If Paulie can benefit from a coach, so can you! Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Want to get fit? Here's why you should consider working with a coach

Cycling and triathlon coach Simon Walsh explains the advantages.

SCIENTIFIC STUDIES HAVE have shown you’re 40% more likely to succeed if you write your fitness goals down, you’re 60% more likely to succeed if you tell someone what they are, and you’re 90% more likely if you have a coach.

With the latter in mind, we sought some answers from Ballina-based cycling and triathlon coach Simon Walsh, founder of

Walsh, with years of experience in the field, believes a coach has a number of important functions – and not just at the competitive level, and he believes training athletes young is no bad thing either.

“The way I’d look at it is, in today’s modern world everyone has access to a lot of information on the internet and most athletes are pretty knowledgeable, but if you’re to look at it from the more competitive side of things, more or less every successful athlete has a coach, it’s as simple as that,” he argues.

“It’s hugely beneficial for them and if you expand that down to the working man, the same thing, and one of the main reasons for that is time constraints. Coaches give you a plan based around your daily life that you might not stick to if you made it yourself.”

Which brings us onto one of the main benefits of having a coach – accountability.

“If you go onto benefits that’s certainly one of them, you have a program laid out for you and you have someone looking over your shoulder, and the coach has a vested interest to make sure you’re completing his or her program as best as possible.

Let’s not forget that he wants you to be successful, it’s one of the values of having a coach. He is probably the only other person interested in your fitness, other than you.

“The benefit of that is you’re accountable to him, he’s planning your sessions and diagnosing those sessions with you, helping to build your confidence is a huge part of it,” Walsh contests.

Other benefits include things like a more objective eye on progress.

“You’re looking at responding to factors like fatigue, whether that is showing in the athlete. The likelihood is when you go out and you’re going crap you might think the best thing to do is to double the workload but your coach, if he’s on the ball, will say ‘you know what? Maybe we should do the opposite’ and that comes back to the whole thing about trust between client and coach.

“The athlete believes the coach will get the best of him, whatever method they use. No coach has the divine right to believe they have the best method but if the athlete believes in it and sticks to the plan, then you’re on to a winner.”

It’s no surprise that most successful athletes have coaches, but what about people who have no interest in competing and are only it in for fun and keeping fit?

“They’re maybe no different to the pro guys – even if it’s just to start someone off because people genuinely might have no clue what to do.

These guys are often very inquisitive, they’re new, they’re keen, they want to learn as much as possible, they’re hearing a million different pieces of information.

“So if you’re a genuine coach you’re going to give them the basics first, not try to turn them into a world champion, look at their goals or decide on one, keep reminding them of that goal as they build through the year and hopefully they make huge improvements towards that goal.”

And kids as young as 15, surely too young for coaches?

“I would say, looking at what some of the 15- and 16-year-olds are asked to do at the moment, absolutely not.

“Maybe not a personal coach, you’d be hoping the clubs they’re in would have some kind of a good coaching structure, that’s vitally important because those skills and tactics they pick up at that age are difficult to pick up later on.”

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