Monday, February 1, 2016

Year End Reflections

by Gina Kehr

As a coach you feel a lot of the same emotions as your athletes. Everything from elated with success, disappointed with defeat, motivated and driven with new goals as well as frustrated when things seem to not be working. Your season is our season and it is at this time of year that we like to reflect and learn from our successes and our failures.

One way I start to reflect is to ask some questions. I found some questions that helped me get started with thinking about my year as a coach. I am going to ask and answer these as a coach but they are easily applicable to you the athlete. I hope they inspire you to do some reflecting.

What is one thing you accomplished this year that you are proud of? One thing I accomplished this year is working with most of my athletes for over a year. Financially, I understand it can difficult to keep a coach for more than a key race but the payoff with working with athletes for more than four or five months really is rewarding. The longer I work with an athlete the better coach I feel I am to them. It is exciting to see the improvements each athlete makes with consistency in training and then pushing past their mental and physical blockers that only show when working with an athlete for a longer period of time.

What do you hope your athletes remember most about you as a coach? My number one goal when working with athletes is that they feel like we worked as a team. I want athletes to be empowered and feel like I listened, was creative and educated when coming with ideas to meet their needs and athletic goals. I want athletes to feel that I took my part in responsibility for their success and that I am always trying new ways to keep them improving.

What do you hope your athletes see as most valuable with your coaching style and program? My motto has always been, “Give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man a fish he eats forever.” My hopes is that when an athletes are done working with me they can coach themselves in a way that is more structured, controlled and educated. Balance of life and training and how they work hand in hand is an area in which most athletes need help. Confidence in their ability to trust their bodies and training is another area. Between these two, my hope is I have given them the tools and the balance and confidence to continue down their athletic paths.

These questions are a just few that I found. I have included others and if you really sit down and answer these, you will come up with the answers to what you feel you need for next year. Keep what is working, change what is not and try something new. Remember, each year builds on the next and all your training is in you always.

Here are some more questions you may want to ask yourself as you move into a new season.

  1. What is something you tried in your training this year for the first time? How did it go?
  2. What is something you found particularly frustrating this year?
  3. Is there something you would change about this year?
  4. What is one way that you grew athletically this year?
  5. Was there anyone amongst your colleagues/training partners that was the most helpful to you this year?
  6. In what ways were you helpful to your colleagues/training partners this year?
  7. What has caused you the most stress this year?
  8. What was the biggest mistake you made this year in training? How can you avoid making the same mistake in the future?
  9. What is something you did this year that went better than you thought it would?
  10. What was your favorite race this year and why?
  11. Did you have any big organizational challenges this year?
  12. What was your most challenging workout? Why?

Gina Kehr was a professional athlete for 15 years, competing in events ranging from Olympic Trials to Ironman World Championships, where she achieved five Top 10 finishes in her career. She coaches athletes of all levels and all distances. Her experience comes from her journey as a novice age group triathlete who quickly worked her way to becoming an established professional triathlete. Gina also works with the Stanford Tri team, is a coach with Stanford Masters and leads a squad of short and long course athletes. You can read more about Gina at
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