Help Your Athletes Achieve Their Dreams In 2014


We’ve dubbed November the start of the “Dreaming Season”, when athletes begin to set goals for the coming year. Because of this, it’s also a crucial time for you as a coach. Here are some things to be doing in November so that you can help your athletes achieve their dreams in 2014.

Working with Your Athletes

Season End Review

Before you jump into 2014 planning, it’s important to look back on the 2013 season and discuss what went well and what needs improvement. With your Coach Edition account on TrainingPeaks, you can use the Dashboard feature to review summary data for the past year. Did the athlete meet goals that were set this time last year? Were there areas that could use some more focus in 2014? This can be an uncomfortable conversation for some athletes, so remember to use your communication skills and provide constructive criticism. Also, be prepared to open yourself up to the same – how could you improve as a coach? Here’s a great article about questions you and your athlete can ask each other at the end of the season.

Season Dreaming

Once the season review has taken place, it’s time to switch gears, leave 2013 in the dust, and dive into the Dreaming Season. If your athlete tends to do the same season over and over again, encourage them to think outside the box. In the end, they don’t necessarily have to move from their “normal” but hopefully before 2014 goals are set, they can dream a little. As a coach this is something you can guide them through. Does the athlete have any races on their “bucket list”? Are there races that would play to the athlete’s strengths, or ones that would help the athlete improve on their weaknesses? Races that are different than the athlete’s primary sport can also be fun to consider. In the end, having an athlete step back and say “what do I want?” can help them feel more confident in their 2014 goals once they are created.

Dream to Reality

After races have been listed and ideas have been thrown around, it’s time to get down to business. Whether the goal is time-based, performance-based, or process-oriented, it’s important to make sure the athlete is setting realistic goals. This conversation can be uncomfortable and awkward, nobody likes to hear they can’t do something, but ultimately it’s more disheartening to work towards a goal that is not attainable for that athlete in that time period. Good communication is important to coaching, especially with setting expectations and goals. If an athlete has a goal that seems to be unrealistic, perhaps it’s something that can be turned into a multi-year plan.

Becoming a Better Coach

The “Dreaming Season” isn’t just for athletes. This is a great time for coaches to improve on their own weaknesses, seek out continuing education, and work on the coaching business too. In 2013 how were you challenged as a coach? There are many resources for improving your coaching skills, and TrainingPeaks is one of the weapons in your arsenal.


Use Workout Libraries to organize your workouts. The slower season is a great time to sit down and dedicate some time to putting workouts into libraries. You can create them directly in the library or save them from a client’s calendar into a library.


Good communication is key to being a successful coach. Using Post Workout Notifications will alert you via email when an athlete uploads data or adds information to a workout. You can even view file information from within the email or on your smart phone. If you reply to the notification, the reply goes to your athlete, starting an email string between athlete and coach.

Save your work

You can use the plan feature to save work that you’ve done in the past. Let’s say you wrote a great 3 week taper plan for an IRONMAN race. You can copy those three weeks into a plan and have that to reference as you plan for other athletes.

Grow your business

Take advantage of our Athlete-Coach Match program to build your business and get more clients. To be part of this free service, you have to be a TrainingPeaks Certified Coach. See if you qualify.

Continuing Education

Attend one of our TrainingPeaks Universities in 2014 and learn how to use TrainingPeaks more efficiently and effectively for your coaching business.

Coaching with Power

If you want to learn more about coaching athletes with power meters, this is the time of year to dig in. Check out our series of four webinars on WKO 4, or read through our Power 411 articles.

The Dreaming Season is a fun time for athletes and coaches. If you use this time wisely, work on your skills and help your athletes set appropriate goals, you will be a great position for the 2014 season that is right around the corner.

About the Author

Melissa Schwartz

Melissa Schwartz leads the Education Department at TrainingPeaks. In her 3.5 years with the company, Melissa has specialized in educating and supporting endurance sports professionals who use the TrainingPeaks Coach Edition product. She is a former All-American swimmer and water polo player, and now spends her athletic time doing triathlon, running marathons, and harboring a secret love affair with golf. She's also a USAT certified coach and enjoys helping fellow moms see their athletic potential. Follow Melissa on Twitter.

View more posts by Melissa Schwartz