A question that many , many coaches are asked and agonise over. So I may be old school by saying no gadgets – but there DO have their uses. So I can honestly say that I am not completely old school I suppose. One of the main things for me is for my athletes to know how their body works; not in depth through studying human biology etc; but just by listening to their heart / working out how many hours sleep they have each night. The list can be endless. Several of my athletes has been using no gadgets over the last few months on occasions and this last weekend one of my athletes – Brian Sherras – from Vermont recorded a fantastic pb for a half marathon of 1 hr 34 mins ( he is in the 60+ age group). He had planned to take a watch for curiosity , but he actually forgot to take it with him. He messaged me to say I was right. Great to hear that feedback.
The one time coaches do feel that athletes do not need to use a watch all the time is in the pool especially if it is a technique session. Why does an athlete need to time 25m finger drag drill. I have asked this and the reply has been to know the distance they have swum— it’s on the board!! I have run swim sessions when I have collected watches before they swim – with choice comments and then again with some positive comments at the end of the session when they have surprised themselves with times. After all you do not use a watch during the swim of a triathlon – you understand your pace for the distance. So a watch could be useful in the pool and again swimming without a watch and listening to your breathing can also be extremely positive. Try it during the winter and let me know how you feel it.