Mr N Hopkins, a road running competitor from the UK, said about Brian Mackenzie's coaching advice:
"This really is the definitive reference in it's area - even the BBC link to it instead of producing their own content."
A message from
Sports Coach Founder and Web Master
UK Athletics Senior Coach (UKA 4)
Dear How To Win reader
The role of the coach has been defined as one which:
"enables the athlete to achieve levels of performance to a degree that may not have been possible if left to his/her own endeavours"
and it has been said that:
"the wise coach develops not only the fullest physical potential in his charges, but also those capacities and habits of mind and body which will enrich and ennoble their later years"
The role of the coach could
be quite daunting. The above implies what could be construed as quite awesome
responsibility, especially for the part-time non-professional.
I believe the role of the coach is to create the right conditions for learning to happen and to find ways of motivating the athletes.
Most athletes are highly motivated and therefore the task is to maintain that motivation and to generate excitement and enthusiasm.
The roles that you will find you undertake as a coach will be many and varied and you will find at some stage in your coaching career that you will be : instructor, assessor, friend, mentor, facilitator, chauffeur, demonstrator, advisor, supporter, fact finder, motivator, counsellor, organiser, planner and the Fountain of all Knowledge.
As a coach you will find that you need to develop many skills. These include:
|know how to communicate effectively with your athletes|
|understand the learning process and training principles|
|understand and implement appropriate teaching methods|
|understand the various coaching styles|
|understand the capabilities of growing children|
|advise athletes on track safety|
|understand the causes and recognise the symptoms of over-training|
|understand how to reduce the risk of injury to your athletes|
|prepare training programmes to meet the needs of each athlete|
|assist athletes to develop new skills|
|use evaluation tests to monitor training progress and predicting performance|
|advise athletes on their nutritional needs|
|understand and know how to develop the athlete's energy systems|
|advise athletes on relaxation and mental imagery skills|
|advise athletes on the use of legal supplements|
|evaluate the athlete's competition performance|
|evaluate athlete/training and athlete/coach performance|
As a coach you will have many roles, including:
|Advisor - Advising athletes on the training to be conducted and suitable kit and equipment.|
|Assessor - Assessing athletes performance in training and in competition|
|Chauffeur - Transporting them to sporting events if parents or family are unavailable to take them.|
|Counsellor - Resolving emotional problems on the basis that sharing anxieties can be both relieving and reassuring.|
|Demonstrator - Demonstrate to the athletes the skill you require them to perform. To achieve this it is important that you also keep fit.|
|Friend - Over the years of working with an athlete a personal relationship is built up where as well as providing coaching advice you also become someone, a friend, who they can discuss their problems or share their success with. It is important to keep personal information confidential because if you do not then all respect the athlete had for you as a friend and coach will be lost.|
|Facilitator - Identify suitable competitions for them to compete in to help them achieve their overall objectives for the year.|
|Fact finder - Gathering data of national and international results and to keep abreast of current training techniques.|
|Fountain of knowledge - This may be part of the advisor role in that you will often be asked questions on any sporting event, events that were on the television, diet, sports injuries and topics unrelated to their sport.|
|Instructor - Instructing athletes in the skills of their sport.|
|Mentor - When athletes attend training sessions you are responsible, to their parents and family, for ensuring that they are safe and secure. You have to monitor their health and safety whilst training and support them should they have any problems or sustain any injuries.|
|Motivator - Maintain the motivation of all the athletes the whole year round.|
|Organiser and planner - Preparation of training plans for each athlete and organise attendance at meetings and coaching clinics.|
|Supporter - Competition can a be very nerve racking experience for some athletes and often they like you to be around to help support them through the pressures. Role of a 'Friend' and perhaps 'Counsellor' come in here to.|
To support the coach there
is a wealth of scientific information based on research conducted with athletes.
Information is available to support the coach and athlete in all areas of
training and development including nutrition, biomechanics, psychology,
physiology & medicine.
There are a number of scientific methods to measure and analyse the athlete's performance e.g. computer aided analysis of VO2 max, lactate levels, running technique etc.
The art of coaching comes when the coach has to analyse the scientific data and convert it into coaching and training programmes to help develop the athlete. This analysis process relies heavily on the coach's experience and knowledge of the event/sport and the athlete concerned.
By understanding the science, which is the foundation of training, a well designed training program can be developed that will help an athlete reach their full potential. The art is understanding the science and then applying it.
