Friday, September 05, 2008

Self-coaching, micro-coaching, and damn good coaching

Over the summer I very much enjoyed the Olympic sports feast, especially once I'd become familiar with the ins and outs of the Interactive service.  I watched more Olympic Rowing Regatta footage than was probably good for me, taking in live and highlight re-runs.  It was re-assuring that I could look at the techniques in a far more analytical way than I would once have been able to.  This was reinforced when I found myself especially critical of one guy's stroke only to hear the commentary then say the same thing (gave myself a tiny gold star for that one).

It was funny to note how many rowing club members were so clearly doing the same kind of thing.  Watching for the obvious crews with medals in mind, but also watching for technique and race strategies.  There were many a small discussion group round the boathouse showing each other hand and body positioning, some of which looked quite comical from distance.  As a result of one such Olympic inspired discussion within our 'crew de jeur' (we don't seem capable of getting the same crew out on day to the next - another story) I was prompted to look up some stuff on YouTube, and specifically a former Olympian's coaching videos [the coach turned out be to Xeno Muller (Olympic gold and silver medalist) once I'd found the reference on YouTubeexample YouTube video link] (and website - Iron Oarsman).  I was, like watching the Olympic coverage, pleased how much I was diagnosing along with the coach.  All of which is great, the greatest challenge though comes in getting a bunch of guys in a crew to agree, and moreover implement, the same approach on any given outing.  Herein lies our biggest single issue - while we can all view crews (on the water, television, Internet), it is only consistent on the spot coaching that can pull ideas and rowers together into potentially winning units.

It was drilled home by the GB Team success across a number of sports that coaching structure and coaching quality are essential to good progress.  Happy as I am that the GB squads are well 'armed' with such quality, I can't help but ponder where / when this will trickle to the very roots of such sports.  I'm off back to the web and my DVD collection to carry on trying to organise my own little improvement steps in the meanwhile.

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