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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

Coaching From All Angles

In watching some of the college football bowl games over the holiday, I couldn't help but notice the discrepancy in where a team's offensive or defensive coordinator chose to be during the game.

Some prefer to be on the sidelines, where they can interact with the players and get a feel for the energy on the field.

Others like to be up in the booth, where they can get a better view of the plays they call and have a quiet space to think.

The way I see it, the sidelines are more ideal, provided the coordinator can recognize the intricacies of their strategy from that less ideal angle. In other words, they have to have a developed coaching eye.

A similar kind of eye is effective in our sport when it comes to biomechanics. In my experience, the best coaches I've seen in this area have a 360-degree understanding of a technical model, and over time, have come to recognize deviations from that model from a variety of vantage points. During practice, these coaches are constantly in motion, seeking to view an athlete's movement strategy from a different angle.

In a way, it reminds me of being a baseball umpire when I was in high school. Traditionally, an umpire is instructed to position his/herself with a line of sight in the window of space between the hitter and catcher, known as "the slot."

On occasion, to seek an advantage, the hitter would creep towards the plate to "crowd" the strike zone. In response, the catcher would set up inside, completely eroding the slot.

To get any view at all, I'd have to move outside of the catcher, to the far side of the hitter.

At first, it was a challenge. But what I soon realized was that the strike zone hadn't changed. I just had to be able to see it from a different angle. And with some practice, I was able to.

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