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Cliff English - World Champion Triathlon Coach, 4 x NCAA National Champion Coach

Cliff English - World Champion Triathlon Coach, 4 x NCAA National Champion Coach

Episode 40: Cliff English - World Champion Triathlon Coach, 4 x NCAA National Champion Coach

See below for Deals and Coupon Codes, Show notes, Timestamps, and Links

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Show notes (please see Timestamps below for more detail)

In this episode of BE with Champions, Greg Bennett chats with, Cliff English. Cliff is a World Champion Triathlon Coach, 4 x NCAA National Champion Coach.

Cliff describes his journey and transition from athlete to coach. It took Glandular Fever to end his athletic career and focus on his coaching. Looking back he realizes that coaching was always in his blood. He's a natural teacher. He's patient and has tremendous empathy for all his athletes whether they be World Champions and professionals or newbie beginners.

Cliff works with every athlete individually. The initial meetings with each athlete help Cliff determine where their strengths and weaknesses are and where they should spend their time. As much as Cliff has a Sports Science degree and coaching accreditations he describes the ART of coaching and having a true understanding of the practical side is how he really gets results.

Greg and Cliff discuss several of their favorite strength sessions. Often using strengths into speed work. Their examples are in the swim using buckets and towels and hill and flats for the bike and run.

Cliff describes being an NCAA head coach in an emerging sport. In this part of the episode, Cliff's passion really comes alive as he describes the work he's doing with the young woman at Arizona State University (ASU). Cliff is focussed on building these women into the sport and is not pushing them too hard for results at this younger age. he understands the importance of being patient and thinking about the future.

Incredible insights and remarkable stories. See the timestamps below for more detail.


0.0 - Introduction to show

1.40 - Sponsors

4.10 - Start to show – Introduction

5.00 - General chit-chat

8.00 - Coaching strength "I love to observe and learn", "I'd tell my athletes... here's what you need to know about Greg".

10.00 - Both Cliff and Joel Filliol came out of Victoria at the same time. Sam McGlone was Cliff's first Olympic athlete.

12.45 - Winding the clock back - Cliff started as a cyclist as a 16-17-year-old - Cliff started many team sports but wasn't very good - "My philosophy is that everyone should have the opportunity to have good coaching and everyone should have the opportunity to participate" - Cliff went on to be a top 5 junior cyclist in Canada -but then got very sick with Mono - he then found Triathlon - "I became a better coach than I was an athlete" - Cliff studied to make himself a great coach -

17.00 - The ART of coaching - Cliff experimented with athletes over time and kept learning - "Science is my guide but having a true understanding of the practical and the art side is really how you get the results"

19.00 - Finding out that coaching was a strength - Cliff was told that his what a very good teacher! Cliff has been told that he really cares. "I'm an elite coach but I have the empathy to work with a beginner" - Cliff got glandular fever and was forced out of being an athlete to go full into being a coach - "Coming out of the '80s and 90's it was who could do work the hardest"

24.00 - Cliff's strengths include empathy and patience

24.40 - Cliff's coaching influences - Cliff has an art history - Cliff has grown as a coach "Like the band U2 in the 80's to the type of band they are now" - Cliff has a sports science background - Cliff's philosophy "Be your own hero" - You can still be inspiring - "I can't pinpoint one thing I just learned from anything and everyone"

32.00 - How Cliff manages the various athletes at the various distances and varying levels of ability - The common ground is the swim - "I like to be specific for the race we're training for"

35.30 - Advice for athletes - The interview process is everything - "What have the athlete done in the past?" - "I take a very detailed inventory of every athlete before I start, so I know what we need to work on" - Cliff discusses an athlete like Cam Wurf - Episode 3 of Be with Champions - National Coaching Institute course in Victoria, Canada - 1-year coaching course, was amazing for Cliff to learn more about himself

43.00 - Cliff says case by case scenario - Cliff believes staying in touch with speed skill sets and drills in the swim, bike, and run all year round - "Rinny and Crowie have great form throughout the marathon in Kona" - "Look at the holistic picture, there are people with incredibly well-developed engines but they're still inefficient". Head position can effect foot strike and cadence - Leanda Cave went back to speed to work on her efficiency. "If you're doing speed work, you shouldn't end up on the ground in a starfish position" - "I look at the athlete and where the sport is going"

53.40 - How much testing does Cliff do? Altitude exposure and when you have access and you have to stay consistent with it. "I like to be very creative with my training, and I like variety but at the same time I'll also have staple test sets, just to see where you're at" - E.g. 100 or 500 in the pool or 10x 100 in the pool - Mixed relay excitement - Cliff talks about the 4 men relay for the 100km

57.00 - Strength work - sport-specific and weights - pulling a bucket in the pool, climbing on the hills for the bike and run - then hill work into flats - "It's nice to go from working with mid 30 something Ironman athletes to now working with 17-18-year-old ITU athletes again... it forces you to switch gears" - Coach Max Pettigrove in Noosa introduced Greg to the towel - Strength power with resistance and then take it off and then wow, you feel amazing

1.04.00 - NCAA Triathlon program - emerging sport - Need 40 Schools to be a Championship sport and are at around 36 Schools on - "We're all mindful that we want to make this a championship sport" - Arizona State University (ASU)

1.08.45 - Transitioning from running own business to work for ASU - From ITU, Ironman to University - staying relevant - Presenting to the board at ASU each year -

1.12.00 - Recruitment - Division 1 Cliff has 6.5 scholarships to provide - Swimmers, runners, and cyclists, and all-rounded Triathletes - 12 athletes each year - Cliff made cuts in his 2nd year but never again -

1.14.30 - How much can you train - 144 days at 20 hrs a week - must have 1 day a week - 18-22 years old - some woman stay on after the college experience - "Its fun to test yourself as a coach" - The ASU team is made up of athletes from around the world - Majority is USA woman

1.20.00 - Have athletes that are healthy, hungry, and happy - "I'm always thinking long term" - "We're in this together" - "I'm never going to rush development"

1.24.20 - The men NCAA program for Triathlon - Texas Christian University (TCU) may add a program in 2021 for a woman - The USA men are knocking on the door - "Project podium" down at ASU - Parker Spencer is the coach of this program

1.33.20 - The racing season - Tempe has been the National Championship - The team travel to races in the Spring - the ASU team race the elite and professional races even when not in the college season

1.37.10 - Conclusion - Cliff won the Coach of the year at ASU


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