The Best Coach You Never Heard Of

Yesterday afternoon I got to spend a really neat and uplifting three hours visiting with a friend and professional colleague, Jack Pettinger. Jack is a swim coach, but that does not do him justice. He is a great coach and a great person. I first met Jack in 1992 when he attended my first ”Building and Rebuilding the Athlete” seminar in Chicago, at the time he was men’s’ swim coach at University of Wisconsin. Jack has been coaching forty plus years. He was one the coaches of Jim Montgomery the first man to break the 50 second barrier in the 100 freestyle, a barrier considered equivalent to Roger Bannister running the first sub four minute mile. He did not tell me this, I had to look that one up. Jack is the farthest from a self promoter and egotist as a coach as you would ever see. He was in Florida because he had an athlete competing in the Open Water swimming championships in Fort Meyers, so that gave us a chance to visit. He is a wealth of knowledge and experience. He is the type of guy that every young up and coming coach and for that matter experienced coach should be exposed to. He has a strong physical education background, he knows his sport, but gets it in the context of athleticism and the big picture. His is a student of coaching.

From 1964 to1969 he worked with one of the icons of coaching, Doc Counsilman, swim coach at University of Indiana. I sat mesmerized yesterday as Jack was telling me about the things they were doing in training the 1960’s and the people that they brought in as resources. As I was listening to Jack and then reflected on our conversation I could not but think again how everything old is new again. Today’s hot ideas were used and proven forty, fifty, sixty years ago discarded for whatever reason and then rediscovered as the latest and greatest. My meeting yesterday has inspired to go back and reread the works of Doc Councilman, perhaps you should also. Thanks for the great afternoon Jack, we need more coaches like you!


Post a Comment

<< Home