Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Dave Power on Coaches
Come on now,admit it,when most of you saw the title today you said Dave who? Often forgotten when discussing Percy Cerutty is that he trained many champions besides Herb Elliott. One of those athletes was Australian Dave Power,a bronze medal winner in the 10,000 meter run at the 1960 Rome Olympics.He offers some thought provoking comments on Percy as well as coaches in general.What he has to say about Cerutty is something that all coaches should provide their athletes. Power had this to say about him: "He was motivational and gave me alot more confidence in myself. Up until then I'd been playing second fiddle to the likes of Al Lawrence and Albie Thomas. Once Percy convinced me I was every bit as good as them,if not better,I started to win races." Offering his opinion on the coaches of today as compared to those of the past Dave remarked:"We had better coaches then you have today, coaches who taught from the heart and experience like Cerutty and Lydiard." The subject of coaches is always an interesting one. For instance, I tend to agree with Tom Osler when he said, "there are just a few good coaches in the world. Coaches are mostly drill masters. There are only a couple of original thinkers out there." Osler then went on to refer to Arthur Lydiard and Bill Bowerman as being great coaches,who among other things, "knew not to hurt their runners." I like what else he said when he provided this interesting insight: "Talented runners will succeed,then the coaches are asked what they did." This thought came to mind as I read that,have you ever noticed that many top American runners are either injured or recovering from an injury and this seems to be an ongoing situation with them? Do you also ever wonder why the focus in regards to that injury is on the runner who got injured, while the coach, who lays out the training schedule, is never mentioned as possibly being responsible for that athlete's injury? But as Osler said,when this runner has success, the coach is always a part of that success and is held in high esteem because of it. Bill Bowerman was very careful about his runners overtraining,that was one of the qualities that made him such a great coach. What many coaches don't realize today is that there is more to being successful at coaching than team victories and winning events and races. There is no question that these things are very important but they don't encompass all the qualites of what makes for a good coach.Minimizing injuries,instilling confidence and taking the time to help a runner reach his full potential,among other things, should be included in the criteria for determining who is an exceptional coach. On a related note, in the archives I posted an article several months back entitled,On Coaching Runners that you may find interesting.