The tough times will come – be prepared

December 19, 2018

Last blog post of 2018! Let’s do this……


No matter which profession you’re in, there will usually come a time where things don’t go to plan and you have to re-evaluate what you’re doing. As a young athlete, it’s so easy to believe you’ll never stop improving when every year you make big strides forward and you start to believe that the Olympic Podium is just a few years away. For the lucky few, this dream becomes a reality but for most athletes there comes a time when the progress suddenly stops or your performance level actually drops.

This can be the same for a coach. I’m a bit of a weirdo and I have a strange tendency to look at trends and patterns in almost everything. Time and time again I’ve seen people breakthrough on the coaching scene due to their athlete’s performing well and their reputation suddenly sky rockets. They then get an influx of higher level athletes wanting to train with them because of this reputation and all seems to be going swimmingly. However, as time goes on those athletes who don’t perform leave, those athletes who keep getting hurt leave and the reputation of that coach is destroyed. I’ve literally seen coaches go from being a nobody to the best thing since sliced bread and then back to a nobody in the space of a few years.


Why does this happen? Sometimes it’s due to the coach ‘lucking out’ with a talented athlete initially and the shortfalls of that coach are then shown up when other athletes join the group who require different approaches to succeed. This isn’t always the case though, sometimes extremely well educated and gifted coaches suffer the same fate for very different reasons. From the outside it seems they either fail to evolve their philosophy and principles to ensure continual development or they do the opposite and do evolve but into a less effective coach through no fault of their own. There are no guarantees in this world and often the wrong decision is made despite the soundest of rationales. A series of wrong decisions can be disastrous for a coach especially in athletics when you often can’t see the error of your ways until it’s almost too late and you’re then scrambling to resolve the situation before the athlete is completely derailed.


This is something that scares the sh*t out of me if I’m honest but I’m trying to treat this as a positive. This fear keeps me on my toes and I’m hopeful that if/when the tough times come and I start accidentally evolving into a coach who makes more wrong decisions, I should be able to pick up on it earlier and get myself back on track.


This isn’t really what I planned on writing about for this blog but here we are…..


Sir Alex Ferguson is one of my idols and I was always fascinated by how he could build successful teams in so many era’s with such different styles of play. For me this was because he knew how to evolve and how to get the best out of what he had available to him to remain competitive at the top. Can the same be said for Jose Mourinho? Probably not. I’m not sure anyone can look at Jose and say he’s evolved in a positive way to try and stay at the top of the game. Angry Utd fan rant over…..

So my point is this – whether you’re an athlete or a coach, be prepared to take an honest look at yourself and re-evaluate what you’re doing when the tough times come in order to turn things around. If you’re an athlete, don’t just blame your coach and brush off any accountability. There will be things that you could have done better in many areas to give yourself the best chance of performing better. If you’re a coach, be rational and try to figure out where it’s going wrong. If you’re meticulous enough with your notes and planning then there may be a clue in there indicating an issue with your programming but you should probably consider speaking to your athletes openly and seek their opinions. Athletes spend so much time with you that it’s easy for them to pick up on changes in your approach and they usually have an opinion as to whether the change is for the better or not!


Thanks for reading my waffle again and let me know if you have any topics you want to be covered in the new year.


Hope ya’ll have a great Christmas!


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