Adapt your coaching styles to your athletes, or why it is not good for coaches to look for “this one special talent”


[:en]Spinoza said: “No matter how thin you slice it, there will always be two sides.”

There will always be athletes, who waste your time, talk more than they work, and who seem to have more problems than any human can possibly collect in one lifetime. If you are a coach, you probably have a good deal of experience with these time thieves. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong for these people, they always suffer, as their way of attracting attention is to be pitied.

On the other hand side, there are athletes who try their very best, but your coaching style just doesn’t fit their personalities or their physical conditions.

For us coaches it sometimes can be difficult to judge between the two groups, as both frequently seem to have “problems”. There is a fine line between the ones who are ambitious, but coached the wrong way, and the ones who are simply ambitious to be pitied.

I solve these questions always in this way: If an athlete is willing to put in the work, then there must be some type of commitment.
If this is the case, I invest the time to carefully analyze the training log of this athlete, and start to experiment with various ways to restructure his or her meso cycles*.

This practice has taught me to understand different types of athletes with their different mentalities, different needs for different types of recovery periods, different load structures, and how to adapt a general principle of training to ultra slow twitch, ultra fast twitch muscle fibre athletes, and everything in between.

Adapting to my athletes made me a better coach, as I had to question my methodes again and again and again. I still do so today, as I will probably never stop learning.

Here is the overall point of the story:

Stop looking for that one special talent, as the term “Special talent” usually means nothing else but a person, who accidentally happens to respond to your method of coaching best.
Instead it is much more rewarding and beneficial for you as a coach, to adapt to various types of physique, of mentality, and of personality. This way, you will become a much better coach, and you will find many more of these “special talents”.



*A meso cycle is a 4-6 week period of a consistent training program, consisting of 4-6 (sometimes more or less) micro cycles. All meso cycles combined make up a macro cycle, which in our case is one full year.



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