Self-Reflection and Understanding how you ‘do’ as a Coach

Pain, disappointment, change, appreciation and re-evaluation. It has certainly been an eventful 12 months.

Sat in a breezeblock shelter by the sea in Thurso, Scotland, I was admittedly in tears. Not with the throbbing pain of my left knee but the immense disappointment and frustration when I knew, against my desire, I just had to stop. So close, but still a way from the ultimate goal. 

Cycling for 25 hours continuously and covering 590km with 8,000m (that’s 28,000ft in old money) of elevation gain was some way to realising my boyish ambitions of completing the NC500 in one go. At the point of rolling into Thurso, a single pedal stroke was leaving me in physical anguish and psychological frustration. 

With every defeat comes new opportunities. 

Since that miserable afternoon in the Scottish Highlands, it has been a slow rehabilitation of the body and a re-adjustment of the mind. 

The ‘knee-hab’ as it is now coined, has been somewhat stuttered. Slow, gentle dabs of the toe into previously piping hot water is the perfect metaphor for my tip toe return to physical action. Walks that went just that bit too far, and runs paced a wee bit too quickly led to warning shots being fired by the mid-limb hinge joint. It’s not a race, but it has bloody thwarted my positive outlook. 

Tough on the body, destructive to the mind. At least at first, I really struggled. I’d been cycling and training at a volume beyond any Ironman build-up and benefitting from an aerobic fitness I’d not ever had before. To not utilise it felt like I was chained in a cell, and with every attempt to try to do some light training new setbacks revealed themselves like declined parole. 

With time and acceptance of the slow recovery trajectory, I had to adjust and find new ways to grow. My coaching exposure began to increase and my focus realigned itself to supporting others in their sporting aspirations. 

Coaching has been a hobby since I was a spotty adolescent. Instead of training to be a barista or living off 10% tips, I used to hang nets on goals in hurricanes and take the brunt of British downpours on muddy pitches whilst trying to teach 5-year-olds to trap a football – not the most glamorous way to earn your pocket money. 

The gap from serious training presented the opportunity to put my time into Matt Wackett the coach. I reflected on my experience, values and principles of a good coach. I formalised things with a website (thanks Cheshire Cat Marketing) and invested in further education as a foundation to grow. 

My core principles remain the same: I prepare for failure, I listen, learn and adapt.  There are no secrets, just bags of ideas, a willingness to listen and hard-work behind the scenes. 

So there it is, Matt Wackett Coaching has a face. I hope to catch you soon!

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