Am I a Bully Coach?



As I between 'seasons,' so to speak, I have been reflecting on what went well and what needs improvement with how the programming for the Kids Tri Training was executed. I determined that my colleagues are not able to get inside my head and know my thoughts, and for my vision to be executed I have to be much more efficient in communication — not only to the athlete, but also to those who assist me. The problem this past season stemmed from the fact that we had several inexperienced coaches and I was providing too much freedom. It was evident the day I returned from the pool to see soccer being played during the running segment of training. Ummmmmm,…….. OK?



And in that moment, I saw how immature and young two of the coaches really are.


I have also been reflecting on how I am interacting with the coaches, with the parents and administrators from the school's we work in, as well as my athletes. How do I speak to them? How do I listen?

Am I listening with intent?


Am I listening to respond?


Am I empowering these kids?

Am I empowering my athletes?


And I asked myself — in the spirit of coaching and teaching, am I behaving like a bully?



And I stumbled across this interaction…….

My running coach sent my May schedule yesterday, which sparked our following text conversation:

Me: I think you sent me someone else's schedule by mistake.
Coach: Nope, why ya asking? Something look wrong?
Me: There are only walking intervals on my Saturday runs, short, tiny intervals and my target pace is over a minute faster than last months?
Coach: Your tempo run this week you struggled to keep the pace we had scheduled and ran it on average a minute faster than planed. You don't need walking intervals on your short runs anymore, you are a big girl now. Suck it up buttercup.
Me: I hate you
Coach: That means I'm doing my job. 🙂
Coach: I scheduled a 10K on June 4th for us. We are going to RUN it together at your pace. Your Welcome.

I'm pretty sure she is trying to kill me. Run a full 10K? In January I was struggling to get 1 mile done with a 3 minute walk, 1 minute run interval.

Personally, I was appalled. How could a coach speak to someone like this?

But, the recipient seemed to enjoy the coaches style and approach? The recipient seemed to thrive on it.

And I was reminded once again…… That my perception of a behavior may not be another's. My perception is truly not another's.


I was reminded again that coaching is about the relationship. It is not necessarily about how much or what you know, but it is about how the athlete and I interact and if the athlete trusts me. The coaching relationship dynamic is symbiotic and it is about trust. I reflect back and see how I have failed miserably in the past. Destroyed the trust, in simple things. And how I continue to strive to be a better coach, staying true to my word, continuing to learn and read about methods to improve my knowledge of the skills involved, and most importantly to be actively engaged in my athlete's goals.

To listen with intent.





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