“Coaching, I would argue, is the least about the workouts. In fact, if you’re a coach, you should have phenomenal workouts. You should have a progression that takes a child, an adult, anyone—in four years, of course they’re going to get better, you just have to write it out properly. It’s written in every book, you can pick up any book, anyone can be a ‘give workout’ person. What isn’t easy, unless it is, is knowing how to connect with a person, to get the most out of them, so they can feel good about themselves…You have to be very careful about how you connect with people. We as coaches have power, for sure, the people we are coaching can be vulnerable so you have to make sure you’re not taking advantage of that or crossing the line. That’s your job, it’s not the athlete’s job. As close as the athlete comes to you, you have to know where it needs to stop, where the line is, and a mature coach knows how to do that.”
Laura Schmitt retired from coaching the cross country and track teams at Redwood High School in Larkspur, California, last summer after 35 years at the helm of both the boys and girls programs. In her three-and-a-half decades at the school, she guided numerous league champions, state champions, and even national champions, all while building a team environment centered around inclusivity and developing a love of running. Her love and enthusiasm for running is equal parts infectious and inspiring. Laura is a mom of three children, and coached all three of her kids while they were in high school. She’s also an entrepreneur: In 1990, she founded Marin Enrichment, a play-based preschool that’s still going strong today and led by her daughter Caitlin. In 2016, she and her son Jake—who was my guest back on Episode 48 of the podcast—opened the Thoroughbred Treadmill Studio, which was the first treadmill studio on the West Coast, and they’re set to open their second location next month in San Francisco.
In this conversation, we talked about running, community, coaching, family, parenting, and entrepreneurship—all things Laura knows a lot about and has had a lot of success in over the years—and a whole lot more.
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Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford at BaresRecords.com
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