CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS
1) Understand basic human physiology and the scientific methods used to confirm or discard hypotheses to how the human body responds to the challenges of training and competing.
2) Understand the mind-body connection including the psychology of the maximizing athletic performance, how the "placebo" effect can be used to maximum advantage, visualization techniques, and believing in ones own best abilities.
3) Understand the athlete he/she is working with and methodically applying the an individualized program which combines the right balance of #1 and #2.
We, as individuals, can study and understand exercise physiology as well as the aspects of sports psychology that play a role in all athletic pursuits. We can even apply a methodical training program based on programs weve heard or read about. BUT we cannot easily identify our own weaknesses and put our personal physical and psychological needs in perspective - we need an independent opinion that is objectively (and sometimes brutally) honest as to those aspects of our performance that are lacking.
A recreational athlete can use the information on this web site to improve their performance and enjoy the benefits of cycling. However, to reach our maximum potential in competitive events, we will need an objective and honest coach, whether it is a riding compatriot or a paid professional.
Understanding the above requirements to be a great coach will help you to ask the right questions in your search. This means checking on their credentials in understanding exercise physiology (you want a coach that bases his or her program on objective information, not just the fad of the day), understanding their approach to the problems of the athletes psyche, and asking for references from past pupils as to the coachs ability to understand individuals needs and give the advice that is needed, however uncomfortable it might have been to hear and accept.
And finally, a great coach has the personal experience to understand the race. What is it like to be dying and put in that sprint at the end? How do you position yourself for the sprint? What is it like to be in the middle of the pack with all the dynamics that are involved there. There is a balance to be achieved - too much science and you lack the gusto. Too much psychology and those with better basics in nutrition will have the edge. No common sense from having been there themselves and its all just theoretical.
Balance. Its the key. Good luck on your search.