Great coaches no doubt differ in their styles as much as great athletes. But the coaches must all have eone thing in common: they are great communicators. It isn't just a question of seeing what the athlete must do, but of persuading the athlete to do it. Anybody who has seen Frank Dick speak on a public platform will bear witness to his skills as communicator to several hundred people: his skill at one-to-one communication also played a crucial role, not only in developing individual world champions, but in revitalising British athletics as a whole.
Today most people remember only the long string of glorious successes during Dick's reign as national coach – the middle-distance triumphs of Coe, Cram and Ovett, the sprinting of Christie and Regis, the decathlons of Daley Thomson, the hurdling of Gunnell and Jackson, the javelin throwing of Whitbread and Backley, and many, many more. At the start, though, the international standing of British athletics was even lower than that of English rugby when Geoff Cooke took charge.