Thus Spoke Bill Bowerman

The cover of the difficult to find, but important, book The Bowerman System.

The cover of the difficult to find, but important, book The Bowerman System.

I got my first coaching "job" in 2006. I was fresh out of college, and my high school coaches allowed me to be their assistant that cross country season. It was a volunteer position. No pay. It didn't matter. I had an opportunity to coach and was determined to make the most of it.

With only a passion for running, competing, and serving others to offer, I stepped into this role with little knowledge of the basics of coaching. I needed to educate myself — and fast. So I asked my high school coach where to start. 

He said, "Seeing as you're an Oregon native, best to start local. Read Bowerman."

So I did. 

The Bowerman System was the first training book I ever read. It details his methodology and outlines his training program. The book is hard to get and if you can find it, it will cost you over $100. I discovered a copy at the local city college and read it several times, scribbling many notes in my coaching journal. 

I regret not being able to meet Bowerman personally, as he was my first teacher on training organization. How he set up his schedules still influences the structure of my programming today. I'm sure I would have learned more from him in a 10 minute conversation than 10 years of study. 

Before writing this post, I looked back at page 1 of my notebook from August 2006. The first entry I ever made regarding coaching, is a quote courtesy of Bowerman. I must have thought it significant. I wrote it in all caps. He said:

"The idea that the harder you work, the better you get is just garbage. The greatest improvement is made by the man who works most intelligently." 


Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm

Jonathan Marcus