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Coaching Management VOL. XIII, NO. 1

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BUILDING MOMENTUM How to host a great home meet ■ ■

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CONTENTS

Coaching Management Track & Field Edition Preseason 2005

Vol. XIII, No. 1

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2 LOCKER ROOM

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NCAA, USOC search for solutions to program cuts … Drawing young athletes to track and field … Cross-state run benefits Florida hurricane victims … Sector size, event limits top list of NFHS changes … NCAA moving to unisex steeplechase pits … New book has advice for female coaches.

Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The Ann Arbor Pioneer High School girls’ track team has finished first in its region 24 out of the past 25 years. Bryan Westfield has been at the helm for all of those 25 years.

ADVERTISERS DIRECTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 TRACK SURFACES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Publisher Mark Goldberg Art Director Pamela Crawford Art Assistant Dina Stander Business Manager Pennie Small Special Projects Dave Wohlhueter

Editor-in-Chief Eleanor Frankel Associate Editor Dennis Read Assistant Editors R.J. Anderson Kenny Berkowitz David Hill Greg Scholand Laura Smith Administrative Assistant Sharon Barbell

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COVER STORY

Building Momentum

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Want to make your track and field program the talk of the town? Host a firstclass home meet—in which fans, athletes, and officials are all focused on the right thing at the right time.

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The Mental Edge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 How can you get your athletes to give maximum effort in every aspect of their performance? Consider the following mental (and life) skills program.

NUTRITION

Carbs: To Cut or Not?

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That is the question many athletes are asking these days as everyone and their best friend seems to be losing weight on low-carb diets.

TEAM EQUIPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 STRENGTH & CONDITIONING AIDS . . . 35

Circulation Director Dave Dubin

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The Coaching Management Track & Field edition is published in January and September by MAG, Inc. and is distributed free to college and high school coaches in the United States and Canada. Copyright © 2005 by MAG, Inc. All rights reserved. Text may not be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the permission of the publisher. Unsolicited materials will not be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Coaching Management is printed by Banta Publications Group, Kansas City, MO. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Coaching Management, P.O. Box 4806, Ithaca, N.Y. 14852.

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bulletin board NCAA, USOC Search for Solutions to Cuts In the past two years, collegiate track and field teams have joined wrestling, gymnastics, and swimming as Olympic sports with worrisome drops in sponsorship. In response, the NCAA and USOC have formed a joint task force to

Sports Corporation. “We’ve started talking about everything that touches on the opportunity to protect and grow Olympic sports at the collegiate level. “We’ve cast a very wide net,” he continues. “We’re talking about marketing. We’re talking about funding. We’re talking about communicating the value of these programs in

been able to get the NCAA and USOC to come together on this problem,” says Andrew Valmon, Head Track and Field Coach at the University of Maryland and a member of the task force. “We can’t go to the Olympics and compete against the rest of the world if these two entities don’t work together.” Like an earlier NCAA/USOC task force, which lasted from 1995 to 2000, the current committee brings those responsible for U.S. Olympic efforts together with collegiate athletic directors, coaches, and administrators, who will present their recommendations to the NCAA membership. According to Swarbrick, the previous task force succeeded in creating conference-based grants to hold specific events, but was unable to produce sustained, long-term improvement in the health of the collegiate programs themselves. “Temporary solutions aren’t what we need,” says Swarbrick. “We need solutions that will make it easier for these sports to continue as collegiate programs.

The United States Olympic Committee and the NCAA have formed a joint task force to put the weight of both organizations behind the goal of shoring up college sponsorship of Olympic sports, including track and field. Above, athletes battle it out during the 2004 Olympic Trials. the college and university setting. We’re talking about how existing rules and policies might be modified to help improve the finances of those sports. We’ve tried to bring as many ideas as we can to the table.”

“It’s an extraordinarily strong committee, and the sessions have been great,” says Chairman Jack Swarbrick, a partner in the Indianapolis law firm Baker and Daniels and the former chairman of the Indiana

The task force began by identifying endangered collegiate sports, including track and field, and plans to start addressing specific solutions at its next meeting in January. “The most promising thing is that we’ve

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In another development at the NCAA, a proposal to reimburse schools for travel expenses for both indoor and outdoor track and field championships will be considered during an upcoming meeting of the Division I Track and Field Committee. Currently, schools can be reimbursed for only one of the two, which in effect makes indoor track and field the only nat-

The proposal will likely be voted on by the committee in the spring of 2005, and if passed, would be forwarded to the Division I Championships/ Competition Cabinet in September 2005. If passed by the cabinet, the request would then go to the Presidents Council, which will finalize the NCAA’s 2006-07 budget in the summer of 2006. The last time a similar proposal came to a vote by the cabinet, in 2003, it was narrowly defeated.

Drawing Young Athletes to Track and Field For some high school coaches, the first challenge of the season is finding enough athletes to fill their rosters. Harvey Blonder, Head Coach at Stoughton (Mass.) High School, a coach who often finds himself in that group, decided to try a new approach to introducing kids to track and field: Hold a fun, community-oriented track meet and invite students of all ages, teachers, and anybody else in town with an itch to run. “This town has Little League Baseball and youth soccer, but there isn’t anything to get kids into track. So that’s what we’re really trying to do with this meet,” says Blonder. “Whatever you can do to expose younger kids to track early on is worthwhile. When those kids get to high school, hopefully some of them will come out for the team.” Sixty competitors turned out for the event, which was held in late May, paying $10 each to run. Blonder says the event was as well attended as a Stoughton varsity track meet, and raised $600 that went toward the team’s end-of-theyear banquet. And more significantly, the meet

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address the decline. The 16member task force held its first two meetings this past summer and is planning to meet three more times before issuing a final report to the NCAA in September 2005.

“I don’t think there’s one solution, but I’m very optimistic that we can identify a number of things that can add to the vitality of these sports,” continues Swarbrick. “The committee gives me great hope, both that we will produce some wellconceived ideas, and that its members will be very effective advocates for those ideas in their communities.”

ional championship for which schools are not reimbursed.


