Talk to a sports scientist about the limiting factors in sports performance and you get phrases like "maximum volume oxygen uptake," "genetically determined muscle fibre type distribution," and "reductions in mitochondrial volume density."
Talk to an administrator about the limiting factors in sports performance and you get "balance sheets," "long-term economic forecast," "budgetary necessities," "current economic rationale," and "financial policy restraints."
Talk to a coach, an average coach, a coach who works with athletes in any club in any town, about the limiting factors in sports performance and you get a very different perspective. A practising coach's idea of limitations may include:
The question arises that if these issues are the ones commonly identified by coaches as performance limiting, i.e., limiting their own performance, why do we persist with coach education programs that are based predominantly on sports science?
While sports science and technological advancements in equipment have made an enormous impact on elite sport, for the average club coach the reality is working with large numbers of non-elite and young athletes where an effective sports science program is at least difficult to implement. As only a small percentage of coaches work with elite athletes, and even fewer enjoy the luxury of working in an Academy or Institute program with an effective support team, advanced sports science is for most coaches a luxury they can't afford.
The coach education manuals and resource materials of many sports have been written mostly by sports scientists who have experience with the elite level of the sport, such as national team staff, Academy and Institute staff, or academics with post-graduate research in the sport. In other words, most coach education resources are generally written by sports scientists, with little or no coaching experience, who work with less than one percent of the athletes in the sport and even then only the most talented athletes for less than one percent of their preparation. How would one design a coaching course that covers the real practical issues in coaching for the majority of coaches?
Wayne Smith and Bill Sweetenham coach in Australia.