Looking and Moving Forward
How do technological advances affect the coaching industry?
educational experience for both coaches and athletes. The problem was the availability of athletes to work with and learn from. I believe in exposing coaches to a wide scope of talents, motivations and challenges in order to provide them an ever-growing library of information to draw from as they continue to work with athletes. In the past, it was difficult for coaches isolated in small communities to gain the experience necessary to continue developing as coaches. There were simply too few athletes to work with. The internet enabled coaches to reach and interact with more individuals, broadening the scope of their experience and thus improving their base of knowledge.
A classroom education does not automatically produce a quality coach. Knowledge is a great tool, but you can?t produce champion athletes unless you apply that knowledge properly. The difficult part is that the definition of ?proper application? changes from athlete to athlete. With the ability to work with more individuals, the learning curve for coaches has become much steeper in recent years. Young coaches these days are far more knowledgeable than we were years ago because of the increased availability of good information and athletes to apply it to.
The greatest effect of improved data collection and communication tools is the emergence of coaching as a viable career path. Men and women who had to balance their dedication to coaching with a job that paid the bills are now able to devote themselves to coaching alone. People who choose coaching as a career are more likely to devote the time to stay up to date with the latest research in physiology, sports psychology, nutrition and energy management, altitude training, biomechanics and equipment. In the long run, the entire coaching industry and the athletes it serves will benefit from a stronger core of top-quality, dedicated professional coaches.
From there the scope of the population which coaching can help expands in many directions. Some professional teams in seasonal sports have realized the benefits of year-round coaching for their players. I believe this trend should filter down into amateur, collegiate and scholastic sports programs. Making long-term coaching available to these athletes will help prevent many injuries currently caused by throwing young athletes with drastically different fitness levels into team practices and competitions. The fit are inadequately challenged and the unfit are in over their heads.
So far, the majority of coaches? efforts have gone toward helping athletes pursue victories and records. As we move forward I believe coaching will find increasing relevance outside the competitive arena. The concept that coaching is only applicable to competitors needs to go the way of the dinosaurs and bio-pace chain rings. People deserve education about improving their fitness and their ability to take part in an active lifestyle, regardless of whether they feel the desire to test themselves in competition. A person?s goal or reason for seeking knowledge should not preclude him from obtaining it.
At the opposite end of the spectrum from competition, coaching has applications for the health care industry as continuing care