Weakness Identification/Compensation (‘Dials”)

Written by Jesse. Posted in Coaching Thoughts

A lot about building a successful athlete is about identifying limiters and then compensating for them. For those who know me or have worked with me, I like to call these limiters “dials”. The more dials an athlete has when they come to me (assuming we can identify them), the happier I am because it simply means they have more speed potential. Being a coach is partially about becoming an expert in finding these dials and then knowing how/when to turn them (or at least refer to some expert who does!).

The simple flow of this process is: ID limiters (Dials) — Compensate for them at the right time (turn the dials) — produce faster athletes.

These dials typically fall under one of the pieces within the QT2 4 part race performance system. Below are the most common limiters grouped within the 4 part race performance system, but really just represent a fraction of what you may find in the athletes you work with:

Body mechanics
Volume distribution between sports
Improper periodization plan (or none at all!)
Lack of durability
Improper intensities
Strength limiters

Nutrition/Recovery (restoration)
Lack of micro nutrient density
Improper macro nutrient profile
Lack of nutrition periodization concurrent with training periodization
Poor body composition
Lack of recovery nutrition specifics
Low sleep averages
Lack of massage

Race Pacing
Pacing not tied to training indicators
Pacing tied to outcomes
Pacing not adjusted for one’s specific durability
Sport psychology
No pacing at all!

Race Fueling
Specific sweat rates not measured
Specific sodium losses not measured
Single sugar types use for long distance racing
No caffeine loading logic
Too much fat or fiber in carb load or race morning breakfast
Repeatability not considered

Again, these are just a few of the dials you may find as a coach…the more you find, the better! Once you’ve done that, its all about knowing how to compensate for them, or how to turn these dials. If you as a coach don’t know how to turn them, you must at least know how to identify them and refer your athletes to an expert (like a dietitian) that does. Some of the dials need to be timed properly as well. An example would be body composition: arriving at optimal body composition 6 weeks before race day would be detrimental to progress. The dial was turned, but way to early!

Another thing to note, most athletes/coaches just identify, and compensate for the training bucket which really only brings out 25% of your athlete’s potential. If that’s not bad enough, many only really identify and compensate for the volume/intensity piece of that bucket which brings the percentage down well below 10%. Full potential is met once greater than 95% of the dials that account for 95% of the performance are found, compensated for, and execute for 5-10 years.

What are your “dials”, and how will you compensate for them?


Leave a comment