Smoke wrote:James, I see the thoughts working. My question is how do you hold the PD responsible for individual coaches and athletes? That seems to be a sticking point.
I agree with the assessment requirement and accountablilty, but it seems a complicated process. not to say it cannot be done, but I think it can only be strictly applied to those COACHES that are being paid. Trying to get after the management has to be a little more detailed I suppose.
Also, I think, sorry I know, one year is too short a period to judge a new coach athlete relationship. Under normal circumstances it takes that year to establish the relationship and introduce the athlete to the new program, in some cases a program that is radically different from what they knew before. I have seen athletes make these snap decisions at the expense of their careers. 2 years a legitimate evaluation can be made and after three serious decisions can be made. My 2 cents, I just think one year is russian roulet for concerned parties and would create a destructive cycle for the athlete.
As I am sure you are aware, switching coaches is the death of many athletes....
What you say may be true in some cases but in general I would be far more optimistic about achieving improvement. I am not referring just to the athlete who changes coaches and it cannot be assumed even in that case that the programme is going to be radically different. Certainly not. As for "snap decisions" to changes coaches, I think this is pretty rare. Considered decisions, yes and usually for the better not the worse.
First of all an athlete would only need to change coach if they felt they could achieve more with someone else whom they believed recognised their abilities and potential ability better; understood the process better and understood them and how the process might best be applied to them.
Secondly, not every athlete at elite level or sub elite level is likely to need "radical" training change. Only perhaps change in emphasis on the different factors involved in their particular discipline, and/or change in workload, and/or change in approach in relation to work/studies/lifestyle etc.
A PD for the event should be able to identify those athlete performing below their expectation and potential. He should be able to communicate with the athlete/s and their coach/s and to analyse the training programme and identify where changes could be made for both athlete and coach to consider taking on board on the basis of sound evaluation/empiricism related to the training programmes of higher achievers in the same event but of course cannot force them to do anything different, unless as you say, they are paid coaches. Mostly, though, any decent coach would welcome authoritative opinion and advice.
Take the pole vault as an example of a technical event. If the PD for the event cannot properly identify where an athlete/coach might be getting it wrong then he should be able to bring in or send them to others in the event who might. Take the top six PV's men and women in the country and put them together with their coaches for a 3-5 days PV workshop with one of the world's best PV coaches. Learning how others do it and what might be best for them can lead to sometimes dramatic improvement. The same applies to all events.
Sprints and technical events are probably the hardest to improve on but endurance is the area best open to improvement. The PD needs to facilitate the best athletes regulary training (appropriately) together, under one direction, as a condition of funding. Athletes are far less likely to improve in isolation and that is one of the main problems in this country for many events.
As this is a forum and not a conference and I am not presenting a paper I have to try to keep it short and this is a complex issue. The point of my posts is that as far as endurance is concerned it is not acceptable for poor performance to be dismissed as something out of the control of the PD for the area. He is appointed and has been in place for years to make that improvemnt happen and it hasn't so he should go because clearly he either doesn't know what to do or if he does then he has failed to be sufficiently pro-active in getting the necessary done.