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bulletin board introduced 20 or so elementary-age youngsters to the sport. Other participants who paid to race included high school and middle school-age kids as well as coaches, teachers, and members of the community. Looking for a little post-season competition, there were even a few members of Blonder’s team who took to the track to display their skills. Pre-race sign-ups were facilitated by team members who pitched the idea to classmates during Stoughton High’s lunch period, and those who registered early for the meet received T-shirts. Blonder advertised the event in the local newspaper and had track team members post fliers in supermarkets. Meet applications were also distributed to teachers from the middle and

elementary schools, who attempted to drum up interest among their students. Blonder says the pre-race sign-up wasn’t a huge success—something that worried his co-organizers. “Ten days before the event, one of my assistants wanted to cancel because there were so few pre-registered signups,” he says. “But I had run some meets in the summer and the same thing happened in the first year of those events. And with all of those meets, the event was much more popular the second year. “So I was determined not to cancel it, even if it looked like we weren’t going to make any money,” continues Blonder. “Luckily, the day of the meet was a beautiful day, so a lot of

Stoughton (Mass.) High School’s Anthony Steele and Shawn Leonard leap in tandem over the high hurdles during the school’s community track meet this spring. Head Coach Harvey Blonder organized the meet, open to all ages, with the goal of introducing future athletes to the sport. runners came and registered, and there were a lot of parents and teachers there to cheer the competitors on.”

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races. There were four or five heats for all of the races except for the relays, the mile, and the hurdle event. Competitors in the 100-meter, 400-meter, and 800-meter runs were grouped by age, and the mile runners were split into two groups according to projected times. As a special perk during the mile race, the kids raced against the high school principal. The 4x100-meter relay was the premier event for the high school kids and was very competitive, says Blonder. Two members of the track team were allowed to recruit two of their friends who aren’t on the team to form a relay team, which had to consist of two girls and two boys. Ribbons were awarded to the top finishers from each age group and relay event winners took home T-shirts. Blonder estimates that a quarter of the kids from his track team competed in the meet. “For some of the kids, the event was two weeks after they’d last competed, and they ran significant personal records—sometimes by three or four seconds,” says Blonder. “Their training had stopped, they’d had some rest, and there was no pressure. It was good for those kids to have a positive experience on the track.” The meet, which Blonder says ran very smoothly, featured a Stoughton assistant track coach as the starter and athletes from the team as timers. Track athletes also sold refreshments and helped with raceday registration. “It took a lot of work—especially in the pre-registration stage. There are a lot easier ways to raise money, but in the end we made money and introduced a few people to the sport,” says Blonder. “The feedback was tremendous and when we do it again next

year, hopefully it will be easier to put together and even more successful. I think people will remember how much fun this year’s was and it will be easier to sell among teachers. We have a lot of support in the community, and I think they’ll come out again.”

FSU Runners Hand Off Funds to Red Cross The Florida State University men’s and women’s cross country teams are made up of runners, but some people may be tempted to think they’re actually longrange meteorologists or clairvoyants. How else to explain their decision, made not long after returning to campus in August, to raise money for hurricane relief in a season that would see Florida hit by four major tropical events?

But the historic string of storms and the ensuing national publicity has made collecting pledges easier. “After four storms, we’re finding a really strong receptiveness to what we’re doing,” Braman says. “And we’re trying to double our record. We’re shooting for $10,000. I don’t know that we’re going to get there, but we’re shooting for it.” About 50 runners took part in this year’s relay, held Sept. 18. The total raised hadn’t been tallied by press time. The Across the State Relay grew out of Braman’s work more than 20 years ago as founder and president of the

coaching, first at the University of South Florida, then at Florida State in the fall of 2000. At USF, the relay raised money for the cross country program, but at Florida State, the teams solicit pledges for charities. “Whenever you do something for somebody else, it has more of a team-building element,” Braman says. “Over the three previous years, we’ve raised more than $5,000 for various United Way agencies in the Tallahassee community. We’re bringing money into the community because the runners hit up their high school coaches, parents, employers, and grandparents back home.” Not only do the teams cross the state, but they also mingle the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. When they reach Daytona Beach on the Saturday evening of Relay weekend, they empty a one-liter baton-like bottle of Gulf water into the Atlantic. Then they dive in and enjoy the ocean for a while before sharing a pizza dinner, spending a night in a hotel, and driving home Sunday morning.

The teams had no special insight into weather trends a month in advance, just good sense, says Head Coach Bob Braman. After all, the season’s first major storm, Frances, had already struck when Braman says FSU the teams began holds down costs by planning their annual using university vans, Kenny Jesensky (left) and Matt Kalinski receive Across the State providing breakfast the baton, a bottle of Gulf of Mexico water, durRelay, a 126-mile run bars and snacks for ing the Seminoles’ Across the State Relay. The across the state’s the ride, letting runteam crossed the state of Florida in 12:44. midsection from the ners get lunch on Gulf of Mexico to their own, and askthe Atlantic Ocean. Seeing a Tampa Bay Runners Club. Four ing hoteliers for group rates. continuing need for disaster ultra-marathoners were running In addition to Saturday night relief wasn’t exactly going out the width of the Sunshine State in Daytona Beach, they typion a limb. “In Florida, a hurrias a training exercise. Braman cally spend the night before cane or a tropical storm of thought that was impossible the relay in Yankeetown, a some strength hits just about until he looked more closely small community on the Gulf. every year,” Braman says, “so at a map of the state and saw it wasn’t like we had a partica manageable distance. The Most of the route follows quiet ular feeling that, ‘Oh, man, club took on the event as a back roads, though traffic is we’ve got to do something relay, and Braman brought the increasing year after year on about this disaster.’” idea with him when he began some stretches, Braman says.

