“You are important to this team.”
“I will work with you on your success.”
“I need you to trust me.”
The above quotes are exact statements that have remained boldly in my mind since they were said to me by coaches.
I’ve had a lot of coaches. Transferring schools during high school had an impact on this as well along with the fact that in track I had a different coach for each event: pole vault, sprints and long distances.
College thrust me into a world of many changes including an immediate change in authority of different sorts. The change in teachers is always a much easier adjustment to conquer but a whole new group of coaches was something I was extremely nervous for. I had grown close with the coaches I had spent my high school running career with but in college, I would have a new group of authority members to run for and take discipline from.
Unsurprisingly if we consider how often I recognize this, I shouldn’t have worried. The majority of coaches are great. It’s in their DNA. It has to be. They always ace the test I give them when I spend the first week of practice especially sassy. It filters out the weak. It’s a test of their personality and patience. I’m kind of kidding but usually I’m grouchy during the week of conditioning anyway so it turns out to be a test as I continue to examine how they react to my attitude. Although this could be seen as slightly unfortunate I’ve come to the realization that the authority members in my life whom I respect the most have been or currently are an athletic coach of mine.
It’s not hard either; it’s easy to respect somebody who humbly sacrifices so much on a daily basis for your success.
All athletes have coaches - Olympic champions, pro ball players, walk-ons. All athletes get advice from somebody. I can’t imagine not taking the relationship with my coaches as seriously as I do. Because it makes me better. It’s that simple.
One of the greatest races I ever ran occurred last spring, during my senior year of high school. 800 meters. Two laps of tremendous, rewarding torcher. This was by no means the greatest race due to any miraculous personal record, first place finish or any other seemingly ideal reward.
It was, however, a race that I won’t ever forget because of my mindset: I had been thinking all week about everything our team’s coaches sacrificed regularly for our silly high school track team- long afternoon practices, early morning weekend practices, Saturday invitational meets that lasted all day plus travel time. They encourage us nonstop, listen to our excuses, believe in us, make us believe in ourselves and never give up on training even when we want to. I can no longer run a race without thinking about all the effort that is poured out for my success.
If you think of yourself as an athlete- and more importantly treat yourself like one, you know the importance of being coached. Too many mistakes can happen if you don’t rely on that guidance. Having a good coach or trainer gives you a perspective on your training. Without this, you’ll get bogged down with details. We’d begin to miss the forest for the trees. Through intense training, it’s easy to overlook the overall goal, to misjudge the process to the dream.
We all think we do things correctly until we accept the third person’s perspective. For example, I used to run absolutely incorrectly. You may be thinking. “How could there be an incorrect way to run?” Actually I hope some of you are thinking that so I feel less ridiculous having thought that.
My stride was too long.
My shoulders were too tense.
My hands weren’t relaxed correctly.
I had bad habits and ran with arrogance, wasting crucial energy.
But I didn’t know. I jogged around feeling like a beautiful and majestic marathoner. It didn’t take long for a coach to notice and train me properly. It was hard to break the habits but it was necessary because what I thought was right would have ended up hurting me eventually. If we have coaches who call us out for failing to execute the work properly, we’re much more likely to be successful with the work that needs to be done.
I still make mistakes but I’m fortunate to have a support system that cares about me to devote so much time and energy in the process of achieving our goals.
They’ll ask for another lap and this isn’t because despite how it seems, they want you to suffer. They’ll ask for another lap because they believe so firmly in your success.
Sometimes coaches are former state champions, Olympians, devoted parents or extremely knowledgeable volunteers. They are selfless, dedicated, caring, involved, invested, passionate, encouraging, and incredibly vital.
Having a solid coaching support team is essential to reaching one’s potential.
Behind the heart of a runner are crucial coaches having played a significant role in the outcome of the athletes.