On Coaching

Coaching is not something you do to the athlete; it is something you do with the athlete. It is a cooperative venture, a partnership. Never lose sight of the twenty-four hour athlete concept. The athletes we work with train for two to four hours a day. It is a fundamentally unbalanced equation because the other twenty to twenty two hours have more of an impact on the athlete’s success or failure in their chosen sport than the training time. It is easy to fall into the trap of training not coaching. Training only pays attention to the actual workout; manipulation of sets, reps, heart rates, maximum lifts etc. Coaching on the other hand develops the whole person, mentally physically and socially. Coaching is working closely with the athletes to define their goals and give them the tools to be able to achieve their goals. Coaching is a creative process that takes imagination and enthusiasm. Coaching empowers the athlete to take a degree of responsibility for their actions. As the athletes career progresses the athlete should assume a greater degree of responsibility so that coach assumes more of an advisory capacity. Frank Dick, former chief coach of Athletics in Great Britain, put it best when he said that during the course of athlete’s career the coach’s role evolves from that of a guiding light to a mirror. Coaching, like parenting, teaching, and managing provide the roots to grow and the wings to fly.

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