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Local sports performance coach follows “new school of coaching” to promote long lasting athleticism


Eric Dixon has high hopes for kids and teens in the Forest County Potawatomi Community and surrounding area when it comes to getting them to a higher sports performance level.

“The main thing and the main focus that I want to do is being able to get the kids to that level but without burning them out,” said Dixon. He’s the sports performance coach for the Forest County Potawatomi Community.

He’s trained elite and youth athletes for national, international, and Olympic level competitions in Track and Field.

Dixon says he goes by the “new school of coaching” which focuses on the sports science of long-term athletic development.

“You want them to be able to be at 90 years old and still be able to do sports, if they want to, that keeps people fit, that keeps them healthy,” said Dixon.

He encourages parents to have kids be involved in one or two sports. More than that, he says they won’t have time take a break, recover, and rebuild.

“If you're not properly preparing the body for that next level, when you get there, you're putting extra stress on the body because you don't have a good foundation to take it to the next level,” said Dixon. “That's where a lot of the injuries are coming from, especially in the joints and stuff. So that offseason, you want to rebuild the body and get it ready for the next level for that sport.”

Dixon currently offers training to tribal and non-tribal kids at the Forest County Potawatomi Community Center.

He also plans to expand to adults.

Weekends are often people’s best opportunity to get outdoors.

Dixon encourages weekend warriors to develop a training plan geared towards their preferred activity.

He says this is the best way to avoid injuries.

“Being fit is nice, but when you go out there trying to run hard and trying to cut and catch balls and do certain movements, your body's not ready for it. Fitness is great for just being toned and looking good, but it's not sports performance,” said Dixon. “This is where a lot of people end up blowing out their knees, blowing out their ankle, hurting their back, you know being sore for you know, ‘it's like only play for like three hours I'm sore for a whole week.’”

Dixon says training programs need to be individualized.

He has more than 45 years of experience training athletes in track and field for national and Olympic level competitions.

One of the most important things for Dixon is people being able to do the activities they want to do for as long as they want to do them.

“The enjoyment comes from them being happy to be able to do the things that they want to do. One of the women that I work with, a woman named Kathy Bergen, in track and she's the oldest, fastest woman in the world. She's 83 now, and she still comes out of the blocks, and it's just the enjoyment of her being able to do that,” said Dixon when asked what he enjoys about training with people.

Through this work, Dixon hopes to build a culture of fitness and health in the area.

“They got to learn their body, they got to understand their body, your body talks to you, but you got to understand it and be able to have that internal feedback, to be able to do all the things that you need to do,” said Dixon.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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