The Value of Investment: Good to Great


Posted by Coach Mark Turner

As the final day of the First Annual Team MPI Coaches' Retreat drew to a close, Head Coach Chris Palmquist brought forward the idea of “investment” and how it is so valuable to real progress and the achievement of individual and team goals. Team MPI had invested in each coach by hosting and organizing the retreat, and each individual had invested in the team and themselves by taking the time and making the effort to attend the retreat. The importance of the investments that took place over the course of our gathering cannot be easily measured in mere dollars or even in time. Instead the investments that took place involved much deeper things. We invested in each other. We invested in knowledge sharing, mentoring, and most importantly of all, in relationships. We grew closer together as a team and built bridges of communication that will serve each of us in a wide variety of ways in the 2017 coaching year and beyond.

As we gathered at the Portofino Island Resort on Pensacola Beach for the retreat, I looked forward to what the weekend would bring. I hoped for great things and the weekend delivered. The curriculum for the weekend was filled with fantastic topics and led by highly skilled, deeply experienced, and knowledgeable coaches. But the true spirit of the sessions was found in the interplay between the coach or coaches leading the sessions and the entire team of coaches participating. The investments that took place in coach-to-coach direct engagement and in group sessions were the real driving force behind the success of the retreat. We invested in each other as part of cooking teams, coaching teams, and cleanup crews. We packed the weekend with activity to ensure that the hoped for investments would bear fruit, and then we experienced the return on our investments.

The biggest takeaway for me from our time together is that the value of investment can never be over emphasized. Hiring a coach is the first step an athlete takes in going from good to great. Athletes invest in themselves when they hire a coach. The athlete and coach invest in each other in the coaching relationship. The athlete invests trust in the coach's expertise and invests time in his or her training. As coaches we invest in our athletes. We “buy in” to them: to their lives, to their hopes and dreams, and to their challenges and setbacks.

When you truly invest in something or someone, while the returns are important and often measurable, it is primarily the process of investment that drives real progress.

Coaches invest in themselves by acquiring more knowledge through seeking out experiences, new opportunities, continuing education, and certifications. All of those avenues are important in the development of a good coach. But when coaches invest in each other, they are following the path toward becoming a great coach. Great coaches buy into other coaches and their gifts, talents, and expertise.

Great coaches encourage other coaches and want them to succeed. Great coaches believe in collaboration and live out that belief. Great coaches know they don't know it all. Great coaches bring humility through experience to the table when they coach, when they mentor, and when they teach. Great coaches are eager to learn and build their knowledge base. Great coaches invest because they know the value of investment from first-hand experience. I got to spend the weekend with just such a team of great coaches. I really look forward to this year and seeing how the investments made by Team MPI in each other during our retreat will grow our teams, our coaches, and our athletes!

For more photos from the Team MPI Coaches' Retreat, see our Facebook album

Sessions from the February 10-12, 2017 Coaches' Retreat at Portofino Island Resort in Pensacola Beach, FL:

  • Swim Video Analysis Demo (Coach John Murray)
  • Run Analysis, Neuromuscular and Plyometric Warmup Demos (Coaches Mark Sortino & Mark Turner)
  • Cycling Skills Clinic Demo (Coaches Mark Sortino & Chris Palmquist)
  • Strength & Conditioning (Coach Laura Henry)
  • Heart Rate Variability (Simon Wegerif of ithlete)
  • Bike Fitting (Coach Adam Sczech)
  • Training with Power (Coach Chris Palmquist)
  • Sports Psychology (Coach Amanda Liebovitz)
  • Coaching paratriathletes (Coaches Mark Sortino & Chris Palmquist)
  • Coaching Youth (Coaches Chris Palmquist & Mandi Kowal)
  • Designing Training Camps & Clinics, Best Business Practices Coaches (Coaches John Murray & Mark Sortino)
  • Taking the next step with USAT L2 or L3 and other coaching certifications (Coaches Chris Palmquist & Mark Turner)


Certified coaches who are interested in learning more about Team MPI should contact

Coach Mark Turner is an IRONMAN Certified Coach, USAT Level I 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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