Since today is Tuesday, it is Coach Tuesday!! But this Tuesday is special because THIS Coach Tip Tuesday is a joint production between me and my colleague Eddie Bristol, who is the owner of Fast Eddie's Cycles.
This week’s tip appears to be simple at face value, but it something that we find that most people struggle tremendously with: Be specific.
Both Eddie and I work in an industry where we are problem solvers. In his role as a bike mechanic and my role as a coach and bike fitter, we take the information that is given to us by athletes/customers and then use that to solve the issue at hand. So whether it’s a bike that’s not working properly, a workout that didn’t go well, discomfort while riding a bike, or a goal that someone wants to meet, we’re there. And we’re expected to help that customer/athlete chart a course that resolves the issue that they’re presenting to us.
In order to do our jobs well, we need specific details. I ask for these details all of the time in my coaching. In fact, I ask for specifics so often that some athletes dread when I ask it. (Because that means they need to really think about things. :D )
WHY do we want specifics?? The answer is simple.: so we can help you as completely as we are able to.
So if a workout doesn’t feel good, ask yourself: what specifically didn’t feel good?? SO many things can be to blame for feeling poorly in a workout, so it’s really important to reflect on what exactly didn’t feel good and to note it. One day, you might not feel good because it was too humid. Another day you might not feel great because you didn’t get any sleep the night before. Maybe you felt poorly on a long workout because you slacked on your nutrition and hydration. And yet still another day you might not feel well because you were sick for the last two weeks and you’re just getting back into things. In all of these scenarios, you didn’t feel good. But the WHY was radically different in each case. And as such, it’s important to document the why so you can look back and observe patterns and/or find a resolution if it’s something that can be fixed with training or modifications to a plan.
Sometimes, athletes tell me that a bike ride didn’t go well because their equipment (the bike) wasn’t working properly. Sometimes this is the bike’s fault, and sometimes this is the rider’s fault. In either case, it’s really important to be specific about what isn’t working the way the athlete thinks it should. If it warrants a visit to a bike mechanic like Eddie, then giving a lot of details is critical to resolving this issue. Just saying “my bike isn’t working” doesn’t help Eddie get to the root cause of the issue. And going in saying that one thing is wrong means that he will hone in on that one thing, unless the customer says to go through the *entire* bike. Since going through the entire bike costs more, Eddie and other ethical bike mechanics are not going to do extra work or charge a customer more just for the sake of doing it. They’ll only do it if it’s warranted or requested by the customer.
In both of our arenas - for Eddie at his shop and in me in my coaching/bike fitting realm - it’s important for you - the customer/athlete - to be clear about your expectations and what issues you’re having. Doing so ensures that you get the very best out of us, which in turn helps you get the very best out of you!! So be specific, always. Your input determines our output. And we want to give you the very best output possible. Help us help YOU!! :)