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bulletin board A few drivers honk out of frustration with being slowed down for a minute or two, but mostly it’s a low-key trip on the edge of the Ocala National Forest. Runners on each segment are paired by pace abilities so that starting and stopping and driverswitching locations and times can be closely planned. It takes about 13 hours, finishing this year in 12:44. “A bunch of guys run early, get in a van and drive ahead, grab lunch, throw a Frisbee around, study, or listen to football on the radio,” Braman says. “Later in the day, most will run a second leg that’s a medium or easy run for them. They’re two-a-day runners, anyway, so for them it’s just a normal training day.”

Sector Size, Event Limits Top List of NFHS Changes High school throwers may need to exhibit greater control in 2004-05, thanks to the National Federation of State High School Associations’ approval of a narrower throwing sector for the discus and shot put. That revision was among the rules changes made at the annual Track and Field Rules Committee meeting in June.

Doyle says in addition to encouraging more controlled

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throws, the tighter sector makes the measuring process easier for officials. “And since high school teams often compete at college venues, many already have access to the 34.92 size,” she adds. For throwers who will be competing with the new sector, the main impact will likely be an increase in the number of out-of-bounds throws, so coaches should find out ahead of time which sectors will be used at the meets on their schedules. “Especially for kids who are just learning to throw, it will definitely be more difficult to avoid fouls in the smaller sector,” says Tamra Strano, Head Coach at Leavenworth (Kan.) High School and a member of the Rules Committee. “So a coach might want to focus more on teaching control and accuracy if they know they’re going to see the smaller size.” Another change clarifies that athletes are limited to four events in a meet, including both track and field events. The committee noted that some states haven’t been counting field events toward competitors’ totals. “We felt that for educational purposes, studentathlete safety, and competitive

fairness, no one should take part in more than four events,” Doyle says. “That was already our rule, and now we’re clearly specifying that every event counts.” In another change, penalties were added to the rule which prohibits athletes from warming up for an event without coach supervision. A first offense results in a warning, followed by disqualification from the event for a second offense and removal of the athlete from the meet for a third infraction. “If meet officials and coaches are doing their jobs, supervision shouldn’t be a problem,” says Strano. “Athletes can now be disqualified for not following that rule, and that underlines the fact that we’ve got to be thinking safety at all times.” In addition to the rules changes, a point of emphasis advises

officials on best practices for utilizing in-shoe computer chips to determine finishing time and place in cross country events. “Particularly when one chip is used per runner instead of two, meet managers should advise coaches of how place will be determined,” Doyle explains. “The chip won’t always cross the line at the same moment the torso does, so in a close race, teams need to know how officials will be deciding the winners.” “Meet planners also need to think about a back-up plan in case there are ever computer problems,” adds Strano. “What happens if something crashes, and you have a group of kids who just ran 3.1 miles, but no one knows who finished first, second, and third? This serves as a reminder that if you’re going to use the new technology, you need to make sure you’ve thought everything through.”

The committee also updated uniform regulations, removing the requirement that participants wear shorts over one- or two-piece body suits. A complete list of high school rules changes for track and field and cross country is available at: www.nfhs.org. Click on “Sport & Rules Information.”

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The new sector size, 34.92 degrees, will join 40 degrees, 60 degrees (for discus only), and 65.5 degrees (for shot put only) as acceptable options for events governed by NFHS rules. “The 34.92 sector is already the standard in college and international competition, and now high schools will be permitted to use it as well,” says Cynthia Doyle, NFHS Assistant Director and liaison to track and field and cross country.

Among other NFHS rules changes for 2004-05, high schools will now have the option of using a 34.92degree sector size for both shot put and discus. Harleton High School’s Jessica Wilson, above, won the girls’ Class 1A shot put during the Texas state championships in May with a distance of 41 feet,11 inches.


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bulletin board NCAA Moving to Unisex Steeplechase Pits

retired Head Volleyball Coach at Florida State University, creates a window into the lives, philosophies, and strategies of highly successful female coaches. The book’s 20 chapters, each written by a different coach, address an array of topics from a female perspective, from coaching ethics and motivating studentathletes to managing assistant coaches and developing a coaching philosophy.

There will be no more womenonly water pits in NCAA steeplechase events and no more short runways for the long jump and triple jump, thanks to work of the NCAA Track and Field Rules Committee. In its revisions for 2005, the committee deleted a section and diagram that allowed women an optional pit three inches shorter than that used by male steeplechasers. It also specified that new horizontal-jump runways must be at least 40 meters long (131 feet, three inches) from the edge nearest the pit of each takeoff board. Otherwise, most of the committee’s work involved clarifying a few hazy points and adjusting language to match rules of USA Track and Field and the IAAF. “I don’t think there are any major items here at all this time around,” says Bob Podkaminer, Secretary/Rules Editor for the Track and Field Committee. Of note, however, are a couple of changes regarding preliminaries and heats. In assigning lanes in events without preliminaries, the games committee now can draw on performance times from previous competition. Previously, lanes were to be assigned by drawing lots. The situation is rare except in some dual meets, says Podkaminer.

ment goes to the heat winner and then to the best times from all heats. The two-from-eachheat provision is drawn from outdoor track and takes into account wind, but that’s irrelevant for indoor events and so was removed, Podkaminer says. In another change, when a jump-off is necessary to settle a tie in vertical jumps, a competitor’s decision to withdraw from the jump-off will not affect his or her participation in subsequent events or negate his or her performance in the event. In other words, a withdrawal from a jump-off won’t be recorded as a “fail,” which implies an attempt, and which

Smaller changes, including a downloadable official rule book, are available at: www2.ncaa.org/media_and_ events/ncaa_publications/playing_ rules/.

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could count against a competitor as the event proceeds. Finally, the committee specified that qualifying meets must run trials and finals at the same distances. The committee had heard of instances in which some preliminaries were run at 55 yards and finals at 60, Podkaminer says.

