Mirek Mazur is one of Canada’s most prolific coaches, with a career lasting over 30 years. He has coached many notable Canadian cyclists including Mark Walters, Eric Wohlberg, Sue Palmer, Clara Hughes, Michael Barry and Brian Walton, to name just a few. In 1996 two of his riders won medals at the Olympic Games. Furthermore, three of the riders he coached became world champions, including his son Peter Mazur, who took the rainbow jersey at the 2000 junior world individual time trial championships.
The Polish-born Canadian recently posted his five tips to be a better coach.
5. Never make athletes do something that you wouldn’t do yourself
Mazur is known to train with all his athletes, so he believes that it’s best to never ask them to do something he wouldn’t. As he says, you shouldn’t make people you are coaching do something you’ve never done yourself especially in dangerous sports like rock climbing, skydiving…or cycling.
4. Be innovative and not afraid of new ideas
Mazur was known to use, at the time, cutting-edge tech to get ahead of the game. There are stories of the infamous “death machine,” a converted Monark indoor trainer where riders could mount their bikes and do killer workouts and test their output. This was long before the days of power meters and smart trainers. Many of his riders, including Walton would use the Monark religiously to up their game.
3. Practise what you preach
Athletes look up to you, he says, so having high standards in hard work, self discipline, nutrition and confidence will bring meaning to your coaching by developing future potential coaches who will be inspired by your work.
As you can see, Mazur himself always rode with his athletes, no matter how hard or long the training was.
2. Be scientific and have a plan
Mazur always tested his riders to determine what their strengths and weaknesses were. He’d not only hone their training plans, but their racing goals. Some riders might think they should be a pursuiter, but were instead better-suited to be a sprinter.
1. Coaching is an art form
Mazur believes in finessing your coaching to be the best. At the end of the day the motivation is to bring the best out of your athletes.