Are we better teachers and coaches now than in the past?


I don’t know the history of coaching as well as some people, but over the last 15 years I have not seen better improvements in coaching with some basic aspects such as jumping and more complex actions like olympic lifts and skills. I don’t buy the 10,000 rule as some coaches are very talented and some simply don’t have the gift, but I do appreciate the time needed to get better. When I heard that people are coaching breathing, hip hinge, and regressions I wonder if we are over thinking teaching or have lost the art. I have always been a minimalist on cueing but understand not everyone is the same regarding motor skill acquisition. I have read some blogs and articles (research) and it looks like we are not very strong sport science wise with teaching.

Teaching is ways to have people learn, not lecturing or finding magic words. I was embarrassed over a decade ago when one coach at the track taught an athlete a skill with a good set-up of workouts and I took six weeks. I wrongly compared myself to other coaches saying if I teach something earlier then I was doing a good job. Mastery was not unconsciously correct like some of the motor theorists, it was how much resources and transferability in meets did the process succeed with as a whole. Teaching is also an ego thing, where one sees opportunity to criticize others for lack of doing something. I never attack someone’s ability here, but when I see montages that look like candy for surgeons or power points talking about neuromuscular drop-off I have to speak out professionally.

I wish I could say read this book, or attend this workshop, but I think we need to visit or see more documentary type videos of the struggle to improve someone. It’s not easy, and if it was we would simply email workouts and spend time on the deck grilling burgers while the athletes get better on their own. Bucking the technology trend that I am a culprit with, I have tried to do better with the human element and make more of a Dan Millman approach before he jumped the shark. I think teaching is about removing distractions, not necessary showing how to move better or do a task. As I visit more and more coaches I see why personality and culture is so important to get people to make change.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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