The art of coaching, part 2

September 21, 2009

If one does not have the wisdom and eloquence of Bill Bowerman, one can try to inspire runners simply by getting in their faces and yelling….

My dad taped this footage at the Vermont state cross-country championships in 1987. (Be sure to watch with the volume turned up all the way!) I have no idea who the bespectacled man in the red jacket is, but to this day I’m impressed by his emotional commitment to the race.

I was reminded of Mr. Red Jacket at Saturday’s Sundodger Invitational, where a similarly impassioned coach, pointing toward the finish line, advised a runner with about 200 meters to go, “DON’T BE HERE!!! BE THERE!!!”

When coaches ask their athletes to perform difficult tasks, the effect can be one of making the tasks seem more doable. Still, this was the first time I had seen a coach demand teleportation.

One comment

  1. This reminded me of a high school cross country triangular meet where our normally-calm coach was upset by our team's top-to-bottom poor performance. I was running with a couple of teammates, with two or three opposing runners just behind us. The coach shouted, "You're playing into their hands! They've got speed, which is something none of you have."By the way, I've enjoyed reading your blog for a couple of years. I don't think we ever crossed paths in college (I was three years ahead of you, rowed, and was a math/CS major), but I'm sure we knew a lot of the same people.

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