What makes a good coach?

Recently on a forum I got called out for having a 3:19 marathon PR and being a coach.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.52.33 AM

Now, I actually took no offense from his comment and I don’t think he was being disrespectful. I even sent him a message letting him know, and apologizing for the rude comments from others. No fault to them either, I think they took it more to heart than I did 😉

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.53.10 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.53.23 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.53.34 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.53.46 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.53.53 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.54.03 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.54.17 AM

Here is an interesting article I found that touches on this subject.

And when I mentioned this on Facebook, the comments were interesting.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.59.14 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.59.26 AM

Now, the entire point of this article is what makes a good coach?

As many of the people above have shown with examples, athletic ability has basically nothing to do with the success of your athletes.

General training and physiology knowledge does play a part, a coach obviously needs to be able to help an athlete make smart decisions.

Yes I’ve found that the most important characteristic of a good coach is simply their ability to work well with their clients to help them improve and succeed. I would hesitate to take advice from most elite swimmers, triathletes, or runners. They are good at what they do, moving forward fast. Yet are they good at motivating an athlete to train better or holding them back if they are too motivated? Can they appropriately prescribe workouts for people. Are they easy to talk to and can they make their athletes comfortable coming to them with with problems?

That’s what is important. Not having a 2:30 marathon PR, some coaching certification that you received after a weekend class, or a degree in exercise physiology.


Kyle is a running coach who works with people all over the world to help them run more consistently & be resilient to injury.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Nathan - September 30, 2014

I didn’t read through all the comments, but definitely agree with this post! This is the same reasons why the best managers and coaches in professional sports were not the most decorated athletes. They were students of the game and learned how to teach others.

A good coach obviously need a level of expertise in their field, but they also need to know how to listen and motivate as you mentioned. That is almost more important, as most runners aren’t trying to become elite… they are trying to become stronger runners.

Leave a Reply:

Get my BEST racing tips, FREE

I promise these will help you run faster at any race distance, in any conditions, on any terrain, regardless of your fitness level.