You have to put a lot of thought into the relationship with the athletes you work with. Managing different personalities is one of the best bits of the job particularly when you’re working with groups of athletes and can be quite challenging (just ask Alex Ferguson). A lot has been written on the development and maintenance of that coach athlete relationship and it is certainly worthy of comment, but not today.
A number of the skiing athletes I work with are now in Europe starting their on snow technical training (I’ll write about this long distance relationship throughout the season). The race schedule will start towards the beginning of December and the next 6-8 will have a heavy ski focus however there’s still an opportunity for quality S&C work to get those last gains prior to the season proper. The main issue to deal with during this period is a large increase in training volume and this is where the relationship between the S&C coach and technical coach comes into play.
The language barrier, cultural differences and time lags in communication can be problematic and a certain amount of plasticity is required to successfully overcome them. There may be differences in opinion along the way but the key point to remember is that both parties are working towards the same goal; getting the guys down the hill as fast as possible. If that relationship is well managed, both sides will understand the other’s viewpoint and will often work to accommodate it.
A certain amount of trust is also required. I have to trust that I’ve educated the athletes themselves on being able to pick up on their conditioning needs and signs of fatigue and that the technical coach is also able to do it. If that trust isn’t there you end up bombarding coach and athlete with communications that just become annoying and that relationship breaks down.