How to Find Your Ideal Cycling Coach
Finding the right cycling coach is almost as important as consistently following the training plan that they subsequently set for you. Coaches are humans after all and, in addition to varying levels of expertise and experience, each have their own individual philosophy, style and quirks that will make them more suited to coaching certain types of cyclists than others.
Once you’ve made the decision to get a cycling coach, it can be tempting to jump straight into hiring one and getting the work done. However, investing a little time at the start of your search for a cycling coach can help to ensure that you find a coach with the right qualities, experience and expertise for your needs. In this article we show you how to assess your individual needs and goals, what to look for in a cycling coach, and how to use CoachRec to find your ideal coach match.
Start by Assessing What You Need from a Coach
Working out what you require from a coach is relatively simple, and can be broken down into these categories: current level and goals, needs and preferences, and budget. It is worth asking yourself a few questions in each category to clarify your needs. Your eventual coach will likely ask you similar questions in their onboarding process, and it can be helpful to have clarity on these topics in advance.
Level and goals
How would you describe your current level as a cyclist (for example, are you a complete beginner, recreational, competitive or elite cyclist)?
How many days do you ride per week, and on average how many hours per week?
Do you engage in any cycling races or competitions and, if so, what level do you currently compete at?
How would you rate your skills and technical abilities on the bike? Are there any particular areas that you think could be improved on?
Have you trained using a structured training program before? If so, for how long, and do you train with power, heart rate or RPE?
What would you describe as your strengths and weaknesses on the bike?
What three areas would you most like to improve on?
Are you preparing for a particular event or race? What are your goals for that event?
Where would you like to see yourself in the next 3 months as a cyclist? What about the next 12 months?
Needs and preferences
How many hours are you able to commit to per week for cycling (don’t be too ambitious here, give a realistic estimate based on your commitments and availability)
What commitments do you have throughout the week that your training program will need to accommodate?
How much engagement would you like to have with your cycling coach (for example, would you like to be in contact with them every day, week, fortnight, or month)?
What is your preferred communication method (email, sms, voice or video calls, face-to-face interactions)?
What coaching process would you prefer (remote/online coaching, in-person sessions, a combination of both)?
Do you have any preferences as to coaching style or philosophy?
Do you require coaching for a specified period of time (for example, in the lead-up to a particular event) or coaching on an ongoing basis?
If the latter, how much are you prepared to spend on a monthly basis?
Do you have the budget to spend on additional fees such as start-up fees, monthly software subscriptions (for example, to TrainingPeaks or Today’s Plan), or do these need to be included in the overall coaching package?
What to Look for in a Cycling Coach
Now you have a rough idea of your level, goals, preferences and budget, you’re ready to start the search for a cycling coach!
Cyclists have historically found their cycling coach through a combination of word-of-mouth, Google and Instagram stalking - a time consuming and unsatisfying process that doesn’t expose them to the full range of options available and often means they settle for a less than ideal match. You can now use CoachRec to search for and compare numerous cycling coaches on a single platform. Each coach profile follows the same structure for ease of use, highlighting the most important things you will want to consider:
Credentials and Experience
Qualifications are not everything when it comes to coaching. Some excellent coaches are self-educated, have invaluable real-world training and racing experience, or have perfected their coaching craft through years of practice. However, a coach’s qualifications verify that they have the necessary skills and expertise to provide a certain level of training, and may also reflect their commitment to ongoing learning and development.
AusCycling coaching and instructor qualifications are the most common in Australia. You can find a longer explanation of these qualifications here. Depending on your level or goals, you might look for a coach with the following qualifications:
Coaching Services and Cost
Cycling coaches offer a variety of coaching services at different price points suited to different disciplines, levels and goals. Having assessed your level, needs and budget you will be better placed to select between these different services.
Non-personalised, one-off or goal-based training programs
If you are completely new to structured training, it is quite likely that you will improve at first just by following a non-individualised training plan that aligns with your goals. These plans are usually a fraction of the price of a personalised monthly program, but generally come with limited to no ongoing support or flexibility. Consequently, if you want accountability or support from your coach, want a plan tailored to your life and goals, or would benefit from in-person coaching or skills sessions, look for a more advanced service.
Group or membership training programs (online and in person)
If you are on the fence about committing to a full personalised monthly coaching plan or want a community for accountability and to train and socialise with, group or membership coaching might be right for you. These programs range from entirely in-person group training sessions run at a designated location a few days a week to a lightly personalised plan delivered online with access to an online community. They are generally cost-effective, as the cost is shared among multiple participants, but lack the personalisation of individual coaching.
Personalised monthly training programs
If you’re serious about improving your cycling and want to engage regularly with your coach about your training and progress, you can’t go past a personalised monthly plan. Coaches often offer different “levels” of program that come with varying degrees of engagement, modification and feedback, but generally you can expect your coach to design a training program around your needs and upcoming goals, and to stay in touch, give you feedback, amend the program and support you as you work through it. Plans like these are where you will really see the benefits of having a cycling coach.
In-person coaching sessions
In some disciplines (for example, cyclocross and MTB) the skill component of the sport means that having a coach who can meet with you in-person is important. Similarly, you may be a road rider who wants to improve your technical skills and bike handling. For this, you will want to search for coaches within your city or region who offer in-person sessions or whose plans include in-person rides or training. Some coaches also (or only) offer specific in-person skills coaching sessions, which can be perfect if you are looking to brush up on technique, overcome a limiter that is holding you back, or learn a new skill.n
For more information about the cost of each type of program, you can find our article on the Average Cost of a Cycling Coach in Australia here.
Coaching Philosophy and Style
Coaching philosophy is a combination of a coach’s motivations, perspectives, values and how they conduct themselves as a coach. It is one of the hardest things to capture on a piece of paper (and sometimes a matter of intuition), yet one of the most important to whether a coach-athlete relationship will work. A productive coach-athlete relationship is founded in trust, mutual respect and clear communication, so it is important that you can get behind your coach’s coaching philosophy and place faith in them and the plan. This is best discovered through an in-person conversation or over the phone - and once you have a shortlist of coaches, it is recommended that you arrange a short call with each.
Using CoachRec to Find the Ideal Coach
CoachRec streamlines the process of finding your ideal coach by allowing you to search for, consider and compare multiple cycling coaches and their offerings:
Easy Comparison of Coaches: the CoachRec platform allows easy comparison of coaches, including credentials, philosophy, services, and costs.
Filter by Level, Location and Coaching Type: use filters to search for coaches who train cyclists at your level, in your area, or who offer online or local coaching.
Read Athlete Testimonials: read feedback from other cyclists about each coach.
Using CoachRec Pro Matching Service
If you’re short on time, feeling overwhelmed by the options or unsure about whether you’ve found the best for you, CoachRec Pro Matching Service can help.
Designed to take the guesswork out of finding a cycling coach, the Matching Service begins with a consultation with one of our CoachRec experts, who works to understand your motivations, needs, and precisely what you require. Using our knowledge of cycling and cycling coaches, we then do the legwork to deliver three top recommendations best-suited to you, and then support you to make your final choice and set up your first meeting with your new coach. You can find out more and book your matching consultation here.
The process of finding a cycling coach is not just about hiring a skilled professional but involves identifying someone whose philosophy aligns with yours, with the right expertise and programs to suit your individual goals, preferences, and budget. Tools like CoachRec have significantly simplified this process, ensuring that you have a diverse pool of potential coaches to choose from. Invest a little time and effort, and you can find the best possible mentor to guide you to cycling success.