So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Set The Bar Too High?

Okay, so it's not strictly a coaching thing. But sometimes the role of a coach isn't necessarily limited to kicking the athlete's @$$ around the track or the road, trying to get them to work out, or ease up. Sometimes you have to get into their mind...which is almost as strenuous as the workout the athlete endures.
One word for all of you frustrated athletes out there: Communicate.
Clairvoyance is not a gift provided to the men and women who decide to coach. What we as athletes thought was omniscience or clairvoyance on the part of our own coaches (after we farted them off and did our own thing, then came limping back...) was actually prior experience, bumps and bruises. To qualify as a coach doesn't require (well, some coaching qualifications are based on...) a bachelors' or masters' degree in psychology, physiology, exercise science, and so on. The school of hard knocks often is tuition enough. I've limped along on the sidelines enough over the past decade to have a good idea whether a particular training modality is going to injure. I might not be perfect, but I feel I'm able to perhaps keep you from falling down a storm drain.
Roch Frey, Paul Huddle, and Jimmy Riccitello were discussing the role of a coach during a podcast two months ago. The relationship between coach and athlete is dynamic, based on the need of the athlete. Ideally, the coach will impart enough sense to the athlete that their role will be less at the forefront...there'll be less of that '...hey, coach, you think it's a good idea if I...' discussion and more ', I think I need to do (blank) in order to work on (blank).' Sometimes, even letting the coach know what the individual goal is would be a step in the right direction.
Case in point: I fervently disagreed with one of my team members running 12-15mi runs in the middle of August, in triple-digit heat indices. She mentioned that my old coach told her it was all right. I basically gave her the 'love you anyway, but I strongly disagree with your plan' comment. Finally, I found out that her goal race was the half-marathon in the middle of October and not the full marathon in December. 'Gee, if you had told me this a couple of weeks ago I would have understood. Duh...' Of course, when she told me her rationale for not doing a marathon I was a little incredulous...but that's all right. Funniest thing is that she's also a member of an international organization that focuses on education and communication skills. Uh, hello, McFly?
If you don't tell your coach what you're planning, he's going to plan for something that might not be good for you.

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