A complex situation arises in the world of coaching distance runners. It is one of the few sports, like swimming, tennis, gymnastics, or wrestling but completely unlike football or basketball where the coach can compete alongside her or his athletes. Not only can the coach compete with the athletes, the coach can train with them. This gets complex because not everyone on a team trains at the same level. While training with a handful (1-5) of athletes gives the coach an intimate idea of the training of those athletes the rest are almost neglected.
I do not have a clear answer to how to deal with the issue of how to deal with racing, running, and how I divide my attention amongst the team. I like to imagine that I give everyone on the team the attention they deserve from their coach, but I know for a fact that I end up spending a lot more time with some athletes than others, specifically, I spend more time with the faster men than the slower men or the women.
The scarcity of attention is really the issue here. Each one of us has only so much time, about 24 hours a day, to divide amongst all of our relationships, including ourselves (think sleep). My friends, the future is attention, reputation and time. Each person has only so much time. There are approximately 10.1 trillion minutes of time available per day of human attention in the world. Approximately 60 of those minutes, or 0.0000000006% of the time in the world every day is spent reading this blog. It is strange to give it a measurable part of the time in the world. Bringing this concept to my coaching, how much time per day or week does each athlete warrant? Four minutes? Or perhaps it is a ratio, for every 20 or 30 minutes the athlete puts into the sport they "earn" a minute of my attention? In other words, those that work harder in the off season get more attention than those that actually take the summer off. Obviously this is an exaggerated concept. If an athlete I don't even coach, but who is on our team has a breakdown and I can in anyway help she may get an hour of my undivided attention, while my normal athletes briefly go without any attention.
Get used to hearing "the scarcity of attention" because in the world of new and measurable media, that will come up more and more. Applied to coaching, it's not a perfect science for me yet. If you have any suggestions leave a comment or better yet talk to me in person. I enjoy discussing my blog in person far more than through comments. Regarding my readers, THANK YOU!!! You give me your time. Regardless of who you are, your time matters. I do not take your time for granted.