate to play on a state championship basketball team and coached by a legend named Jimmy Hires. He was one hard ass SOB, but he loved all of us and we loved him as well. If he asked us to try and run through a brick wall, well then that’s what we would do. After graduating high school, I enrolled at Georgia Southern University to become a teacher and coach. I coached basketball for 6 years and loved it, but the entrepreneur in me decided to start my own businesses (Reflections Property Works and the now sold Swim Bike Run Boro). I still love and miss coaching basketball, but I’m able to coach my son Grant in recreation ball and someday I aspire to coach triathlon.

Like most people who get into triathlon, I was looking for a fun way to get back into better shape. What I found was a life changing sport that has been one of the best things to happen to me. As kid, I was never a standout talent, but I could hold my own in all sports which is perfect for triathlon. It takes a well rounded athlete to reach your ultimate performance. Since 2011, I’ve been a self coached athlete with advice from friends and lots of self research. I relied heavily on my friends with TriCoachGeorgia for support. With all of this said, I have had a good deal of success these last 5 years winning many local or smaller regional category races, but 2016 was and is designed to be different.

For 2016, I’ve sent a lofty goal of qualifying for the 2017 world championships 70.3 being held in Chattanooga. I’ve had some very close qualifying times in earlier races, but none of those matter now. I know it’s going to take a lot of work to get there, and I’m not just speaking in regards to training. I am and will always be a bigger guy (6’2″ and 216 lbs. right now), but I know I can drop some weight while keeping my power. This aspect of achieving my goal is by far the toughest part for me. I’ve made great progress since rooming with Coach Slayer aka Harvey at a race in Elberton back in 2012 where we discussed Bob Seebohar’s Metabolic Efficiency Training approach. We both follow a low carb higher fat nutritional plan, and I can say it works well for me. However at some point, the amount of calories you consume does make a difference. I’m trying to find the balance with what’s actually needed each day to drop weight but keep power. Enough about my past, let me get back on topic.

With a such a big goal, I decided to take the plunge and become a “coached athlete”. I knew Coach Slayer and trusted that he was my man and I was hoping it would help me get to that next “elite” level and into the world championship like he’s done with several of his athletes. However, after a couple failed attempts to fit the pieces together with Coach Slayer’s approach, we decided that I was not a good fit for his program (and possibly coaching outright) that worked so well for the others. Then, I started some research into which coach may work for me but I didn’t do enough, nor did I look hard at myself and what I truly need. I decided to try a different coach and team, which triggered a lot of other changes, which I can’t say I felt very comfortable with looking back.

After unsuccessfully trying out a new coach and team, which I have now resigned from, I now know that it takes a lot more effort and time to make the best decision. You need to question everything, everyone, and even more before making that final commitment. Be honest and ask yourself if you’re that high maintenance athlete that likes lots of feedback and constant communication. If so, be sure to ask each coach on your list how they handle communication and feedback. Coaching is so much more than sending workouts to an athlete and doing the periodic tests to gauge fitness improvements. I’m the first to admit that I’m one of those athletes who loves to talk with my tri friends and possible coach multiple times a day. Bouncing ideas off each other is what contributes to making triathlon so fun to me.  This may not be a requirement for many people, but if it’s for you then make sure your coach has the same view. In life, everyone will have different styles and personalities. When deciding who you’re going to pay your hard earned money to, dig deep into all aspects of coaching like Coach Slayer wrote about in his blog here.

To wrap this blog up, I’ve been a part of TCGA for a few years as a friend and contributor to the team via forums, pages, and weight loss group. This team has been unbelievably good to me, and I consider a lot of them extended family. Coach Slayer and I have spent so much time together either with messages, phone, races, and training. We have a lot of things in common and we’re both hard driving and hard headed guys. I’ve looked up to him for years and I feel we’ve helped each other immensely. This hardheadedness made my coaching choice situation a lot more difficult than I wanted. Miscommunication on my part caused me to lose focus and I decided to choose a coach outside of the TCGA family. I didn’t fully understand how much it means to be a part of the team even without being a coached athlete.

What people don’t realize is that more than coaching, the team of misfits or reapers is so much more than anyone can imagine without experiencing it. Not taking anything away from the coach I chose, as he is very knowledgeable and mentored under someone I admire. Indeed, I’ve seen solid improvements in fitness while being coached by him. However as I stated earlier, coaching is more than just getting faster. I could tell after a couple months that our personalities weren’t meshing like I was hoping they would. I gave it another month to see if it was just the newness, but I could tell it just wasn’t what I wanted or needed and decided to end the professional relationship. I was upfront and honest with him and he understood and appreciated the way I handled things.

I guess I learned that I just have to have someone who can deal with my needs. I’ve been told that I may be one of those non coachable athletes, but I know that’s not the case. I’ve always done exactly what my previous coaches instructed and will continue to do the same. I just want and need someone who can handle my passion, eagerness, and drive. I have chosen a new Coach who I think will fit me much better after a lot of deliberation.

Hopefully, by putting my recent experiences down in words, I can help others make their best decision even if it’s not to join TCGA. Like Coach Slayer said in the blog, you need to take special care before making a commitment and assess your situation regularly to make sure you are doing what’s best for you. Hopefully, you can save yourself the heartache I caused myself and others close to me. I’d be glad to help out if you ever find yourself in a situation like mine. Now go #DOYOURJOB!