I was in Chapters a few days ago with Emma and I saw that the Chicken Soup for the Soul series has a book out for runners now, with a section on triathlons. In the past, I’ve thought that the entire Chicken Soup thing was a little cheesy, but in all fairness that was before they started writing about running and tris. I couldn’t resist and I bought the book.
I haven’t finished it yet but I can barely put it down. The quote I loved was:
The coach’s main job is 20 percent technical and 80 percent inspirational.
– Franz Stampfl
Stampfl was born in Austria in 1913 and became one of the world’s leading athletic coaches. He became a quadriplegic in 1980 after a car accident, but continued to coach runners. He actually invented interval training. Stampfl died in 1995 but left an incredible legacy for what was know as “scientific” training. He was ahead of his time.
Stampfl’s story isn’t part of Chicken Soup – he’s just a quick quote before an anecdote of a mother who jogs. But his quote made me think a lot about what it would take for me to someday become an amazing trainer. Like Stampfl.
Trainers are mostly educated on the physical body, but the difference between a poor trainer and an amazing one seems to be that trainer’s ability to stimulate not only the physical body, but also the mind and the heart.
So much of an athlete is mind and heart. The body is there only as a means to express the spirit. Like a paintbrush to a painter. Or a piano to a pianist. You can have the best pianos and pain brushes in the world, but in the end it is the soul of an artist that creates the masterpiece.
It’s the same for athletes. Once the body is capable, the heart must be inspired. That’s why books like Chicken Soup are so popular, and for me as a future trainer, they also serve as a form of research.
What swells people with inspiration? What people have done great things? What obstacles have they overcome? What stories can I tell?
People like Stampfl. Like me. Like Michael my running coach. And so many others that read this blog.
It’s an amazing inspiration to see your trainer reach his goals and achieve something that you can’t. You feel proud in a way that a student feels proud of his teacher, even though the student had nothing to do with his teacher’s success. I want to do that for the people I train, the same way that Michael does it for me.
Last weekend Michael completed his third triathlon. He makes it look so easy. I want to follow him into triathlons someday, but by that time he’ll probably have moved on to Ironman competitions.
Great trainers don’t get enough accolades. If you have a trainer who has inspired you, feel free to leave a comment and share it with the world.