New Book Is for Female Coaches This winter, women who coach will have a new resource for developing their careers: advice from other women who coach. And not just any women, but women whose names appear in halls of fame and on national championship trophies. In her new book, She Can Coach!, Cecile Reynaud,

“This book is a resource for women coaches to see how their peers have responded to particular issues,” adds Terry Crawford, Head Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, who wrote a chapter on recruiting. “One of the challenges that women coaches face is that we’re a minority in the coaching ranks, and that’s one of the reasons that the book came about.” “I wanted to give young coaches a resource that says, ‘This is how some of the top women have done it,’” says Reynaud. “I’m hoping this book will give women the information they need to achieve more success and more sanity in their coaching.” Reynaud began by identifying topics to cover in the book. “They’re drawn from questions I’ve heard consistently over

STEPHEN NOWLAND/NCAA PHOTOS

For indoor meets, the committee withdrew a provision specifying that there must be at least two competitors from a heat advancing in an event. Under the new rule, advance-

Ida Nilsson of Northern Arizona University navigates the water pit at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Women-only water pits were eliminated in NCAA rules changes for 2005.

The idea of writing a book for women who coach occurred to Reynaud several years ago. When she retired in 2001 after 26 years at Florida State, she decided to make the idea a reality. “As a coach, I was always looking for material to read,” says Reynaud, whose career victories placed her among the top nine NCAA Division I volleyball coaches before her retirement. “But almost everything I read was written by male coaches. I saw a need for a book by women coaches for women coaches.”


the years,” she says. “How do you get kids motivated? How do you stay disciplined and teach your athletes discipline? How do you manage your time, deal with parents, and approach recruiting? At every clinic I’ve ever done, these are the things women talk about.”

While the book’s authors coach sports from field hockey to rowing, Reynaud believes the content is easily transferable from hardwood to grass to the track. As an example, she points to a chapter on team cohesion by Sharon Pfluger,

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Cecile Reynaud’s book for female coaches includes chapters on everything from self-discipline to recruiting. Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at the NCAA Division III College of New Jersey. “Her team has won six consecutive national championships, and the key to those successes is her understanding of how to

The coaches who wrote were extremely candid about their experiences, Reynaud adds. For example, University of Texas Head Swimming Coach Jill Sterkel writes about stress management, and she doesn’t sugarcoat her own struggle with the issue. “Sterkel basically says, ‘I lived this. I had to get medication because I was so stressed out. Let me tell you what I did to lighten up,’” Reynaud says. “It’s amazing to learn from someone at that level sharing that kind of experience.”

Although women are the book’s primary audience, Reynaud believes it also offers insight for male coaches. “There is no doubt that this is a different kind of coaching book, and there are things in here you’d never find in a book for men,” she says. “But particularly for men who work with female student-athletes, I think there is a lot of wisdom here.” “No matter how long you’ve been in coaching, or whether you’re male or female, you are never too old, too successful, or too experienced to learn from others,” says Crawford. “And that’s what this book offers: a chance to learn from others, which is an important part of growing in this profession.”

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She wanted readers to hear directly from successful female coaches in their own voices, so the next step was finding coaches willing to write each chapter. She found them at high schools and colleges both small and large.

treat a group of young women as a team,” Reynaud says. “The principles she discusses are valuable for coaches of any sport.”

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Bryan Westfield Ann Arbor Pioneer High School

When Bryan Westfield first started coaching at Ann Arbor Pioneer (Mich.) High School, there were few opportunities for girls to compete in cross country and track and field. Twenty-five years later, his teams have become the dominant force in the state. The Pioneer girls’ outdoor track team has finished first in its region 24 times, and the girls’ cross country team has finished first in its region 14 times. Westfield was named the NFHS National Girls’ Track Coach of the Year in 2002. Growing up in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Westfield graduated from Pioneer High School before attending Cornell University, where he ran the 400-meter hurdles and played running back and cornerback on the football team. Following a brief stint with the New York Giants as a Why do you think you’ve had so much success in the last 25 years? Our athletes have bought into what we do, and have committed themselves to an 11-month training regimen. They don’t necessarily have to be training for track all 11 months, but they have to remain conditioned athletes.

member of the scout team, Westfield returned to Pioneer in 1965 and began organizing a track and field club for middle school and high school girls. After the passage of Title IX, Pioneer created interscholastic girls’ track and cross country teams, and in 1979, Westfield took over both programs, integrating them into his track club. His teams started winning that first year of formal competition, with both track and cross country teams capturing regional championships. They have been winning ever since. Along with working as a coach, Westfield teaches biology at Pioneer and leads the school’s gospel choir. In this interview, Westfield talks about the importance of providing opportunities, fostering year-round conditioning, and preparing his athletes for both winning and losing.

them an opportunity to do something athletic. It’s helped kids in the program tremendously, whether they’re track and field athletes or not.

What is your coaching philosophy? My coaching philosophy is pretty simple: You only get out of something what you put into it. If you condition your body 11

If they don’t play a fall or winter sport, they’re still not just hanging out at the park. They’re working out. We run a conditioning program four days a week from 3:30 to 5:00 during October, November, and December. It’s open to middle schoolers and high schoolers. We started this season’s program with about 60 young ladies who are not involved in any fall sports. It keeps young people from getting in trouble after school, and gives

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Pioneer (Mich.) High School’s Winter Taylor (center) crosses the finish line in first place as the last leg of the 4x100-meter relay at the County Meet of Champions. Coach Westfield has made providing opportunities for girls a high priority in his program.

2004 THE ANN ARBOR NEWS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION.

Here in Michigan, fall is the season for girls’ basketball and winter is the season for volleyball. Some of our young ladies are basketball players who come to us during the winter indoor track and field season, and some of them are volleyball players who don’t join us until March. But they’re all conditioning in an organized program for 11 months out of the year, lifting weights and doing cardiovascular training.


