Last or First: Team MPI Camps Are Right For You!


Posted by Coach Mark Turner

If you, like me, were not born destined to be a world-class athlete, you may share that same haunting childhood memory: The dreaded “last to be picked” for a team on the playground. Although I coach endurance sports and am myself an age group athlete, I am not a natural athlete. As an athlete, I have to work hard to perform at my personal best in competitions. And while I have accomplished things in endurance sports that impress those who don't participate, there is still that little boy on the playground who was usually last to be picked for the last team to pick.

I suspect that many age group athletes who pursue endurance sports may share in that same kind of memory. I also think it is one of the main reasons age group athletes are sometimes reluctant to sign up for triathlon camps: fear that they will not be able to keep up with the other athletes. Fear of being embarrassed is a powerful emotion.

At Team MPI camps we operate on a no one left behind, no one left out principle. Our camps and clinics are designed so that everyone will come away with gains in knowledge and tools to implement in their training after the camp or clinic. All of which will help them improve, regardless of their ability. Inexperience or even fitness limitations should never be cause for not attending a camp or clinic. This is where real experience and the groundwork for better performance, regardless of ability, is going to be best achieved.

Another corollary factor that can contribute to an athlete steering away from a camp or clinic is the opposite situation from the inexperienced or less fit athlete. The experienced and accomplished age group athletes sometimes steer away from the camp setting because either they think there is little they have to learn, or worse, they have attended a camp in the past and found that most of the attention was directed at the newer athletes, leaving them feeling left out. At Team MPI camps and clinics this an equally important point of emphasis. When we say no one left out we mean everyone: Slow, medium, or fast. New athlete, middle of the pack age grouper, or the athlete pursuing the podium on a regular basis.

Our camps are organized into groups by ability for each discipline. For example, the strong cyclist who attends one of our triathlon camps needing more work on the swim and run will get that extra help in the appropriate grouping. That's one of the main reasons we staff our camps with a low athlete to coach ratio. We aim to create an environment for stronger athletes to enjoy the opportunity to go a little harder and be challenged more in the area of their strength. In like manner, we desire to create the opportunity for each athlete to absorb the information we provide while still receiving the attention each athlete requires in those areas where they need growth. Groupings at Team MPI camps are rarely static and instead are constantly being evaluated by our coaches to ensure that all athletes are getting the most from their experience as possible.

So whether you are that age grouper thinking you would be left out for any reason, a Team MPI camp is designed with you in mind. They are places where camaraderie, learning, fun, and fitness all happen. For everyone. At Team MPI camps and clinics, everyone learns from everyone. As coaches with Team MPI, we are always learning and are all eager to help you in your athletic pursuits. So whether you were the team captain on that long ago playground, last to be picked, or, like most age group athletes, somewhere in the middle, Team MPI camps, clinics, and coaching are designed for you.

Coach Mark Turner is an IRONMAN Certified Coach, USAT Level I Certified Coach, USAT Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USMS Level I & II Certified Coach, USAT Cat 3 Official and USAT Elite Rules Official. He is also an Assistant RD for the Sylvan Beach Triathlon. Mark is a US Veteran who served with the United States Marine Corps. He joined the Team MPI Coaching Staff in 2015. "For me, endurance sports coaching is all about building relationships between me and the athletes I coach, as well as with my fellow coaches. I believe that working in a collaborative environment of like-minded people lays the best foundation for deep success. There is nothing more rewarding as a coach than to know that you have helped both your team and your athletes reach their greatest potential." He can be reached at


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