We're wrapping up our review of fantastic coaching organizations with an interview with Kate Bevilaqua. Kate is part of GK Endurance.
Coeur: Kate, thank you so much for chatting with us. Almost everyone in triathlon are familiar with you as an athlete, but some people may not be aware that you also coach. What prompted you to get into coaching?
Kate: I actually have a degree in Human Movement and went on to teach Physical Education for 8 years before becoming a professional triathlete. So I have sort off been involved in Coaching/teaching for a long time! But specifically in Triathlon it has been over 5 years. Honestly I just love it! So many people sell themselves short and don't realize what they are truly capable of doing. It is the most amazing feeling seeing somewhere achieve what they never thought possible.
Those who can do Also Teach
Coeur: Can you tell us a bit about GK Endurance and a bit about your philosophy?
Kate: GK Endurance (which stands for Guy and Kate!) was established about 3 years ago now. Guy and I had been coaching a few athletes prior to that but wanted to make our organization more professional. Through word of mouth our numbers slowly increased to where we now have 3 additional coaches Ruth, Janine and Paul as part of the team. We pride ourselves on offering completely individualized programs with consistency and communication the key. We are predominately on line coaching. In Perth, Australia where we are based we offer a weekly Bike Interval Session and additional swim/run sessions on public holidays. We also run a camp once a year.
Coeur: Which sports do you cover? Is it triathlon specific or do you also provide coaching for other sports?
Kate: We are mainly triathlon specific. Across all ages, abilities and distances! I have coached a few runners for marathons and ultra-events (which I also love doing myself) but at this stage we have all triathletes!
Coeur: What type of individual is in your target market? In other words, do you only coach elite athletes or will you take new entrants to the sport as well?
Kate: We have it all! Beginners to elite. Hawaii Qualifiers to wanting to finish their first sprint triathlon. It is all about having a goal and GK Endurance doing what we can to help you achieve it.
Coeur: How many athletes do you take per year and how do people sign up?
Kate: As I mentioned we are lucky to have 3 other coaches working for us now who have all been involved with GK Endurance as athletes for a few years. They have since gone on and completed coaching qualifications. This has allowed us more athletes to come on board and be part of the team. But we do have set numbers we feel that allows each coach / athlete to get the most out of the relationship. It is all about quality not quantity! We do this because we love it!
Coeur: We know that the relationship between an athlete and the coach can be complex and when it works, it can be amazing, but if it doesn’t everyone can be frustrated. What should an athlete look for when they are researching coaches and what questions should they ask?
Kate: That is exactly what they should do.....research! What is good for one athlete may not be good for another. Ask around, meet up and chat with a few coaches. Understand yourself as an athlete what YOU need. What has worked before, what hasn't worked. Can you work on your own and just follow a plan or do you need to be in a stimulating environment with others to get the job done. What is your lifestyle like? Family, Job, Social commitments. Cost? We are all on a budget these days! Communication! Meet up for a chat or Skype call / FaceTime. You can learn a lot from a face to face conversation.
Coeur: We know that one size rarely fits all, so do you have different packages for athletes to select from?
Kate: Absolutely agree! Each GKE athlete is on their own individual program that is suited to their needs and lifestyle. Some athletes require feedback / communication every few days, others once a week. There are also some who will just get the work done and you only hear from them if there is something wrong! I wouldn't say that we have different packages....but our style of coaching is different for different athletes based on their personal needs.
Coeur: Do you consider coaching to be more art or science?
Kate: Definitely both! There is so much more to coaching than just understanding the science of swim / bike / run. Unfortunately a lot of that cannot be learnt at a workshop or lecture. It is through experience. Experience not only as a coach but an athlete as well. It is easy to read a book or find a plan on the internet leading into a goal race. But then structuring a program to fit in to the life of a shift worker (12 Hour days) who flies in and out working on the mines up north in Western Australia...you definitely need to think outside the box!
Coeur: How is technology playing a role in coaching? Will we all be wearing virtual reality glasses someday?
Kate: It is incredible to see how technology has changed and advanced in such a short period of time. As a coach it does allow you to set specific targets for training and racing....power, heart rate, pace. It has a time and a place. Upload the results into Final Surge and immediately I have feedback from an athlete’s session on the other side of the world. But I still also believe that learning to understand your body, turning all the tools and technology off is just as important. Sometimes it can make you work harder when maybe you shouldn't be or hold you back on race day when you are capable of so much more. Balance is the key!
Coeur: Now we know endurance athletes can be a bit...well...stubborn. How do you make sure they are following the plan, especially on rest days?
Kate: Yes...I definitely fit into this category myself! And why is it the rest day is the one day they don't want to follow the plan!! I used to be like that! Now I can't wait for my rest days! If you are working hard enough....you need it! It is about educating the athlete as to the reason why have a rest day! Giving the body the chance to recover, absorb the hard work done. That is when you get stronger! Throughout the program as I mentioned before....communication is the key! Together we are both working towards that one goal....and to achieve that you must stick to the plan. I completely understand life gets in the way...I will receive text messages about late night work meetings or sick kids. I will adjust the plan accordingly so we can make it work. Everyone knows everyone in the Triathlon community so we usually find out pretty quickly if someone is not following the plan!
Coeur: GK Endurance sounds amazing. Thank you so much for chatting with us!
Kate: Anytime! Always great to chat to you! And Thanks for Coeur for spreading the "Heart and Courage" amongst our GKEndurance athletes!