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, January 16, 2008

No Talking, No Problems

For the last year or so, I have written a newsletter for the club. Often, it's a digest of crazy stuff that goes through my mind during a particular time of the year, or a response to something I've seen or heard in the previous month...tied in with a neat article I've read or have been forwarded, results from local races and a few hey, make certain you get involved with this kind of stuff. Sometimes it goes well, other times I know I've done little more than tick off the masses. Ah, I'm the coach. Sometimes things have to be said that don't sound very nice.
This month, I told the club secretary the responsibility for writing the newsletter would be his. I promised I'd have my moment at the front and do whatever else he asked, writing-wise. I'll toss him a few articles I find and point him towards some of the many sources I've enjoyed reading over the past three or four years.
He sent me an e-mail the other day, which sounds like some of those questions I know get asked out of my earshot. I used to ask them to my coach in the past, too. Usually, when I heard the answer I felt like saying, 'Coach, why don't you explain that to them?!' But, I guess it's kind of like one of those things fundamentalist pastors are taught: Don't Answer Questions Nobody Is Asking, Silly.
Following along on blind faith is not good. Following a training plan or a coaching philosophy on blind faith is not good, either. Asking questions is a good thing.
I think most knowledgeable coaches don't mind answering the respectfully-worded question. It's the ones that sound like challenges to authority that tend to tick them off. Of course, when the question is asked, the athlete better be prepared to hear the plain, unvarnished truth of the answer.
It's not that coaches don't want to tell the truth; they might have a hard time placing the truth in a format that won't emotionally thrash the athlete. Hippocrates of Cos was right: 'first, do no harm.' Like Coach Ethan Barron of Tufts University advised, '...athletes will always sense hypocrisy. If you don't truly believe what you are saying, then don't say it.'
So, if I'm not talking, it's not that I don't love you. It's that I'm trying to find the right way to say what needs to be said.
That having been said, I'm having so much fun at this moment, standing trackside. I hate not being able to train because of this injury, but I like being able to focus my attention on my athletes, almost 100 percent. Having two or three ability levels going at the same time, as well as the occasional straggler or outside conversation, makes it tough...but I think my wife would tell you I'm laughing and smiling a lot at the track as of late.
Laughing and problems. Right?

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