Coaching and Teaching and Doing

Yoda, that was my nickname in my professional field. It was earned though teaching and coaching in the medical field. Teaching was an early vocation done primarily at the Medical College of Georgia. Teaching became an international occupation as research moved me onto a broader stage. Throughout that career I remained not just a medical scientist, I continued a life long pastime in sports.

Sport, actually, was a bit more than a pastime since much of my professional work involved athletics. In my academic labor I uncovered associations with a continuum of health ranging from the Olympian to the infirmed. Along the way I maintained a competitive fixation on my development as a scientist as well as an athlete. In many instances I applied medical rationale to sports – long before an official field of sports medicine had blossomed.

Years before it was ‘popular’ I was conducting physiological research on climbers ascending Mt. Everest (1). Later, I studied oxygen desaturation during peak performance of elite cyclists and the impact of endurance running at altitude. (2,3)

Not solely that geek looking at athletes I competed as an athlete earning spots at two major World Championship. (4,5) And on this journey became a USA Cycling coach.

Coaching is a discipline that transferred easily for “Yoda” of the academic environment. During that time I was not only a coach but a Category 2 ranked cyclist among the USA Cycling rating system where I competed in the US and Europe. Did I learn cycling on my own? No, there were two great coaches that pulled me along: Nestor Gernay of Belgium and Gabe Stanley of South Africa. (Both immigrant US citizens) Taking from that experience and adding a background in cardiopulmonary medicine I developed patented methods to better train endurance athletes.

Aging takes a toll on what an athlete can do in endurance sports. Certainly, endurance fitness shouldn’t be prohibited due to age, but age is no friend to endurance fitness. In November of 2013 I knew that competing in endurance sports would remain fun, but it would never be the same as when I was younger. Then, purely by chance, I stumbled into archery.

It is my belief that age, while there are some inherent pitfalls, is not a barrier to archers. I believe that an athlete over 50 can become an elite archer whereas an athlete over 38 is unlikely to maintain elite status among endurance athletes. A few months after the November 2013 intersection with a bow and arrow I set out to discover whether or not I could become on of those elite archers.

Since picking up a bow the transfer of talent from elite endurance athlete to elite archer remains incomplete. Along that course I have gained insight into the archery that I believe, once refined, may lead to enhanced performance among archers. In order to solidify a foundation to further this course I needed a stronger grasp of current archery fundamentals and coaching and the methods associated with each. I do see myself embarking on a career in archery not only as a pastime but also as a coach and researcher of the sport. In order to achieve this I need all coaching education specific to archery I can gather.

As I progress I will apply what I learn to my own practice. I see myself coaching and teaching others in archery in the same way I have done in professional basketball, professional football, professional cycling and professional triathlon. (6,7,8,9) Level 3 archery coaching is another milestone in this adventure.

References (abbreviated):

  • Lain D, Shakar U.: Practical pulse oximetry during high altitude hiking. Chest, Vol 118, No. 4, page 203S, 2000.
  • Lain D, Jackson C: Exercise induced hypoxemia (EIH) desaturation zones: a use or athletic training. Chest, Vol 118, No. 4, page 203S, 2000.
  • Lain, D: High altitude respiratory distress: an RT’s personal experience. Advance for Resp Care and Sleep Med. Features section, online Sept 26, 2012.
  • Team USA World Championship, Long Course Duathlon, 2007 World Championship (athlete, 21st place)
  • World Ironman Championship, Kona, Hawaii. 2008 (Athlete 18th place)
  • Houston Rockets, High Altitude training, 2007
  • Atlanta Falcons, with trainers, sleep apnea among linemen.(circa Dan Reeves)
  • Lain D, High Altitude Tents, Triathletes Magazine, January 2006
  • Mental Preparation in Training and Racing. Keynote Address, Columbia Triathlon Association, Athletes Program, Cambridge, MD, May 6, 2012