More effective than drugs, just a little less sexy
There are two sides to any coach / athlete relationship and with those sides comes two different perspectives. This is never more relevant (or important) as when the inevitable happens and the athlete's progress stalls, or is simply not moving quickly enough (again "quickly enough" will be matter of perspective). This is why open and regular communication between coach and athlete is vital because coach may well have a plan in place, possibly even be expecting some stalling in performance that is all part of the long game, but all the athlete sees (feels) is a drop in performance. When both parties are on the same page, harmony and co-operation is far more likely.
In order to keep relevance here, most of the references and examples are specific to endurance cycling, sports with different performance parameters are well outside the scope of this blog. So on with endurance cycling. It is also worth keeping in mind that the word "coach" can often be substituted with "training program", as many riders don't in fact use a coach but source and download training plans from a variety of sources.
I have some favourite examples that highlight the importance of year on year progress and building towards reaching the full potential of the rider. Miguel Indurain is a Spanish cyclist that won the Tour de France five years in a row, between 1991 and 1995. Most cycling fans know this but far fewer are aware that 1991 ("Big Mig's" first title) was in fact Indurain's SEVENTH participation in the race, hardly an instant sensation. Obvously many years were spent in diligent and consistent training, no doubt there were many occasions where his progress stalled, or even went backwards. But in the end, year on year progress led Indurain to the very top of the cycling world. Then there is our own Richie Porte, who actually first rode the TDU (for UniSA) in 2008 and placed 7th overall in his first Grand Tour, the Giro in 2010, where he also won the young rider category. It has taken close to a decade of year on year development for Richie to become a genuine contender for the overall title in the Grand Tours
Whilst the examples of Indurain and Porte highlight the importance of consistency, building and patience, the path of the professional cyclist is always a little different to that of the weekend warrior or even the serious amateur racer. There are however some mistakes worth avoiding for ALL cyclists trying to improve and some foundation principles to keep firmly routed in your approach to training.
Stay Safe and Train Smart