The Adaptable Coach
Your aim (destination) may be set (Olympic final, the Play-off’s, PB, etc) but your journey must be flexible. This is the creativity of coaching. There is never one answer. The gurus and salesmen only have one answer. Collect as many tools as you can for your coaching tool-box.
“Map out your future, but write it in pencil.” Jon Bon Jovi
Things change on a day-to-day basis – be ready with the answers. Be prepared to look for changes in the athlete before acting out the session. Is what you wrote in the program yesterday still appropriate for today?
Thinking of Outcomes
Regardless of the thorough preparation required for this ‘peak’ there will be a change of climate around you. This difference comes from the fact that the atmosphere now fills with EXPECTATION and minds fill with OUTCOMES.
What will be the result of the contest?
What happens if I win?
What happens if I lose?
What will people think of me?
Will the result change my life?
Will I be better off?
Will I be worse off?
Herein lays the trap for the unsuspecting participant. Dealing with outcomes is a futile exercise when the result of the contest is yet to be decided. All attention, all focus and all concentration must be targeted towards doing those things that are in the present. If you have been planning for success you will have a simple set of routines to repeat for the contest. If you have been planning for failure you will be overcome by outcomes and expectation. No successful campaigner introduces emergency measures at such a late date. New ideas and practices are not for this time.
“The secret of success is hard work. Maybe that’s why it remains a secret to so many”
The Knowledge Tree – for all the ‘Gurus’ out there
A stranger was seated next to a little girl on the airplane when the stranger turned to her and said, ‘Let’s talk. I’ve heard that flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.’
The little girl, who had just opened her book, closed it slowly and said to the stranger, ‘What would you like to talk about?’
‘Oh, I don’t know,’ said the stranger. ‘How about nuclear power?’ and he smiles.
‘OK,’ she said. ‘That could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass – yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?’
The stranger, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, ‘Hmmm, I have no idea.’ To which the little girl replies, ‘Do you really feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don’t know shit?
For those of you who expect life to be rosy and uncomplicated; where you can listen to that voice of complacency; where you seek out the easiest pathway; where you expect everyone to do things for you – well you are wasting your own time because the rest of us are defiant.
“You must not fear death, my lads; defy him, and you drive him into the enemy’s ranks.” Napoleon Bonaparte
I remember commenting (very politically incorrect, I know!) that the world of Coaching, Sports Medicine and Strength & Conditioning appears, in some cases, to be fraught with secrecy. There are practitioners who believe that they have the answer through some special program or ‘spell, potion or gadget’. What we need is an interaction between practitioners where ‘sharing’ is the prime strategy and egos are left behind. Remember – there are no magic programs or systems; no-one ‘owns’ an exercise or has singular access to ‘best practice’. We are all in this together on behalf of the athlete.
“Don’t be buffaloed by experts and elites. Experts often possess more data than judgment. Elites can become so inbred that they produce haemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked by the real world.” Colin Powell