I was feeling particularly lazy today and did not have the energy to write a post about one of my favorite red herrings, the quest for improved fat burning. So I thought I would recycle an old post of mine on Slowtwitch, one that I feel is still very actual.
"You can divide coaches in many categories, according to age, level of experience, school of thought (if that exists in triathlon coaching at all), nationality, etc. One of the most common divider, especially in the US, is between coaches that are competitive athletes and those that are not.
For some reason, most people think that a successful athlete will be a successful coach. Not only that is not true, but in my opinion that almost never happens. I often see those coaches that are competitive athletes as "flavor of the day" coaches. Because they are too involved with their own training process, they easily take the tree for the forest and see all other athletes as "clones" of themselves. Because they are not bound by a long-term plan, athletes by definition have difficulty with focusing on long-term plans, they focus on what seemingly works here and now. Because they constantly change their methods, they lack the consistency in methods and processes you need in order to improve.
As a coach, it is very easy to spot these athletes/coaches because they say they are coaches, but talk like athletes. When discussing training, they discuss their training and their experience and have difficulty with abstract/general concepts. When justifying past setbacks, they always act like they were wrong then, but NOW they are right. Whatever is the "flavor of the day" is the absolute truth....now.
All the truly great coaches throughout the years were not and are not competitive athletes. The great coaches are the ones that have the ability to detach themselves from their own experiences and live the experiences of the athletes they coach. The experienced coach is the one that throughout the years learned through the experience of many athletes. The experienced and successful coach is the one that used what he/she learned throughout the years to build a consistent and coherent system for success. "