“I don’t need a coach, I am not a pro after all.” At STAPS we often get to hear statements like this when we tell someone what we do. Also “I am not good enough for a coach – it is not worth the effort” is something people often tell us. A well-structured training is, however, key to success – and who does not want to improve?
We at STAPS define coaching as more than just determine intensity ranges, write training plans and evaluate them. For us, coaching has many facets that all lead to one goal: improve the athlete’s performance, no matter whether he or she is an age group athlete or a pro. To do so, we got various options which our athletes take advantage of. Among others, these include – besides writing training plans and analyzing training sessions – nutrition specifications for training and racing, development of a pacing strategy for cycling marathons just like for long endurance events, time trials or triathlon races as well as individual bike fittings to optimize pedaling economics and power transfer.
The STAPS coaches
First of all, athletes who get coached by us take advantage of our team of coaches. They set up a profile of your strengths and weaknesses, provide you with important knowledge, e.g. when it comes to nutrition, advise and support you in the implementation process. We are convinced that face-to-face contact between athlete and coach is essential for the athlete’s improvement and therefore is the most important element of successful coaching. This is why we attach the utmost importance to our coaches’ professional and social competence. STAPS coaches are not only trained sports scientists with bachelor’s or master’s degrees as well as a background in competitive sports (physiology, biomechanics, nutritional science, psychology), but most of them also are athletes themselves. Furthermore, the members of our team of coaches regularly participate in further trainings, visit congresses and study i.e. write their thesis besides working for us to deepen their knowledge and broaden their minds. In a nutshell: they know, what they are writing and talking about – and are able to convey it to the athlete. This is at least the essence of countless feedback talks that we conducted with our athletes.
Our coaches are in direct contact with their athletes via phone, mail and Skype or communicate face-to-face on the occasion of their diagnostics appointment or, when required, also before or during important races. Communication does, however, not run in one direction only, as a good coach is in continuous dialog with his or her athletes and always also “processes“ their feedback. This is one of the reasons why we do not work with prefabricated training plans and write new training plans after having received the respective athlete’s response only. It is essential for a real performance improvement that the coach always reacts to the athlete’s current physical and psychological situation.
You can find our sport scientists here: the STAPS coaches!
STAPS coaching – strategy and structure
STAPS build their successful coaching strategy on three pillars:
- A physiological profile of the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses that is determined by STAPS performance diagnostics and gets regularly verified.
- The athlete’s individual situation i.e. the factors that need to be considered in training. These include e.g. available training time, particular training camps, alternative training options and of course the athlete’s social environment i.e. family, job as well as other obligations. All is coordinated accordingly.
- The athlete’s goals. These may be a particular ranking position or finish time at a particular race. The goal may, however, also be to lose weight or to improve the athletic performance. The athlete him- or herself decides on the goal, we support him or her to set it realistically.
Athletes training with STAPS get individual coaching tailored to their individual strengths and weaknesses, their goals and of course their financial budget.
Before we start we get to know each other. First on the phone then in person for the first performance diagnostics on which the training plans are based in order to be able to take physiological weaknesses into consideration, too. Therefore, there is no algorithm behind our training plans as with some software, app or training platform.
When drawing up our training plans we take current scientifically verifiable findings into account. There is no such thing as a philosophy that is coined by a certain training style. Time-consuming basic endurance workouts in winter? Not an option for an individual training plan. There are no training contents that are tied to a certain time of the year, training sessions are exclusively based on the three STAPS training pillars. Also in winter, a session may be short and tough, if it contributes to the development of the athlete.
There is no trial training like “let’s do some basic endurance for three months and then two weeks of intense training“, either. First, because it is not particularly motivating, second – and even more important – because performance diagnostics reveal weaknesses on which we can directly start to work on. In order to objectively determine if the training takes an effect – i.e. the effect wanted – the performance improvement and the development of the athlete is regularly verified by further diagnostics. Therefore, there is some kind of guarantee that comes with this concept that you neither waste time nor do junk miles and realize after 3 months that basic endurance training turned out not to be the right approach.
