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American vs Other World coaching
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Conway
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 10:35 am    Post subject: American vs Other World coaching Reply with quote

I saw an interesting post on another message board ... Basically it said that if America's best sprinters were coached by Europeans the record would be around 9.50 and the athletes would be averaging around 9.75 - 9.80 ... And that if Europe's best were coached by Americans they would be running around 10.50 !!!

What do you all think ??? Is the American system of coaching that poor ?? Are our coaches that poor ??? AND are European coaches that much better ???

I would have to say that when it comes to relay coaching I truly believe that European coaches aer that much better .. Withthe talent we have I believe the 4x1 record is way off - should be more like 36.80ish or so ...

But in the open sprints ??? Not sure ... Justin ??? Dan ??? Paul ??

Conway
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could see that for the relays, but it seems like a stretch for the open sprints. Are John Smith, Mike Holloway, Tom Tellez, et al, not considered among the best sprint coaches in the world?

Now, if we're talking more than just coaching, i.e. an Eastern Bloc all inclusive system, then that might be a different matter...

Dan
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Paul
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not qualified to respond to this particular subject, but isn't Borzov's coach living and coaching in the U.S. ?? And I had gotten the impression from Charlie Francis' writings that he had gleaned info from the Euro's so its not like their training techniques are unknown. And what does this say about MJ, that he would have run 18.9 ?? Exclamation Exclamation

Paul
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Conway
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well let's see ... I've been thinking about this one a lot ... At first when I read it I thought "what a bunch of crap" .. But then as I thought about it I have to wonder ...

We do start off with a lot more talent ... Even when I look at the coaches that you named Dan I look at the fact that they have had some very good talent to work with ... Who was the last "diamond in the rough" that has been developed in the US ??? Some might argue Greene, but he had a very good high school career (state champ I believe) as well as some outstanding marks prior ot driving to LA to work with Smith ...

We've had no surprisses other than those who we have been surprised at becasue they did NOT make it ... We label coaches as great becasue they have on their squads great competitors ... Not because of great development ...

Greene was 9.88w when he got to Smith ... Maybe he should be at 9.65 now ... We know Carl should have been at 19.50 or better ... As far as MJ is concerned I consider his race an abberration ... Mostly becasue of the engineering of the track ... Almost everyone that ran on that track set PRs in the speed events between the trials and the games ... Male and female ... Not saying he wasn't capable of a great time, but probably more in line with 19.6x ... Carl should lhave ended up with a better PR ... When all is said an ddone hte event is more speed than speed endurance - in my opinion ...

On the reverse I doubt if we would see Shirvington or Woronin near the 10.00 zone if they were Americans and training exclusively here ...

Yes ?? No ?? Maybe ??

Conway
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see what you're saying, but I think it's a mistake to compare American diamonds in the rough at 9.8x-9.9x to Europeans of the same ilk at 9.9 high to 10.1 high. Wouldn't a valid comparison be the Americans scrapping to make the final of a US Championship? In that case, I bet you'd find a lot more surprises that could fit the mould of a well coached unknown. Someone like JJ Johnson would probably merit consideration, although he was a good high school runner and just didn't run in college.

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Paul
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the problems with assessing Lewis' career is that he never spent enough time in one event to master it. Except maybe the long jump. But if he had forsaken the other events to concentrate on the long jump, his career may not have been as long but he might have hit 30 feet.

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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would use the 200 as a better example of what Carl could have done had he focused on one event. If he focused on just the long jump, I'm guessing he would have done virtually the same as history played out. He always did just enough to win, going 10 years (!) without a single improvement. Other than championship meets, I don't recall him doubling at meets too often, so I don't see that he had any reason not to push for improvements in the long jump during that time...

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Paul
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would agree and as I recall, Francis backs up your statement also. I think Lewis' top end speed and ability to relax and float at high end could have made for a Beamon-esque mark in the 200.

Paul
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back to the topic. I think that the US has coaches that are pretty much on par with the rest of the developed world. Both the US and European coaches have about equal access to exercise testing labs, athletic training phacilites, video and other biomechanical analysing equipment. The only thing I'm not to sure about is the education level of the European coaches. I got the impression that many of them were Ph.D's in exercise physiology. Although I might have gotten that impression from Rocky IV. Wink Although generally great runners make good coaches. We do almost certainly have more talent. But hey, until their guys start breaking world records and beating our guys consisitanly. I'd have to say our coaches are doing fine.

