Differences in Coaching Black and White Athletes

Bolt didn’t become fast via hard work. Other people and I think some of his former coaches also used to criticize him for slacking in his training. He even said in some interview I watched that he only started seriously training for 2 years or something (after he met Glen Mills).

You said millions can beat Bolt. 400lb benches and 40 inch verticals, while great, are commonplace. Hundreds (maybe even thousands) at the high school level achieve those numbers each year. One person has ever run, wind legally,under 9.7, let alone under 9.6.

Since people can achieve anything with just hard work, go run sub 12.8 in the hurdles. That’s a much “weaker” record than Bolt’s 9.58, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for you with hard work. Get going.

bobsanchez, I think most people would agree with you that hard work goes a long way (and what Bolt considers “slacking” in his training is relative to whatever his training situation is and what his high-achieving peers do).

Most would probably also agree there are people whose talent is not realized because of poor training situations or ill-placed skepticism or artificial barriers.

But you have to remember that certain benchmarks have meaning BECAUSE they are so rare.

Most people on this planet not only cannot run sub10, they cannot run sub11, sub12, sub13, or sub14.
As you go do down in time, it takes a rarer set of talents to achieve the benchmarks.
If EVERYONE could run 9.58 with a lot of hard work, that time would not have as much value; it’s not worth as much because it’s no longer a remarkable achievement.

I was an 11.1-11.3 guy in HS; if I get down to 10.7-10.8 in the next 2-3 years, I will be very happy.
If Bolt (or Powell, Gay, Lemaitre, Guliyev, Burns, etc.) ran 10.7, it would be a huge cause for alarm.

They were alloted elite talent. I was alloted “better than most folks I meet” talent. How far I can get with that talent is a product of my hard work.

I am quite happy with that. If I somehow get to 10.00, it’d be surprising to me because that is a rare benchmark. I’m not saying I won’t - I’m saying that it’s a very rare achievement and the overwhelming majority (99.99999%) of sprinters in history have not reached it.

I wouldn’t say Bolt doesn’t work hard. He is a massive talent no doubt, the greatest talent ever most likely,( 19.8 as a junior) but he still had to train to get to 9.58 in the 100m. He still puts in the hours similar to any other world class runner, he does the speed work, lifts the weights, does the plyo etc.

Maybe he got serious only 2 years ago but that’s when he started getting consistent, and that’s when he stopped getting injured all the time. No surprise that his times have come down too.

2 years of proper training is nothing to laugh at. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a proper year of training in my life. I wouldn’t even say I’ve had six months. I think the natural talent argument is a scapegoat for lazy and/or bad coaches who don’t know what they are doing. They don’t want to admit that the way they train their athletes holds them back, so they blame it on a “lack of natural talent”. I believe “natural talent” or lack thereof is also an excuse for underachieving athletes to sell themselves short. I don’t know what I or anyone else is capable of, but I know that I can do more than most people think that I can.

and my view of the “average man” is skewed only in a sense that there is no way the “average man” could ever be dedicated enough to spend the hours upon hours at the track, and the hours in the gym required to achieve these things.

If natural talent was so important and elites possess such rare talent how could Charlie coach multiple world class athletes from scratch without recruiting?

Charlie even said that many of the athletes who came to him were incredible talents. See Mark McKoy and Desai Williams. Maybe you haven’t read Speed Trap. He didn’t just get Joe Blows. It goes without saying, there was 1 Ben Johnson. A lot of great guys trained with Charlie, but how many went under 10, let alone 9.8 (let alone 9.7, 9.6). That isn’t a knock on Charlie, but shows that talent is huge. You can have one of the best coaches alive, get massage 3x a day for a number of years, work your ass off for years, and do all of the other things needed for success and still never break 10 (let alone run 9.58 or 19.19) if you don’t have the talent.

Bolt ran sub 20 before he was training seriously and before he was with Mills. How many people (as in, the entire world population) are capable of sub 24 without extensive training? As a percentage… not a whole lot.

Oh and this ‘4 years ago’ stuff is beyond stupid. 4 years ago you had just started puberty. That tends to help people progress. A lot.

