Tuesday, April 12, 2011

THE MESSIAH COACH: "Know It All" AND Answer To Every Athlete's Prayer

This past weekend I had a near death experience… Well, maybe not exactly but I did think I was going to break my teeth and possibly my leg; all because a pseudo coach interrupted my workout.
As much as I love Track & Field, the one thing I do not like about it, are the opinions everybody has about everybody’s training and technique.  The field events are especially prone to vulture coaches who seem to “Know It All”! 
I’m an experienced world-class athlete.  I like to believe I’ve been somewhat successful thus far.  I’m just 1cm away from the Canadian record, banging on the door of one of our oldest records (27 years old!) and still people feel they have the answer as to how I should train and jump. 
I can remember talking with Dick Fosbury (the originator of the current style of high jumping) about how he decided to jump the way he did.  He explained that the other method simply didn’t work for him, so he found a method that did.  And sometimes, that’s what it’s about. Not necessarily a cookie cutter technique, but being flexible as a coach to understand what works best for an athlete.
I’ve been training with my coach, James Henry, for ten years and he gets this.  At this point in my career I am reluctant to change my style.  I’ve wasted a greater portion of my career unsuccessfully trying to do this.  I have been most successful, embracing my technique.  Clearly, it works for me and it has gotten me this far. 
It’s like a Jenga puzzle, for any athlete.  By changing something, to make one’s technique perfect, you may unravel all the other strengths of an athlete and everything falls out of place. 
This past weekend, when I was training, a random man came and stood between me and the exercise I was doing, standing a foot away from my face.  He then proceeded to criticize my style and proclaim he was the Messiah of high jumping that he could make me jump 20cm higher.  REALLY?!?!?!?!?

When this happened I was doing something requiring my complete attention.  So, I shooed him away, but the damage had already been done.  I was so mad at what had just happened that when I returned to my activities I was still thinking about this man and his comments.  As I was jumping on a box, I missed the landing and fell…. I mean I fell HARD!  The hardest I have ever in training.  My day ended with me in the ER.  Fortunately, the bleeding stopped, I didn’t break anything and my injuries should only sideline me for a week.  It could have been serious and a lot worse! 
 What happened this weekend was an accident waiting to happen, particularly when I’m in Canada training at York University.  I’m constantly having people providing their unsolicited opinions AND I’m not the only elite athlete victim to this!  It’s like these pseudo coaches are desperate to hitch their wagon to a star. 

People may see a snap shot of an athlete’s training, but have no idea what was done previously, what will be done subsequently, what the athlete is working on, and where an athlete is in their cycle of training.  Commenting is pretty foolish, rude, ignorant, distracting and disrespectful.
As for me, I am not taking any unsolicited coaching advice.  Thanks for caring but, I’m not interested.


Colonial said...

Best of Luck with your ultimate goal, and kudo's to you for doing it your way.

Nicole Wendy Forrester said...

Thanks Colonial!