I seriously doubt that the person who made this statement knew what the heck they were talking about. And that they made the statement out of ignorance than from expereince with either the top level coaches from Europe or the US. And they almost certainly did not have enough expereince with both to make a knowledgable judgement of how fast either could get the other's runners.
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Conway
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I'll state that the person that made that post was a former athlete with moderate success at a decent level ... And has been around the sport for a while ..

Having said that, my view of the difference in coaches east v west is that non US coaches (out of necessity) seem to be more technically oriented - in general ... Obviously we have some highly technical coaches ... But I think that coaches here have tended ot relly more on the base talent of their athletes .. And remember the comment was originally made with respect to sprinting ...

As I think about Carl I am not sure he is germaine to this conversation as his lack of improvement laly less in coaching and more in application ...

And not sure that if we look at the second tier athletes if that would work becasue if the roles were reversed those are not the athletes that the other coaches would be looking at / working with ... They would be working with the best available talent ...

So I start by looing at Mo ... He was 9.88w before John Smint and is now at 9.79 ... Difference before and now is consistency ... Would European coaching have done better ?? Would he be 9.69 instead ??? Or has he maxed his potential ??? Which i think ultimately is the real question .. Are aAmerican sprint coaches maximizing the available potential ... ???

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Dan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
He was 9.88w before John Smint and is now at 9.79 ... Difference before and now is consistency ...

That's understating it slightly. Smile Maurice can run in his sleep today what he was producing on a good day before moving to LA. What was he running on average then? How much of that change is natural progression and how much is due to coaching is tough to say, of course. Based on what Mo has run several times in early season Eugene meets with light tailwinds, I imagine he could run low 9.6 or better with a good Texas wind in the middle of the summer, so maybe that's what the 9.88w should be compared to?

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Conway
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure the 9.88w should be compared to anything ... It is more an indicator of what his potential was ... Take out that race and he was still 2nd at Nationals that season (behind Marsh) and represented the US in the World Championships (was 1995) ... NOw his lack of experience and consistency lead him to get elliminated in his quarterfinal, BUT behind the likes of Ato Boldon, Bruny Surin, Obadele Thompson and Darren Braithwaite (a quality British sprinter) ... So not like he got beat by dogs as at the time all but Braithwaite were sub 10 sprinters ...

1994 (previous season) he had a severe hamstring pull ... And in 1993 he was in high school running 10.43 & 21.00 !!! 1996 he ran 10.08 but didn't make the Olympic Team which is when he made the decision to go to Smith ...

My point simply being is that Mo was high quality when Smith got him ... Already sub 10 material ... So even if we split the difference between say his 9.88w and his 10.08 we're looking at a 9.98 sprinter (give or take) ... So Smith has dropped him .19 ... Not great shakes ... Although improvement at level is harder to attain ...

When you look at other top sprinters say from SMTC or other top flight guys you're looking at guys like Carl Lewis (10.00 before 20), Montgomery (questionable 9.96 as Junior), Delaoch (10.23/20.23 High schooler), etc, etc ... EAsily one could say that US Junior are typically at 10.2x or better on the high end and European Juniors at 10.40 - 10.50 on the high end (MLF being a rare exception as was Chambers but they are truly Carribean in terms of this conversation moreso than European) ... So to get a European to 10.00 means a drop of .4 to .5 !!!

Am I off base ???

Conway
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Dan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I'm in agreement with everything you just said. I guess the question I have next is how does a US coach/athlete's improvement of 0.2-0.3 compare to a European's of 0.4-0.5 in the context of the original question? Is it an indication of better European coaching, or simply the continuity in training environments spreading out the development potential over a longer period?

Dan
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Conway
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iam going ot say coaching since once American athletes rech "the big time" they prety much remain within the same coaching system ... Be it SMTC, HSI or what have you ... There is very little "jumping around" ...

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Dan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what I was getting at. The examples you gave show US sprinters reacing world class levels as juniors, then switching to a "pro" coach and fine tune themselves down those final few tenths. As you mentioned, it gets much harder to take off significant time as you approach record levels (MJ talks about it at great length in Slaying the Dragon). Maybe the European sprinters are following a steadier path of progression due to continuity in their training, but are peaking at a level where the US fine tuning begins? If so, until more Europeans break through the 10.00 barrier, I don't see that comparison reflecting negatively on US coaching.

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