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Debating with your friends who’s the best Triathlon coach?

Brett Sutton, Joe Friel, or Mark Allen?

Here is our list of the best Triathlon coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Triathlon Coaches:

  1. Brett Sutton
  2. Joe Friel
  3. Mark Allen
  4. Dave Scott
  5. Siri Lindley
  6. Darren Smith
  7. Matt Dixon
  8. Chris Carmichael
  9. Dan Empfield

#1 Brett Sutton

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached multiple Ironman World Champions and Olympians
  • 📅 Years Active: 1980s–Present
  • 👕 Athletes Coached: Chrissie Wellington, Daniela Ryf, Nicola Spirig
  • 🌐 Nationality: Australian

Brett Sutton is renowned for his unparalleled success in triathlon coaching, having mentored numerous world champions and Olympic medalists. Under his guidance, athletes have consistently shattered records and dominated on the world stage.

Sutton’s coaching philosophy emphasizes a tough-love approach, high-volume training, and fostering a deep psychological resilience within his athletes. His methods are often considered unorthodox but have yielded remarkable results.

With a career spanning several decades, Brett Sutton has carved out a reputation as a master coach. His contributions to the sport have revolutionized how athletes prepare for top-level competition.

#2 Joe Friel

  • 🏆 Achievements: Bestselling author of “The Triathlete’s Training Bible”
  • 📅 Years Active: 1980s–Present
  • 👕 Athletes Coached: Amateur and age-group triathletes
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Joe Friel is a cornerstone in the triathlon coaching world, widely respected for his contributions to athlete education and training methodologies. His book, “The Triathlete’s Training Bible,” is a staple resource for triathletes of all levels.

Through his coaching, Friel has helped countless athletes achieve their personal bests, focusing on a science-based approach to training. His attention to detail and deep understanding of endurance sports physiology have been pivotal in the advancement of triathlon coaching.

Joe’s influence extends beyond individual coaching, as he has been a mentor to many other coaches. His work has fundamentally shaped the way triathlon training is understood and executed in the modern era.

#3 Mark Allen

  • 🏆 Achievements: Six-time Ironman World Champion
  • 📅 Years Active: 1990s–Present (as a coach)
  • 👕 Athletes Coached: Professional and amateur triathletes
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Mark Allen is often celebrated as one of triathlon’s greatest athletes, with six Ironman World Championship victories to his name. Since transitioning to coaching, he has shared the wisdom gained from his storied career with a wide range of athletes.

His coaching style is holistic, combining physical training with mental and spiritual elements to create well-rounded and resilient triathletes. Allen’s approach is rooted in his own racing experiences and the knowledge that success requires more than just physical strength.

Mark Allen’s commitment to coaching has allowed him to continue influencing the sport, inspiring new generations of triathletes to reach their peak performance levels.

#4 Dave Scott

  • 🏆 Achievements: Six-time Ironman World Champion
  • 📅 Years Active: 1990s–Present (as a coach)
  • 👕 Athletes Coached: Professional and age-group triathletes
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Dave Scott, affectionately known as “The Man,” is a legendary figure in the triathlon world with six Ironman World Championship titles. After a remarkable professional career, Scott has dedicated himself to coaching, imparting his extensive knowledge to athletes of all abilities.

His coaching methodology underscores the importance of nutrition, biomechanics, and race strategy, contributing to a comprehensive approach to triathlon training. He is committed to helping his athletes achieve breakthrough performances while mitigating the risk of injury.

Dave Scott’s enduring legacy in the triathlon community as both an athlete and coach underscores his expertise and passion for the sport.

#5 Siri Lindley

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached multiple ITU World Champions and Olympians
  • 📅 Years Active: 2003–Present
  • 👕 Athletes Coached: Mirinda Carfrae, Leanda Cave
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Siri Lindley stepped onto the coaching stage following a successful career as a professional triathlete, including a world champion title. As a coach, she has successfully guided athletes to impressive victories at the ITU World Championships and the Olympic Games.

Her coaching philosophy revolves around a community-based approach, fostering a supportive environment that encourages athletes to push past their perceived limits. Lindley’s sharp intuition and ability to connect with her athletes on a personal level are hallmarks of her coaching success.