Most high school kids that train tend to explode during those very same 4 years.

I’d like to introduce you to diminishing returns and plateaus my friend, you’ll know what I’m talking about soon enough.

I’d like to add that, while the average man would be capable of doing a lot better on the track, or in the gym, than he’s actually doing now, if he’d put in the hours of training and sacrifice necessary to do so, the average man has a family to provide for, a mortgage to pay out, and a car loan to fullfill.

Of course continuous proper training will help a lot, but only to a point. Talent/potential, or whatever you want to call it, counts for a lot. You give CF a slow, weak, uncoordinated, determined, 18 year old fat kid (say 40lbs overweight) and 4 years of training, and how fast do you think he could run the 100m at the end of those years? I would be impressed with 12.0.

While I think training is training and should be for the most part individualized to begin with. I think race as in skin color is both overblown and underestimated.

It’s overblown for the simple reason that the actual skin color of a person doesn’t mean much genetically. If Tom Cruise is slower than Tupac it won’t be because he’s white.

It’s underestimated because socially it does make a difference. Especially in the U.S. It would be willing sticking your head in the sand to assume that on the whole a black athlete and indian athlete would come to the track with the same baggage. The personalities and social experiences brought due to their “race” will undoubtedly lead to some adjustments in coaching. At least until there is a level of comfort reached.

The social argument is drastically overstated. There are plenty of black sprinters who came from good upbringings and plenty of white sprinters who didn’t.

A phrase that I like to repeat when discussing the importance of hard work versus natural talent is, “You can only nurture what nature has given.” Since I’ve accepted this, I’ve re-defined my main goal in track as realizing my maximum potential.

Let me state my summarized philosophy and tell me if anyone agrees with it. Keep in mind that the “ideal” training situation i speak of is impossible and has surely never been achieved. Ideal situation would mean “ideal” in every possible way. This person got 10 hours of sleep every day of their life. Early exposure to the sport. Never missed a workout in his life. Never ate any junk food in his life. Took ice baths whenever he needed to, got massages. Did 1000+ reps of corework for years and years. Somehow was exposed to any supplement he ever wanted and any sort of scientific advancement that could possibly help him such as therapeutic modalities and nutritional or pharmaceutical means of improvement. He had the very best coach and training program and was exposed to high levels of competition his whole life. I’m talking about absolute perfection.

“If a male of average genetics was exposed to these “ideal” situations he could become a world class athlete or even a world record holder”

I think your goal of realizing your maximum potential is an admirable one. But my personal philosophy is that achieving your potential is impossible, because there will always be things that you could have done better. Just as this “ideal situation” is impossible, so is maximizing your potential in my humble opinion.

Does no one agree?

Most of what you just said here is irrelevant to maximizing potential or would actually inhibit maximum potential for direct or indirect reasons. Almost everything you said there is stupid as hell.

“If a male of average genetics was exposed to these “ideal” situations he could become a world class athlete or even a world record holder”

I think your goal of realizing your maximum potential is an admirable one. But my personal philosophy is that achieving your potential is impossible, because there will always be things that you could have done better. Just as this “ideal situation” is impossible, so is maximizing your potential in my humble opinion.

Does no one agree?

You may never achieve your “maximum” potential, but you can get pretty damn close. That doesn’t mean that millions of people can come close to 9.58/19.19. That is just a stupid thing to say.

While we both agree that “maximum” potential cannot be reached, I do not claim to know whether or not it is even possible to get close to your maximum potential. How do you propose to know what anyone’s maximum potential is since you say that it is possible to get close to it? Do you know what your genetic potential is? And why is what I said stupid? Is it because nobody actually is that dedicated?

I don’t agree.

You take an average person and put them in this “ideal” situation and I guarantee you that someone out there is faster without ever training.

You take an above average person and put them in an “ideal” situation and someone out there in an absolutely un-ideal situation will run faster.

You take two extremely talented people and the one in the ideal situation will potentially run faster.

I think you’re attributing too much to environment and not enough to nature.