The Guru Thread ... Strength Training for the 40 Yd Dash

Obstinacy and certainty often equate to fear of exposure.

Responsibility goes both ways, though. Athletes can often be quick to call volunteer coaches doing the best they can “garbage”.

As a coach of a sprint group who has had the good fortune of being exposed to Charlie’s wealth of experience and all the other amazing conrtibutor’s on this site, I feel proud that our group has evolved and improved our overall program from past years of ill-suited middle distance-type training.

We had 10 different personal bests in the 100m and 200m from our athletes this year, 2 PB’s in the 60m, and 22 Gold medals in the sprints from two of our amazing Masters athletes. We followed Charlie’s short-to-long ideas closely, mildly manipulated by me because of time and weather realities.

Seemingly successful year right? We all thought so.

But we had this one 23 year old athlete that would say things about the coaching very similiar to the things Surferboy is saying now.
“Coach is dumb, ill-prepared, and refuses to admit he doesn’t know it all.”

Not understanding that without conviction from the coach on the efficacy of the new program, instituting Charlie’s unfamiliar ideas with the athletes would be more difficult. That lack of confidence in your new program dooms it from the start.

You know this athlete’s routine…Angry at the world if every practice isn’t a PB, even though he is being told over and over again not to get wrapped up in any particular practice. Having to walk on eggshells with every coaching comment you make because the athlete seems ready to explode, to the point where it hampers your ability to give constructive training advice. Telling the athlete over and over to cut back his training or lifting volume because the signs of overtraining are everywhere-but being told back, “I’m not overtrained”

Temper tantrums if he’s not feeling it out of the blocks that day. Disruptive and negative to the other athletes. Constantly changing the day’s workout to the point where the athlete is really self-coached.

In this particular example, from February on, this athlete IS literally self-coached as he decides that my particular interpretation of Charlie’s principles is stupid and the coach is garbage. [Right after running as fast as he’s ever run in the indoor 60m] The athlete goes on to hurt his calf while on his OWN watch- long removed from the group dynamic.

Predictably-the coach still gets blamed. I guess I should have seen it coming when he very publicly and very often criticized his two respected previous coaches as being terrible-not a good sign of things to come.

As coaches, I would like to think we look in the mirror each season and see how we can get better. But athletes bear reponsibility for making the relationship work too.

One of the things that I would like to learn as a coach is how to better deal with athletes that have serious anger-management issues-I feel unprepared in this area.

In the end, I guess the coach is the obvious target of an athlete’s misplaced anger, because if if it’s not the coach’s fault, that leaves only…

Looking in the mirror can be a real bitch.

That’s why you need a big group. There are always going to be disturbers out there and the average improvement of the whole group counters the bitching of a few. It also makes their departure for greener pastures less of a concern.

Also, people are sheep. When you have a small group it can easily be hijacked by a troublemaker or they can set a few others in motion along the same lines and the group is disrupted. When there’s a bigger group the knuckleheads are more likely to be seen for what they are. Not only socially, but when you have a number of others improving the bellyaching can be seen for what it is.

Fortunately for my sanity, the rest of my group is pretty mature, and have been patting me on the back for the way I’ve had to deal with this guy’s self-absorbed antics since day one.

One of the the things this guy was famous for, and the group always got a chuckle out of, was him telling me the program wasn’t tailored for his individual needs enough. Like a broken record. Despite the fact that he was given absolute free license by me, over and over, every practice, to modify it to his own needs if he wanted. Every group member has heard me say it to him dozens of times. Again, never his fault, always someone elses.

I hope I get better at dealing with the angry personality type next time the situation presents itself. These people are absolutely 100% convinced that the world is screwing them, and they go from job to job, situation to situation, thinking that the world really owes them something.

Agreed that it does go both ways, but again when a coach is ill prepared and even contridictes themselves each practice, as an athlete yes the caoch can be perceived as “dumb”. Now yes volunteer coaches are an asset and especially in canada where we are short on them, somewhat of an education is needed. When i say an education, i do not mean a self inflated ego about they are perfect and everyone else is wrong. Now we all have run into these people. I have read many stories from charlie about his run ins with these people. No coach is perfect but i have found that an willingness to learn from the people around them helps. The coach that I had, had no set plan, had no progression or any consistency when the person even talked and quite often lied about things even about there own life. It is to bad that a few bad aplles set the tone, as volunteer coaches are really needed and should be valued, but sometimes we run into the coaches who generally are dumb people who are liars and need that self inflated ego boost to make themselves feel good. It is the athletes who do suffer, and thats why we leave those coaches so we are not limited to there brain capacity and what they perceive as coaching.

This particular guy’s greener pasture is him being self-coached–fair enough. It will be very interesting to see who he blames if his 2007 season is more of the same results.

tell him 3 words: “Off the team”

Maybe. But sometimes, when the bitching goes unanswered and a little self-reflection (and self-interest when he sees everyone else getting results) and the problem solves itself.
If he doesn’t, well, the problem solves itself anyway cause guys like that just don’t make the team any more.

I know the feeling. Last year everyone in my group PB’d and some took significant chunks off of thier times. One of my most tallented athlete broke thier PB in the 100 by a huge margin but due to weather conditions they were unable to replicate this in the 200 (thier most successful event in the past). So now they question that an improved 100m time has destroyed thier 200m endurance and wish to make changes to thier programme despite running pbs in the 200m in training on good days where they didn’t ahve to run heats, semis and finals. They do not see the connection between higher speed and potential for higher performances in the 200m because all they were used to before was lactic lactic lactic. Sometimes, you need to put your efforts into people who are willing to train at the expense of tallent because ultimately you have to enjoy what you do. Also you cannot let them destroy a group dynamic because ultimately that is what makes this all worth while and keeps the majority of athletes happy.

Always assume progress (PBs) based on best conditions for planning purposes, whether in a meet or in training.