“You Sweden has put an extraordinarily hefty“You Sweden has put an extraordinarily hefty

“You
give your life in exchange for what you hope to achieve” was a quote from
Susanna Kallur that resonated deep within me for days after the Price of Gold. Not
only are elite athletes devoting their lives to train, perform, and to (hopefully)
succeed in the Olympics, but they are also giving away their bodies to the sport.
This includes athletes overtraining, competing through pain, sustaining chronic
and acute injuries, and suffering through their performances and competitions. I
personally have never had the desire to become an elite athlete, so I do not
believe I will ever be able to fully comprehend what is required physically, mentally,
and emotionally from these top-tier athletes. However, I am aiming to view
elite athletes from a coach’s perspective, whose responsibilities consist of not
only driving athletes to perform to the best of their ability, no matter the
hurdles or struggles, but also mentoring them throughout this process as well.

A
successful coach understands that their job, with the help of multiple specialists,
clinicians, and administrators, requires them to integrate their expertise to
best serve each individual elite athlete. I concur with the belief stated in
class that all coaches should have a degree relating to the human body to fully
understand the principles and management of sports training. To do this, they
need to provide the best care and risk-management guidance to benefit the health
of their athletes. According to Stuart McMillan, who has coached more than 20
Olympic medalists in track and field agrees the “grueling training and
obsessive dedication” required to reach the highest levels of sport are not
good for a person. Also stated in the film, 50% of elite athletes faced serious
injuries, 90% competed through injuries, and 50% retired due to injuries. Sweden
has put an extraordinarily hefty sum of money into making their elite athletes the
best they can be, but what happens when there are no senior athletes left due
to child/teen injuries turning into chronic or acute trauma? I have an
understanding that elite athletes at any performance level have the mindset
that they are invisible; are determined to meet their goal regardless of the cost
it might have on their bodies and future. This obsessive drive may make it more
difficult for coaches to teach them proper technique in risk management. Coaches
should strive to educate young athletes about the proper training principles
(including overload, variation, specificity, and periodization) so they can aspire
to become elite athletes without overusing their bodies to the point of no
return.

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Although
injuries are bound to happen at any performance level in sports, an auspicious
coach should teach his or her athletes significant steps to not only reduce the
risk of injury but to teach long-term risk-management techniques. An abundance of
programs and injury-management facilities are offered to expand athlete’s
mental health and well-being that should be taken advantage of at an early age.
I believe it is crucial that coaches must aim to strengthen the likelihood of a
successful progression into retirement. During the film, I found it quite
infuriating to listen to Agne Bervall discuss how the skill performance methods
he taught many of his athletes led to injuries, but he wouldn’t have trained
them a separate way. He then goes on to state it’s easy to “stay healthy, but
maybe you won’t get really good either.” Given the fact that both Susanna and
Jenny Kallur parted ways from Bervall due to concerns about injuries, it makes
you realize there needs to be a better balance in the teaching methods between
health management and elite performances. The more resources and medical
support services coaches utilize to optimize the short-term health of younger elite
athletes, the more victorious athletes will be long-term.