For 14+ years, I’ve been coaching triathlon and running for clients in-person and online.

Periodically I organize group workouts for my local athletes including a fun post-workout social portion. If I could invite one person to attend it would be Coach Ted Lasso, even though he is a completely fictional character.

For anyone unfamiliar with Coach Lasso, in a nutshell, he knows very little about the sport he coaches, so he learns from others that do. Coach Lasso is humble, personable, funny, and a tremendous motivator bringing his team to unprecedented success. His advice helps his athletes succeed – not only in their sport but in their personal relationships as well.

Social media also loves Coach Lasso as I found his top ten leadership lessons on Instagram. My favorite three are ‘Believe in yourself,’ ‘All people are different people,’ and ‘Stay teachable.’ I apply these lessons to my coaching style. As a result, the athletes I coach perform better, and my business is built on integrity, peppered with heart, and pragmatism.

Female athlete training using heavy ropes
Coaches can change the game when it comes to getting the best out of their people.

Believe in yourself

When athletes hire a coach, they are looking for someone knowledgeable in the field who can analyze performance, teach relevant skills, and provide encouragement. They are looking for a leader, a coach who embodies and role models “belief.”

According to USA Triathlon, the multi-sport community went from 15,000 members 15 years ago to 400,000 members as it stands today. This explosive growth also increased the number of coaches in the industry. With a multitude of different coaching opinions and styles out there, new coaches may feel intimidated about the best method to enhance athletic performance for their clients. If a coach is going to instill belief we must practice what we preach. One popular approach for many coaches is to have a general training plan, a one-size-fits-all, applied to a large volume of athletes. It saves time and the coach can take on more clients.

My style is different. In my opinion, the more I customize my coaching to the individual athlete, the stronger the athlete performs. I made the decision over a decade ago to stay true to this belief. It is the core of my business and transcends into the performance results for my athletes.

Athlete stretching wearing a pink and black adidas outfit
There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Coaches must customize their programs to each individual they train.

People are all different

Like Ted, I never hit the panic or snooze buttons, especially when it pertains to my athletes. I never give up on my athletes and foster a “yes, I can” mindset.

I believe coaching geared towards each individual athlete is the secret ingredient to go from average to exceptional coaching. No two athletes I work with are alike when truly considering ability, experience, personality, and motivation. Coaching centered around the individual requires more time and effort on the coach’s part, but the result is high performance and client satisfaction.

Sure, it’s easier to copy and paste the same workout for all athletes. But basing a training program on data and feedback from the previous weeks helps the athlete establish a proper foundation of skills and fitness as they proceed forward. For example, in the case of beginner swimmers, a 3000-meter swim in the first month is probably not the most realistic workout for a swimmer exhausted after 1000-meters. The stroke begins to fall apart, and the swimmer likely defaults to poor mechanics to complete the distance.

Person swimming in a pool adidas
Training plans must be realistic and focused on building on past developments.

Stay teachable

I love this lesson from Coach Lasso. To me staying teachable means keeping an open mind to new ideas and ways of doing things. It also means being honest and open to learn and talk about ever-changing approaches. The science behind the sport expands, so sometimes the old approach might become outdated or less effective than newer approaches. For example, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is gaining popularity because studies show when added appropriately HIIT increases VO2 max allowing the body to use oxygen more efficiently”.

Learning from other knowledgeable sources helps me include a variety of training programs. Opportunities from social media forums, continuing education webinars, and coaching symposiums are just a few examples that exist for multi-sport coaches.

Person throwing a heavy ball against a wall
Coaches don’t stand still. They continue to learn new ways to optimize others.

In conclusion, while Coach Ted Lasso is completely fictional, the coaching philosophy he embodies applies across the board for all sports. I highly recommend any coach out there to watch the series! I am reminded of universal lessons such as believing in oneself as a coach while keeping a sense of humility, staying open to new ideas, and maintaining a sense of humor. Most importantly learning as much as I can about my clients helps me provide the best possible experience for each athlete. Strong performances equal happy clients and coaching success!

Final thoughts…Ted Lasso, you have an open invitation to join our KEC workout!


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