Your Future Olympian Summit


The Perfect Coach


I recently got asked how many different coaches I had and which one did most that I achieved the results I had. Let me talk about that.

I had several different coaches, one after another one. But not because this was my choice, this was just how the system worked. Depending on my location and age group, I was working with the coach of the group I was in. This is often the case, especially for young athletes up to entering the senior level. For me, this was the case until the end of my career, also because I was choosing this path, and I was satisfied with my environmental setup, including my primary coach. 

Of course, at some point, I could have just moved to a different area where I also would have had a different coach. I probably would have done that if I had not been happy with my coach at the time or other circumstances. Some athletes also just like to switch things up by moving or working with a different coach or team, which doesn´t necessarily mean the prior coach was not a good one. 

Back to the question, which coach influenced my career most. It was the one I worked with the longest, which probably makes sense. I worked with him from the age of 16 to 19 and again for the last 7 years of my career. Over all those years, we knew how to work together. I got his philosophy which worked for me, he got my personality, which worked for him, and by working together so long and also by being adults most of the time, we even could argue in a respectful and result-driven way. But without the coaches guiding me from age 7 to 16 or the 10 years in between, I wouldn´t have had any result either. In the end, each of my coaches had an important influence on my career because I learned from all of them and from everyone a little bit differently. 

Let me make just three important points here:

1) Yes, a good coach is important.

For me, a good coach can write great training programs for the specific sport of the athlete. This coach is not afraid of reaching out to other coaching colleagues when needed, is open to including new perspectives, knows the fine line of pushing just enough, and of course, some other aspects. The coach doesn´t need to be your best friend, but there must be a good connection and trust.

2) The coach alone can not do it.

I am often confused by the practice in the Soccer Bundesliega in Germany. When a team is not performing well, the coach gets replaced. I don´t think this is the right message to the athletes - they have to take some ownership for missing success as well. The best training plan doesn´t produce results when done poorly. The best coaching tips can not lead to success when not implemented, and all the training effort doesn´t produce achievements when the lifestyle away from the facility doesn't fit. More about this you can find in my articles “Taking Ownership,” part 1 and part 2.

3) It might take more than one coach.

It is good to have one primarily coach. One who has an overview of everything that's going on. This coach can change from season to season, but it is important for the athlete to know who gets the whole picture. Of course, there is a but - So - But there is nothing wrong with having other resources. When I got serious about strength traninig, I worked with our physiotherapist, which was actually the idea of the coach at that time. When I had an issue with my shooting and my coach wanted to have another set of eyes on it, I went to see someone else, and when I had the chance to get an opinion on something from another coach, I was at least listening to it. This doesn´t mean I had to jump on this idea right away, but maybe bring it to my coach to discuss if it makes sense to include. Teams often also have different coaches because different coaches have different skill sets to offer. 

The perfect coach, in the end, is a person who is able to guide athletes to success with values of fair play, respect, and honesty. 

Do you have a Dream? Keep going towards it :)


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