Improve Your Podcast with Lessons From A Top Sports Coach

How can one of the best sports coaches help you become a better podcaster?

From the outside, when Sir Dave Brailsford was appointed to become the Performance Director of British Cycling in 2003, he wasn’t expected to do well.

In the previous 95 years, English cyclists had won just one Olympic medal and had never won the Tour de France in its 110-year history.

But Brailsford was hired to shake up British cycling. They wanted success and looked to Brailsford to help them achieve it.


What made him different from other coaches was his commitment to a strategy for improvement that he called “the accumulation of marginal gains.”

Essentially, Brailsford thought that if you broke down every element that goes into riding a bike, and improved each component by 1%, it would lead to a huge improvement across the board.


Brailsford was relentless in his pursuit of these marginal gains. He first looked at the more obvious things he could change, such as the seats the riders used and the tires on the bikes. They implemented biofeedback to be able to test every change that they made and get precise feedback on whether it was improving performance, but they didn’t stop there.


Brailsford and his team took their pursuit for improvement further than anyone else had taken it before. They painted the inside of the team truck white so they could spot specks of dust that would get into the bike’s mechanics and slow it down.

They tested the massage gels used on the riders to ensure they were optimal for performance. They tested the aerodynamics of fabrics in wind tunnels and gave the riders electronically heated shorts to keep their muscles at the perfect temperature. They tested the pillows and bedding the riders used to make sure they were getting the best possible night’s sleep. The list goes on.


Every variable that they could think of that could possibly affect a cyclist’s performance, they tried to improve.

And boy did it work!

Since his appointment in 2003, British riders have won 5 Tours de France and an incredible 32 Olympic medals, including 20 gold. It’s fair to say that Brailsford did what he was hired to do.


But what has this got to do with podcasting?

It seems to me that although podcasting is technically a skill, in practice, it’s actually the amalgamation of a whole bunch of skills.

Improvement in each of these areas will lead to a huge improvement in your podcasting skills overall.


They are:

  • Storytelling
  • Public speaking
  • Negotiation
  • Media production
  • Journalism
  • Psychology
  • Business
  • Management
  • Copywriting
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Design
  • Leadership

I’m sure there are plenty more that I haven’t even thought of, but regardless of how you break it down, the more you can distil each element of your podcasting process and improve it, even slightly, each of these marginal improvements will add up to massive development in your podcasting skillset overall.