TASmanian Sport & Coaching Collective
TASmanian Sport & Coaching Collective

Dean Boxall

Dean boxall
Dean Boxhall Photo credit to abc.net.au

Is Dean Boxhall a nutter or coach invested?
It’s been plastered all over the news all over the world, the reaction of Arianne Titmus’ coach Dean Boxhall when the TASMANIAN won the 400m freestyle in Tokyo, seemingly weeks ago now.
Boxhall carried on like a pork chop when his charge beat home American Katy Ledecky to send Tasmania, Steve Titmus and the country into applause. His “dance”, as we will call it, saw him jump, fist pump, dry hump a balustrade and scare the hell out of a poor volunteer who wanted him desperately to stick his mask back on in case he infected the whole country with the spittle flying out of him.
Reactions have been extreme to this dance. Some are saying it is disrespectful to the sport, to the hosts, to Titmus and a show of emotion that detracted from the swimmer achieving a lifelong dream. Others have said it was raw, pure emotion and the best reaction since Kevin Sheedy’s jacket waving for Essendon against the West Coast Eagles.
For me, initially, I thought it was an example of “those who can’t do, coach” and a coach living vicariously through his athlete reaching a height he never would.
But the more I think about it the more I am happy with how Boxhall handled the moment. While the athlete will have a gold medal in their sock drawer for life, we as coaches know there is so much effort that goes in to preparing an athlete. The hours and hours of training session planning, research into techniques, exercises, programs and recovery and sports psychology required of a coach at any level is immense.
For Boxhall, when Titmus touched the wall in that 400 it was the culmination of years of training, being at training and events before and after dark and spending more time at the venue than the athlete.
Boxhall epitomised a coach who has put his heart and soul into helping another person realise a dream.
So, what can we as coaches learn from this?
Keep turning up – I know it’s hard in the middle of winter to turn up when it’s raining buckets and blowing a bluster but that dedication rubs off on players and athletes.
Lead from the front – I love seeing the raw emotion of sport. It’s what makes it better theatre than theatre itself. Create an environment where participants can express themselves.
Get interested – Know, as best you can, your athletes PB or how many goals they have scored or what their favourite colour or footy team is. This all creates a connection between athlete and coach that will strengthen trust.
We ask our player and athletes to play with passion, let’s show some ourselves, like Dean.

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