PROTRACK

A forum devoted to track events from 60m to the 2 mile. Mainly pro but also news from local, national and international sprint & middle distance competitions.

Log in

I forgot my password



Search
 
 

Display results as :
 


Rechercher Advanced Search

October 2017
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Calendar Calendar


You are not connected. Please login or register

PROTRACK » GENERAL » Glen Mills: the man behind Usain Bolt's record-shattering career

Glen Mills: the man behind Usain Bolt's record-shattering career

View previous topic View next topic Go down  Message [Page 1 of 1]

youngy

avatar
Admin
Admin
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/usain-bolt-worlds-fastest-man/0/glen-mills-the-man-behind-usain-bolts-record-shattering-career/

Glen Mills: the man behind Usain Bolt's record-shattering career

By Claire Thomas  
UK Telegraph
25 July 2016



Usain Bolt with his coach, Glen Mills
Mills has worked with Bolt since late 2004, with stunning results Credit: Karen Fuchs/Rex Features  

 
Glen Mills, Head Coach at Racers Track Club in Kingston, Jamaica, hasn’t a single athletics’ medal to his name. His fledgling career petered out in its infancy, when he came to the significant realisation that he wasn’t particularly fast (a somewhat insurmountable obstacle in the world of sprinting). However, his love of the sport endured, Mills turned his attention to coaching, and the rest - as they say - is history. His tutees at the Racers Track Club have won an incredible 71 medals at the IAAF World Championships, and 33 at Olympic competitions - a tally that continues to rise.

19 of these have come from one man - the fastest man ever, in fact - who unhesitatingly praises his mentor at every opportunity. As Usain Bolt gears up for what looks to be his penultimate summer of competition, we take a moment to consider the man responsible for his meteoric rise.

Upon abandoning his track and field ambitions, the 14 year old Mills was taken under the wing of Henry McDonald Messam, coach at Camperdown High School in Kingston. He progressed from undertaking odd jobs at the track to being entrusted with a younger class of athletes to mentor and instruct. He’s been coaching for 42 years, providing the depth and breadth of experience with which he has nurtured some of the best athletes of all time.

Coaches, of course, require coaching themselves, and Mills has striven to develop an innate understanding of anatomy, agility, co ordination, talent identification and biomechanical analysis through a series of courses with the IOC, IAAF, and other highly respected organisations to hone his craft.

There are elements of coaching which can’t be learnt, though. Central to Mills’ philosophy is thinking outside the box when scouring his homeland for talent, an art he has perfected. Whilst collegiate scouts scribble down race numbers of podium-topping youngsters, Mills might be preoccupied with the athlete towards the back of the field: he looks for potential, not a ready-made superstar. Almost 20 years ago, he quietly pointed out an individual finishing outside of the medals in a high school race, seeing something special in a seemingly average performance. The teenager’s name? Asafa Powell.

Mills was eventually called up to work at the Jamaican Amateur Athletic Association, before rising to become Head Coach of the Jamaican national team in 1987, a post he held for 22 years, before stepping down to focus on his Racers Track Club team, where he remains today.

After a disappointing showing at the Athens Olympics, crashing out of the heats in the 200m, Bolt sought out Mills as the man who might enable him to finally fulfil his youthful promise. Mills was well aware of Bolt’s natural ability, but also of his poor technique - a backwards running style and lack of core strength triggering a series of hamstring problems. He undertook a two year project of pulling apart the sprinter’s technique, painstakingly breaking his bad habits, and then reassembling it all into today’s world-beating form. It was a repetitive and challenging process, often requiring hours of video analysis to help correct the minutiae of Bolt’s individual race stages.

The two had a rare disagreement at this point, over the future of Bolt’s career. Mills was convinced his protégé was best suited the longer sprints, whilst his charge was determined to focus upon the 100m. ‘Coach Mills’ agreed Bolt could do so as soon as he broke the Jamaican 200m record, which proved the perfect motivation and initial target for their pairing. Bolt duly dipped below Don Quarrie’s mark by 0.11 seconds in 2007, a marker which had stood for 36 years.

As a coach, Mills is a true technician. His attention to detail and the intricacies of race phases, technique, and execution is manifest in each of Bolt's trackside interviews, at which point his usually jovial manner is replaced by serious discussion of his discipline. Mills is careful to balance this with development of his athletes’ psychological prowess - integrating motivational work into their daily routines - in the hope of producing well-rounded individuals, rather than senseless speed machines.

One of Mills’ mantras is that athletes ‘must lose in order to learn to win’, and this grounded nature - he acknowledges that someone, someday, will beat Bolt’s world records - is one of the reasons his athletes have such faith in him. Mills is notorious for keeping his cards close to his chest, leaving his sprinters unaware, until fairly close to major championships, which events they’ll be contesting. Athletes within another set up might find this frustrating, but Coach Mills’ tutees are happy to have utter faith in their mentor. You get the sense that, if Mills told Bolt to run his next 100m barefooted, from a standing start, the great Jamaican would oblige without hesitation.

Speaking to Dwain Chambers, double European record holder and a sub-10 second man himself, it appears Mills’ charms take hold quickly. Chambers enjoyed a spell training Mills in Kingston in 2005, and speaks warmly of the man both Bolt and Blake have described as a ‘father figure’, ‘friend, and ‘mentor’:

‘Glen Mills is a man of few words; his presence is always apparent, and when he speaks, he makes it count. Whenever he’d comment on anything, you’d stop what you were doing and pay attention. He has many attributes which make him such a fine coach, but his patience and attention to detail are central: Mills would never rush us, but allow us to develop in our own time.’

Chambers’ unequivocal praise of Mills is yet another testament to his coaching prowess - not that any was needed: his work with Bolt, Blake, Weir, and Collins evidence just how a patient, quiet individual can catalyse some of the most captivating and record-breaking careers in sport.


_________________
"Let's Go While We're Young"

View previous topic View next topic Back to top  Message [Page 1 of 1]

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum