Jo Curry's Journey from Teacher to Coach

Tallahassee Democrat
By: Seeley Gutierrez
 
 
 
The parallels between coaching and teaching are numerous. Both involve planning, instruction, evaluation, continuing education, and a great deal of patience. It’s no surprise that many coaches have backgrounds in teaching.

Jo Curry, a former elementary school teacher, is now a USAT certified coach. She works with TriAttic, a coaching group formed by Sandy Holt. Holt knows Curry’s experience as a teacher pays dividends in coaching. Holt states, “Her years as a teacher taught her how to be a leader, how to work with groups, and how to be more than just a teacher.” Here’s a little more about Curry’s experiences as a triathlete and coach.

SG: What did you do in your pre-triathlon life?
JC: Before doing triathlons I played softball and was a runner. I began running after having my daughter in 1996 to get into better shape. I participated in many races including half-marathons, two marathons (San Diego 2006 and Disney 2007) before doing triathlons.
After running for years, I kept getting injured more and more. I had read about triathlons and how cross-training with three sports was much better on your body. A good friend of mine, Karen Allen, encouraged me to get a bike and start swimming with her and her husband, Jeff. I trained with them for almost four years. It was great training with good friends each day. You didn’t want to let them down and we had a great support system for each other.

SG: What led you into coaching?
JC: After completing my first half-ironman I decided I needed help from a coach to be able to accomplish the goals I had in mind. When Sandy Holt became my coach, things began to change for me. After the first year with Sandy, I was able to set PR’s in every race I did from running to triathlons. While training, I became interested in how to become a better athlete and understand the aspects of performing better and staying injury free. Sandy encouraged me to become a USAT Level 1 coach and began to mentor me.
Since I have become a certified USAT coach, I have learned so much about endurance athletes, from mental skills training, proper nutrition, swimming basics, running form to cycling skills. I try to incorporate all these elements into my training for my clients and myself as well.

SG: How does your teaching background influence your approach to coaching?
JC: While teaching I would try to be a good role model for my students and encourage them to lead a healthy lifestyle and exercise daily. Each year, I would encourage students to do the kids’ triathlon at the end of the school year. One year we had over 50 students from our school participate alone. I feel that teaching has set the groundwork for me to be a nurturing and caring coach. I have high personal standards, care about others and am a continuous learner of myself and my experiences.

SG: What has been challenging about coaching? What has been satisfying?
JC: The hardest thing about coaching has been encouraging my athletes to communicate daily with me about their workouts. Having that immediate feedback is so important to planning upcoming workouts and making a successful plan.
The best thing about coaching has been helping and watching an athlete go from a beginner in the sport to accomplishing their very first triathlon. The transformation of becoming an endurance athlete can be life changing and being part of that is wonderful.

SG: How would someone contact you about coaching?
JC: You can learn more about TriAttic at triattic.com. Our mission and goals for our athletes is to provide them the knowledge, skill sets, trainin, and confidence required to achieve their personal goals. People can also email me personally at jocurry@triattic.com.
Much like a teacher, Curry’s impact on others has been monumental. Says Holt: “I started coaching Jo two years ago and watched her progress both physically and mentally as an athlete. It is the athletes that make our job as coaches so rewarding. Jo was that athlete for me; she truly helped change my life.”