Daley Thompson tells Kriss Akabusi on Sporting Heroes that athletes should change their coaches every few years

Last Updated: 14/01/13 3:17pm

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Double Olympic champion Daley Thompson told Sporting Heroes athletes should change coach regularly.

The two-time Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete explained to Kriss Akabusi it is important coaches recognise the limits of their potential and don't hold onto their athletes for too long.

Thompson had high praise for his triumvirate of coaches - Bob Mortimer, Bruce Longden and Frank Dick - who were happy for him to learn from as many people as possible.

"Bob Mortimer brought me to the decathlon - without him the world would be a safer place," he said.

"Bruce Longden organised me. He decided rightly or wrongly that the best way to train for a decathlon was to spend twice as long on your bad things than on your good thing. If anything was ever to go wrong it was going to be in something that you were not good at or were not confident at.

"Frank took it to another level, he was even more organised. He was all about the small bits of technique, he was more of an organiser and was happy for me to go and see other people for the pole vault or the hurdles or whatever - he would organise my programme.

"I think one of the things about being a good coach is to recognise when you have given all that you can. In fact there should be some sort of unspoken law that says that a coach cannot have anyone for three or four years - if you have not passed on most of the stuff you know in that time, then you are not doing a good job.

"Frank was happy to have a complete overview of what I was doing but in the specifics of say the javelin he was happy to let someone who he thought could improve it get on and do it."


Thompson, whose own sporting hero was Muhammad Ali - because he was the best and not afraid to tell everyone he was the best - also revealed how he once turned down an award for being the black man of the year.

"I did not want to be the best black man of the year; I wanted to be the best man of the year," he said.

"In sport, if you want to be the best you have to compete against the best - I would much rather have come tenth and be judged against everyone than come first and be judged against just a few.

"It's not a colour thing, it is not a class thing, it is just a matter of I want to beat everybody."

To view Kriss Akabussi interviewing Daley Thompson on Sporting Heroes sign into Sky Go, click here

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