Thursday, May 5, 2011

what is a "coach"? by Vern Gambetta

Man, this is right on...

Hu is the human element. You won’t find it on the periodic table of elements, but if you look around you are surrounded by it. It influences and drives everything that we do. The obvious human element in sport is the athlete that is why we coach. As coaches our focus is squarely on the human element, the athlete. The athlete comes in many shapes and all sizes. Some athletes are remarkable and some are average. Each athlete is unique and special. Certainly the athlete is the focus, but let’s not forget who guides and develops the athlete. It’s the coach. A good sport development system is athlete centered, but less we forget it is coach driven. Great coaches are human, they are not automatons and they have feelings and emotions. Great coaches can’t be manufactured. Great coaches just like great athletes are made not born. You get better at coaching if you practice mindfully. Coaching is not something you do; it is something you are with every fiber of your being.

Coaches need to be grown and developed. Coaching development must parallel athlete development for a sport development system to prosper and succeed. If the athletes are to continue to grow and progress the coach must continue to grow and progress. As coaches we must challenge ourselves to lead change by being the change we want to be. Coaching is a profession, not a job that you do three or four hours a day. It is all consuming. In order to coach the best you have to be the best yourself as a coach. Technical expertise and competence are a given, scientific knowledge helps, but ultimately coaching is an art. Great coaches have a feel, they have a sense of knowing when to speak and when to remain silent, when to go and when to stop. How do they know - they have refined the humane side of the human element. They have made mistakes and learned from them. They realize that each athlete is a case study of one. They have learned that coaching is all about Hu, not technology, facilities and equipment, but human failings and frailty. They have learned that coaching is a partnership, it not something you do to the athlete, it is something you do with the athlete.

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