Is coaching an art or a science? To recognize this concept, a parallel can be drawn between bike fitters who can look at someone and immediately ‘see’ the body and the bike and what it would take to make the two work together; both in how they could look after this or that is done and how the body will then be able to produce the forward momentum effectively. Compared to another bike fitter, immersed in the angles of the limbs, the height of the seat vs the bars, the stack and the reach, using software and measurements. The former you could say is the artist and the latter, the scientist. Is either the ‘best’ way of doing a bike fit on someone, probably not!
Concepts can be easy or difficult to understand by the person who it’s being presented to depending on what they have as background to relate the concept to.
Take decoupling, ADF, a concept developed by Joe Friel that occurs when the average watts and average heart rate no longer relate due to cardiac drift or to a decline in power without a corresponding decline in the heart rate associated with that power. The aerobic endurance system can be quantified as either sufficient or not based on the amount of decoupling that takes place, it’s a useful metric then, to use.
The science of this, the calculation is made by looking at the values for the first half of a performance, compared to the second half either for an entire ride or for various parts of it, specific intervals.
I’ve copied the numbers directly from #perfpro, as I think folk will find this useful, more information can be found on Joe Friels blog;
Less than 0% – Excellent aerobic fitness. Power was gained during 2nd half of performance.
0.00% to 4.99% – Acceptable amount of drift showing good aerobic fitness.
5.00% to 9.99% – Shows signs that possibly more aerobic training is required.
10.00% to 14.99% – Shows signs that more aerobic training is required.
15.00% or higher. More aerobic training is required.
Athletes that use the perfpro Analyzer and Training Peaks will find these numbers calculated for them and the concept becomes a useful monitoring tool based on science; heart rate and power numbers, algorithms. For a coach then the concept is no longer an idea, but a reality; it’s a number! For an athlete that doesn’t yet get the concept, it is still just that, a bit abstract; then I get to explain it so that it becomes an understanding and may even become a goal.
I enjoy doing that! That’s what’s strong with me, Day 20.