BLOG #124 1/08/2016
My many projects photographing athletes, coupled with my own long interest in sports, has led to a natural fascination with coaches. Watching their intense interactions with their athletes at countless sports events has reminded me, again and again, of how much top competitors depend on their coaches. For example, for my book on boxers I sat ringside and heard trainers constantly shout instructions to their fighters, and urge them to change this or keep doing that during breaks between rounds.
Whatever the sport, whether amateur or professional, players need the training and encouragement of coaches in order to compete at their fullest ability. If an athlete has an “uncoachable” psyche or personality he or she will never reach championship level, or at least it would be very rare.
I have been especially interested in the relationship that coaches have with young competitors, where something approaching a parent-child bond can form. These images were made at a national rhythmic gymnastic meet. The coaches, all women in these photos, speak with their young competitors just before they go out to compete. It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that were entirely true, why would I be writing these blogs? But looking at these images, I hope you can “hear” what the coaches are saying.
I also had the special opportunity of photographing two of the All-around U.S. National Rhythmic Gymnastics Champions in my studio:
1999, 2000 and 2001 U.S. National Champion Jessica Howard (last photo above and first two photos below)
And the 2005 U.S. National Champion Olga Karmansky