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Do some athletes just know how to be coached? | Welcome and General

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Posted in: General

Do some athletes just know how to be coached?

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  • JohnMC

    The ex-Olympic and World Champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton is now facing life in a very different saddle. She is currently learning to ride a horse with a view to competing in an amateur race at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016! When I was watching a short video update of progress one thing that struck me was a comment from the coach. As he said…

    ‘Victoria is used to being coached….she can listen…she is used to getting an instruction and then fulfilling it.’

    As a result the coach commented ‘you’ve got a lot of things for free.’

    It made we wonder if when we are looking at future champions to develop do we take into account their ability to be coached? And how would you even do that?

    Of course an alternative way of looking at this is that because Victoria Pendleton has been in a coached system all her life she has learnt how to be coached - in other words this happens over time rather than being a personality trait. I think this is the less likely option when you consider how many mavericks, who seem uncoachable, also live in the talented athlete system.

    It will be interesting to see how Pendleton gets on (both as a horse racing fan and as an experiment in skill development) and it's great that it is possible to follow her progress online - just search for #switchingsaddles

  • Coach_Browning

    An interesting thought. 

    It is something that I have certanly seen first hand. Towards the end of last season we had a player turn up for training. His season in one sport was comnig to an end and he wanted to keep going with something different. He knew about our sport but had never played it. I took him for a drill session and he was able to translate what I was saying into actions almost immediately. With most players it takes a while for them to work out the necessary body movements and they need multiple reps to "get it". However, he was able to pick it up much easier. 

    Now, he had come from a level that was semi-professional so clearly had come from a more professional coaching environment so the same question can be asked...has he learnt it or was it natural...

    For me, it just seemed to be natural. He just seemed to have a natural ability to control his body and get it to do what he wanted it to do - a surprisingly unusual occurance.

    I have seen in it others as well, to a lesser extent. 

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