Updated: Nov 2, 2020
The Role of the Coach
What exactly is the Track & Field Coach’s role? You could say that coaches often assume many diverse roles such as a teacher, trainer, negotiator, manager, administrator, organiser, communications expert, diplomat, psychologist, disciplinarian, counselor and/or parent substitute. At one point and time coaches assume one or all of these attributes in order to deal with their athletes. But more than anything, a coach has a most important level of influence, negative or positive on those athletes they interact with. For this reason, winning should not be the greatest outcome or reward. Rather, the positive effects that the process of development, training and competition has on young athletes should be regarded as the best possible outcome.
Great coaches use sport as a vehicle to enrich the lives and the futures of their athletes not as the only gateway to winning.
Winner or Looser?
While some coaches often focus solely on winning as the most prized outcome of sport, this is can lead to lessening the other worthy aspects of an athlete’s participation in sport. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win; however, there is a difference between being focused and obsessed with winning. Coaches who solely focus on winning should evaluate him or herself often during the year to determine if winning has become the priority over doing what is best for the young people in the program.
At best, only half of the participants can be winners in any sport competition. And in a sport, such as Track and Field only one individual among many achieve victory. So, does this mean that everyone else then become losers? Is there no opportunity for achievement, fulfillment and fun without winning? Is winning really the ultimate goal of sport or is there a more important objective and a more attainable goal?
Winning vs. Success:
Too often, coaches and athletes miss experiencing the pride and satisfaction of success because they are too focused on winning. More often, coaches and athletes fail to win because they first fail to become successful. In a vicious cycle, athletes begin to equate their self-worth with only the ability to win in a competition.
The opportunity for success is available to everyone if it is defined as performing to one’s capability rather than focusing solely on winning first. This is especially true in the sport of Track and Field where individual improvement can be quantifiably by t