Toni and Jess

Toni is on one of his ‘rest days’ and I’m back at my desk. We’re talking about Tuesday’s blog. He’s reflecting on the treatment of athletes and the means to help them fulfil their potential,

“When I talk about lowering the bar to jump higher it needs to be understood in context. The point is about where you are setting the bar in relation to the progress of the individual.

Too low it’s too easy. Too high and it’s demotivating.”

“And everyone is different?”

“That’s the point. If you fail to understand and apply the individual needs of each athlete then you are failing them as a coach. That does not mean being soft on someone, it means being proportionate”.

“That’s a big word”.

“So is ‘pointless’. Which is the definition of setting the bar too high”.

“I see what you did there”.

“…Plans should always be written in pencil. Nothing stays still.”

“Sport is not an exact science. It’s about constant tailoring . Plans should always be written in pencil. Nothing stays still.”

“And how’s that working out for the group this week?”

“A lot of it’s about tapering. I cut Jess’ session short yesterday as she’s been working well and I felt the rest would be more beneficial”.

“I guess there’s a fair degree of tension as everyone is waiting to compete?”

“At this time of the season you run the risk of training for sake of training when you should be resting.

“…rest requires doing nothing. That’s hard for some. Not being active leads to frustration which can develop other issues”.

The trouble is rest requires doing nothing. That’s hard for some. Not being active leads to frustration which can develop other issues”.

“So how do you coach through that?”

“You establish the balance and allow people to make the choices that are right for them. Forcing anyone to do anything usually results in pushback”.

“I can understand why they’d get a bit twitchy though. It’s hard to get your head around the idea that doing nothing is actually doing something”.

“In-season training is often more psychological than physical. People need to feel that they’re doing something. Once again it’s down to individuals. I just have to ensure no-one over cooks themselves”.

“There must be some who find it easier than others?”

“Take Karla. She’s crap at rest days, she always wants to be working.”

There is an unusual silence. I sense there’s more to come so decide to play along, “And?”

“And John, on the other hand, is absolutely brilliant at rest days”.

“Are they within earshot?”

“Possibly”.

“The wind-ups never end”.

“They never will”.

I decide to go and rest. It’s good for me. Toni says so.