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Lessons I have learned Earning An Advanced Degree From School of Hard Knocks

The following are some lessons that have learned in my years of coaching. I was going through some files yesterday and I found this list that I wrote in 2005 after two particularly negative professional experiences in the previous year. I thought it would be worth sharing. Some these were hard lessons to learn and some were quite apparent from the day I started coaching.

Structure and order are essential in order to have any degree of consistent success.

Money and facilities are not the answer, good qualified coaches are more important.

Without a well-defined plan of training and competition there is chaos and inconsistent performance results.

More is not better. This is true if it is training, therapy gaining weight or losing weight.

One size does not fit all. It is important to consider what each athlete brings to the event in all respects.

It is more than physical talent; the athlete must have athletic intelligence and real mental toughness.

You must coach females differently both from a physical and a psycho/ social perspective

Anorexia is not an eating disorder. Eating or not eating is only a manifestation of much deeper psychological problems.

There is no quick fix, nor is there any thing like instant results.

Treating the symptoms rather than the causes does not work both in training and therapy.

If you spend as long in therapy as in training each day then something is seriously wrong with the training.

Progression is essential. Without a clear progression it is usually a process of one step forward and two steps back.

It is impossible to coach by email, phone, letter or fax. Coaching is a daily personal, labor-intensive process.

Objectively judging and assessing talent is essential for success.

Just because a person was a great athlete does not mean they can coach. Most of the time the great athlete only knows how they did it and what they did, which often will not work for anyone else.

Attempting to reproduce past results is an exercise in futility. The past is gone; it is only a reference point to guide future performance.

Never let your limitations as a coach limit your athletes. If you do not know something admit it, don’t try to bluff your way through it. The athlete will figure you out sooner or later that you do not know what you are doing.

There is no immediate cause/effect relationship between workouts and performance. In fact the relationship may be negative if the athlete is operating at the redline constantly during workouts,

Coaching is more than a workout or a drill. The context of the workout is often more important than the workout itself.

There is no place for performance enhancing drugs in sport, amateur or professional. Coaches have to speak out against it. Any coach who is aware that his athletes take a banned substance should be banned from coaching. There is no fine line in regard to drug use. You are either against it or you condone it.

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Comment by Shawn Myszka on January 27, 2012 at 2:01pm

Fantastic words of wisdom, Coach.

Comment by Chrissy Pulsinelli on January 27, 2012 at 12:14pm

I really enjoyed reading this. There were many great points made. Well done!

Comment by Samuel L. Chatman II. on January 27, 2012 at 9:43am
Thanks Coach Gambetta for displaying this list. It's something I'll print and definitely keep with me. This was personally needed....

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