In Italy, we had for long time a group of coaches working together practically for 15 days every month, in Italian Center of Tirrenia or in stages abroad.
The coaches were very much friends one another, sharing all their experiences and discussing about it. Of course, everyone in his mind thought "I want to demonstate that I'm the best", but this meaned more focus, more concentration, not jalousie about programs. Everyone well knew that it's not possible to invent anything, but only to use in different way what everybody knows.
I'm speaking about my friends that had the following victories :
1- Luciano GIGLIOTTI
He was for almost 30 years the responsible of Middle distances, or long distances, and in the last 15 years of Marathon. We shared this responsability for long time.
He was the coach of Grippo (finalist in 800m in OG 1976), Cindolo (first Italian Marathon runner of top level, 2:11 in 1974), Bordin (Olympic Champion in Marathon '88, European Ch. '86 / '90, winner in Boston), Lambruschini (bronze medal in 3000 steeple in WCh '95 and OG '96 after two 4th places in '88 / '92), Maria Guida (European Champion in Marathon 2002), and now Baldini.
2- Giorgio RONDELLI
He was the coach of Alberto Cova, World Champion in 10000m in the first edition of WCh in Helsinki '83, Olympic Champion in LA '84, and European Ch. in '82. He was also the coach of Francesco Panetta, winner in WCh '87 in steeple after a silver medal in 10000m, and of the marathon runner Danilo Goffi (2:08:33)
3- Gaspare POLIZZI
He was the coach of Salvatore Antibo, in my opinion the best in the world in 10000m in 1990/1991. Antibo won silver in OG '88, European Championships '90 in both 5000/10000m, was 4th in OG '92 and already was 4th in OG '84.
4- Giampaolo LENZI
Was one of the fundators of the Italian School of Marathon. He was the coach of Orlando Pizzolato, winning twice NY, of Salvatore Bettiol, of Laura Fogli, and responsible for long time of Italian middle distances.
5- Gabriele ROSA
He was always out of the group, preferring to work alone making his experiences. So, his contribution in the evolution of Italian Methodology was little thing.
However, I have a great appreciation for his knowledge, his passion and his intelligence (I cannot tell the same for his character....). He worked with good Italian Marathon runner (Poli, winner NY, was the first and the best, but also good were Barzaghi 2:10:57, Alliegro 2:12 and somebody else), but his main experiences were with Kenyans runners. He was the first to give a correct phylosophy of training and of tactics to Kenyan runners. His best atgletes were, of course, Paul Tergat, Sammy Korir, now Martin Lel, Margaret Okayo, but he trained also Wilson Boit Kipketer when beated the World Record of steeple (only 3 years later he came to me, already old) and some good track runner in long distance.
The real Italian problem is that our group closed the door for younger coaches, not because we didn't accept them, but because it was very difficult for everyone to compete with professional coaches that had the opportunity to build for long time their international experience, training the best national athletes, going around the world for competitions and stages, having in this way the opportunity to grow continuously while the other had to stay home. So, when I tried to teach to the other coaches what we learnt, very few young coaches accepted this type of life. For example, all our group (except Rosa) was of teachers of Physical Education, and we could have a special permit from our Ministry for working for Olympic Committee preserving our career. So, we could continue to have our salary, plus another salary from our Federation, and this made us professional coaches. But you know that in athletics there is very little money for coaches, and many times the best have to move to other sports (soccer, basket, volley, swimming) really richer.
So, we lost the best young coaches, and there was no turn over.
In the last 10 years, someone went also to train Kenyans.
Another very good coach, that now is the Responsible in Italy for 800/1500m, is my dear friend Gianni GHIDINI,
that is the coach of the best group in the world :
Wilfred BUNGEI (1:42.34), William YIAMPOY (1:42.91), Gregory KONCHELLAH or KAMAL (1:43.11), Joseph MUTUA (1:43.33, he was with me but I passed him to Gianni for having more omogeneus groups), Timothy KIPTANUI (3:30.04), Robert RONO (3:30.99). Before them, in Italy he was the coach of Andrea BENVENUTI (European Champion '94, 1:43.92) very talented but unlucky athlete due to a tendonitis that stopped his career.
So, the experience of Italian Coaches was always with athletes of top level, different cultures, and a good will to discuss about every technical project.
Without a good group of coaches working together, I think that it's very difficult to find the opportunity for learning how to manage the technical situation according to the needs of the athletes (that are professional and have to earn, don't forget). To coach is not something "dry", where only the theorical technical knowledge is important. At the end of everything, athletes have to reach results and to earn money, and if coaches are not flexible and able to arrange contionuously the technical road according to the situation out of control (for example, organizers that don't accept the athletes in the competitions previously planned by the coach), it's not possible to reach any result.