Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mentoring (coaching) an athlete

I've coached high school track and x-country for many years now, but only in the last year or two have I spent any real time coaching/mentoring adults. It is really a far different experience.

With kids, they are allways being taught, and expect to be taught in certain ways. They are also used to progressing with everything they do. So, while rewarding on some levels, they don't necessarily recognize the effect your role as a coach has played.

Recently one of my adult athletes has been experiencing some real success. I think I am more stoked about it than him! He is really appreciative of my assistance, but I am more awed by the effort that he is willing and able to put into reaching his goals.

I find many adults feel that at a certain point they have reached their physical peak, and it is all down hill from there. I know from personal experience that this is definetely not true. The cool thing as a coach is to be able to show these people that they are able to be fitter and faster than they ever where before at any age.

In triathlon and running this is a very prevalent revelation. Many people take to these sports later in life, and experience these changes. We hear so many stories on all of the forums and blogs of later life fitness and success in endurance racing.

There is the obvious maturity required to race multi-sport, and the help of the larger income! But it is neat to see all of these people going against what many parts of society lead us to believe is the inevitable decline into old age.

As far as I am concerned, we should all fight this! With everything we've got. My biggest hero's are those 70 and 80 year olds running marathons and finishing Ironman races. They show us that this is definetely possible.

So what I guess I am getting at here, is that it is never to late to try something new, and as representatives of this sport, I think it would be a neat goal to try and get one person involved in fitness. It is as simple as helping them set a goal and helping them achieve it. It is a rewarding and addicting experience for the coach and the athlete.

So give it a shot. Mentor someone and find out what the rewards can be!

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