Welcome back to the second segment of Life as an Axe Coach. I have received a request to explain how I approach coaching people. I will divide this up into three points; how I set everything up, how I watch the thrower, and how I assist the thrower.
To begin, the biggest thing that most people fail to understand is, axe throwing is not rocket science! The biggest challenge I must overcome is gaining the trust of whomever is throwing. Now I am very aware that axe throwing can be a little intimidating. Especially when I go through the step-by-step process on how to throw. The process can go by quickly and overthinking is the number one enemy. Axe throwing is supposed to be fun and stress relieving not the opposite. By gaining the trust of the thrower then and only then can I truly “help,” the individual. When a thrower feels confident and believes they are in good hands they tend to relax and allow themselves to follow their own bodies natural motion. Once again axe throwing is not rocket science, but a little bit of confidence and trust can go a long way.
Once I have gained the trust of the thrower it then becomes easier for me to find out what is wrong or, “why the axe is not sticking.” Now this step does require a bit of a keen eye. It is also the most difficult step of all. The trick is to pay attention to how the axe is hitting the target. Now keep in mind that the method only works if the throwers form stays consistent.
Some of you guys may be asking,” what does he mean by consistent?”
Now the definition of,” consistent,” is acting or done in the same way over time.
So, the thrower must be sure that the form does not change so the axe hits the target the same way, even if it, “doesn’t stick.” This is where trust comes into play. If the thrower trusts you, they will remain consistent in the throw pattern and allow for you to assist when needed. However, on occasion I do come across what I call, “The Uncoachables.” That’s a talk for another day though. Once you have spotted how the axe is hitting the target, then you can move onto step three.
Now step three is the easiest step but it does require patience. Now the trick that I have learned is that positioning is the biggest thing. Everyone is different, tall or short, long reach or short reach, strong or weak. Now the axe needs to complete one full rotation from the point of release to the point of hitting the target. Now remember consistency is key so we don’t want the thrower to adjust their form. Things like flicking the wrist to force the axe to rotate can be very bad because now you have added an extra variable into the equation.
Now if I know the axe is rotating a lot quicker than I want it to I define that as, “over rotation,” the opposite would be, “under rotation.” (Once again talk for another day) Once I have spotted the things I need to adjust, I simply make short and small comments or suggestions. As a student athlete, I realized that I have a real problem with people telling me what to do. Especially if I am not doing as well as some of the other people in my group. I have come to realize that no matter what expertise you may have, no one like being told what to do. In turn I incorporate that kind of knowledge into my coaching strategies. Saying things like, “Can I make a suggestion?” or “Nice shot but here is what I will do different.” By giving someone the ability to say no to your advice they see for themselves that you are only there to help.
In the long run. People will ultimately choose to take your advice or not. The biggest key is to stay patient and let people come to their own. I explain to my coaching staff all the time that being patient and only helping when needed is the best way to go.
However, my time has come to end.
Until next week, my name is Adrian and I hope you enjoyed this week’s segment of Life as an Axe Coach.