Personal looking back at the 2020 season and wishes until 2021, Ivo Piták
Czech walking is looking for a way between successful countries from the perspective of Europe and the world.
For the last two years, our discipline has been going through a turbulent period. Like everything in today's sports world, it is affected by the problems arising from the epidemic. Furthermore, its organizational changes are taking place not only within the IAAF, but also in our home (Czech) environment.
The last article with the published rankings on this website led me to write the article.
The order of the competitors roughly captures reality (I was only surprised by the absence of Jarda Morávek in the overall standings), but announcing my person as the best coach today does not describe the work of recent years, if we do not want to go back to past decades and evaluate the present. Because today's "lightning for better times" has a completely different basis than (even some of the world's excellent) results of individuals from previous years.
The biggest difference from the recent way of working is called COOPERATION. I once said that if someone knows a better path to top sports performance and walking results, they will be happy to give up the head of the coaching position and help further, according to my abilities. The fact is that I was successful with the individuals, and from the point of view of the international scene, these individuals were definitely not in the numbers. I think that for the last 20 years we have always had a representative in the Czech jersey, for the results of which we did not have to be ashamed. But I certainly couldn't create a broader base and a system that would "pull together". All efforts were in vain, and even though the results of the individuals were excellent, I was never able to create just that system and continuity. I know that I left my successor as the head of the walking coach a difficult task.
In the last 2 years I have completed many training camps and dozens of joint trainings under the baton of the new head coach Kačka Čermáková. With amazement and growing respect, I watched her way of working and her talent for diplomatic action on all sides "up and down". I watched her gain a position and respect in the athletics association, I watched her communication skills towards the coaches, and it's great how the racing walking team, until recently made up of self-centered individuals, turns into a cooperating group with her. I was surprised by the conceptual, uncompromising and at the same time conflict-free approach, which began to be accepted by most competitors of all generations (and coaches) and I realized that I want to and can respect its leadership. I regret the fact that he struggles with a certain amount of mistrust and misunderstanding in the older (rather functional) generation, but it is probably a tax on courage and youth and the fact that she did not grow up among pedestrians.
It was not my "weakness" or timidity that led me to hand over the reins. It was just a factual evaluation of the situation when an ambitious young coach appeared on the Czech pedestrian scene with a huge move to perform, willing to learn and practically coach growth, but who had diplomatic and organizational skills that I lacked and lack. Katka is a man in her place! It seeks and can search for and support individuals who want and are willing to go to the so-called edge, while they can form a cooperating team and mitigate possible conflicts. At the same time, she is young, does not despise experience and can use what has previously proved to be functional. For the top, it can use a functional mini-system that has been working for many years. The Czech walk has a big handle that someone like that appeared in its center. And the fact that she was not "brought up" by the pedestrian environment reminds me of my beginnings, when I remember very well how I was "blamed" not only for non-pedestrian but also non-athletic origins. (And in the same situation, for example, Jirka Šorm was one of the few who managed to literally make hard work and performances out of young pedestrians).
And we're at why I don't feel like being today's best walking coach. I was put in this position by a misunderstanding of the current situation. For years, I was looking for a close collaborator who I could "professionalize". I have a huge coaching support (for decades) in Jirka Šorm, who was "impassable" for the new leadership of the union.
Recently (thanks to reorganizations at ČAS), a capable, hard-working and smart young woman who can work conceptually for many years came into our management, and I can help her effectively for a few more years. He is trying to build a system in which the most determined and best of the set of cooperating performance pedestrians will have the opportunity to intervene in the "world and Europe". I am glad that I can be of use to her in this endeavor and that I am a necessary and valid part of the emerging whole for the time being. Recently, it is definitely impossible to say that I am behind the results of most pedestrians at the head of the survey. It is a team result of work cooperation, when it is impossible to quantify the degree of coaching credit on it. Hlaváč, Gdula, Ďurdiaková, Morávek, Martínková, Zikmundová and a number of other talented young people behind them… I also saw a completely relaxed way of communication between Kačka and Anežka Drahotová, who is still a card with enormous representational potential. Today it's not about some "tug-of-war" about the racers and merits. It doesn't matter if the merit ratio in the current coaching tandem is 50%: 50%, or 55%: 45% and so on? Based on the cooperation, a successful group was formed and others are joining it. That's not enough and it's something that has been missing for years…
Therefore, I do not want to distinguish in this group who has what share in the result. Who works more with one or the other competitor at that moment. Like it or not, this group is now the clear backbone of the national team and without equal cooperation, its performance and results potential would be significantly lower. Therefore, please - take this group as a functional unit. Nothing more, nothing less.
I hope that we used the "weird" year in Czech walking to reorganize the national team management and created the basis of a national team that could represent Czech walking with dignity at home, because in 2021, 2023 and 2025 we will organize the European Walking Team Championships at great Podebrady track. And I believe that we will succeed not only here. Katka manages to move a system that I haven't been able to build for years. Today, she is the bonding factor in which I work better as a coach. I am well in the position of a team member who leads a person with whom I understand where he is going and what his goal is!
Today, I might deserve an award for past results, but I'm sure the current best coach behind the promising results is the TEAM - led by the young girl!
I have described the situation only from the point of view of coaching security and it goes without saying that without youth coaches letting other competitors into the system, without the support of parents, without the system of races and their organizers, good judges, without a lot of other devotees around our discipline we won't do either either.
Until the New Year 2021 and beyond, I want to wish you all health, well-being, insight and our discipline to understand all of us involved that it only depends on us what the international walking results will look like. And that it would be a shame to have a chance to manage today.
Ivoš Piták - former long-time head coach