I loved athletics from when I was 12 years old. At that time, I decided that, grown up, I wanted to become Italian National Coach.
But I never was interested in top results for myself. My motivations are basically two : to investigate what is possible to do with the human body, where for human body I want to mean physiology and psychology, finding the personal key for the best way of improvement (that is different one from another), and to help the athletes in improving their personality and their life.
I believe very much in the role of athletics (and of every type of sport, generally) like education for the life.
My principles are the principles of a teacher, before than a coach. I think that I'm at first an educator, secondly a coach.
This is the reason because I cannot accept in my mind not only any type of doping, but also any type of help from external sides. I think that the greater strength is in the mind, and I work for increasing the self confidence in my athletes.
When you use something that can help you (may be also permitted, but under the psychological point of view the effect is the same), you become "slave" of it, and you think that a part of your strength depends on it.
I don't want this situation. I want that the athletes can be sure about themselves, and when something is going bad, they have to have the ability in analyzing the reasons without finding excuses that are damageous for them.
I try to educate my athletes, expecially African, in a different type of life. I want that my athletes have respect for the other, but also for themselves, not wasting their life. I try to be a guide, because they need, but I'm not sure to be able EVER to do it.
A lot of time I read about athletes prepared in laboratory, considered like machines, where winning is all what they want.
I don't know if I'm perticularly lucky, but I don't recognize anyone of the top runners in this stereotype.
Many of my athletes are among the top in the world (Shaheen in steeple, Paul Kosgei in 25km, Nicholas Kemboi, Ahmed Hassan, James Kwalia, Jamal Salem, Mark Bett, John Korir, Dorcus Inzikuru, many Marathon runners men and women), and I'm friend of other (like Baldini) that are the greatest in their event. Believe me : all these athletes are COMPLETELY NORMAL GUYS, having a normal life, normal feelings, normal behavior. They live in a normal house, have normal friends and normal families.
If it's true what many people think (that the top level sport is something destroying any moral value, as the only important thing is to win), probably the reason because my athletes are able to win and to last is THEIR NORMALITY.
About training, I never went to some laboratory for controlling my athletes (except blood tests every 1-2 months, because it's very important to know what CAN HAPPEN IN THE CLOSE FUTURE, and from the blood tests you can have a lot of informations). Of course, I went to test them some time, but this was for having datas for scientists and for myself that I needed for explaining what happens inside the body, but NEVER I USED THESE INFOS FOR MY TRAINING. So, I check the results of my training, but don't use them for my program : I modify the program according to what I see every day DURING the training, not according to the datas of the tests.
Here every one speaks about percentage : 85 / 90 % of VO2, etc. But I never used a CARDIO for controlling the heart frequency, for example, BECAUSE THESE DATA CAN CHANGE EVERY TIME AND ARE NOT SIGNIFICANT. I use lactate-tests that can give me NUMBERS confirming what I already know, because it's possible to see every thing during training.
At the end of every thing, I like to coach athletes because I can have with everyone a personal relation.
I like to speak too much (as you had the opportunity to see...), and I feel gratified thru this type of relation.
I cannot be a coach without being also a friend, may be a father or a elder brother (looking at my age).
To coach athletes is not something "dry" and theorical, but is something "alive" and pragmatic.
You must have passion for human people, almost like a missionary. You must have heart. And you must work for the others, not for yourself.