The best athletes don't always make the best coaches

Being a good athlete doesn’t make you a good coach.

In fact, many highly talented athletes make poor coaches because they are unable to empathise with the typical athlete who isn’t as talented as they were.

Let’s say I was a superstar footballer who was exceptional at kicking for goal.

An element of that came naturally, or more accurately, it was deliberately practiced from an early age to the point where it felt ‘natural’.

When my kicking wasn’t going well, I knew it was just a matter of getting back to basics and doing some extra training (ie. hard work) to get back to my ability.

After retiring from playing football, I decided to move into coaching and I have a goal kicker on my team who isn’t as consistent as I was.

I notice this and counsel the player to practice more - as I did - to get the issue back on track.

The reality is that this player isn’t as talented at goal kicking as I was and they are unlikely to reach that level, even with more practice.

Now anytime I see the player not practicing extra, while their goal kicking woes continue, I became frustrated at their seeming lack of desire.

I feel they aren’t listening to me, and they feel like I don’t understand them.

We are both right.

More repetition of a poor technique will not necessarily improve it.

Likewise, overhauling to a new technique will lead to a drop in performance as their player learns the new method, which can take years.

Good coaches help the individual within their parameters and experience, bad coaches often impose their methods on others and become frustrated when they can’t execute to their level.
The same goes for nutrition.

Nutrition experts generally have a level of nutrition knowledge and dietary control beyond most general population clients, plus an incentive to practice what they preach.

Even without a diet or somewhat structured eating regime, their nutrition intake will be quite good.

Therefore, they can take an anti-diet approach to their food intake with relative ease.

But their client might not be at the same level right now, so it’s important not to impose their regime upon the client, because we know that’s bad coaching.

Tom Fitzgerald