Pinball Coaching

I call Pinball Coaching the approach where the coach is constantly looking for the secret, the new latest and greatest training for instant success. Pinball coaching is impulsive and filled with scattered unrelated ideas and concepts that occasionally yield results. One year there is one answer, next year another answer. I have even seen the answer change from week to week. It is the opposite of the systematic and sequential approach that yields consistent results. It seems that the Pinball coaches are always looking for the 2% that will put them over the top, the Holy Grail so to speak. Frankly the solution is in the other 98% that is where the secret is. Consistent systematic training accumulating over time will yield consistent and championship results. I also think it is quite ironic that some of the prominent pinball coaches I know are identified as “Scientific” in their approach, when actually they are latching onto voodoo science and pseudo science in their search for the ”answer.” As Gertrude Stein said: “The answer is there is no answer.” Science can help us formulate intelligent questions that help us to guide our training.


At 8/29/07, 10:36 AM, Anonymous Frans van Dijk said...

Hi Vern,
this is Frans van Dijk from the NOC*NSF, the Netherlands. Great term "Pinball Coach". It clearly stipulates the lack of patience, consistency and confidence that are so typical for a succesfull elite coach. Keep up the good work!

At 8/29/07, 11:16 AM, Anonymous Mark Crabtree said...


Right on! If 98% of program is constantly changing then there is no program. Experimentation comes from being able to use the remaining 2% of the program to try out new things and see if they have any positive application.

Mark Crabtree

At 8/29/07, 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Agree!! One program one year, then another program another year, then something else new. Never have chance to develop, better yet, no continuity.

I have heard and see alot of programs...on paper, but I have never seen it in application. You know what I am talking about because we have discussed this before.


At 8/29/07, 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to play devil's advocate and ask if it is always their fault? We are fortunate to have Vern as a mentor. Maybe if Vern did more self-promoting there would be fewer coaches looking like a sailboat without a rudder.I think many rise to their position before they are ready and do not have that solid foundation to fall back on. Perhaps another complicating factor is the athlete and their parents/administration always wanting the latest and greatest. There is not much desire to grind it out in this world and they want it for nothing - comes back to people willing to cheat with drugs to try and get ahead. Just a few thoughts.

Mark Day

At 8/30/07, 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark D

You hit right on the mark that, "the athlete and their parents/administration always wanting the latest and greatest", and "not willing to grind it out". Here is a link to read.



At 9/10/07, 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vern, Its a nice term but are you not doing the same thing?


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