Sunday, March 15, 2009

Brooks Johnson on Jeff Atkinson and jazz...

For those of you who have followed track & field in the US for more than 20 years, you'll remember Jeff Atkinson, who was one of the premier 1500-meter runners in the late 1980s and early 1990s out of Stanford University.

His coach, Brooks Johnson, has a very interesting piece on his blog on how he coached Atkinson, and on the art/science of coaching track & field athletes, and how it relates to one of his outside passions, jazz.

He writes, "The coach should know and have a complete command of the basic left hand chord patterns, which consist of the basic science(s) of the sport, especially the applicable and relevant laws of physiology, physics and bio-mechanics. With the right hand there should be played out an improvised melody that is consistent with what is going on mentally at the time immediate before, during, and right after a workout. The left hand science provides the structure, foundation and basis of the work, with the right hand interpretations of what is needed and possible, expressed and reflected in the quality and/or quantity of what the coach requires and asks the athlete to do in any given workout."

To read the 1984 US Olympic coach's piece, click here...

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