Steve Fairbairn was a famous and influential rowing coach between the wars. One day a young aspiring coach asked him if he might accompany him along the towpath – he was a bit disappointed. “You don’t seem to say much,” he said.” “Too right” was the reply, “but I stop other bloody fools from saying anything” —a salutary story. Many sportspeople have been damaged by listening to coaches who sought to change how they ran, rowed, fought or played.