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months out of the year, you’re going to be a better athlete than you were when you started. With each year comes more possibilities for young people to be involved. In Pioneer track and field, we don’t cut anybody from the team. The young ladies earn letters by completing the season, not by earning points. If they start on day one and stick with it through the state championships, then they earn a letter. And that’s motivation for a lot of people. How do you balance a team that has some star athletes and some people who are just starting out?

athlete means learning how to lose almost as much as it means learning how to win. You’ve got to handle yourself with dignity at all times, because there are going to be ups and downs, not only athletically but in all parts of your life. We prepare them to face the reality of coming up short, just as we prepare them to win. How do you help them cope with losing? In practices, we purposely put our best athletes in competition against folks who are better than they are, just to make sure they don’t get big heads. For example, Candice Davis, who’s now a sophomore at the University of Southern California,

We also have a big sister-little sister program where the older students connect with the younger ones and mentor them academically and athletically. We let the kids get to know each other first, and then our older kids pick a little sister, and if that doesn’t work out, they swap sisters, and find a way to mentor each other.

We’re often criticized for it, but we use dual meets to let our younger, more inexperienced athletes compete against other schools. Because the dual meets have no effect on whether we win the conference, they give our kids an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise. When other coaches say, “We want to run against your best kids all the time,” I tell them, “Well, that’s not the way we do business here. We want all our young people to have an opportunity.” We also split up our kids a lot. For example, on a Saturday, we might send athletes to three different invitationals, giving everybody an opportunity to compete somewhere. Our athletes know that regardless of their talent, they’re going to be competing every Tuesday and Saturday during the high school season. By opening the doors of opportunity, we can bring success to a lot of these kids. Then, toward the championships, we concentrate primarily on the better athletes. But that’s just for the last three weeks of the season. After winning so many championships, how do you help your athletes cope with the pressure of being favorites? We tell them that becoming a successful

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was state champion in the 100 hurdles during her sophomore, junior, and senior years. And each year, she set a new state record in the 100 hurdles. But we also made her run the 300-meter hurdles. In dual meets, we made her run on the B relay teams, as opposed to always being on the A team. We had her doing long jumps and high jumps. Sure, she could high jump 5 feet from natural ability, but we had kids who could jump 5’2” and 5’3”. She was put in situations where she couldn’t possibly take success for granted. We do that with a lot of kids. We’ll take a good distance runner and have her run a leg on the 4 x 800-meter relay. Or we’ll take a kid who’s usually the anchor on the 4 x 800, who’s used to always being in front, and put her on the second leg, so that she’ll get the baton back in the pack and have to work to catch up. We challenge them to do events that they’re not proficient in. How do you help athletes who are being recruited? At the end of their sophomore year, I send out as many as 200 letters detailing what the athletes have achieved academically and athletically to college coaches I know. Many coaches respond and send

me blank information sheets that I can then turn over to kids. Then, during their junior year, when recruiting starts, I meet with the young people and their families to explain the process. I always make sure the athletes enroll in the NCAA clearinghouse to get the recruiting process started, and I continue to be involved, but when the choice of colleges actually comes up and the athlete makes a commitment to go on the five official visits, I back away and let the parents and athlete and college coaches do their thing. I don’t want my biases to get in the way of what a kid and her family want to do. How do you find athletes for your program? I have announcements over the loudspeaker twice a week, encouraging people who are not doing anything after school to come by—especially the kids who rely on public transportation to get home and kids who are just hanging around school. Our local paper will tell people that we have a track club conditioning program, and as a result of that, kids from the middle schools get involved, and kids from other high schools will come over. I might have a middle school gym teacher who says, “I think this kid’s got some ability, but they’ve got some problems in their family. I want to keep them busy after school so they don’t get involved in trouble.” We open it up that way, and we get a lot of kids. Of the 60 girls in this year’s program, abilities range from kids who can’t walk 100 meters to kids who are fairly decent athletes. There’s no competition, so they don’t have to worry about being embarrassed. It’s just general conditioning. We also have a big sister-little sister program where the older students connect with the younger ones and mentor them academically and athletically. We let the kids get to know each other first, and then our older kids pick a little sister, and if that doesn’t work out, they swap sisters, and find a way to mentor each other. What kind of goals do you set? We never look at team goals and we never talk about becoming state champions. Our goals are all about improving individual performance. We want young people to see where they were in October and compare that to where they are in June and July. I ask the kids to write down their


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goals, and some of them have nothing to do with track and field. They just write, “I want to lose weight,” or “I want to be more disciplined.” I’ve read hundreds of them, and every one is different, and very seldom do they say specifically, “I want to run the hurdles in 13.6.” What do you like about coaching girls? Well, I’ve got five daughters, and I enjoy working with girls. I see them wanting to learn, just because they’ve been denied so much—not everyone in this particular generation, but certainly their mothers and grandmothers. My wife wanted to be an athlete, and was denied that opportunity in high school. She and I talked about that when we were first married, and when our daughters were born, agreeing that if they ever wanted to be athletes, we wanted them to have that opportunity. I come from a family that has both black and white members, and the 1967 Detroit riots, which were strictly about race, started in my old neighborhood. I have a strong spiritual base, and discrimination

has always challenged that. I come from the Civil Rights Movement, so I’m always interested in helping folks, and looking for ways to help people who may have been denied opportunities in the past.

ed against each other. I’m 61 now, and he and I both know we’re going to ease our way out of here pretty soon. But I still enjoy coaching tremendously. I look forward to practice every day, and I look

I come from the Civil Rights Movement, so I’m always interested in helping folks, and looking for ways to help people who may have been denied opportunities in the past. These women are eager to learn ... and to do things that other people say they can’t do.

These women are eager to learn, to try to better themselves, and to do things that other people say they can’t do.

forward to biology classes every day. I haven’t gotten to the point where I don’t enjoy my job any more, but when that happens, I’m out of here.

