I've had another meeting or two about Coaching Awards in recent weeks with Mountaineering Ireland. It's something I've really loved staying involved in as I see multiple potential avenues/benefits: better quality advice and information for climbers in general instead of word of mouth spreading of information that is unverified, potential career opportunities for people looking to work in the sport of climbing, an opportunity to take the best from other sports (as well as learn from the mistakes they've made) and help in the evolution of climbing (as it's such as new sport/activity/hobby*).
So, what are people's perceptions of a climbing coach? Now is your chance to give some perspectives and ideas of what it is (or isn't) to you. What do you see as the coach's role? Do you see it only for competition (it's not, by the way)?
Taking the Wikipedia** explanation:
"Coaching is a training or development process via which an individual is supported while achieving a specific personal or professional competence result or goal."
Would you agree? Does this align with what you'd like from a coach?
Good articles and ideas on what a coach is or isn't along with various other ideas/notes:
"The Ultimate is an extremely rare breed. If you know one of these, find a way to get coached by him. If you’re lucky enough to be coached by him already, you need to keep him on your team. The Ultimate is a killer combination of all of the above coaches. He displays:
- The analysis of the Programmer
- The ability of the Athlete
- The encouragement of the Motivator
- The eye of the Technician
- The passion of the Learner
- The succinctness of the Observer
- The clarity of the Presenter
- The standards of the Judge
- The experience of the Professional
- The patience of the Friend
"Competition has many benefits to the young athlete; they learn how to lose graciously with pride and sportsmanship, they also learn some valuable experience of dealing with pressure and expectation. Over the course of the next 10 years the athlete will come across many pressures from exams, parents, sports and relationships, competitons at an early age can prepare them for life's challenges and pressures. Competition can still be a hinderence for young athletes in terms of nerves and anxiety, the pressure that is put on them can take away the fun element. When the athletes are young it should be all about fun and following the long term athlete development model they shouldn't really be competing until they are a few years older."
“I think everyone should pay their coach something, even if it’s $20 a month,” said Lisa Aguilera, two-time USA Champion in the steeplechase, “It represents a commitment between both of you that this is important."
"Which brings me to my top tip for becoming a coach and deciding if it is right for you...if you love your sport I’d be very surprised if you can’t become a high-performing coach. That should be your starting point, not ‘do I know everything these is to know about my sport’.
People still get so hung up on the technical knowledge, I’m guilty of it myself! But most of the feedback from my mentors has actually been around worrying less about explaining technical intricacies and just making the session clear, simple and fun. It works for all ages, even adults."
"When you see great coaching regardless of the level, you will see a strong foundation in pedagogy, what is done is usually supported by science, it is definitely forged in experience and proven and tested in the competitive cauldron. Great coaches never stray far the basics, sophistication comes from refinement of the basics. You will see a laser like focus on the need to do activities that make the athlete better."
*It's pretty common to see wariness of the term "athlete" in climbing circles as the impression is that it's performance/serious/etc. I came through football/basketball/etc growing up as a child so no such issues, it's just a term to describe people who put a lot of effort into the sport. As Wikipedia describes, an athlete is "person who participates regularly in a sport". Of course, jumping down this, you could then throw back that a sport is "all forms of usually competitive physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills". Maybe we should recognise sport as the original English definition from around 1300: "anything humans find amusing or entertaining"
**I seem to be on a roll with using Wikipedia in this post :)