The availability of “coaching”, or rather ideas of workouts have become more accessible with the rise of social media. With just a scroll of the thumbs, you can find at least 10 ways to improve your speed with the latest craze. Scroll a bit more and you can find a clip of what the best athletes in any field are doing in their workouts. Ideas and concepts are unlimited and easily attainable for anyone willing to sit down and pay attention for more than a minute.
However, it has become just that, a library of ideas and small clips that do not necessarily represent the entirety of any sports program. The ideas become misrepresented and fail to flourish into an actual and sustainable result because nobody will take the time to learn and grow. One of my Altis coaches, Kevin Tyler, said it best, “Our sport is full of ‘experts’ but shallow on expertise.”
There are experts on foot speed, going through an agility ladder in supersonic speed, but how does that help a player if they do not understand the strategies of play-calling. Experts that can increase your vertical jump can get you hopping out the gym, but what use is that if there is another player who can hop just as high to block your shot. There are tons of experts, but no expertise.
The blame is not to be placed on those who are hoping to gain more understanding through research of available media. The blame seems to rest on the fact that there aren’t many areas where coach development is taken serious. Just as there are environments of high performance for athletes, creating a high-performance environment for coaches needs to reflect similarly. It is rare to see an athlete outgrow their coach and still produce great performances.
The greatest asset any sports program can have relies on the technical expertise of the coaching body. In the NFL, whether you are a fan or not, we can all agree that the coaching staff of the New England Patriots is superior. Phil Jackson and Pat Reilly of the NBA maintained expertise, and the results reflected. Coach K developed the dynasty that is Duke basketball. The argument can be made that they had great athletes to complement the program, but can we argue that it was the great coaching that allowed the great athlete to reach that potential.
Just from my three years as an athlete at Altis, a program that produced 16 Olympians in the last Games, the largest part of the success was the coach and athlete relationship. It was a relationship and not an order. Dialogue was created and everyone grew together in a dynamic environment where quality information and constant feedback where always floating around. Not to mention, the expertise in coaching was above par in every aspect. The direction of the program reflect progress for everyone involved.
“Athletes are best served where expert coaches are driving the process, influencing the shape of the performance structure and facilitating the work of support services. When this expertise is lacking, the non-coaching experts are left to practice their trades with little effective guidance.” Formal certifications are not the sole answer when coach development should be a continuous process. Creating an environment and developing a new culture of the athletic development is the primary focus of what AMATA hopes to accomplish through this journey.
What creates a successful athlete?
A thriving environment led by dynamic leaders.