I never really realized how much bad information there is out there. Alright let's try something. Wash out all of your information that you know about training. Imagine you are a total beginner who has coached football or something and is just starting coaching distance. Let's look at the cycle you go through:
Football Coach Joe gets the distance job. Let's assume he cares somewhat, so what does he do. He searches out for information. Remembering that we have no knowledge of distance running, the logical sources for him are:
1. He picks up the most read running magazine, Runners World.
2. He goes to the bookstore and looks for distance running training books. Well at the local Barnes and Nobles he finds RW's guide to jogging, books by the Penguin, and other such crap.
3. He goes on the internet....There's so much bad crap on the internet it's crazy.
So basically all he learns is crap. But he has it indoctrinated into his head and thinks it's great because it's published stuff so it must be!
So you see, there's problem #1.
But no this doesn't just go for no knowledge football coaches. This knowledge problem extends to supposed experts or life long track people! Don't believe me. Let me give you some examples off the top of my head from listening, reading, or attending clinics.
-Lactate/lactic acid is incredibly misunderstood by way too many people on both extremes of the lactic acid debates. I've listened to exercise physiologist who I want to shove the latest research in there face and say "we learned that was proven wrong 40 years ago!"
-Running mechanics, jumping mechanics, hurdling, throwing, etc. Basically all technique stuff, there is so much bad information it's a joke. A ton of these HS sprint camp/clinics are so off it's not even funny. I almost worked for some place but told them no because I couldn't teach there way of sprinting because it was wrong....that didn't go over too well...
-Even some of the presenters teaching our coaches are teaching the wrong ideas. I've got clinic notes that I read and look at and my only reaction is what the heck?! Where the heck did this guy come up with this!
I'm just rambling now. So I'll stop for now and return when I can write coherently again. But my point is not to bash people. It's to question the system of learning for our coaches/athletes in this country. It just seems to me that the same misinformation gets based on from coach to athlete over and over again and it's not getting us anywhere. Yes, there are many who have broken out of this mold and they are generally the coaches you see who are producing results at the upper level. But instead of listening or trying to learn from these coaches who have coached numerous olympians or American record holders, we go with the ones who have written a fancy sounding article or book.
Drugs only further complicate the problem because how do you know if the coach of a great athlete is really knowledgable or if he just cheats. But in fact, maybe it doesn't. You want to know how to figure out if a coach is a drug/steroid coach or not? It's probably a more effective method than drug testing. Here's the steps:
1.Learn proper mechanics/training systems.
2. Go listen to X coach speak or watch a video he produced or read his book or training articles.
3. See if X coaches teaching is somewhat "correct" or makes sense.
4. If it is completely off and the coach is still producing incredibly fast people (more than 1 so that talent isn't the issue), then the likelihood of X coaches athletes being a drug coach is probably pretty high.
Alright I'm done. I ackowledge that I am no expert and again my intent is not to put down anyone. There are lots of great coaches/athletes/etc. in our sport.