There were six teacher-coaches who left an enduring impression on me during my undergraduate years at Indiana University (IU), Bloomington (graduated 1979). I took classes each of them taught, and observed and learned from them as coaches. The only way to describe these people is the best-of-the-best.
Here are their brief bios and six health & wellness program tips from me inspired by them, along with a short story on each person:
1. James “Doc” Counsilman: Swimming, won six consecutive NCAA Division I Championships. Olympic Coach 1964 (Tokyo) and 1976 (Montreal), coach of Mark Spitz both at IU and in the Olympics (seven gold medals). Doc was the first to use underwater video to improve a swimmer’s technique. Doc swam the English Channel at age 58. Coached at IU from 1957 to 1990.
Tip − Visualize. I often feel that a general tip, like “get more streamlined in the water,” pulls all the correct techniques together without the swimmer needing to think about each adjustment. Give people a vision, and they’ll find it easier to incorporate all the skills necessary to achieve that vision.
Story: About dealing with athletes’ parents, Doc once said, “the best coaching job in America would be at an orphanage.” There was also a time Coach Knight (basketball) asked Doc to help an IU basketball player improve his vertical jump. Knight told Doc the guy’s vertical jump was about one inch high. Doc said when he got through helping the basketball player, Knight complained the guy’s vertical jump was only 3 inches high. But Doc pointed out that was a 300% improvement!