Coach Shannyn talks about coaching at Lincoln College
Editor’s note: This article was written in the spring of 2016 prior to Coach Shannyn being an assistant coach at Lincoln College.
Coach Shannyn J. Gillespie (upper left) with his wife Emily & daughters Jazmyn (r), & Kayla (l)
What have you been doing since coaching females at the U.S. Olympic Education Center?
Since 2012, I’ve primarily been coaching high school, middle school, & elementary school males at either the Overtime School of Wrestling, Niles West H.S., or Niles North H.S. all located in Illinois where I’m originally from.
I’ve also created two different websites – coachshannyn.com & the Elias George Wrestling Foundation – to promote wrestling and improve the quality of training & coaching for athletes plus coaches.
I’ve participated in the Illinois Girls Wrestling Committee whose goal is to help promote and grow the sport of wrestling to & for females throughout the state of Illinois.
Finally, I’ve been writing two books on my experiences coaching at the U.S. Olympic Education Center called A sports science approach to coaching & Coaching wrestling in the 21st century.
How will you use your experiences at the U.S. Olympic Training Centers at Lincoln College?
Coaching at the U.S. Olympic Education was the best thing that ever happened to my coaching career because it allowed me to grow in so many ways. For one, I was able to learn – then apply the intricacies of sport psychology, sport nutrition, periodization and what I like to call High Performance Training which is a combination of all of those things plus much more like long term athlete development, media training, communication, plus organization & administration.
Secondly, it allowed me to travel around the world to places like Colorado-USA, Mongolia, Japan, China, Austria, Lithuania, Mexico, Bulgaria, Greece, Canada, & many other places to learn sport specific training from Olympic Champions & Olympic coaches. The experiences of being in those places and learning from the best in the world is something that I will be eternally grateful for.
I also think my athletic career at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (CO), Lock Haven University (PA), & Evanston Township H.S. (IL) will contribute to the assistant coaching position at Lincoln College. I was a NCAA division 1 All-American & a state champion who understands what high level coaching looks like and how to execute high performance training & long term athlete development programs. And, I will be able to convey this knowledge in a way the athletes – I have the opportunity to coach – can relate to that helps them pursue then achieve their goals.
You’ve spent about half of your career coaching females – so what is the difference between coaching males & females?
To me, by-and-large, there are no major differences…
This of course comes after 20 or so years of studying from the best in the world and learning from all of the athletes and situations that have been placed in front of me.
I guess the best way to answer that question is – it depends. To me, it depends on several factors that include: the experience (or experiences) of the coach, the knowledge of coaching by the coach, the age levels coached by the coach, the expectations of the coach, and the coach’s ability to continue learning and developing the craft of coaching. When all of those ideas are factored in – I believe there is really no difference in coaching males or females.
The minor differences – with regard to the factors just mentioned – that I believe any coach who coaches females in any sport are primarily: range of motion issues, flexibility issues, & strength issues. These minor differences can become major issues (major differences) if the coach is unaware how to address these issues.
What is your goal for coaching at Lincoln College?
My goal for coaching the student athletes at Lincoln College is to help & assist them in the process of reaching their full potential academically, athletically, & in life. I believe the framework for success – that I have learned and applied via the U.S. Olympic Training Centers – has large carryover value to academics, athletics, & in life.
Why have you decided to coach males at Lincoln College in Illinois?
I like teaching and coaching wrestling to student athletes whether they be male or female. It just so happens that the last 3 years or so, I’ve had the opportunity to work with males again for the first time since I coached males as either an assistant coach or volunteer coach at places like Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University, & California University of Pennsylvania in the 1990’s.
What was surprising to me is that I felt like I got better at coaching males because I coached females for 8 years at the USOEC. Likely, it had something to do with coaching females – or maybe it is the experience of moving through life and having a more in depth understanding of how humans interact & communicate on a high level most effectively or maybe a combination of those two ideas…
Ultimately, I love coaching and love to see when student athletes buy-in to the process of success and then go after it with all they can.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Yes. I’d like to thank Dave Klemm & Daryl Thomas for providing this opportunity and Lincoln College is a very viable college option for many students who want to continue their education in the classroom, on the mat, and in life.
Many students opt for institutions like Lincoln College for a variety of reasons like specific degree programs, closeness to home, academic reasons, overall readiness for the 4-year college or university life, and/or other reasons. I want to say to prospective Lincoln College students – you are worthy of success and with the right plan, work-ethic, effort, consistency, persistence, & mindset – you can achieve your goals at Lincoln College!
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