Training units are only a tool. An important characteristic of modern coaching is to connect them sensibly, to adjust them to the individual athlete’s level of fitness and to integrate them into the everyday life of an age group athlete without overstraining or subchallenging him or her.
There is no other type of sport with so much easily accessible training data as cycling i.e. the cycling leg in triathlon racing. “Performance“ can only be measured precisely, analyzed and used for training control in these types of sport. Particularly this “riding by numbers“ is extremely efficient and time-saving. It can be planned meticulously, not a single meter is ridden for nothing and it prevents overtraining as well as subchallenging an athlete. This does not mean, however, that our athletes must not train on a whim from time to time. We are able to draw conclusions from these performance data as well and classify these rides as training.
Data analysis – via power data or heart rate – does not only support training control, but also makes training success visible swiftly and allows for an immediate adaption of future training sessions to the respective improvements. Furthermore, our coaches analyze the power data generated during a race that enables them to draw conclusions in relation to energy supply and the respective pacing strategy.
Sport and nutrition go hand in glove. Particular sessions even call for a nutrition strategy before, during and after training in order to reach the training goal. Therefore, nutrition is part of every STAPS coaching.
Efficient training of the metabolism is almost impossible with filled glycogen stores, just like high-intensity training does not make sense without a sufficient supply of some carb fuel. Substances like nitrates (beetroot) or caffeine may improve performance; others like vitamin C weaken the training stimulus in contrast. We consider all this when planning our athletes’ trainings – and also the body weight that certainly plays an important role when it comes to watts per kilogram. All this, however, is done according to individual disposition, training i.e. race goal as well as individual circumstances:
A short note on the often misinterpreted subject of “training on empty stomach“. We hardly ever make our athletes ride without any fuel, but employ the “train low“ principle, i.e. low-carb nutrition with an emphasis on fat and protein supply. This way, we aim at the calorie balance to stay on a similar level as with high-carb nutrition. Nobody will go hungry. We rather demand our athletes to “start the session without carbs“ instead of using the term “on an empty stomach“. Furthermore, we only use this way of training if particular physiological weaknesses are to be tackled (e.g. reduction of max. lactate production rate, improvement of metabolism a.s.o.).
Find more insights on this in our STAPS advisor with 5 tips of how to improve your fat metabolism!
In addition to this we integrate particular training sessions in the course of the year that serve to test nutrition strategies for racing in order to make sure the athlete tolerates it in the heat of the race and to determine when he or she has to eat what. We work out a race strategy for our athletes so they know how much liquids, carbs, macro nutrients if necessary (especially in ultra endurance sports), they should consume and how bio boosters like beetroot or caffeine are used to improve performance.
Of course, we also monitor this strategy after a race and analyze the race.
Advise on tactics: perfect pacing
Please do not get us wrong, we would never tell our cyclists where to attack in a race – in pro sports this is the job of the athletic director anyway. Due to the many physiological parameters, we are in a position, however, to predict the perfect pacing without any problems, i.e. which race passages may be ridden at what performance level without the athlete cracking up at some point. This is not only true for long-distance events or cycle marathons, but particularly for time trials as well as the cycling leg in triathlon. Especially in the latter it is essential to distribute one’s power well, as a (marathon) run has to be completed after getting off the bike. By means of metabolic analyses as well as analyses of the fat and carb consumption that are part of the STAPS performance diagnostics, we even are able to predict certain finishing times.
You want to improve and become faster? Then you should start investing in the motor, i.e. in you, instead of spending money on the chassis like carbon wheels, an ultra-light frame or electronic gears. Our STAPS “tuning“ team is looking forward to lifting your performance to the next level. Further questions? Please call us or write an email.
You will find here all information on our training packages and offers: STAPS Coachings