On the other side of the fence…...


Last week saw us run a Level 2 Coaching Course from Haus Tirol / Kitzsteinhorn in Austria. Coach education is something i love doing and although we had just a small group, it was perfect for both their development and funnily enough, my own too.

As a coach it is easy to forget what life is like as an athlete - one of the reasons i have tried to keep racing for so long - well that & because i enjoy it and live for competition. Nothing quite like standing in the start gate for a first run, nothing decided as of yet, full control to do something about it. It's a buzz you dont get in the work place or with team sports. Anyhow, my point is that it's good from time to time to put yourself back in the position of being coached & being the athlete.

I am a top Level Coach & Instructor, which means i have done my time, been on my courses and endured both good leadership and crap delivery of courses. And that is generally how it goes, guys that want to deliver something amazing and guys who want to boost their own ego. I've been in the position of having to prove myself whilst someone stands at the bottom of a slope and judges me, or hovers around me like a fly around s**t whilst i try to deliver my coaching session or lesson but the courses i remember, those were the ones that challenged me and where the trainers were open to being challenged themselves.

An Instructor named Paul Garner took my ISTD Technical course and one of the things i loved about BASI was learning the stuff i didnt know. Moguls (Bumps), skiing variables and doing the mountain safety stuff and basically, i got pretty good at bumps. Anyway, rather that stand at the bottom with his chest puffed out, Paul made me follow, chase or lead him. He got stuck in there and didnt care if on the odd occassion i made him luke human by giving him a drubbing down there (at least that's my version of events) ;) What i respected about that was Paul putting himself in a vulnerable position and i always remember him doing it.

This week, rather than simply stand around the 4 guys on my course - marking them, i put myself in their coaching sessions and felt like an athlete again. The learning, discussions, feedback, frustrations were all very interesting but most importantly, i knew the various points i was looking for and it was way easier to analyse from within the group than it was from outside. I was also in a position to be challenged by the guys which they loved! It highlighted my strengths and weaknesses and gave me loads of food for thought with drills and the way i explain things to the current guys.

The point of this blog - get a grip and from time to time, put yourself back in the shoes of your athletes. Make yourself vulnerable to be challenged - as you might just learn something! The older i get in this game, the more i realise of what i DONT know, and that's no bad thing, it makes you receptive and open to becoming better and consistently improving. So thanks to Robert Bullen, Chemmy Alcott, Douglas Crawford & Sander Rjeevik who were the first of many groups we hope to take through their coaching courses from Haus Tirol.