Sunday, November 13, 2011

What a Coach Should Look For In An Athlete

So, you've taken a job as the running coach for a track team,or perhaps you will be coaching a cross-country squad,then again, maybe someone has approached you in hopes of having you coach them.Coaching requires a commitment of time,effort and energy. However,the rewards gained from coaching can be well worth the time,effort,and energy you put into it. I know it has been for me. Lydiard once wrote about the criteria he looked for in an athlete he was going to coach. I would agree with the attributes he listed but would add a few of my own to his list. He began by saying he looked for sincerity.That would seem to complement some of the other things Arthur mentioned, such as being ambitious and determined, as well as having pride in themselves.Lydiard did mention one other quality that is essential for a prospective athlete to have and that is coachability, a willingness to follow the program you prescribe for them. I have worked with certain runners,invariably older ones,who did not seem to have the confidence to follow a particular program for the period of time needed to see it to fruition. They interpreted every poor workout or performance as evidence that your program was not working. Or worse yet,they wanted to pick and choose from other coaching regimens they had heard or read about. The red flag with these athletes is when they casually reveal the number of programs or coaches they've gone through in the last 3 years. Coachable, they're not. One characteristic that Lydiard did not list and THE quality I look for is a love and enthusiasm for running. This is just my opinion but I will take a less talented runner who has a love for the sport over one that isn't coachable or one who participates primarily because he does well at it. The beauty of distance running is that you can produce quality runners, even among those who may not be naturally talented, if they possess the qualities listed above. That is one of the things that makes this sport so great.

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