Coaches, are, first and foremost, salesmen. They have to convince, or perhaps, the better term might be, instill confidence in the athlete. The confidence should improve as the athlete gets fitter and has success during the season. The athlete must have trust in their coach. Trust is key in all successful athlete-coach relationships.
1968 Olympic gold medalist Lee Evans told a few coaches, once, about his relationship with the late Bud Winter, the head coach at San Jose State in the sixties. Winter was coach at a time when many African-American athletes voiced their disdain for their less than respectful treatment at some colleges. This was not the case at San Jose State. Winter was noted for treating his athletes with respect and they treated him the same way. Along with his influence to this day, on 200-400 meter training (ask Clyde Hart and Jim Bush, among others), Winter was an example of a coach who loved his sport and his athletes.
It is obvious that Alberto loves coaching. He is constantly learning, and he loves not only his athletes, but this sport.
The evolution from athlete to coach is not without its highs and lows. The interview above, by Losse Veter, is well done. Alberto is quite introspective, and I would recommend coaches sharing this with their athletes.
The late Emil Zatopek once told a small gathering of coaches that it was quite hard for elite athletes to be good coaches. Zatopek had admitted that he felt it was easier to get back on the track than to coach.
Alberto has been coaching for nearly twenty years now. He has brought in Jerry Schumacher and Mark Rowland to coach small groups of elite athletes, focused on improving the state of American distance running. We have all seen the athletes who have come out of those groups!
In a very short period, Salazar has, helped focus American athletes on focusing on being their best in global competitions.
Learning from one’s own errors, a coach tries to instill on his or her athletes those lessons, as well as the other lessons one learns at clinics, or just sitting down, exchanging ideas after a track meet.
As the serious training is in full swing for 2011, I thought this might be a valuable video.