The Importance of Faith and Belief


Posted by Coach Allen Stanfield

Having worked with dozens of athletes with various backgrounds, different goals, and abilities, I've come to the conclusion that the most important thing in the world of triathlon is faith: faith in yourself, faith in your coach, faith in the process, and faith in your team.

I began my experience with Team MPI as an athlete more than 5 years ago, and I remember one of the first things Coach Mark said to me. We were discussing my schedule for the year and as we talked about an early season sprint race in my hometown, he casually said "you should win that" and moved on in the conversation like it was not a big deal. That was a big deal to me. At the time I'd never won a multisport race and never even entertained the idea that I could, so the idea that I "should" win wasn't something I readily accepted. Having that response from my relatively new Coach was an awesome boost of confidence and something I try to always relay to the athletes I work with. As a coach, I often have more belief in my athletes while they struggle with doubts. I find that the most important part of the process is making sure they know I have faith in them and what I'm asking them to do.

I'm always frustrated and shocked when I see the lack of belief and confidence in both coaches and athletes. If you don't believe in what you're doing it's not going to work. If you don't trust in the person that is asking you to do the work, it's not going to work. If the person asking you to do the work doesn't believe in you, it's not going to work. 

Through our experiences we are able to gain more confidence utilizing both successes and failures. Albert Bandura's term self efficacy, which means situation specific self confidence, has been found to be one of the most significant predictors of continued participation and success.  Our self efficacy is boosted by our Teams (anyone in your supportive environment, coaches, training partners, etc.)

Ask yourself if your Team believes in you and you believe in them. If not, don't hesitate to change those dynamics, because if you don't, success in the sport will always be out of reach.

(Editor's note: That race Coach Mark believed Coach Allen could win -- he did!)


Coach Allen Stanfield is a USA Triathlon Level I Coach who has been with TeamMPI since 2012. Allen has coached Junior Elite Athletes, Southeast Regional Amateur Champions, Boston Marathon Finishers, IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Finishers and numerous IRONMAN Finishers. Allen has completed more than 50 multisport events with more than 15 overall wins including IRONMAN 70.3 Age Group winner. He is the Co-Founder and President of Ticking Tri Bombs, a USAT Club, and Founder of the Road to Tradition beginner triathlete group. Contact him at

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