The other week I talked about the birdhouse hanging in my backyard; the sudden increase in pine straw poking out the entry hole as well as the bottom of the house. As Karl Marx probably would have said on observing the situation, the first nestlings were a historical inevitability. I had a sneaking suspicion the other morning when I saw more birds flying and landing around the porch roof, which was reinforced after I saw something that looked a lot like an open mouth peek out from the entry. Lots more chirping going on, plus lots more bird flights, plus at least one opened mouth, definitely equals little birds. While I love my d-a-w-g, I have an affinity for birds. To me, they're humans with very funny feet. We all have to have a soft spot in our hearts for something, I guess. Some old curmudgeons, like my paternal grandfather, transmogrify into peanut butter-like substance in the sight of their grandchildren. Well, that's what my mother once told me. (I occasionally saw the softer side of my grandfather, but it seemed more common in the years after my grandmother was gone.) There's the challenge of coaching; sometimes you want to let your guard down in order to prove you are as human as the athletes you coach. But then it becomes hard to remain consistent in your communications. Seriousness does have its place in the coach-athlete relationship, especially when it comes to communicating fatigue, pain & injury. Most athletes don't want to let on how badly dinged up they are; some harbor the compulsion to exercise. Not like I've ever been in that situation, personally...When I'm asking about what & how badly something - or more than one thing - is hurt, I have absolutely zero time or tolerance for long, drawn-out tales. I want, no need to know in an objective manner what hurts, where, for how long, & to what degree. And while that 'one to ten scale; one means "what ache?" & ten means "shoot me now"' comment may sound flippant to the casual observer, I know how many points to add or subtract for the individual athlete.For example, one of my teammates was the kind of athlete who would run until you told her a bone was sticking out of her leg, at which point she would ask, 'who's bone is this?' Tough little gal. Shame she's once a runner now.
Once I can troubleshoot or diagnose what needs to be done, then I can become more nurturing, caring & concerned. It is not simple by any stretch of the imagination to balance the 'my job is to make you a better machine' aspect & the 'my job is to make certain you can continue to do this for a lifetime' aspect of coaching.The main thing is to not be bad @$$ in three easy lessons or dumb @$$ about running & physical fitness. It's to teach people how to be a smart @$$, at least smart enough to know when and how to back off so they don't spend the next year sitting on their @$$ watching it get fatter because they are injured & cannot exercise.