The journey that Hayden Roulston has been on in the 12 months or so since he last turned a pedal in anger has been dynamic to say the least. Not content to transition slowly into life after professional cycling, Roulston has charged into the busy world of coaching which recently saw him team up with Hamish Ferguson. RoadCycling took a bit of time to catch up with him about the new starts for Roulston and co.
The journey from retirement to . . . . whatever comes next can often be one of the most difficult transitional periods in a professional athlete’s life as the thing they’ve gone from aspiring to be, to being for (in Roulston’s case) upwards of a decade, suddenly stops. There is no gentle fazing out into normal life for many, and sometimes things get worse as transitions are prompted by external circumstances like injury. But in Hayden’s case it’s safe to say that he’s had a pretty successful shift from going out on his own terms at the Tour of Southland to moving into coaching.
“I’ve been pretty lucky actually, because obviously when I stopped I had two children, a partner, the only thing that changed for me was the fact that I wasn’t putting on lycra and going racing for a team overseas,” Hayden told us. “Everything around remained the same I just wasn’t going overseas so I actually transitioned from rider into the new job now pretty well.”
It seems a common avenue for former professional cyclists to transition into coaching and it would appear quite a natural move; but to do it well and successfully is where the challenge lies. In Hayden’s case he was aided by the fact that coaching was not something he started after racing, instead he was doing it throughout his career; benefiting the likes of Jesse Sergent, Jason Christie, Lauren Ellis and Reon Nolan. But going ‘bigger scale’ and full time in coaching has met with its own obstacles and in each case Hayden has met them and found a way through.
“There were always moments that were challenging due to getting set up, it’s taken a long time to get the website up and running, get a good client base and learn how to communicate with each athlete properly. It was a lot of learnings early on but I’m pretty proud of how I’ve done it. So it couldn’t have gone better,” Hayden said.
And now Hayden has teamed up with Coach Hamish Ferguson – otherwise known as ‘Coach Ferg’ – as the business encounters the best of problems in getting too big for one man and his skillset. “I’ve brought Hamish on board simply because I need help, there’s only so big you can get with one coach. I’m probably going to take another coach on in the coming weeks for that same reason. Hamish is a really great person, really experience, and he has diplomas in and around the sort of areas that I want to learn more about; and he’s going to bring a lot of skills to Roulston that I don’t have. I have a lot of experience and I’ve coached throughout my whole career, but it’s good to have some more ideas, some real science behind things.”
“People don’t really like change too much, and I’m actually one of those people myself but it’s just part of trying to grow my company into where I see it going in the next few years.”
This move to bringing Hamish on board doesn’t change the essence of what Roulston Coaching is and how it will operate; but it does allow for expansion and a richer, more rounded organisation as multiple ideas are able to collaborate for the benefit of the rider. “It’s the same [way we operate] just on a bigger scale, but obviously instead of just my way of doing things we’ve got two ways of doing things and soon we’re going to have three and potentially four ways of doing things,” Hayden said.
“If you look at the All Blacks they don’t just have one coach, they have a range of coaches over a range of different disciplines and they put all their ideas together. Each rider has their lead coach but the beauty of having other coaches is that behind the scenes we’re actually offering up a service that has a very good depth of knowledge and a whole lot of ideas on how to get the athlete from where they are now to where they want to be.”
To find out more about Roulston Coaching click here.