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Virtually Coaching

  • By Lance Watson
  • Published Apr 6, 2012
Illustration by Hunter King.


How does it work?

Skype, FaceTime and video analysis are great ways to bridge the physical gap. Skype and FaceTime enable coaches to have a person-to-person chat. A coach can demonstrate a skill or sit in on a key indoor session with his or her athlete. Many of us have received video clips of family events or other activities via e-mail. Why not shoot a video on your smartphone and e-mail your coach your 100m swim time trial, or put it on YouTube? By filming different angles, the coach is able to freeze-frame and give written and verbal feedback, along with video captures, to point out areas for improvement. Good coaches rely on the feedback of athletes, so no matter what tool you are using, communication is essential to the relationship.

Online training programs such as TrainingPeaks make a great interface for posting an athlete’s personal calendar, and provide a user-friendly forum where athletes can upload data from bicycle power meters, heart rate monitors and GPS devices for pace, elevation changes and distance. A coach can use the software to view an athlete’s planned session, his or her feedback and training data all on one screen. Over time the combination of coach and software helps you learn your training patterns and how to use that knowledge to become a better athlete.

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