Coaching and the Future with AI

Coaching and the future with Artificial Intelligence

We’ve all seen the headlines – AI is going to be making our lives easier and improve much of what we do. The coaching profession is no exception, and there are new AI coaching apps popping up seemingly every week. While I definitely see many areas in coaching where AI is going to be beneficial, especially in the development of machine learning based training plan progressions, there are many areas where AI is going to be inferior to working with an actual human coach. Below are a few areas that I think a personal coach will continue to provide a benefit over the current and even future versions of AI coaching.

Movement Assessment and Instruction

Robots and computers might be able to assess human motion to some extent now, but taking that information and then providing the instruction for an athlete to improve their movement patterns with expert guidance is something that is still far from ready for prime-time. The eye of a coach with movement analysis experience and coaching expertise to elicit improvements in biomechanics by the athletes that they work with are not soon going to be replaced by computers and AI. Experience matters.

Skills Coaching

Similar to above, how humans move within a sport’s given context is something that is not exclusively a movement pattern – but it’s also about developing the necessary tactics and techniques that improve an athlete’s capacity to perform in their given sport or activity. 


Having worked with athletes in the elite level of competition for over 20 years, it’s my assertion that the biggest determinant of performance on race-day is the psychology and mental skills of the athlete competing. Computers and programs are not designed to help create the human connection that is critical for development of trust and ultimately confidence. It is the development of true confidence that working with a coach can help create that is not going to be replaced by computers anytime soon.


Working with human coach will ensure that you not only just complete your scheduled workouts, but that you have experiences that keep you motivated to keep pushing forward to new levels of fitness and performance. A knowledgeable coach will be able to recommend the right kind of terrain for a given training session or encourage you to push yourself to shoot for a big goal that might change your outlook on the future of your abilities!


By working with a coach you will be exposed to opportunities that are much more than about pushing W watts for X time, or running Y pace for Z distance. Training with a human coach will open up opportunities for training with and connecting with other athletes each seeking their own excellence in a supportive and encouraging environment. Of course you might not train with others every session, but even the connected online workouts like APEX Coaching’s Velocity workouts allow for athletes to connect for more than just “doing the workout”.

While the list above is not comprehensive or complete, it’s something to consider as you see an increasing push toward AI coaching models and apps. We will be embracing some of the better aspects of AI technology in coaching when they’re ready, but at APEX Coaching we also know that you’ll never be able to completely replace a human coach with a computer or app anytime soon!

Author Neal Henderson is the founder of APEX Coaching and has worked with hundreds of athletes from novices to Olympic medalists applying practical training guidance with sports science informed methods.