In rounding up several reading recommendations, my friend Daniel Martinez, owner of Elite Volleyball Performance and dedicated physical preparation specialist, wanted to share first his thoughts on what it takes to make a build a great coaching mindset that allows you to design effective, individualized programs and see that they are effectively executed.
Daniel’s insight into personal development as a precursor to quality coaching is a lesson worthy of emphasis as is the perspective he develops surrounding the integration of effective athletic development programs. While programming appropriate loads, intensities, and volumes is important to understand, programs are only as good as the results the produce in the desired sport. Daniel contends rightly that there is more to this than being a technician in physical preparation. While technical and scientific rationale are vital, the art of smooth execution is as important in the overall integration of programs.
Daniel’s thoughts remind the physical preparation coach that his role is served best as a part of an integrated team with the strict ambition of facilitating better sport results both artfully and technically.
A core lesson I have taken from Dan Pfaff is if a program cannot be executed to its original intent it essentially stays on the paper it was written on. A very necessary part of this process is whether a coach has the ability to coach effectively but also teach in a way that allows the athlete to take their lesson with them. True mastery develops in this way and helps the athlete contribute more of themselves to the process. We can often see some of this manifest in the seemingly neurotic ways coaches obsess over mechanics (including foot-strike and gait, haha) and in how an athlete visualizes and practices parts of their routine in stores and shopping malls. In support of that process I believe the books on character and the development of self are essential (to help us communicate for ourselves as much as to others).
As to the specifics of my volleyball experience I believe in the Charlie Jones quote “You are the same today as you will be in five years except for two things, the books you read and the people you’ll meet.” We train next to our 2 volleyball courts and I have the opportunity to interact and communicate with great volleyball coaches everyday. I also have the opportunity to interrupt practices and participate in order to discuss technical development and how good movement and biomechanics can help add focus and improve performance as well as explore ways to effectively do so. Having this level of intimacy in our programming truly gives me an advantage that is hard to beat. I mention this primarily to communicate that my role is not simply as a physical preparation coach who says, “Volleyball? Yeah, I can help you with that.” It truly matters to me that our athletes learn to effectively perform on the volleyball court consistent with their physical potential and the environment I have access to matters to my development as a coach.
I have said before that if you do not see “it” in training and preparation then “it” is not happening, especially in the sport, and being able to see improvements, or the lack thereof, in this way has been invaluable to developing my process and thinking.
Tomorrow I’ll post Daniel’s list of top personal and athletic development resources.