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Track and Field needs Mary Decker Slaney.

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  • Track and Field needs Mary Decker Slaney.

    I was reading an interview on Mary,and even after having numerous surgeries, she still wants to compete.You could tell by the interview that mentally she would be a top masters runner, but physically her body wont allow it.Her energy and will to win however would make her a great coach,like Alberto Salzar.

  • #2
    It's ironic how track athletes compete in top physical condition and pay the price in their later years for this fitness and competition.
    The fool has said...there is no God. Psa 14

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    • #3
      Re: Track and Field needs Mary Decker Slaney.

      Originally posted by williamwindhamjr
      I was reading an interview on Mary,and even after having numerous surgeries, she still wants to compete.You could tell by the interview that mentally she would be a top masters runner, but physically her body wont allow it.Her energy and will to win however would make her a great coach,like Alberto Salzar.

      Completely disagree.

      There is this fallacy that being a great athlete yourself automatically means you will be a good or even great coach. Not true.

      Being a great athlete is predominantly about what's there from the neck down. Being a great coach is about what's there from the neck up.

      Your genetics determine the level you will attain as an athlete. Coaching is all about education and experience.

      More: Those who cannot put themselves in another's place will never be good coaches. One of the best things I ever heard was the honest statement Pat Porter said (when he was once asked about becoming a coach himself) that he would never be good coach because he doesn't have the temperment to work with others in that capacity.

      Slaney's proven many-times-over self-centeredness is the exact OPPOSITE of what works--and is needed--in the coaching ranks.

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      • #4
        Alberto Salzar was the same way and he now coaches a runner named Galen Rupp.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by williamwindhamjr
          Alberto Salzar was the same way and he now coaches a runner named Galen Rupp.

          Key word: *WAS* the same way. He's been humbled and he's learned from his training and racing mistakes. And impressively so.

          Slaney still can't bring herself to admit it took two to tango at LA.

          Other than blind hero worship, on what are you basing your idea that Slaney--with Carl Lewis, arguably one of the two most self-centered T&F athletes of the Me-Decade '80's--would somehow be God's gift to track & field in this country? What do you believe she can possibly bring to the table?

          If you're going by a simple interview, remember talk is cheap. Here's a fact for you: Out of all the world-class distance runners who have landed coaching jobs (usually at their alma maters, BTW), Salazar is one of the very, very few who has excelled.


          Another question: Do you really want someone banned for a drug offense coaching?

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          • #6
            Nah, give Salazar the benefit of the doubt.
            Nobody was ever "the same way" as Mary Decker. For better or worse, she is one of the most contentious athletes of her era.
            Ruthless competitor, obnoxious personality and, in my view, a not a candidate for a coaching position at any level.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jhc68
              Nah, give Salazar the benefit of the doubt.

              I agree with you. I was just going from the other guy's stance. Was actually talking about Salazar's physical injuries/tendency to overdo it (like Slaney), not his mindset toward others.

              From most accounts who knew him beyond the arena, Salazar was always a pretty nice guy when he was younger. Got understandably aloof when he got really good and everyone wanted a piece of him, and when the physical troubles came on.

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              • #8
                I'm with you, Brian. Salazar was never a warm, accessible kind of guy, but so what.

                Mary D., on the other hand, is more reknowned for her displays of whiney, "me"-oriented behavior than anything else. She was probably the most remarkable female distance running talent in American track history, but that's not how people will remember her.

                Again, as you said, it is tough to see what she might bring to the table as a coach.

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                • #9
                  .... like it needs pot holes.
                  ... nothing really ever changes my friend, new lines for old, new lines for old.

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                  • #10
                    [quote="jhc68"]I'm with you, Brian. Salazar was never a warm, accessible kind of guy, but so what. /quote]


                    I have to admit to a little bias when it comes to Salazar. I don't know the man personally, but he is a public figure and I have had several opportunities to observe his actions first-hand as far as his coaching, i.e., clinics and educational seminars. In my opinion, he's worked hard to earn his current coaching status. I believe his motivation is almost soley to help USA runners again be competitive on the world level, period (he sure doesn't need the fame or money). This is unlike many of his peers who want to coach simply because they want or need the job--not saying that's a bad reason, mind you; just that Salazar is a little beyond that point.

                    I also have several trusted friends who have known Salazar on various levels and they, nearly to a person, would insist he was always a relatively nice guy to anyone who hadn't crossed him--a basic human response, one to which we mostly-keep-to-ourselves types in Minnesota can easily relate.


                    But I also turned to him twice for help/advice on which direction to turn on some professional/personal matters relating to the sport, once when he was still at Oregon and again nearly 20 years later on the behalf of another regarding health matters similar to ones he himself has endured. My first attempt to contct him was by written letter, the second by voice mail at his Nike office.

                    Both times, the response to the completely total stranger was quick and generously given. And both times ultimately, extremely helpful.

                    There's my disclaimer of sorts.

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                    • #11
                      So how does one define a great coach? Is it the person that gets the HS great to continue on their path, or the HS nobody to excel?
                      I can think of two good woman distance runners who I felt did well at coaching, but on the DIII level, so no one noticed.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Helen S
                        So how does one define a great coach? Is it the person that gets the HS great to continue on their path, or the HS nobody to excel?
                        I can think of two good woman distance runners who I felt did well at coaching, but on the DIII level, so no one noticed.

                        A good coach is no different than a good teacher: Know the subject and be able to develop the capacity of others to know it.

                        The second part gets glossed over at times. A good or even great mathmatician cannot necessarily teach math to others. If he/she can teach to others, they can be both a good/great mathmatician and good/great teacher of mathmatics. But the two aren't automatically related.


                        Now, the tools used to become a good/great coach are formal education in the subject (starting with a greater than average understanding of human physiology and biomechanics) and experience, their own and that of others they have learned from through the years, sometimes in areas not limited to athletics.

                        Lastly, mastering the concept that good/great coaching is both an art and a science: My personal definition is that coaching is the artistic application of the scientific principles of physiology to a specific given situation. In other words, know it and be able to use it for the people you coach in the place you coach them.

                        At its best, all of the above requires a certain empathy for others. Salazar has always had it, Slaney, by past public behavior, never has and possibly never will.

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                        • #13
                          She was also a drugs cheat. And even whined about that.

                          Mary, love - you did nothing of note for 10 odd years and then, as a much older athlete, come out and run 4:03i which is a time most athletes could not even come close to achieving, and which few could do today. Do the math.

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                          • #14
                            Making A Good Coach

                            ...an interesting article titled "Making A Good Coach."

                            http://thecrossovermovement.wordpress.c ... ood-coach/

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Helen S
                              So how does one define a great coach? Is it the person that gets the HS great to continue on their path, or the HS nobody to excel?
                              I can think of two good woman distance runners who I felt did well at coaching, but on the DIII level, so no one noticed.
                              Best definition of a great coach was from Bum Phillips, referring to Bear Bryant

                              "He can take his'n and beat your'n, and he can take your'n and beat his'n."

                              More applicable to team sport coaches, however.

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