Does retirement ever cross your mind? I haven’t thought about it, but I’m sure I will. I’ve got an assistant named Kent Bernard, who was a bronze medalist in the 1964 Olympics, and we’ve been friends since our college days, when we compet-

Please look for the next issue of Coaching Management-Track & Field in your mailbox in September.

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Want to make your track and field program the talk of the town? Host a first-class home meet— in which fans, athletes, and officials are all focused on the right thing at the right time.

D

BUILDING

OWNTIME IS THE ONE ingredient that every track and field coach knows can sour a good meet quickly. It is the space between running events when the fans’ attention turns from the track to their watches. Deprived of action, the crowd grows restless, wondering when the meet will be finished. At Fresno State University, however, the lulls between track events are often the times fans look forward to the most. During breaks, the crowd’s attention is drawn to the infield, where the field events finals take place in a format called the Final Countdown. These match-ups pit the top two competitors for each event in head-to-head showdowns, accompanied by music designed to pump up the crowd and inspire the athletes. The Final Countdowns are a staple of all Fresno State meets—events renowned for their raucous crowds and efficient

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organization. However, when it comes to putting on successful, well-attended meets, the Final Countdown is just one part of the equation. Along with music that encourages crowd participation, there is well-thought-out announcing, allowing fans to know exactly which athletes are competing and what marks they are shooting for. And thanks to an organized and efficient approach, the entire meet is finished in the time it would take to attend a football or baseball game. From pre-meet organization and setup to recruiting and training volunteers, the goal of every meet host is to provide the most athlete- and fan-friendly event possible—one that visiting teams look forward to attending in years to come. For this article, Coaching Management talks to a handful of top high school and college coaches who have built reputations for putting on successful meets. These coaches share ideas and advice for hosting meets both big and small. Along


COVER STORY

Fresno State has taken its home meets to a new level, ensuring a great experience for athletes and fans alike.

MOMENTUM

BY R.J. ANDERSON

JUSTIN KASE CONDER (VAULTER, SPRINTER, AND COACHES) & CARY EDMONDSON (JUMPER) FOR FRESNO STATE MEDIA RELATIONS

the way, they share their philosophies about reducing downtime between events, delegating duties, and fostering a highly competitive atmosphere that brings attention to your home meets and your program as a whole. Getting Organized As at Fresno State, Occidental College meets are known for their fanfriendliness and innovative twists, but none of that would be possible without a more fundamental ingredient: careful organization. Regardless of the size of the meet, whether or not it succeeds comes down to pre-meet planning. For Troy Engle, Men’s and Women’s Head Track and Field Coach at Occidental College, proper preparation means thorough utilization of checklists. “I make a list for each of the events,” says Engle. “For example, for the long jump, I write down the things that need to be out and ready—X number of clip-

boards, X number of pencils, X number of tape measures, a rake, a shovel— gather all those materials together and place them in a central location—we use a milk crate—so right before the event, we only have to pick up one package that contains all of the equipment required to run that event.” Included with those materials is a list of the people assigned to work the event. “We also photocopy the rules of the event out of the rule book and tape them to the back of the clipboard,” he adds. “The meet schedule also goes on the clipboard. You want the folks who are running each event to have all the information they need, so that they don’t have to scramble around and find you at the last minute.” The next step is keeping the meet running quickly and efficiently. The key is knowing your boundaries and not trying to host too large of a meet, which could overextend your resources. “We

only host small meets,” says Mark Guthrie, Head Track and Field Coach at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. “We’re looking more for quality competition than enormous, all-day events. It’s obviously much easier to keep a small meet on time than it is a large meet.” Even for a small meet, preparation should begin well before the meet is scheduled to start. “We publish a tentative time schedule weeks in advance,” says Guthrie. “Once we receive entries, we update the time schedule. That way, we know how many heats of each race we’re going to have and how long each race will take from the start of one heat until the start of the next heat.” By knowing the number of events, and how long each event will take, Guthrie is able to construct a fairly accurate schedule. And he always makes sure R.J. Anderson is an Assistant Editor at Coaching Management.

COACHING MANAGEMENT

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COVER STORY

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COACHING MANAGEMENT

he allows five extra minutes for removal of both the hurdles and steeplechase barriers. To keep meets from becoming marathons, Fresno State has done away with heats at dual and three-way meets. “Each team gets three entries, and in the field events they get four entries,” says Bob Fraley, Director of Track and Field at Fresno State University. “Because we have both men and women, the throwing events can take up to three hours, but everything else takes around two hours and 20 minutes to run. The athletes get fired up because they only have one chance to run in each event, and the fans love the finality of head-to-head competition.” Labor Ideas No matter how well-planned, any meet can bog down without enough workers. When host coaches are forced to wear too many hats, resources are stretched, details are overlooked, and visiting coaches are left scratching their heads wondering whether attending the meet was a good idea. There are a variety of ways to staff a track meet, but in nearly every situation, the key is recruiting and rewarding volunteers. Your program may be able to fund a couple of paid officials, but in most cases, the people who work the events are moms and dads, community members, and athletes and coaches from other teams at your school. Engle has had success finding workers by recruiting within the school’s athletic department. “We’re lucky that we’ve had friends of our athletes volunteer to help, and we’ve also been able to convince other sports teams to help out,” says Engle. “When we had our conference championships here last spring, the swimming coach was gracious enough to offer the help of her student-athletes and we were able to do small things for them like buy a couple of pizzas,” Engle says. “After the meet, all of our athletes made it a point to find all the swimmers who helped out and thank them, which the swimming coach told me really made a difference,” Engle continues. “In turn, we offer our help in hosting their home events.” At the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Guthrie takes things a step further by providing monetary rewards for

