The Craft of Coaching Logo

Coach Joe Gambles

Learn about Coach Joe Gambles' coaching style, philosophy, and methodology.

Coach Joe Gambles

Coaching style: Democratic

I rely on athlete feedback and listen to that—the more feedback, the better. I want athlete input and I need their buy-in.

That said, there are times, particularly in an event plan, where as a coach you need to take a firm stance and communicate to the athlete that you’ve got to get this done. I want athlete input.


I invest time with the athlete in the goal-setting process, establishing a shared end result. From that point, we work backward to improve threshold numbers.

As a former pro, I know race experience is invaluable. At the amateur level, you execute your race, internally focused. When racing for the purse, you have to know the dynamics of the race, study the scenarios, figure out how to train to it, and define a strategy. You can be the best trainer in the world and get your doors blown off in a race. Whether you are a pro or an amateur, intention and race experience pay off.


I believe intent is key to performance. As a coach, it’s my job to facilitate the athlete’s execution of the intention with every session.

What makes an athlete a good fit for your philosophy/methodology?

I am not a cheerleader coach. I look for internal drive and motivation in the athlete to get the work done. I’ll give feedback, but I’ve found the best relationships are when the athlete is so motivated that I need to reel them back in. Sometimes it’s my job to say, “Why are you running 10 hours a week?” I’m able to provide them structure.

Even within a session, I will motivate or address self-doubt, getting them to finish. Sometimes they might need a bit of a break, and that’s my job too.