Created By: PaulA on February 24, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on December 24, 2017

Old Trainer

A washed up former competitor who trains a rookie.

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In the stock plot about the rookie in some sport trying for the championship, this is the character who helps the rookie develop his potential.

He may not be (and often isn't) a professional trainer; what he is always is a washed-up former competitor in whatever the sport is. He may be helping out as a way of recapturing his glory days. It may specifically be that he tried for and never quite won the championship himself, so this is a way of winning it vicariously.


Film - Live Action

Film - Animated


Live-Action TV

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons, "The Homer They Fall": Moe trains Homer as a boxer, and was a former boxer himself.

Rolling Updates
Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • February 24, 2011
    • Mickey from Rocky was a former boxer as I recall
      • And Rocky himself in Rocky V, who trains Tommy Gun.
    • On The Simpsons Moe trains Homer as a boxer, and was a former boxer himself.
    • Rip Torn in Dodgeball
  • February 24, 2011
  • February 24, 2011
    How is this different from Old Master?
  • February 24, 2011
    Old Master is speciefic to martial arts, and the gist of the trope is that he still has the skills. The Old Trainer is generally no longer able to perform.
  • February 24, 2011
    I want to say Haymitch from The Hunger Games, but he's not really retired; victors don't participate in the Games more than once anyway (neither do the losers, because they're dead). He does have the "washed-up former competitor" thing going though.
  • February 27, 2011
    Mickey Rooney's role in The Black Stallion may be even a better example of this than his role in National Velvet.
  • February 27, 2011
    "Trainer" is non-indicative (and me playing too much Pokemon lately certainly does not help). The guy was a star player before something ended his career, and he generally hasn't become known for training rookies. Depending on their personal Sliding Scale Of Idealism Vs Cynicism, sometimes they just want to be left alone, but the plot calls them back to their old days.
  • February 28, 2011
    The protagonist's father in Star of the Giants, who was a pro baseball player, but suffered career-ending injuries in World War Two. His was very much a case of vicarious living.
  • February 28, 2011
  • February 18, 2012
  • August 15, 2017
  • December 23, 2017
    In the book, Mi is not a former jockey, he just used to do odd jobs on racecourses.
  • December 24, 2017
    • Examples section

    Almost all of the OP examples are Zero Context Examples and have been marked as such. They need more information to show how they fit the trope. Please don't remove the marking unless you add enough context.