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I'd have to be careful when I say this because people here tend to jump all over the place with one false statement and it's always black or white.

At the end of the day, it is the athlete who'd have to get out and slog all those miles. I was watching "The Right Stuff" last night and there was a scene when a bunch of military people approached Chuck Yager and explained about the sound barrier and the machine they built was ready to go and this and that. Yager said "but they never get up in the air." Lydiard, as colorful as he was and as dominant figure as he was, knew that all so well and that is why he never recruited athletes. His number one policy in coaching was that the athlete would have to come to him. He would NEVER go asking runners whether he could coach. The drive would have to come from the athletes.

However, I don't believe Peter Snell would have become such a great athlete if it weren't for Lydiard. I doubt, and you know this better, people like Beardsley or perhaps even Rodgers would be a runner they were without coach Squires. Or at least all those dozen or so GBTC runners around Boston area would have not run as well without coach Squires. Even Eliot; I doubt whether he'd be as great a runner without Cerutty. They all knew some things about training and training "right" but more importantly they all had such strong personality that surely rubbed off onto their athletes.

I think one of the biggest reasons for Lydiard's success was his ability to push and demand his athletes BUT he did it at the right time. He would chase down some young runner (I wouldn't say who) on Sunday morning after he was out partying till very late, plodding around Waitak, shouting "If you can't run this in less than 2:20, you're wasting your bloody time!" Again, as Tom stated, perhaps scientifically bad suggestion; but they all knock themselves in such super shape because of that. Far too often coaches today are way too conservative that they don't push their youngsters like Lydiard did.

Now, on the other hand, to jtupper's point, Lydiard would stop runners "struggling" on track doing repeats. That is totally different situation. Too often people read Run to the Top and read the part when Lydiard told Snell to go ahead and complete 200s repeats and throw up; they think he's a tough and cruel coach. Again, completely different situation. Lydiard would NEVER push his athletes to do one too many repeat. But on the road, he might push you to do one (or more) too many miles; and he would not let you just plod!


Thanks for starting this thread. It sure is going pretty good. I'm surprised that this didn't get burried among Webb threads!

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