Why do we do what we do? We are seen as coaches for most part of the time and there for get the same treatment; the team does well and we are the last people to be congratulated or even noticed but if that same team does poorly; the remarks and questions start with if they were fit enough, strong enough or quick enough?
Yes we are seen as coaches but shouldn’t we be seen as the educators (managers and facilitators); the people who teach athletes everyday that talent is not enough anymore, the people who challenge them on a regular basis (mentally and physically) and the people who show them that even with modern fitness trends and concepts that there are still no short cuts to success in strength and conditioning development.
Just as I challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone on a regular basis a challenge my athletes to do the same; read and read a lot (sports people live extraordinary lives and have great biographies), learn and commit to a goal (knowledge is power) and do what the ordinary athlete wouldn’t do (work harder and smarter than the athlete next to you).
I based my philosophy on the concept that I have a talent to train athletes and that I am capable of training them to become the best athlete they can be. As I was committing my philosophy to paper one word stood out; Talent. I was hungry to learn more about this term that labels any person with a degree of success a “talented” person.
In a book by John C. Maxwell called “Talent is never enough” he quotes Peter Drucker (the father of modern management) – “There seems to be little correlation between a man’s effectiveness and his intelligence, his imagination, or his knowledge…Intelligence, imagination and knowledge are essential resources, but only effectiveness converts them into results. By themselves they only set limits to what can be contained”
As I scoured the libraries and internet (training Journals, biographies, Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia) for more knowledge on talent and concepts associated with it I came upon an article published in a book titled “Wrestling Physical Conditioning Encyclopaedia, published” by The Athletic Press, Pasadena, CA, in 1974. The author John Jesse stated that “There is no shortcut to strength development, as there is none for the development of skill, agility or endurance in an athlete. No amount of fancy gimmicks or equipment or adoption of alleged time-saving ‘fads’ will substitute for a long term program of hard work, that is required to develop the quality of strength needed by an athlete for optimum performance in his specialty. Greater progress in track and field during the past 15 years has been the result of harder work by the athletes, not by resorting to shortcuts and less work.”
Ashley Jones (strength and conditioning coach – Crusaders and NZ) made an excellent point – “athletes make us look good”. I think it is because in more ways than we like to consider we show and educate (not tell) athletes that it is hard work and commitment that separates talented athletes from the rest. Talent is not the ticket that says you have to train less or not at all, it is the athlete who trains alone, trains when it’s cold or hot and when they are lazy; with the knowledge that discipline in training and recovery doesn’t guarantee successful results in matches; talent is the athlete that realises their talent is only a pathway to how they express themselves and their abilities on the sport fields.
Another informative article of a member’s philosophies and ideas, I am sitting in a hotel room in Hokkaido, Japan, on a summer training camp with one of the Japan Top League team’s, with a glass of sake in hand, and I am reminded of the quote, of my former head coach Robbie Deans, “success is a moving target” and the motto that we are using this year is “Sharpen the Sword”, we as strength & conditioning coaches constantly need to sharpen our swords, we are dealing with athlete’s now that are better educated, commence training earlier, and who want to learn and they ask the reason why, we need to be able to educate, as I have heard from better men than i that coaching is an extension of teaching, read some of John Wooden’s material, inspiring and humbling, sure look and enquire, adapt, modify, challenge your own ideas, if you are preparing prepare as if you are number 2 never lose that fire, another great read is Philosopher Coaches, it is a gem, never give up, I did not get my first head coaching position until I was 32, and now at 47, I am only just learning which questions to ask and thanks to all of you for doing what you do, keep fighting the good fight and shine brightly, ashley