Posted On Wednesday, 01st August 2012 at 07:48
Standing on the shoulders of giants.
I spent Monday in the presence of some Coaching giants: Frank Dick, Bill Sweetenham and Vern Gambetta at the Global Coaches House.
The Hot Topic in the morning was about the Olympic Legacy. Who is going to light the fire of the next generation of coaches, athletes and teachers?
I made the point that Parents are at the frontline of all that needs to happen. Either as role models or taxi drivers.
Vern said "make it small, make it local, make it neighbourhood". It starts from there.
Frank emphasised the need for encouraging aspiration not expectation in our younger generation.
How are you going to make a difference after the Olympics?
Creating a Winning Profile
Bill Sweetenham talked about how to create a winning profile in your athletes, support staff and coaches. He wants his athletes to focus on their best performances, and look to improve from the bottom up. It is hard to improve on oyur best all the time, but you can improve your 11th best performance.
If you do this every 6 months, then you are making progress. Your best performance is the one that is yet to come.
Bill then talked about identifying 9 key aspects of your performance, then looking to get each one of those better by 1%. If you can do that, then your chances of achieving your goal have will improve by 25-30%.
The importance of emotional stress was then covered, especially as this is a big factor in the Big Championships. Physical and mental stress are common in training, but the emotional stress is often under rated (British Cycling response to Winning the Tour de France?).
In domestic and International competitions, there is less recovery time needed for emotional stress, as it is not such a factor. Things change when you get to the big games, and coaches and athletes need ot be prepared.
All the time Bill referred to the athlete and to the Coaching team. It is not just down to the athletes. The team has to be the best it can be: either through training or through recruitment. The Coach has to keep progressing and working.
He had some really useful metrics that I shall be using with my athletes and on myself to help us improve. I haven't seen him present before, but I was very impressed with his simple but effective tools, and his emphasis on the need for accountability from everyone in the team.
How are you going to improve your Coaching after the Olympics?
"The opposite of right isn't wrong, it's left" was something Frank had been told in his past. He then expounded on some specific case studies and real life examples and asked us what decisions we would have made and why.
This was a really useful exercise, and I benefitted from hearing how other people think. (Of course, you need a supportive, no blame no fear environment for this to work in!)
Who was Andrea del Verrocchio?
He was Leonardo Da Vinci's mentor.
Frank talked about how the athletes get all the attention, but who is the person standing behind them? Who has helped them along their path?
Who was the person who got Da Vinci started?
Da Vinci "Took the process of homework as being important". His mentor instilled this in him, and his use of this and practice, practice, practice allowed him to develop into greatness.
Some things can't be taught, they can only be learnt. "Experience is a cruel mistress because she gives you the exam before you have had the lesson." So, how can we accelerate that experiential process?
- Take time out to reflect.
- Grow regularly and use a network of people who think differently
- Decide to be the best.
I last saw Frank present in 2000 on a Coaching Day for Health Club Managers. That inspired me to set up Excelsior. He is just as inspiring now. Coaches need motivating too!
Food for thought
As usual on these days, it was just as useful mingling chatting before and after the seminars.
There were some great coaches present, and it helped clear up some thoughts for me.
I was both inspired and challenged.
It was great to catch up with people I had last seen on GAIN in Houston.