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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Advanced Course in Coaching
The essence of coaching which lies in the depths of appropriateness

Hiroki Tabata
2nd year student in the Master's Program of the Graduate School of Sport Sciences

The Advanced Course in Coaching is taught by Professor Shigeo Iso, the Coach of the prestigious Waseda University Track & Field Team. Professor Iso also represented Japan in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1982 Asian Games. Each class raises one theme related to the questions of "What is coaching?" and "What is needed to coach?" For example, the theme for a class might be "Are punishments required in coaching?" The course is conducted mainly through lectures by the Professor and presentations by students. However, in either case, spirited discussion is held. Classes also feature an introduction of advanced research results which have not yet been publicly released, thus making for a very interesting class.

To be blunt, the atmosphere of contents can be summed up in one word-appropriate. However, this doesn't mean that the class is perfunctory; rather, it means that it is just right. After all, the distance between the professor and students is perfectly appropriate. The relationship is not too close, yet the Professor doesn't conduct one-sided lectures either. Every class, at least three students are asked to state their opinions. Professor Iso doesn't refute the opinions of students. Instead, he finishes up the class by incorporating such opinions. The perfectly balanced distance of this relationship is the greatest appeal of the class.

Most people tend to think that coaching involves providing some sort of guidance. It seems that the use of scientific data would point to specific types of coaching measures. However, in actuality, the appropriate coaching for athletes differs with each case. In some case, it might even be appropriate not to provide coaching. The most important work of a coach is not to teach, but rather to prepare and provide athletes with an appropriate environment (distance with coach, practice environment, etc.). From that perspective, this course is less like a lecture and more like actual coaching. Professor Iso maintains an appropriate distance with students and prepares an appropriate environment which encourages voluntary thought by students.

"My classes are perfectly appropriate!" boasts Professor Iso. Indeed, an understanding of the true meaning of "appropriate" brings us one step closer to the essence of coaching.

Studying in class