Siri Lindley’s inspirational journey as a coach is defined by her ability to translate her athletic prowess into actionable guidance for her athletes, making her one of the most respected coaches in the sport.

#6 Darren Smith

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coached Olympians and ITU World Series medalists
  • 📅 Years Active: x
  • 👕 Athletes Coached: x
  • 🌐 Nationality: New Zealander

Darren Smith has made a significant impact in the world of triathlon coaching, guiding several athletes to Olympic and ITU World Triathlon Series success. His eye for talent and ability to cultivate elite performance are well-respected within the triathlon community.

Smith’s philosophy emphasizes meticulous planning and individualized training programs tailored to maximize each athlete’s potential. His international coaching experience brings a broad perspective to athlete development.

Darren Smith’s coaching career has a strong track record of producing disciplined and tactically astute competitors, solidifying his reputation as a world-class coach.

#7 Matt Dixon

  • 🏆 Achievements: Founded Purplepatch Fitness, Author of “The Well-Built Triathlete”
  • 📅 Years Active: 2000s–Present
  • 👕 Athletes Coached: Professional and age-group triathletes
  • 🌐 Nationality: British

Matt Dixon is the founder of Purplepatch Fitness, where he has carved a niche in the triathlon coaching landscape by emphasizing a balance between training and overall life demands. His approach prioritizes health and well-being as integral components of high performance.

As an author and coach, Dixon’s contributions include innovative training methodologies and an educational approach that has reached a vast audience. “The Well-Built Triathlete” encapsulates his holistic training philosophy.

Matt Dixon’s progressive strategies and personalized coaching have helped numerous triathletes reach new heights in their careers while maintaining a sustainable approach to the sport.

#8 Chris Carmichael

  • 🏆 Achievements: Coach to Lance Armstrong, Author, Founder of Carmichael Training Systems
  • 📅 Years Active: 1990s–Present
  • 👕 Athletes Coached: Cyclists and triathletes, including Lance Armstrong
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Chris Carmichael is most widely recognized for his role as the coach of cyclist Lance Armstrong. His career extends into the triathlon world, where he has applied his knowledge to coach triathletes as well. Carmichael has authored several books and is the founder of Carmichael Training Systems (CTS).

Through CTS, Carmichael provides coaching and training programs tailored to endurance athletes. His methodologies often combine traditional endurance training with innovative techniques to enhance performance.

Despite the controversy surrounding his association with Lance Armstrong, Chris Carmichael has maintained a distinguished reputation for his contributions to the coaching of endurance sports.

#9 Dan Empfield

  • 🏆 Achievements: Founder of Slowtwitch.com, Inventor of the triathlon-specific bike frame
  • 📅 Years Active: 1980s–Present
  • 👕 Athletes Coached: x
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Dan Empfield is a pioneer in the triathlon industry, recognized for his innovation in triathlon bike design with the creation of the triathlon-specific bike frame. His influence on the sport extends beyond equipment, as he is the founder of Slowtwitch.com, a leading online resource for triathletes.

Empfield’s contributions to the sport also include educating and interacting with the triathlon community, providing insight and information to athletes at all levels. His passion for the sport is evident in his continued efforts to enhance the triathlon experience.

While not traditionally known as a coach in the practical sense, Dan Empfield’s broad impact on triathlon training, equipment, and knowledge dissemination has firmly established him as an influential figure in the triathlon coaching realm.


Who is the greatest triathlon coach of all time?

Brett Sutton is arguably the greatest triathlon coach, known for coaching multiple Olympic and Ironman champions, including Chrissie Wellington.

Who was the most successful triathlon coach?

Brett Sutton is considered the most successful, having coached numerous athletes to Olympic and Ironman World Championship victories.

Jane is a social worker and founder and author of thefamilyconscience.com - a parenting and family travel site. She's a swim parent with two children swimming competitively at regional level and is also a swimming official. Both she and her kids regularly take part in triathlons and are members of a triathlon club. The Family Conscience offers advice for motivation and positive mindset for teens and tweens - particularly important when it comes to sport!

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