SOL #16 Track Season Has Arrived

We had tryouts for High School Track and Field this past Thursday and Friday. I’m the sprint coach and lead the warm-up drills on the front end of practice, then lead small groups through the same technique drills while giving individual feedback. It’s not actually ‘tryouts’ as no one will be cut. We’re happy to have anyone who’s interested come out, train and compete.

Yesterday, once the distance runners took their leave, we had just a very small group of athletes left and due to a doctor’s appointment I needed to leave early, so I was only able to offer a short session with a group of all girls. 3 seniors and one 9th grader. I’ve known the seniors mostly since middle school and the 9th grader since birth since her mom and I have worked together for years. The atmosphere therefore was different than usual. I joined them for most of the drills and we giggled and laughed about how we were doing. They are all familiar with my routines which is why I decided to break things up. We did a few fitness drills – mountain climbers, arm swings and hotsteppers – followed by 40m recovery striders. We didn’t overdo it. Our session was relaxed and motivating and intimate. A gift on a Friday afternoon.

Thinking it over again this morning, I realize how deep these relationships run. Coaching track is the one thing I have done professionally longer than anything else. The fact that I can still demonstrate high knees and kick butts accurately means a lot to me. My student athletes learn that I am far more interested in their care than in their eventual times in the sprints. Our season is ridiculously short and I tell them that my goal is to get everyone to the end-of-season tournament healthy, uninjured and able to compete to the best of their ability. I know that that can only happen if we pay attention to making practice a desirable destination, one that is fun, friendly, and worthwhile. The same is true for me. I need to make practice a place that I also want to be at the end of long school days for the next 9 weeks.

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11 thoughts on “SOL #16 Track Season Has Arrived

  1. The best coaches my kids have ever had, have been the ones who foster relationships first and skills second. I wanted them to enjoy sports for the lessons they can learn through hard work, success, failure, and perseverance. Those coaches who embraced their athletes as people first can accomplish so much more. Thanks for being one of those coaches!

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  2. I have always envied the relationship between coaches and their athletes…it is a world I have not inhabited since I was the athlete (I use that term loosely!). You capture it simply & beautifully.

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  3. I love this. I’m sure you can reflect on your own coaches and what made them work for you or didn’t and make that another slice. Thanks for offering your talent to mentor others.

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  4. Coaches have such an amazing opportunity to build important and lasting relationships with kids and to have such a strong influence on how kids grow and develop and who they become. I admire the care you take of your students and would imagine they have more success as a result.

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  5. My favorite coach graced our practices with a playfulness and a joy of life that I found remarkable. We were a cohesive team and we worked hard for her, for each other, and for ourselves, and eventually, we had an undefeated season. She was my inspiration to become a coach. It’s always good to know that others are emphasizing the relationships in sports and the joy of movement, in addition to guiding the athletes to learn new skills. Well done!

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  6. β€œ My student athletes learn that I am far more interested in their care than in their eventual times in the sprints.” This is the most important part of coaching and teaching. Have fun. My own workouts have been a struggle the past couple years. I finally realized why, so now that my gallbladder is gone, I can get back to my old routines.

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  7. Making practice a place where everyone wants to be, to get the team to the end of the season, healthy, uninjured, and able to compete to the best of their abilities…all great goals. How lucky your team is to have you there for nurturing and competitive support.

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  8. Hello, Aspire Alumni. Such a happy surprise. Hat off to you for being able to “demonstrate high knees and kick butts accurately.” We all need practice that is fun, friendly, and worthwhile, no matter what we want to get better at. Like presenting πŸ˜‰

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  9. When you say your season is “ridiculously short,” it reminds me of how we try to cram in curriculum in every single unit, trying to reach every student. It doesn’t always work, and so I find myself intentionally trying to find time for those I miss in the next unit.

    So glad you wrote about your coaching. Now I have a new comparison to help me push ahead!

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