The Craft of Coaching with Joe Friel logo

1 // Building a Foundation for Success in Coaching

USA Cycling coach celebrates with cyclocross athlete
Courtesy USA Cycling

Welcome to The Craft of Coaching. As coaches, we spend much of our time talking about science and training methodology. But successful coaches know that there’s an art to coaching performance. It’s a mix of intuition and intention that establishes a foundation for success in working with athletes at any level.

In this first module, we’d like you to take the time to reflect on your coaching career and consider some of the adjustments you could make to get more enjoyment and results from this rewarding career.

Once you have completed this brief survey, come back here and click the story below to begin “What Makes a Happy Coach?”

Grant Holicky coaches Eric Brunner

What Makes a Happy Coach?

Joe Friel highlights the 10 most important aspects to becoming a happy coach.

Good coaches have a vested interest in setting up athletes for success. Communication, trust, and respect will shape the coach-athlete relationship. And by listening and committing to ongoing learning, a good coach can help an athlete achieve performance both in sport and in life.

The Good Coach

What Makes a Good Coach?

With perspective from over 40 years of coaching experience, Joe Friel shares his detailed list of qualities that make a good coach.

Throughout this series, we will be featuring legendary coaches from endurance sports and learning from their success and struggle. A historian at heart, Joe Friel brings context to the achievements of each coach.

Illustrated headshot of Franz Stampfl

Profiles in Coaching: Franz Stampfl

You’ve heard of Roger Bannister, but do you know who coached him? Joe Friel profiles the legendary and successful Franz Stampfl.

Joe next details the various skills and characteristics that lead to successful coaching. More often than not, these are the same traits that produce successful athletes.

Ashton Lambie wins individual pursuit world title

What Makes a Successful Coach?

Joe Friel details the attributes and skills it takes to be a successful coach—and produce successful athletes.

Eight Assets of an Effective Coach

To be successful as a coach, there are essential skills and competencies you rely heavily on in your work with athletes, some of which you might be well-equipped for, and others that are likely to be more challenging. In the following videos, Joe Friel introduces eight areas of competency that coaches need to cultivate: people skills, analytical skills, planning skills, teaching skills, sport-specific knowledge, sport science knowledge, technological knowledge, and business knowledge.

Coaching Expertise

Assess Your Coaching Expertise

Joe Friel introduces the eight skill sets and knowledge bases he believes are critical for becoming an effective coach.

Take a closer look at the eight areas of coaching expertise. Joe Friel highlights each competency and provides specific resources and recommendations for professional growth.

People Skills

Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

Joe Friel explains why people skills are the most important talent required to become an effective and successful coach, and how to improve them.
Analytical Skills

Extend Your Analytical Skills

Joe Friel details the ways in which coaches can identify strengths and weaknesses in movement patterns, motivation, and training execution.
Planning Skills

Develop Your Planning Skills

Joe Friel explores the development of annual training plans, short-term plans, and matters beyond sport-specific workouts.
Teaching Skills

Hone Your Teaching Skills

Joe Friel explains the keys to becoming both a good coach and teacher, and taking ownership in an athlete’s progress.
Sport-Specific Knowledge

Deepen Your Sport-Specific Knowledge

Joe Friel describes why it is so important for coaches to fully understand the unique demands of an athlete’s event.
Sport Science Knowledge

Expand Your Sport Science Knowledge

Joe Friel explains the importance of having a broad understanding of exercise physiology, psychology, nutrition, and other science fields.
Technological Knowledge

Upgrade Your Gear & Tech Knowledge

Joe Friel describes the evolution of sports tech, explains how to keep up with new advancements, and offers tips on improving technological knowledge.
Business Knowledge

Build Your Business Knowledge

Joe Friel explores one of the major stumbling blocks for coaches: creating and maintaining a profitable business.