teams that help out at track and field meets. “At this level, we hire a lead official for each event. Then we have, for example, members of the football team returning the shot put, marking the shot, and writing down results,” says Guthrie. “Teams are paid out of my budget. The athletes themselves don’t get paid, but their team gets a sum of money for working that event.” Guthrie, author of Coaching Track & Field Successfully, says that when he coached at the high school level, he leaned heavily on parents to help run home meets. One system that worked particularly well for Guthrie was forming a parents’ group and empowering that group to spearhead volunteer recruiting efforts. At the beginning of each season Guthrie hosted a pot luck dinner meeting for athletes and their parents. “During that meeting, the president of the parents’ group would stand up and say, ‘We’re hosting this many meets, and we need workers,’ and we would then start assigning people,” says Guthrie. “After we ate, we asked them to actually perform a portion of their son or daughter’s event,” he says. “We didn’t make them run the mile, but they ran a little bit, threw the shot, or jumped into the high jump pit. It really helped them understand the sport as both a fan and prospective official.” Once the season got underway, one person from the parents’ group was in charge of signing up other parents to work the meets. Guthrie provided each parent with an instruction manual for running their event, which included where they needed to report and a copy of the rules for the event. Then, before each meet, he held a brief training session on how to run the event. “It takes a little work for the head coach to get parents organized and informed,” says Guthrie. “But once we got it going, it was pretty awesome.” Brian Colding, the Head Boys’ Coach at West Chapel (Fla.) High School, also utilizes a parental work force, concentrating most of the meet education while the action is taking place. “We ease people who want to help but aren’t very experienced into the process by having them work with volunteers who already know what’s going on,” says Colding. “I’ll say, ‘I’ve got somebody working the long jump. Why don’t you go over and


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COVER STORY

help rake the pit, mark the jumps, or read the tape?’” Colding says he’s also not afraid to ask visiting coaches for help when it comes to staffing a home meet. “I usually know most of them and what their area of expertise is,” he says. “So if the visiting school has a really good pole vaulting coach, I’ll put him or her in charge of the pole vault.” For meets that limit the number of entrants per event, Colding is quick to

wanted to stay involved, so I asked him to help coordinate the volunteer labor,” says Engle. “Since then, he’s taken over and shown me that you can never be too organized in that regard. “I used to just wait, and as volunteers showed up I’d say, ‘Okay, I need you to go over to the long jump and you to go over to the pole vault,’” he continues. “Now, this former athlete has it scheduled so that we can say to our volunteers, ‘We need you here at this time,

“We also try to do some other little things for our officials,” he continues. “For example, at the Occidental Invitational, we had about 35 officials. They were paid, but we also had key chains engraved for about 3 or 4 dollars. I had about 50 or 60 of those made, then put each one in a nice gift box and walked around and handed them out to officials and said thank you.” “I think it’s a matter of fostering relationships, generating interest, being organized, and showing people you care,” says Guthrie. “And as a coaching friend of mine once told me, ‘You can get anybody to do pretty much anything for a hat and commercials and say, ‘This is on ESPN Radio, a T-shirt.’”

PURSUING PUBLICITY

W

hen organizing a meet, how can you initiate media coverage, and assure yourself of both pre- and post-event coverage? For Bob Fraley, Director of Track and Field at Fresno State University, it means digging into his budget and forcing media outlets to take notice. “I buy time on the local ESPN talk radio station,” he says. “I’m able to specify that during the morning show—which is the prime listening time for people stuck in traffic—I want a certain number of interviews with our athletes and our coaches. “The local newspaper writers hear about our event on ESPN Radio, and it spurs their interest, as well as that of the public,” Fraley continues. “For example, for the Street Vault pole vaulting event we put on in Clovis this year, we paid $500 for 120 commercials that ran for one week in August. During that time, people are listening to the national news getting updates about NFL training camps, and all of a sudden here’s this pole vault commercial. That’s why we get 7,000 to 10,000 people in the streets of Old Town Clovis to watch the event. People hear the

find athletes from his team who aren’t participating that day and have them help out. He also enlists other sport coaches at West Chapel to help officiate, and he has even talked the high school principal—a former track coach at the school—into working as a starter. Convincing coaches or volunteers to work an event is easier if you tell them how long they’ll be needed. Engle says he learned a valuable lesson from a former athlete who wanted to remain with the program despite suffering a careerending injury as a sophomore. “He 18

COACHING MANAGEMENT

it must be worth something.’” Being accessible—and proactive—is the key to attracting and working with local media according to Mark Guthrie, Head Coach at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and author of Coaching Track & Field Successfully. “When I first started, I was in a onehorse town in Wisconsin,” he says. “The school had 400 kids and did not have a track, so we didn’t host track meets. But we did have a very successful cross country team that won three state titles. “I wanted the local newspaper to cover us, so I wrote the articles myself,” he continues. “And my fiancée checked my writing for grammatical issues and took pictures. We turned the photos and the articles over to the paper and they printed them.” By letting the school know how the team did the night before and when the next meet is through the school’s morning announcements, Guthrie was also able to publicize the program within the school. “Display cases also work well in that regard,” says Guthrie. “And if the kids are having a good time, word of mouth works really well.”

but we’re not going to keep you any longer than this because we know that the long jump is only going to take two hours.’ He’s got a checklist put together and he knows who’s where. And if somebody doesn’t show up, he also has a group of folks we can ask to fill in.” Coaches agree that to keep coming back, volunteers need to feel appreciated. “We try to ensure that runners get the volunteers lunches and water at their venue,” says Engle. “We want to make them feel like they’ve got somebody taking care of them.

