The best natural runners do not always win, and the best coaches do not always have winning athletes. I requires a mixture of both, where a culture is created that brings out the best in each runner individual — even if they aren’t the most naturally talented.
Successful coaching and the relationship between a coach and an athlete rests on 4 pillars:
Trust. Developing trust is a huge cornerstone for success, and coaches who take a genuine approach to know the runners individually often develop the strongest relationships as a result. Coaches must get athletes to trust his/her appraisals, decisions, and methods toward establishing a culture and climate. Also, a coach must be able to trust his athletes in that they execute his or her schedules as given.
At QuadraCoach, our coaches try to create a closer bond between them and the athletes by open communication and adapting the training schedules according to the feedback they get from the individual runners.
Honesty. Coaches need to be honest with their athletes and not get caught up playing favourites or telling players what they want to hear if it’s not true. Good coaches deliver tough news with respect, and provide clear, direct feedback that can be used for future growth.
We try to be as open and clear as possible and don’t hold up a smokescreen in front of the athletes. We state very clearly what the runners can expect from us and what we expect from them and we do not hold back to temper the expectations of the athletes. On the other hand, our coaches are the biggest supporters of the runners and often have sleepless nights in order to track the athletes in a race (if live tracking is provided by the race organisers).
Respect. Every athlete deserves respect on a basic human level, meaning that runners feel valued for their efforts, are treated fairly at all times with leaving race, religion, sexual orientation and political views out of the picture. When athletes feel respected they are much more likely to buy into the philosophy and culture created by the coaches.
As a group with athletes from different continents, backgrounds and cultures, we at QuadraCoach put respect for the athletes on top of our list of priorities as we feel that those differences can create new views and perspectives for our coaches, which in turn will improve their abilities to adapt under all circumstances.
Work Ethic. There can be as much trust, honesty and respect as possible but without a good work ethic, both from the coaches and athletes, there can be no success. Being a coach is not just about churning out (or sometimes plainly copying or downloading) schedules. It requires work to improve yourself, study, keep up to date with the latest evolutions and foremost get to know your runners. The same applies to the athletes, without the willingness to follow the schedules and even go the extra mile, the results will not come by themselves
Our coaches are trained and certified in their respective fields and are restricted in the number of athletes they handle so they can use their time to study them and the data brought in from each training session so they can create the optimal schedules for each individual.
These 4 pillars work for every level, from coaching elite athletes to helping and guiding absolute beginners. We are proud to stand by them and keep them in mind in every decision that we make. For us, running is not about winning races, but helping runners to become the best version of themselves even if that means going above and beyond our line of duty.
By Gert Rijkx, founder and head coach of QuadraCoach. Former athlete and certified athletics coach with over 25 years of experience in coaching, training and motivating runners of all levels