Remote Coaching Part 1: What to Use to Connect with Athletes?

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As a coach, I have used multiple methods to track training programs and stay connected with the athletes I work with. When I first started coaching, remote coaching involved using either a phone or a fax machine.  My business partner and I recognized the challenge of programming and coaching for the athletes we worked with and approached a grad student at U of T to help design a program that enabled us to create, monitor and track programs electronically.  There were challenges, glitches, and growing pains, especially for our athletes who lived and raced in different countries. Although there were challenges, there were also valuable lessons related to remote coaching.

For the past 15 years we have been using Training Peaks with great success. To declare, we are neither funded nor sponsored by Training Peaks.  It is simply a program that we have found serves our needs well due to the fact the majority of individuals we work with are triathletes, marathoners and other endurance sport athletes. Currently, there are dozens of options that enable you to program and monitor athletes. We will share interviews and feedback from other S&C coaches in future sharings on additional tools.

Additionally, we have used close to a dozen different platforms to connect with our athletes in the field of play, and off the field. For over a year we have used Zoom with great success. Especially when connecting with multiple people at the same time in different countries, with some on the computer and some on the phone. Another declaration, we are neither funded nor sponsored by Zoom. During these days of global challenge, appropriate programming, exercise prescription, and connection with our athletes is key.

As a strength coach, if you are struggling currently to connect with your athletes perhaps the two above options would be of value to you. To note, other coaches I work with are using Slack, Vimeo, WhatsApp, Skype, Teambuildr, Google Docs and Kinduct. I encourage you to share what you are using in the comments section below.

Best of luck!

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Brent
Brent
2 months ago

Hi Sheldon, for the longest time, I’ve been using the cost-effective method of Google Docs, paired with YouTube to provide context and methods of understanding for the athlete. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a foolproof system that sometimes requires a lot of troubleshooting, more than I would like.

I appreciate your thoughts and recommendations on this topic and look forward to investigating Training Peaks a little further. Furthermore, I’m interested to hear more about this topic as you dive deeper into your experience.

Be well!

Last Name
Linker
Province
Ontario
Trevor
Trevor
2 months ago

I am doing a lot of online coach and student instructional webinars using Free Cam 8.
https://www.freescreenrecording.com/
Really easy to use, good resolution for action video playback and analysis, and reasonable sized files for uploading. Shout out to Dave Scott-MacDowell at Brock for the recommendation.

Last Name
Cottrell
Province
Ontario
Brent
Brent
2 months ago

I have actually been using instagram with some success. I have posted some at home workouts that people can access. One of my athletes and myself have been using the video option on the story platform to direct message each other with questions, form for exercises, and daily inspiration.

Last Name
Day
Province
British Columbia
Brent D
Brent D
2 months ago
Reply to  Brent

Two Brent’s on here. Rare. I’m Brent Day so there is no confusion.

sarah
sarah
2 months ago

For 1 on 1 I’m using Skype and FaceTime. Both work well. For groups- zoom is effective .
Facebook live works well to share workouts to mass numbers and archives into your videos for future reference. Hard to monetize though.

YouTube for video shares

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Ontario
Karsten
Karsten
2 months ago

I have recorded and uploaded videos to Vimeo then shared the links + program (excel) via email. Subsequently, a conversation on Skype or Messenger about the details of the program.

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Jensen
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Ontario
Steve
Steve
2 months ago

Currently at Brock University we are using Whats App to communicate with our teams, 1) lifesize for team training sessions (athletes all log in at the same time and train together from their homes with their lead performance coach), 2) individual reconditioning or programming used lifesize where the lead therapist, performance coach and athlete chat about the current state of the injury, what the athlete can and cannot do, and then team buildr exercises are added to the athletes program. Team programming is completed via team buildr complete with videos for each exercise.

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Lidstone
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Ontario
Ben
Ben
2 months ago

Hi everyone, At McMaster we have been using Teambuildr for the last 6 years. It is interesting how we have to really ensure our video quality for our exercises right now due to not being able to be with our athletes. We have started some zoom workouts this week where we focus on tempo and technique through video. Our department is looking at Teamworks to communicate effectively but that is in the trialing stages. I will update everyone when I know more about Teamworks.

Last Name
Bahrami
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Ontario
Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago

We have been utilizing Slack extensively for internal communication amongst coaches and staff. It has drastically reduced the amount of email and texts we send and the organization of discussions into threads makes it easy to go back and review what was discussed. You can have group calls directly through Slack, link dropboxes and google drive files, sync your calendar and link it to your zoom or GoToMeeting account. It is also free or you can pay more to access other features. It’s worth a try.

Last Name
Clark
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British Columbia
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