AThlete entering Transition, preparing to ride the bike.

AThlete entering Transition, preparing to ride the bike.

The Draft-Legal format

Draft-Legal racing is for exceptional athletes who aspire to race internationally. These athletes are established swimmers or runners with a previous swim background.  They typically have the "it" factor when it comes to athletics. They SELF driven- not PARENT driven.  We have a place for these athletes on the High Performance team which focuses on draft-legal racing. This is the same format used in the newly formed NCAA Women's Varsity programs and the format used by professional with their focus on international competition and potentially the Olympics.

Draft-Legal racing is very competitive format of triathlon. The training and approach is entirely different than non-draft racing and the nuances of training are typically lost to most age-group/non-draft focused coaches.There are currently less than 400 young men and women in the United Stated aged 13 to 19 years old actively training and competing in this format.  It's not for everyone, like all true "High Performance Teams," the program is very selective.

Age-group coaching does not work for draft-legal.  The training is completely different.  Don't be fooled by coaches who coach non-draft and "dabble" with draft-legal, or may have entered into one or two races as an athlete, Sending an athlete to Age Group Nationals/or Worlds and is NOT the same is Elite Cup racing. The strategy, skill and 3 second decisions have an impact on the race.

The first year on the High Performance Team is probationary for all athletes. Athletes must demonstrate safe bike pack riding skills before entering into this format of racing.  The first year of exploring the highest level of the sport gives the athlete and parents the opportunity to explore draft-legal triathlon to see if it is a good fit.  To be perfectly honest, the first year of racing is humbling for all of the athletes.  It takes time to develop the skills to be competitive.  

These are the fastest multi-sport athletes in the United States and it can be very intimidating and dangerous if not adequately prepared.  Coach Kim keeps the HPT small and selective, this ensures quality coaching that is specific to each individual athlete. After the first year, Coach Kim will sit down with the parents and athlete to create a 4 year plan to ensure long term success. 

There are 40 High Performance Teams across the United States.  Each coach has their own specific approach to training and preparation.  It is important to have a coach that matches your values as it relates to training and overall athlete development.

Coach Kim's approach is developed on peaking performance in the early 20's, not producing a young teenage champion as these athletes often fade away cracking under the pressure of racing and pressure to perform.  Coach Kim offers an "Athlete Management" approach to balancing the training to promote longevity in the sport.  This may mean taking significant breaks from triathlon to become deeper in swimming or running while maintaining contact with the sport in order to avoid burn-out.  

There is a very high burn-out rate for youth and junior elites, with the majority leaving the sport during high school before their athletic potential has been reached.  Too much parent, coach and self-imposed pressure, the high demands of travel and the constant social media posts are enough to end racing careers prematurely.

Our approach is not constantly racing, and driving the cup races as the "end all" for peak performance in triathlon. Long Term Athlete Development is our approach, it patient approach to developing well rounded athletes. Specialization does not occur for our athletes until the completion of puberty, typically later high school years.

Criteria for consideration:

  • Swim year round and meet the swim standards.
  • Meet the minimum run time standards. 
  • Must have a road bike, no TT bikes.
  • Completed in a triathlon in the past.
  • Willing to travel regionally to races.
  • Dedicate time to learning the bike skills that ensure safety for the athlete and other competitors.
  • Recognize that there is a large learning curve and success does not come easily.

The Athlete

High performance athletes are joking called our "mini-pros."  As their behavior, personal habits and approach is focused and professional. These athletes are self-driven for success. 

The Parent

Parents of the fully committed athletes role is to provide the opportunity for their children to participate in draft-legal racing.  They support their athlete without interfering with coaching and do not "live through their child." They understand long term athlete development and progression through various stages and understand the ultimate goal is to pursues winning and the even more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports.

 

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Progression

There are many factors that impact athlete progression.  Teens are growing, each and everyone are at different levels in their social, physical, mental, emotional and athletic development.  It is impossible to compare one athlete to another.  Athletes, like all humans-- are continually growing and changing. Don't focus on today's results or performance.

Coach Kim works individually with families to create a long term development plan that will address your athletes specific needs as they grow and mature. 

Equipment

Triathlon is an expensive sport.  Most parents are apprehensive to invest a lot of money into a new bike and all of the gear required. We do not put pressure on athletes to make huge bike investments until they are 17 years of age and are fully committed.  There are many Youth (13-15 year olds) racing with top of the line equipment.  This provides "free speed" much a like a "Fast Skin" suit provides a swimmer.  Yes, a large percentage of athletes are racing with fast equipment at a young age to "be competitive." The logic behind this is that it "evens the playing field."

This may be true for the short-term. Coach Kim takes a progressive approach to equipment upgrades.  In a world of adult triathletes with money to spend, this is not always a popular approach.

 

Cost

This is private coaching.  Specific planning and progression based on your athlete's developmental needs keep your family and athlete in balance.  In-season training is considered January through August of each year.  The monthly fee is $175 per month. This provides triathlon specific training (typically during the summer months), plus and additional $100 per cup race for race support. It is recommended that training begin 2 months prior to the first event.  

Off-season "Athlete Management" is $150 for a 3 month block.

High Performance Team members receive a team kit, financial support from USAT to off-set travel expenses. Coaching includes annual training plan, four year LTAD goal setting, unlimited coach access, growth rate adaptions for training, Training Peaks Premium account, race support, in person training sessions and full access to all practices and camps offered by Impact Multisport.


Essentials

Start with a road bike that fits well. As your child grows, their proportions change resulting in different sizing. A well fitting road bike is the first place to start.  A good fitting helmet, with MIPS technology.  Do not purchase "Aero" style helmets, especially those with a point on the back as those can be very dangerous in the event of an accident and are not permitted in draft-legal racing.

Bike shoes or "clip-ins" should be purchased when the athlete is ready. 


Development and Physical Growth

Not all athletes are ready to start racing the Draft-Legal right away.  Athletes must meet time standards in swimming  and running.  Additionally they must have strong cycling skills.  This is paramount to keeping the athlete safe so they are not a danger to themselves or others.  Coach Kim offers an Elite Development program for middle and high school students who are interested in competing in the draft-legal format. Cycling skill sessions and balanced training that adjusts with growth is very important, especially in the high growth stages experienced by most 11-16 year olds.

On-line training via "Athlete Management" is available for athletes as well as spring/summer/fall cycling sessions. We utilize local swim and running programs as well as specific strength and agility work. Once the athlete has a full understanding of the demands of competition, they will be invited to join the high performance team and try their first draft-legal race. Selections are finalized by November for the following season.

Please contact Coach Kim at kimberlyfclark@gmail.com if you are interested in learning more.

 

Training Locations

During the summer months, group training sessions are offered in Savannah, Georgia and Columbus, Ohio.

Year-round group sessions are offered in Savannah, Georgia.