As coaches we are often expected to act as mentors, technical experts, motivators, physical diagnosticians, nutritionists, strength trainers, statistical analysts, etc. There are an incredible number of roles we play, and there is no conceivable way we can be experts in all of them. And yet, we have to take on these roles to do our job.
Ideally, we would have an Integrated Support Team that has all those experts at our disposal… But that’s not going to happen. So we get whatever experts are available and affordable, and we muddle through with everything else.
I wasn’t too concerned with this state of affairs until my son showed me the following picture, which seems to be from the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal web comic.
Unfortunately, I immediately recognized myself (and many other coaches I know) perched happily on the summit of Mount Stupid. Only we’re not just talking as if we know all that stuff, we’re coaching as if we know all that stuff.
But in reality, how could it possibly be different? I doubt that there are many coaches in the world who are experts in designing training programs, sports psychologists, motivational speakers, sports doctors, technique masters, strength and conditioning experts, operational managers, and a host of other roles. And I doubt there are many programs in the world that have all (or even most) of those experts standing behind the coach, ready to help at a moment’s notice.
So what should we do?
I shouldn’t tell you what I think you should do. That would just be another sermon from Mount Stupid. But I can tell you what I’m going to do.
I’m going to try to move into the valley to the right. Let’s call it the Valley of Awareness. I’m no more knowledgeable there, but at least I know that I’m not knowledgeable. That’s a good start.
I can honestly tell you that our program is already much better after bringing in experts in nutrition and strength and conditioning last year. And next year we’ll have a massage therapist. Those experts help the team so much more than my unknowledgeable attempts ever could.
The only problem is the view. It was so much nicer on Mount Stupid.