Coaching Art & Science

Frank Dick, Britain's chief coach during the golden age of athletics in the 1980’s expressed today’s dilemma in coaching: "Somewhere in the last 10 years or so we have lost our place as coaches; somebody, somewhere has decided coaching cannot be respected in the way that it used to be," he said. "If this is not addressed quickly then who is going to lead the athletes? Don't tell me the scientist’s can. Science has never led sport. It is coaches that lead the process. As Winston Churchill said, scientists should be on tap but never on top." Coaching is always a delicate balance of art and science. The art cannot be taught, but it is something that can be acquired through experience. The coach must use science and be scientific without trying to be a scientist. I am not sure that our coaches today are as well prepared today in the science of teaching. In the past the great majority of the coaches were affiliated with the schools as teachers, either in the classroom or physical education, so they had a good background in pedagogy. Coaching and teaching are synonymous. We need to do a better job of training our coaches as teachers; there are some very good programs out there to train coaches, like the USA Track & Field Coaching Education program. We need more programs like that.


At 5/10/06, 1:07 PM, Anonymous David Weck said...

Vern, love your entry today. it strikes a chord with me as I just learned that my college football coach, Dick Farley, is being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (Williams College).

But what's really important, and pertinent to your message, is he was one of the best and most important teachers I ever had.

Keep up the great work, you're an important teacher to many as well.




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