Brian Yates: Coach Interview Questionnaire

What is your background/qualifications that led you to coaching?

As an active youth, I played many sports. Soccer, football, baseball, BMX racing, etc., but it was swimming that really appealed to me. I began coaching youth swimming when I was only 15 years old. Later in college, I earned both a M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Anthropology with a focus in Human Anthropometry, Anthroscopy and Osteology; Bipedal Locomotion and Movement; and Archaeometry and Archaeological Science. Both my academic education and my career allowed me to develop a keen understanding of the human skeletal system and skeletal movement.

As a lifelong runner, swimmer, and bike rider, it wasn’t until 2012 that I finally decided to complete my certification as a USA Triathlon Level 1 Certified Coach. This allowed me to legitimately begin coaching athletes. Subsequently, I continued my formal education as a running coach by completing the USA Track & Field Coaching Education Level 1 Program, becoming a Certified Nutritional Therapist through the Health Sciences Academy, and ultimately becoming a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.

Years of experience coaching? Years of experience running?

I have been formally coaching running for 10 years. I have been running competitively for the past 35 years.

Do you have a personal coach, why or why not?

Yes, I do have a personal coach. Even as experienced running coaches, we don’t know everything. For the same reasons I encourage all levels of athletes to consider hiring a personal coach, or at least becoming involved with a running group that has experienced coaching available, I also need to have “eyes on” my own performance as a runner to help me see the things that I cannot see and to ensure that my own training maximizes my potential as an athlete.

What distances do you specialize in/PRs in those distances?

Most of the athletes I coach compete at the 5K distance. Races at this distance are typically the most popular for the community athlete. I currently have several athletes that are competitive at both the 10K and 13.1M distances.

Do you program unique schedules for each athlete, or have pre-written programs for specific distances/time goals. How do you program around your athlete’s schedules?

I develop custom training plans for ALL of my athletes. I do not use pre-written programs. Many athletes that I have coached have come to me with some type of pre-written program that wasn’t working for them. No surprise. But when an athlete hires me to coach them, my entire purpose is to ensure that the athlete receives the best coaching possible to help them achieve their goals and to keep them safe and injury free. The only way to successfully achieve this is through regular interaction with an athlete with information and feedback flowing both ways between athlete and coach.

As for programming around athletes’ schedules, I don’t schedule AROUND them, I schedule WITH them. A training schedule becomes part of an athlete’s life. If the athlete has a family, it will to some degree affect them, too. During an Athlete Intake Consultation, I aim to develop a sense of who they are as an individual and to develop who they are as a family person. As I work with an athlete over time, I continue to get to know them. Through the processes of setting goals, establishing availability, and regular communication with athletes, I can continue to monitor many of the parameters that affect an athlete’s ability to train and adjust accordingly to help keep that athlete moving forward towards their goals. You can be certain that many athletes’ schedules change over time.

Do you specialize in coaching specific distances and or surfaces? I.e. road or trail?

Most of the athletes I have coached compete in 5K road races. However, as the nature of running and races expand (e.g., SwimRun races, off-road and urban adventure racing, on-road and off-road triathlons, etc.), so too does my experience as a coach.

Do you prescribe cross-training as a part of your training schedule?

Cross-training is essential for today’s runner. As coaches have more and more science-based research available to us, we see proven time and time again the value in cross-training for runners. Resistance training, plyometrics, flexibility, mobility, balance, etc. are all areas of fitness that can contribute to the development of stronger, faster athletes and can significantly contribute to maintaining healthy and injury-free athletes.

Do your athletes have the ability to contact you as needed? Or are check-ins planned on a weekly/monthly basis?

Athletes are always welcome to reach out to me with any questions, concerns, or ideas that they have. I maintain regular contact with my athletes and make sure there is communication after EVERY workout or training session. Sometimes the communication may be a few sentences, sometimes it may be an hour-long conversation, but athletes need to know that I, as their coach, have their back and am here when they need me.

What is your first step when an athlete comes to you with a pain/niggle/ or injury?

Over the course of an athlete’s training, pain and discomfort is likely to occur at some point. The first step is to discuss the pain with the athlete to gain a better understanding of the nature of the issue. Following a standard protocol for injury assessment is usually a good place to start. If the injury is acute and requires any immediate first aid, then this is a priority. If no immediate first aid is required, then referring the athlete to a qualified medical professional is almost always the next step. Intervention from qualified medical professionals essential to help ensure that no further injury will occur at such time that training is permitted to continue.

Do you offer free consultations to your prospective clients?

Yes. Initial consultations are offered to prospective clients at no charge. It is important that both athletes and coaches can talk and discuss the athletes needs to ensure that they athlete and coach are a good fit to work together before any commitment is made.

What is the address of your coaching website?

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