Many years ago as a new
coach I wanted to know what I had to do to
develop my athletes at each stage of the season. The questions I wanted answered, included the following:
|What are the different stages of a season?|
|What are the stage objectives?|
|How can these objectives be achieved?|
|How can progress be evaluated?|
|What drills are there to develop correct technique for each event and sport|
|How do I correct bad technique?|
|What should be in a warm up and a cool down - and so on.|
And what about non-athletic activities, such as:
|heart rate monitors,|
|the energy systems used by different events|
The coaches of today still
have the same questions — I know because they keep asking me them on my
website, Sports Coach.
When I set up the Sports Coach website in 1996, my objective was to address these questions, providing training and coaching advice world wide for athletes, coaches and students studying sport-related qualifications.
Earlier this year, I started
a partnership with Peak Performance, the world-renowned sports science
Over the years I have received and read every word of every issue of Peak Performance and always enjoyed their translations of the latest sports science research into practical advice that coaches and athletes can use to improve performances.
This partnership has made it possible for me to offer you what I call my complete guide to Successful Coaching, although its real name is Brian Mackenzie’s Successful Coaching
Here is what Mr N Basalyga, an athletics competitor from USA, said about Brian Mackenzie's coaching advice:
In a regular newsletter, I
will help you become a better coach and then you will help your athletes improve
their performances and achieve their potential.
I’ll answer those same questions that I asked all those years ago and that coaches across all sports still want answered. I’ll give you practical advice based on years of experience and the very latest sports science research.
Here’s a taster of what’s planned for the first issue of Brian Mackenzie's Successful Coaching, due out at the end of March:
One of the misconceptions in
the sports world is that a sportsperson gets in shape by just playing or taking
part in his/her chosen sport.
If a stationary level of performance, consistent ability in executing a few limited skills, is your goal then engaging only in your sport will keep you there.
However, if you want the utmost efficiency, consistent improvement, and balanced abilities, sportsmen and women must participate in year round conditioning programs. The bottom line in sports conditioning and fitness training is stress. Not mental stress, but adaptive body stress.
Sportsmen and women must put their bodies under a certain amount of stress to increase physical capabilities.
Here is what Mr C Alexander, an athletics coach from the USA, said about Brian Mackenzie's coaching advice:
With better dope testing
methods and hence the possibilities of detection and life ban from the sport,
athletes and coaches are looking for legal ways to improve performance and/or
The various ways by which performance can be improved are known as Ergogenic Aids. They include:
Here is what Mrs S Watkinson, from the UK, said about Brian Mackenzie's coaching advice:
Endurance exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and lowers blood pressure. It also has positive psychological effects. Various scientific studies have shown that regular exercise reduces anxiety, improves self-esteem, and increases self-confidence.
|Types of endurance|
|Aerobic endurance – what is and how do we develop it|
|Anaerobic endurance – what is and how do we develop it|
|Speed endurance – what is and how do we develop it|
|Strength endurance – what is and how do we develop it|
|Developing a circuit training session|
Does it really make a
difference what you do between work intervals?
Research carried out recently in France answers that question with a resounding yes.
The new study suggests that if you're carrying out short, very intense work intervals, you're far better off exercising lightly during your recovery intervals, compared to just resting.
Active recoveries lead to better quality work intervals, which ultimately produce higher fitness levels and improved competitive performances.
Here is what Mr G Yiannibas, a road running competitor from Greece, said about Brian Mackenzie's coaching advice:
One of the most common sites
of injury, regardless of the sport, is the lower back region. There is a whole
host of causes for lower back pain; for example, in runners, weak or inflexible
hamstrings can often be the culprit. Poor posture is another common cause, so
conditioning of the muscles that help to maintain solid posture should form part
of the schedule of anyone who exercises regularly, whatever their discipline or
A variety of muscle groups contribute to good posture and all require attention. Naturally the lower back muscles can do with strengthening. Work on the abdominal muscles is also important because it will complement work you do on the back region.
It is dangerous to develop muscular imbalances by working on just one side of the body.
The contribution of the Gluteal and hamstring muscles should not be overlooked when considering sound posture and preventing injury to the back region.
Here is what Mr I Baez, an athletics coach from the USA, said about Brian Mackenzie's coaching advice:
|8-week proprioceptive training programme|
|Sports Psychology report from Peak Performance|
|Carbohydrate Report from Peak Performance|
|"perhaps the most important training method of all"|
|how you can quickly train and protect your muscles by doing very simple exercises — the results are fantastic!|
|effective mental training techniques that will improve your athletes’ performances|
|how to increase your performance with the right diet|
This message comes from Brian Mackenzie and Electric Word plc, 67-71 Goswell Road, London, EC1V 7EP United Kingdom