That’s an interesting question.
There’s no definitive answer. However, it’s important that coaches themselves have a strong belief in what it involves for them. In our case it involves taking time getting to know the athlete and working closely with them on a regular basis.
Training plans absolutely have their place but athletes often struggle to see exactly what it is they need to work on, and those plans can even have a detrimental effect on performance. Having a coach guiding and overseeing what you are doing is probably the best investment you can make, especially if you are highly motivated. They may well be the best chance you have to realise what you’re capable of.
The most rewarding thing for a coach is to see an athlete you’ve worked closely with over a period of time, believed in, trusted and influenced in more ways than one, develop into someone capable of achieving something special – relative to any initial expectations. In some cases that may be representing their country at an amateur or a professional level or successful completion of an event.
Coaching can be rewarding but it isn’t ‘easy’. The downside and increasingly so, is that some athletes want things far too quickly and are often not prepared to put either the time & trust – nor their resources into a profession that is exactly that – a profession. Professional coaches who coach for the right reasons don’t do it for the money, they do it because they have a passion for helping people reach or aspire to reach goals. If the athlete fully embraces the relationship, they may achieve much more and on many levels than they originally envisaged.
Like life, it’s not all plain sailing and requires patience, diligence, resilience, honesty and perspective from both sides. It very much becomes a team effort but always built with a focus around the athlete. Coaches are human too and provided there’s an open and honest relationship between both parties, any mistakes made can be openly talked about and resolved – even laughed at.
In a world where over 30% of children spend more time interacting with their ‘friends’ on Facebook than face to face – communication skills are vital – both coaches and athletes could benefit from working on those skills as much as the others.
As our school teachers once told us – “Rome wasn’t built in a day”