Monday 4 May 2015

Find IT - with some help from a coach

FIND IT - with some help from a Coach!

Most of the time, I’m full of myself.  I am always convinced that I know everything about everything.  I just know that I am always right! 

My misplaced confidence stems from the fact that I read a lot.  Having read something about an issue often leads me to believe that I know everything about it. 

Take running for example. For the last 9 years I had believed that I don’t really need personal advice from any coach.  I had so many books and they were full of information and training programs. And so I figured that there was no need to have a living breathing person, give me any advice.

Finally a year ago I saw the error of my ways. Meeting and taking personal advice from a coach changed everything for me.  I’ve since become a stronger runner because of the advice I received.

I used to hold the same mistaken notion about my exercise sessions in the gym.  I have Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book, “The Encyclopaedia of Modern Bodybuilding.”  After reading this massive volume, I figured I don’t really need a living-breathing human being helping me in the gym. I was so totally wrong! 

We will never find what we are looking for if we don’t know what to look for.  There is a picture in the book where Arnold sits on the Lateral Pull down machine and does his thing.  On my own, I never noticed the nuances of his stance as he sat on the machine, until my good friend Nisheel Poddar sorted me out.  

As I said, sometimes we are blind to the obvious.  All we need is a little push in the right direction.

All of us need some wise master to get us started.  A coach is needed to answer a few evolving questions and to encourage us as we pursue our dreams. 

Each person’s path to enlightenment is unique but those who have been on the same search can always teach us a little bit about the way.  Once we get started, perhaps we can wean away from the master and search for our own unique path.  But in the early days, it’s just easier to have someone show us the ropes. 

Of course, one can argue that everything can be learnt without a master. Yes that is possible.  But why spend so much time and energy in reinventing the wheel?  So much time and energy might end up being spent in pushing the cart sideways.  Why not let someone show you just how to push in the right direction? 

Over the last few years, there has been a proliferation of runners in India as well as a proliferation of coaches.  Many coaches have started wonderful initiatives to help novice runners take their first step.  These coaches have amongst themselves a vast reservoir of wisdom which any novice runner will be able to draw from.

I remember all the questions I used to have in those early days of running:
1) Do I breathe from my nose or from my mouth?
2) Can I walk when tired?
3) What must I wear?
4) What must I eat?
5) What about shoes, black toe-nails, chafing?
6) How do I build endurance?
7) What about speed training & hill training?

After 9 years of running, I am still evolving. I have new questions to my old answers.

I keep on meeting new masters who guide me along.  I take advice from them and then I experiment for myself.  Let me tell you that all masters are not perfect and neither are all students. It is always a work-in-progress.  I have never found a perfect master. I have never been a perfect student.   I however continue to progress due to both the good advice and the bad. 

But I do need someone to show me the way.   I will always need someone to point me in the right direction.

Osho once explained the need for a little push in the right direction:

“A little boy worrying through his first day at school, raised his hand for permission to go to the wash-room, then returned to the class a few moments later to report that he could not find it.

Dispatched a second time with explicit directions, he could still could not find it.

So this time the teacher asked a slightly older boy to act as his guide.

Success crowned his efforts!
“We finally found it,” explained the older boy to the teacher. “He had his pants on backwards.”

I’m sure you will search for and find a coach who in turn will help you find whatever else you’re searching for.

Good Luck!


  1. Super usual.
    Most folks think they can do things with self help from books and even worse downloaded free apps.
    I know of a person who has downloaded the Coach to 5K app from the net but has not been able to run beyond the 3K distance.

    The value of human interaction can never be understated, no matter how much technology seems to suggest that it is not so

  2. Very pertinent matter to many of new-be runners, but not touching upon the real core of the issue. In search of the right coach. In current times of so many self-acclaimed Guru ( not indication to Guru Puru - he writes really good stuff ) , what method do we adopt to reach to the near-right coach . . . - kartik vasantbhai sodha