is a coach necessary?

i am just curious as to how people value the importance of having a coach? i believe my knowledge of sprinting is pretty good, but then i would guess a lot of elite sprinters have knowledge beyond that of mine. however, not many of these athletes are self coached, the only one i can think of is shawn crawford. what do you think the benefit of having a coach is? i would guess it allows more technical feedback. just curious for any thoughts regarding this?

I think you either need a coach or at least a good video camera to tape your sprint sessions.

Of course neither are “necessary” but you are at a disadvantage if you don’t have a good coach.

the thing i find hard is agreeing with the coaching methods. i think it’s hard when as an athlete you know a bit about the scientific rationale for training methods to find a coach. because what you know from the science moulds your beliefs in how training should be conducting, you need to find a coach with those same beliefs, or else there is going to be a partial lack of faith, something which i believe you can’t afford to have. of course having a coach does allow there to be a more concrete structure to the programme, and less opting for an easier session because you ‘feel like it’. the video camera is a good idea also, but i guess doesn’t allow as immediate feedback. i guess it comes back to reflection-in-action or reflection-on-action.

You will need somebody who knows technique. Even if there is a good technique coach around where you live but trains different to how you train, you could still train at the same time doing what you want to do, just ask him if he can watch your technique from time to time.
Also, if you get the chance to vido record, you might be just as better off teaching the person who is recording you what to look for! Concentrate on say Arms, teach them what your arms should look like. Then next time, work on a different part etc.

The person who trains himself has a fool for a client…

interesting quote!!! can you elaborate on that a bit though please?

If you already “know” all the answers from “science” and need to interview coaches till you find one who agrees with what you already think, then you are right. A coach is no use to you.
As for no23’s comment, it’s a famous Abe Lincoln quote: “He who defends himself in court has an ass for a lawyer and a fool for a client.”

I guess the level you are at, and how far you can search for a coach plays a role in the decision. I understand you can never know it all, and everything is a learning experience. But, for example, if I read this forum, read research papers etc, and study sport science at a post grad level, then have coaches around who are all in favour of ‘more is better’, it’s difficult to find a common understanding.

If all coaching involved was writing a programme then life would be easy. I can tell you now i know very few athletes who train on thier own who do well.

I agree that there are a lot of coaches that are not properly equiped to handle athletes. And if you dont have faith in the program then youre not going to give it your all. Thats why we all flock to this website becuase we believe in charlie. As for finding that coach, it is hard, to many people believe there system is right and dont listen. But in my opinion coaches are nessesary even just to watch your form and especially to tell you when youre done. When your self coached we tend to not see the signs of fatigue and go furhter.

I think one of the big problems is finding a coach who cares. I’ve known a lot of coaches content with the position they have and have no desire to either expand their knowledge or go for it all with their athletes and stay with the status quo. Now, I would love to have a coach to organize all my workouts and train me in a good setting and all, but the problem is they are few and far between. I can handle doing a different philosophy if the coach gives a damn and puts effort into it and checks on all the athletes. The problem is the coaches with the least logical philosophies also tend to care the least.

Define Coach.

You may have control over the programming etc…

You generaly can’t pick faults in technique.

You also tend to say I’ll be right I’ve got x to do today, when you should probably stop.

Hopefully, that’s changing. I met a lot of coaches in Aus who are very interested and willing to try.

I think my profile must have been way way out of date! I’m back living in the UK now, and with the exception of a few coaches, the training methods are a bit too old school!

I’m with Maris here.

I joined a local athletics club a while a go. On my first day, the coach took me aside to check my technique while he got the other sprinters to run 8 laps of the track.

I found it quite disturbing - I wouldn’t want to be given a sub-standard workout every time a new person joined! Also it pointed to a lack of structure in his training plans or a lack of faith in his athletes.

Apparently the coach is quite highly rated, which worried me even more.

That doesn’t make much sense. What do you want him to do, ignore you? Are you running significantly better since leaving the club?

yeah, it’s exactly that sort of thing that’s the problem. also, the more you train the better you race approach, no pain no gain etc. i remember being given loads of sessions over a 4-5 month period doing 2x10 min continuous running trying to get as far as possible each time. not beneficial in my opinion, but many coaches around here would prescribe that sort of training, and then suggest the speed work is ‘the icing on the cake’!!

No. What I found disturbing was the fact that he ignored everyone - except from me!

Would you, every time someone new joined your club, want to do some crap workout (like 8 laps of the track) that bears no relevance to what you are training for?

It was closer to cross country training than sprint training.

We did something like that as well. I only stayed for 3-4months but we would do similar workouts to that.

100m sprint, jog corner, 100m sprint, jog corner … for 2 laps. That counts as one set. then a 3-5min rest and repeat for 5 sets, total.

If you aren’t sick, you need to train harder. One day, one of the 400m guys brought a bucket with him and put it next to the track. Other people would just use the toilets.

No pain, no gain is also another maxim that pisses me off. Sure, you need dedication, commitment etc. but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to push yourself to breaking point every workout.

In fairness, some off the speed work they did wasn’t so bad. 3x30m repeats with 1 min rests in between runs and 5 mins between sets. Not optimal but could be worse.

Its a tough call. The only problem I see with going it alone is that there isn’t the benefit of the impartial observer.(which is one of the roles a good coach can play) so it is harder to know when to push it and when to back off as well as to having insight on what areas that need improvement. So its not that you will not understand what to do when you notice a problem, but more that you might not see the mistakes you are making. Of course if you feel that the coaches that you have availiable to you are going to hinder your progress than that makes things much more difficult to decide on.

Are there any athletes who have similar ideas as you in regards to training that you could work with. They at least could give you an estimate about how you are running.