I am approaching 15 years of coaching, or about a quarter of the way through my journey as a person who enjoys being part of sport. I am not a guru or even a collegiate super coach, but just a guy who is seeking the truth. At times the truth was rather humbling and now it’s more exciting because it’s about the relationship, not just the accolades. Unfortunately the process of getting better has left me some dark roads and some cliffs, but on average I have learned a lot form great people. Information is an interesting currency as many coaches now want information like diamonds in Africa. My concern is that more and more coaches are not sharing because of the black market being very cut throat. Some tweets I have seen have disgusted me about claims and honesty of the craft.
The international community has the same problems as the domestic ones, so Australia is just a taken as America, regardless of what some consultants may hope to believe. He is right though, that the boys from down under are doing a better job as professionals but some great people are in the US. Over the last ten years I have acquired a library that would make Kebba Tolbert proud, attended the best conferences, spoke with the best coaches, and visited the best programs. At the end of the day one person is likely to guide me and a random coach in Europe has shaped me professionally, ethically, and even personally. It doesn’t matter if it’s a high school coach or superstar, so long as the relationship is there and the interest is right. Here are some changes in my life that I must recognize as not self-change.
I am far more patient. Years ago a meet was at risk of not having the proper equipment for timing because one support staff member accidentally locked a safe area at the meet was jeopardy. No screaming. No blame. Just a calm understanding that accidents happen. Later things worked out but I was amazed how poised one can be if you understand that your coaching community is an extended family.
Training as a Science. Since 2004 I have been more behind the scenes reading research and asking the people involved their thoughts. Reading research on PDF is the first step, not something to brag about on twitter. Sometimes doing your own research is more empowering because methodology and materials are not rocket science, and interpretation of the results is often conjecture. Were the subjects motivated? Was the set-up realistic to training programs? I am not discounting sport science, but before any professor or scientist becomes a rocket scientist, we must understand that even science can be tampered with.
Be resourceful. This photo shows a water jug with rope as a light sled. While five % of weight, it’s a way to get some acceleration in while at training camp when equipment is limited. Of course one will need to push a Poland Springs truck to be an American because more is better here, but the main purpose is creativity to get things done. Building one’s own equipment, haggling for sponsors, and doing it yourself is something I am much better at. Pride yourself of making things, not how big your budget is.
Have fun. After visiting a few times I see that if you don’t enjoy it one should rethink the role. I have become more private as a coach over the last few years as I know some jobs don’t fit me and I don’t fit every job. I have coached 100 athletes and worked with just one. I think small groups is best for me, but teams are still a soft spot. I visited a few national teams and simply loved how people were enjoying life. No macho nonsense.
I don’t care how old one is, I think everyone can be better with someone wiser and better guiding them. I will go into more coaches and fellow colleagues more so we can see my influences as I am not as original as people want to think.