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One for the Coaches

Last week I was asked about coaching mentors, whether I had any and if so, who?

The short answer is yes. There are hundreds of old coaches, from many different sports, whose knowledge I draw upon every session to help my own squad. I try my best to acknowledge the past masters in my blogs and it’s why I always find it such a compliment whenever a coach is able to use some of the philosophy in improving their own athletes.

However, rather than discuss some of the more obvious influences I’d like to pay tribute to the coach who is having the biggest impact on my own squad at present.

Heraclio Sanchez Ramos, or to those around the pool, Heric, is an inspirational on deck figure in the Maspolomas Pool. Each time I come to Gran Canaria he is here: a walking, talking Reality Check Machine.

As we start our morning swim at 8am he’s with a local squad of senior swimmers doing their daily workout. If I move the squad training to 10:30am after an early run or bike, Heric will be there leading the water aerobics class with enormous gusto and enthusiasm.

At 1pm Heric is now in the water teaching learn-to-swim. Smiling with all his students and playing practical jokes with them. Today it was dropping a (fake) mobile phone into the pool as several members of his squad tried frantically to retrieve it before it got too damaged.

If my guys do a loosen-up swim around 4pm, Heric is there and at it again. Now standing on the pool deck with a whistle. He is blowing starts for kids as they do a few laps after school. Day in, day out.

So you may say what can this man teach us about high performance coaching?

Well Heric teaches me every day. Every time when I walk into that pool either angry about a previous session or depressed about some athlete whose race didn’t go their way, seeing this man makes me feel immediately better.

Why? At times us paid coaches get a little above ourselves and forget why most of us started coaching in the first place – to help people improve and enjoy their sport. So Heric gives me a reality check as someone totally in love with what he does and for the energy in which he performs any task.

Every time I see him he makes me think – you could do better, Doc – because on his worst day he shames me for the inspiration and energy he gives to all he works with.

So I just wanted to publicly thank him on behalf of my group because he makes me want to be a better coach. And that is what truly inspired coaching is all about.

Makes me realise who the ‘big man’ at the pool really is. I’m sure Maspolomas Council don’t realise what a great employee they have.


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