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Dr. E:

No disrespect to coach Canova at all; I've collected some of his comments here at letsrun threads as well as some other sites with great interest. Quite fascinating stuff. But, if I were to pick someone to coach me (or my kids), here's the bottom line question: "How can he/she best develop my potential?" I'd go back to what Lydiard said and kept saying over several decades; "Anybody can coach Kenyans because they have already developed their aerobic capacity." I don't mean to say people like Dr. Rosa or coach Canova are just "anybody". But this is what you COULD afford to do if you have a bunch of ambitious young athletes like Kenyans; you can take a handful, say, 20 of them; run a series of tests--be it scientific test or just test runs--and pick 4 or 5 who performed best; take them to Europe and throw them in some high quality races and they'd perform very well. Or look at yet another angle; take a handful of young studs from local high school who can run distance fairly well; give them bunch of interval type training and they'd set some PR and maybe even get some scholarship. But MY question then will be; "Where will they be in two years?" Ask yourself honestly, when's the last time you honestly remembered the name of a Kenyan champion, be it in some road race in the US or some major track meet in Europe and follow his footsteps to see how many more races in the coming years that he continuously performed well?

I'm a huge fan of Paul Tergat (I even brought his book to NYC marathon to be autographed, which I personally don't like to do, because I might have had a chance to meet him personally there) and one of the reasons for that is simply because of that--he's been at the top for so many years consistently. But I honestly don't remember who (which Kenyan) won the Boston marathon last year--or a year before that--and what they're doing now.

I'm not criticizing anybody or putting down what coaches of Kenyan athletes are doing at all. I saw a documentary of some exercise physiologists/coaches in Kenay and what they do and was totally fascinated by it. That really is coaching--the art, AND science, of peaking.

Lydiard, on the other hand, took young kids in his neighborhood, like Laurie King who he thought would drop dead if he ran a mile, and worked them for 2 or 3 or 5 years and turned them into local champion, or NZ champion or Olympic champion and world record holders. That, to me, is coaching AND developing.

Finnish Federation brought Lydiard to revive golden era of distance running in Finland in late 60s. He did. Now they brought a national coach of Kenya to turn them around once again. Nothing happened. Why?

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