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Becoming a Better Coach….

One of the greatest things you can do to become better in your profession (whether it is strength and conditioning, sports coach, personal trainer, physical therapist, etc) is to seek out those whom have more knowledge than you and learn from them.

For as long as I have been working in the health industry, I have always tried to find people to “talk shop with”. I strive to get better every day and by communicating with those that have more experience than me and who are great at what they do is one way in which I have enhanced my knowledge in this field.

This past Saturday was one of those incredible opportunities. This Saturday was the Trevor Brown High School/AZTECH training group running clinic. It was a full day (7am-2pm) of workshops and exhibitions.

Coach Bill Strachan, the director of the AZTECH training group has been training runners for more years than I have been alive. He has worked with some of the best of the best in terms of athletes and coaches in the running and track and field industry. Obviously the man is a tremendous resource and I have had tremendous opportunities over the past 2 years working with him personally and the runners of the AZTECH team. I am truly grateful for these opportunities as they make me better at what I do.

This weekend was no different! I helped out with the event by doing some speaking and question and answer sessions for parents and coaches. However, the real treat for me was the 2 hours I spent outside on the track with Coach Bill videotaping runners and then critiquing their form and technique. We would have the individual run about 50 meters and video tape them from the front, the back and the side. As the person was running, Coach Bill was running the video and he and I would make comments about things we were seeing (or weren’t seeing). It was an amazing opportunity to learn from someone who has really perfected his skills in watching people run. I would comment on and pick up a lot of things, but Coach Bill was a juggernaut. Nothing would get by him and oftentimes he would see something, comment on it and then follow up the comment with “but why is that happening?” Then, he would look longer, have the person run the 50m again, look harder and all of a sudden he would say, “I got it.” Once the person was done getting video taped and we had made our comments, we would talk to the person about what we were seeing and why it was happening. After that, Coach Bill would make some recommendations on how to begin to fix the problem and then have them run the 50m again. It was awesome to see him make corrections and give his technical cues. I learned a ton.

If you are in the industry of strength and conditioning, personal training, physical therapy or sports coaching, I urge you to seek out people like Coach Bill. People who can help make you better at what you do.

I think one of the reasons I love the Olympics so much isn’t just because of the incredible athleticism, but because of the incredible coaching behind the athleticism. Unlike American sports (baseball, basketball, football), where the coach is fired after a season or two if the team doesn’t do well or were strength coaches may take a more short sighted view of sports preparation (IE, we have 12-16 weeks to get ready for this season). Olympic coaches are there for 4 years with the athlete. The are there for the long haul and they understand what the long term goal is. To be able to take an athlete and visualize those 4 years of training leading up to the Olympic games is truly amazing and a real gift.