Everyone makes mistakes. Good coaches admit them and learn from them. Crappy ones pretend they didn't make one.There's nothing I despise more than a coach that thinks his sh*t doesn't stink, that he's never made a mistake, especially when I've been there to witness them! Being human I've made some mistakes - nothing has ended a career - I try to be conservative with my approach, but every now and then, I allow emotion or "programming" to get in the way of my gut instincts.
Here's a list of mistakes I've made that I know
Mistake: Allowed an athlete to resume a high intensity day as planned after maxing out on pullups. He struggled with a weight he normally crushes for speed. Second rep was significantly slower than the first and I allowed him to push through it rather than taking the bar right off his chest.
Result: Tweaked pec while benching. Nothing major, but totally avoidable.
Solution: Next time athlete maxes out I'll just have him cut it for the rest of the day. No reason to stress an already stressed system. Once records are set, the organism has no more room for growth or recovery.
Mistake: Allowed an athlete to perform one more sprint after he said his hammys were tight, but he was "ok" to keep going. I said, "alright, one more rep." Though, my gut told me I should have cut it right then and there.
Result: Tweaked hammy
Solution: Some athletes complain too much, some too little. Most of their vocabularies and "mind:body" connection are not extensive enough to describe issues at hand properly. For one athlete "tight hammys" mean they're not warmed up enough. For others it means they're fatigued. This particular athlete has a solid work capacity so I interpreted it as not warm enough. I will continue to educate athletes on how to communicate properly with me. I will also continue to listen to my gut instincts. And from now on, if an athlete doesn't like my decisions, they can just simply get another coach.
Mistake: Athlete had massage prior to workout, and I didn't think pushups would be considered intense for the athlete.
Result: Discomfort while performing pushups, not a big deal, but still avoidable.
Solution: Told athlete to stop performing the movement so discomfort will subside. Will not classify pushups as extensive work with this particular athlete for a significant amount of time.
Mistake: Giving the athlete too many cues at once.
Result: Delayed mastery of the movement
Solution: Waited 2 weeks until I readdressed the movement to make sure the anxiety associated with the exercise was clear from their mind, then retaught the motor pattern properly.
Mistake: Giving an athlete too much leeway in their own judgement and program before fundamental principles of hard work were delivered. Aspects of warm-up and workout were skipped.
Result: Athlete became lazy, lost important time and progress and developed tendonitis.
Solution: Started back from square one, showed them their problems and addressed them reasonably. Brought them back down to zero, re-laid foundation and moved on from there properly. Gradually embraced development of independence.
Mistake: I didn't give enough compliments to my athletes when they improved. My typical response to things was, "not bad." Most of my athletes started to interpret that as a good thing, cause' if they did it wrong I'd berate them. However, others did not respond as well as I had hoped.
Result: Many of my athletes wouldn't progress as much as they should due to mental blocks.
Solution: Practice more positive reinforcement. Let athletes know they're improving, they're doing well, that they're better than when they first came to you. Confidence is one of, if not the most important thing for not only athletics, but for life. If you don't think you can do something, more likely than not, you won't be able to. Positive thinking yields positive results more often than not.
[*From the Editor: This list of mistakes does not include Mike's current haircut.]