Strength In Numbers
How Andrew Yoder Built A Community Around Endurance Sports Training
“I get more joy from seeing my athletes succeed than any success I’ve ever had.”
In a single sentence, Andrew Yoder sums up not only what he’s like as a trainer, but why he feels so called to the work he does. Andrew began competing as a professional triathlete when he was just 20 years old, racing both nationally and internationally. By 25, he says he was burnt out, and bitter. He took some time to refocus, and discovered that there was something he was even more passionate about, and that was helping other people. Now, he’s building a community around empathetic, strategic, personalized coaching to empower athletes of all different ages and abilities.
What sets Andrew apart as a coach is his radical understanding. He says that he customizes each athlete’s program every week. There’s no one-size-fits-all training plan, it depends on the individual’s goals, athletic skills, and just where they are at on any given day. Andrew says that if one of his clients reaches out and says they have something challenging going on in their personal lives, he works to adjust their training schedule around that. Andrew’s approach is people-first, and it shows.
“I think for a lot of coaches it’s very cookie-cutter, whereas mine is much more personalized. I’m very passionate about it, and my objective is to get the most out of each person,” he said.
“Empathy is really big. I’ve had some incredible coaches, who knew the sport who were hardasses who had no empathy. I would have considered myself that case when I was 20, because I had so much pressure. When I was 20, the triathlon media pinned me as a prodigy and I was supposed to live up to that.”
Breaking into the mindset of an athlete is essential to Andrew’s approach. “I read body language. I’ll ask strategic questions to get a response, I can adjust or carry on,” he said. “But I’ll notice how they’re carrying themselves, or how they’re walking around. That’s real coaching.”
His clients train all over Lancaster, from swimming at F&M to conducting indoor bike and running sessions at the Universal Athletic Club. The majority of sessions are held outdoors and in different locations. Everyone in the group has different objectives: some are amateurs who want to turn professional, some professionals want to make money from the sport, and others are just there to challenge themselves and get in better shape. His trainees include Ironman World Championship qualifiers, Ironman 70.3 qualifiers, multiple national championship qualifiers, and countless regional and national winners.
He advises that anyone who wants to start triathlon training focus on self-belief first. “Courage over confidence,” he said. “Confidence comes and goes. Courage you can always rely on.” He also noted that often, just getting started is what’s most important. “It’s a snowball. The momentum builds over time. It’s just about getting the spark going.”
More than a trainer, Andrew helps people break through their mental blocks. “What’s going on in your head?” he said. “When you can unlock that, you’re limitless.”