Working with elite athletes is similar to a gem cutter sitting down with an uncut stone…
Training, skill, experience, standards, a few preliminary measurements and long term vision are probably just some of the factors used by a master gem cutter in their trade.
Just like we use peak VO2, peak power, economy of motion, distance per stroke, psychological measures, LTAD…
Sometimes the biggest and most incredible rough stone can be riddled with unseen flaws that only show up after initial preparation or later on in the final stages, whereas a smaller, less assuming stone can become the most beautiful and amazing creation.
One notable difference between gem cutting and coaching is that the stone doesn’t decide what it wants to be. Diamonds remain diamonds, emeralds remain emeralds and chunks of glass remain chunks of glass.
One sad similarity is that a stone of great potential can be destroyed by an unskilled cutter; just as it is easier to ruin at gifted athlete than make them an Olympian or World Champion.