One of the greatest things I think I’ve learnt from working in Alpine skiing is the importance of adaptability. Or even what it really means to be adaptable. I can’t say that this has been the easiest of lessons for someone who likes structure, processes and effective organisation; for most of my experiences have been gained from sports with regular schedules that rarely change and work towards fixed events that aren’t likely to change (Rugby and Diving). So what does it really mean to be adaptable and why is it so important? Well hopefully I can illustrate that through a few short stories of my own experiences. For the sake of making this easier to read (and write!), I’m going to break this down and publish it in two parts.
Part 1: Adapting to the coach
Forget getting your athletes fit, strong and robust; that’s the easy part!!
Being an S&C coach in high performance sport is more complicated than just coaching movement and getting guys strong. In fact it’s a tactical operation whereby you have to manage a number of difficult situations, influence strong-minded coaches and continually educate & inspire those around you. That’s why I write this blog, to give aspiring coaches a real insight into what the job involves to support the foundational knowledge you learn in University.
So what’s the hardest part of the job? Well in my opinion it’s working effectively with your technical coaches to implement a successful performance programme and create the optimal environment. Ok so that’s the long-winded way to say it’s the technical coaches! Throughout this article I’ll discuss some of the challenging situations you’ll inevitably face and some principals that I try to stick to whilst working as part of an interdisciplinary team. By the way, this is the first part of 2 articles. Some time ago towards the end of an interview it was my turn to ask the questions. The first question I asked to the previous coach was “what’s the hardest part of this role?” When his eyes shot across the table towards the head coach, he didn’t need to say much more! Knowing that this is a shared feeling amongst many S&C coaches, this post is in fact a general answer. We all have our own challenges and I will specifically address the hardest part of my job in the next post.