For thee days last Friday, Saturday and Sunday I was totally immersed in coaching development. What an expereince! Spending three days with Frank Dick, an icon in coaching brought coaching right back to the center of the athlete development process. Conversations with Frank and the presentations on the weekend at the Scottish Athletics coaching conference were a powerful and timely reaffirmation of the role of the coach. It has become almost trite to say athlete centered, coach driven and administratively supported to describe the process of athlete development. The athlete development pathway is clear. Everyone can recite the stages of long term athlete development, but what about the stages of coaching development. If the process is coach driven then who develops the coach? What is the coach development pathway and process? How do you become a coach? Even more important what is coaching and what is a coach? Mind you I am not talking about going to a course and getting a certificate as a level one, two or three coach or going online and getting a certification. That does not make you a coach. Completing that task may clear you in terms of liability; it may even qualify you to get a job. But that is actually is a small part of it. There is so much more to coaching and becoming a coach. To have the title of coach or be called a coach is one thing, but it is a whole other thing to be a coach. Coaching is not something you do, it is something that your are with every fiber of your being. You coach people, not the sport. Technical details, exercises, drills, sets and reps are the easy part. It is the thought that goes into the selection of the drills, the technique, how they are delivered and communicated that really counts. As coaches we really don’t develop talent, we bring out potential. We help and guide the athlete to develop their potential.
Tomorrow I will share with you the steps in the coaching development process that Frank Dick outlined. The process is a journey of discovery and learning. It is a journey that is not easy with a direct path to the destination. Sometimes the road is narrow and winding, at times there are detours, but the process is clear and the satisfaction great if you will stay the course.