Rowperfect was fortunate to meet Dr Frank Dick OBE -former performance director of British Athletics. He told us about his vision for a community of sports coaches around the world learning from each other and sharing ideas.
My vision for coaching is a bit like an archipelago of islands of information across time and distance around the world. I would like there to be one Coaches House at each major sporting event round the world. Everything that goes there is recorded and over 50 ‘interventions’ have already been filmed at this Olympics.
The underlying sea of the ‘archipelago’ is community and communication – a resource that coaches can tap into that otherwise could get missed. We aim to capture the experience and learn the lessons from it.
I first got the idea when I did it for the IAAF in Berlin in 2009 – I called it the World Class Coaches Club. The focus is on the next generation of coaches – I’ve called it “Games Ready”. There is no point if the local federations don’t support these coaches when they go back home.
Join the international Coaches at 106 Piccadilly, London W1. Just go in and you can register at the door. It costs nothing.
The Games ready talks starts at 8.45 am there are sessions during lunch at 1 pm and coaches interviews in the evening at 7.30. As this moves on to the next event, once registered you’ll be kept informed of future events.
What I want rowing coaches to understand – they’re not just coming into this community just to learn – they will be bringing in their expertise to join the group.
What is coaching?
In coaching an athlete it’s like being on a high wire – the athlete is on the wire and the coach is the wire. A coach has to create an essential tension in the relationship. The tension is like a high wire in the circus – the wire is the relationship and the challenge from the coach. Imaging the athlete trying to pass over the wire – the tension in the rope is between challenge and support. If there is too much support the athlete is molly-coddled and dependent the wire goes slack and you get nowhere. If there’s too much challenge you’ll break the athlete and you get nowhere.
It’s very individual to strike the right balance. At its most sensitive it’s like blowing up a christmas balloon – know when to push that little bit further and when to to back off.