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046: Bringing Out the Best in Athletes and People: Coaching and Personality Styles

podcast running Jul 26, 2018


What good is a running coach?  When Kevin started running, his high school coach was a coaching legend with decades of success.  When Angie began running to be a faster runner, she relied on Kevin.

The coach creates the runner both physically and mentally.  They are like the artist carving the statue out of the rock. The mindset of a strong coach should be as Michealangelo stated: “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”  The coach needs to see the runner and find the best way the bring out the highest potential.

In this episode, we discuss several coaching styles and bring up the benefits and challenges of each.  While there are dozens of ways to categorize coaches from mileage to which coaching legend you follow, we came up with four to cover in this show

The "numbers" coach relies on a calculator to take an athlete from point a to point b.  They have a very solid starting point and regularly check the latest scientific research to decide the best ways to get the exact physical adaptations.  They may struggle with getting locked into thinking that one plan will work for every athlete.

The "cheerleader" or "mom" coach brings the smile and support no matter what.  High Five! They are fully invested in the athlete and that is incredibly supportive through difficult times.  While this coach is awesome, one of the challenges is clarifying the relationship between coach and friend and being able to push the athlete beyond what might feel good.

The "drill sergeant" or "tough love" has no issues with the accidental friend relationship.  They are authoritarian. They will push the athlete to try to get them to their greatest potential day in and day out. They often have very successful athletes, because the athlete has no choice.  The challenge comes when the athlete must rely on themselves and the coach is not around. Athletes with a drill sergeant may be more likely to either push into injury to appease the coach or give up in moments when the coach is not around.  

The "woowoo" coach places mental training as the highest priority.  They set out to empower the athlete to face any obstacle by developing mental tactics.  The challenge comes from getting the athlete to buy-in. This is not usually a quick fix coaching role and the approach may be a little frightening for an athlete.  

Ultimately the question becomes, what type of coach is best?  It is the coach who can tap into every style when the athlete needs them.  The coach who recognizes when cheering is better than pushing will succeed. The coach who knows when to train the body and when to train the mind has the advantage.  

The best coach is the coach who values the success of the athlete above all else and uses whatever strategies necessary to help them achieve it.

Hope you enjoy it!! Let us know if you have any questions that you would like answered on our show!   

Thanks for Listening!!

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