Being an athlete versus being a coach
As we saw if you read my other article, a lot of great players, sometimes even the best ever at their discipline, were never able to become great coaches. The opposite is also true, at some point in history we saw mediocre or bad athletes and players becoming great coaches.
Better at coaching than playing
In the soccer world, most know about Arsene Wenger. This amazing coach was able to create great teams. He has the ability to make the best players in the world, great stars, to play perfectly as a whole team. His strategy, his tactics and his way of seeing football really changed the way football is played today. Wenger managed to coach Arsenal through their Invincible season.
Arsène Wenger is actually Arsenal’s most successful coach ever, with 15 trophies. He is also their longest manager in history. However, not a lot of people know about the french’s player career. In fact it was a short and calm one.
Wenger played as a defender in France’s 3rd division for 5 different Alsace clubs and played a total of 67 games throughout his player career. The frenchy clearly did not need to be a great player to learn how to coach properly.
After learning everything he could about the beautiful game, Arsène earned his diploma and was able to start his coaching career with smaller clubs like As Nancy Lorraine before he was named manager of Monaco. He then went to Japan to train Nagoya Grampus for 2 seasons before he was named Arsenal Manager.
Bill Belichick is arguably one the greatest coaches in NFL history. With 6 Super Bowls as a New England Patriots Head Coach and 2 Super Bowls as the New York Giant Defensive Coordinator, no coach actually won more than Belichick. In regular season, Bill Belichick won 280 games for 136 loss only. He managed to win 31 post season games (which is a record) for 12 loss only.
Bill was actually never involved in NFL as a player. He only played Center and Tight End during the start of his college career, but quickly went to play Lacrosse. After graduating, was offered an assistant job at the Baltimore Colts, being paid $25 per week.
He helped the team with recruiting great hidden gems among the young players and quickly gained notoriety in the football coaching world.
In 1979, Bill became the New York Giant defensive assistant and his career really started to be taken seriously from there.
Intelligence and experience made Bill Belichick become one of the greatest coaches in sport history despite never playing his sport at the highest level !
You might not know Glen Mills, except if you are into Athletics and then, you’re at the right place !
Glen is actually Usain Bolt personal coach and was Jamaican sprinting team coach from 1987 to 2009.
Glen Mills was passionate about athletics since his childhood. When joining Camperdon High School, he started training and joined the sprinting team there. At 13 Glen was not exactly good but really enjoyed the sport. After a year trying to become faster and better, Glen Mills eventually gave up on Athletics since he realized he could never be able to be among the fastest men on Earth.
Henry McDonald Messam, the High School coach at the time, noticed Glen’s interest in the sport and tried to keep him around athletics. The coach gave him a few chores to do and to keep him active. The young man spent 2 years around his coach and learned a lot during that time. His mentor offered him a position as a sprinting coach for younger track and field athletes.
After graduating, Mills stayed in his school to become a part of the Camperdon High School coaching team. Quicky, the high school offered Mills position to a new, more experienced coach and Glen Mills had to leave the facility. However, most of the athletes at the time stood up for Mills and chose to join him at his own private facility to train with him.
Camperdon had to hire Mills back to get their best runner back. Glen Mills was able to train wonderful athletes, like Raymond Stewart who became an Olympic silver medalist.
In the mid 1970s, Mills was becoming a prominent coach in Jamaica being the one behind Yohan Blakes, Kim Collins and Dwayne Chambers.
In 2004, Usain Bolt approached Glen Mills after the Athens Olympics and ask him to become his coach. Bolt was exclusively running 200 meters at the time and it was Glen Mills who asked him to diversify. Mills tried to improve Bolt’s stamina for the 400m but when the team realized they didn’t have enough time before the competition, they chose to make Bolt run a 100m. Without any explosive training, Bolt completed the 100m in 10.3 which was an excellent time and the two Jamaican decided to focus more on the 100m and the 200m.
The program Mills had put up was so efficient and Usain Bolt’s commitment was so strong that the two men managed to set world records that impressed the whole world.
Not a lot of people know about Glen Mills, but Usain Bolt explained at multiple times that he wouldn’t be here without him. Bolt praised Mills, saying his coaching method made him a different athlete and most importantly a different man.
Finally, the man who wasn’t able to be good enough at sprinting to make the High School team ended up coaching the best sprinters of the world and most importantly, the best sprinters in history.
By committing to the sport he loved, Mills was able to become one of the best sprinting coaches. The time Mills spent learning how to coach instead of learning how to sprint made him who he was : a wise coach with the actual power of modifying a whole person.
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