Win the Crowd With the meet’s basic organization under control and athletes, volunteers, and visiting coaches taken care of, you can turn your attention to truly making the experience enjoyable for fans. The first step is minimizing downtime, and the next is finding creative ways to fill any gaps that remain. “If you go to a football or basketball game, when there’s a timeout, cheerleaders and mascots keep the crowd involved,” says Fraley. “In track and field, we generally don’t have that. So at our meets, we hold the finals for the field events between the running events, and draw the crowd’s attention to those finals.” Fraley utilizes the Final Countdown, which pits the first- and second-place competitors for each field event against each other in head-to-head, winner-take-all finale. If there are 12 competitors in a field event, there are three preliminary rounds. The top eight scorers advance to a fourth round. From there the top four advance to a fifth round, and the top two competitors move on to the finals. “We play a song called ‘The Final Countdown,’” says Fraley. “And the announcer says, ‘On the runway, we’ve got the final two competitors in the final countdown. Jumping first is so-and-so in second place and his mark is this, and then jumping last is so and so, whose mark is this.’ “The DJ continues playing music— for the jumping events, we play ‘Jump’


COVER STORY

by Van Halen—and the announcer asks the crowd to put their hands together to help push the jumpers,” adds Fraley. “It’s very dramatic.” And often, so are the results. “Everybody in the stands is focusing on these two jumpers, and good things usually happen,” Fraley continues. “During the long jump at last year’s Fresno Relays, one kid was at 22’4” and he ended up going over 23 feet. Then the kid who was leading at 23’ went 24’2”—just because they had 1,000 people clapping and giving them support. We’ve had people throw the discus 20 feet further on their last throw because the music was on and the entire crowd was behind them.” Fraley says music constantly accompanies the action at Fresno State meets. “When a dramatic scene is taking place in a movie, there’s music playing in the background. It dramatizes the moment,” says Fraley. “The same thing happens during our meets.” Fraley’s wife, Elaine, presides over the musical selections while sitting in a booth located next to the finish line and is careful not to interfere with the starts of running events. She also does not take requests from athletes looking to get a boost from their favorite song. “We tell the athletes the music is there to get the fans going,” Fraley says. Fresno State athletes are, however, expected to engage the fans. “We tell them, ‘When you step on that runway, and the announcer calls the crowd’s attention to you, take your hands and start clapping them over your head. As soon as you make the bar, react to the crowd,’” says Fraley. “And when you come off of that pit, if there’s another athlete there, give him or her a high five. “The key is forming an emotional connection between the fans and the athlete,” he adds. “In the jumps, in the pole vault, and in the throwing events we want athletes to make the fans believe that they would not have had that performance without them.” Engaging Announcing Beyond playing music and filling downtime, fan involvement can be enhanced by a knowledgeable P.A. announcer. “A good announcer keeps the meet moving and makes it more interesting,” says Engle. “Although it’s labor-intensive, we’ve found that adding two or three people as spotters for the announcer

helps a lot. They can feed information about what’s going on at the different venues and keep the flow going.” Engle is lucky to have Dixon Farmer, one of the most respected track and field announcers in the country, as his athletic director. Farmer has worked at many top meets, including the Melrose Games, and the USA Track & Field National Championships. One thing that makes Farmer exceptional, says Engle, is that he does his homework. “He researches by asking coaches questions at a brief coaches meeting 10 minutes before the first event,” says Engle. “He says to the coaches, ‘Give me the names of three or four of your kids you

clock saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got 10 seconds to get there!’” And don’t forget that fans like to know what’s going on in the field events. Even before the final round Guthrie places performance indicators, in both metric and English, at every field event so fans sitting in the crowd know who is leading. Reflection So how do you know when your meets are a success? For Engle, the end of each meet is the ideal time to evaluate his efforts. “I poll the visiting coaches at the end of every competition,” says Engle. “I

“I poll the visiting coaches at the end of every competition. I walk around and say, ‘Thanks for coming, call me on Monday and let me know if there are things you think we can do better.’ By the end of a meet, people have a good sense of what worked and what didn’t. Some of our best ideas have come from visiting coaches and athletes.” think might do well today and tell me a little bit about them.’ “The first couple of times we did it, some of the coaches thought it was a bit of a pain,” continues Engle. “Until suddenly, over the P.A., the announcer is describing their athletes, saying, ‘Here’s Joe Smith, who was last year’s conference champ at 200 meters. He’s a sophomore from wherever.’ The kids feel great, and the coaches realize that it’s certainly time well spent. Small things like that can make a big difference in the quality of the meet.” Guthrie also likes his announcer to provide some play-by-play. “In longer races, a good announcer can call it a little bit like a horse race,” he says. “The announcer can say who the leaders are, if they’re on national qualifying pace, or a pace to break the track record. And if they do break a record, you certainly let the crowd know.” Since fans love record performances, Guthrie will often set the stadium scoreboard at a record for a particular event, and then run it down once the gun goes off. “If a runner hits the finish line and there’s still time on the clock, everyone knows they’ve set a record—it could be a state record, a facility record, or a meet record,” he says. “The spectators really get into it. They’re watching the

walk around and say, ‘Thanks for coming, call me on Monday and let me know if there are things you think we can do better.’ I think by the end of the meet people have a good sense of what worked and what didn’t. “In the days after a meet I really go out of my way to pick the coaches’ brains, whether it’s at a lunch or by giving them a telephone call,” he adds. “Some of our best ideas have come from visiting coaches and visiting athletes.” While hosting a track and field meet is no easy task, when done right, it can be a boon to your athletes, your fans, and your program. Along with making life easier for your student-athletes, competing at home meets allows their fans—a base made up primarily of family and friends from school—an opportunity to watch them compete. And a track filled with competing athletes is an ideal tool for recruiting your school’s younger athletes. “No matter what your situation is, you can find a way to make a meet special,” says Guthrie. “And I think you can run a really nice meet with four or five teams—you don’t need 10, 20, or 30 teams. If you’re willing to put in the time and let other people review what you’ve done, eventually you can have a pretty well-oiled machine.” ■

COACHING MANAGEMENT

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OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE

The Mental Edge BY MITCH LYONS

How can you get your athletes to give maximum effort in every aspect of their performance? Consider the following mental (and life) skills program.

IN MOST ATHLETIC PROGRAMS, coaching is more of an art than a science. Every coach has his or her own strategies, style, and methods of motivation. The common understanding is that there is no “one right way” to coach a team. But there is one area of coaching that could benefit from more science and less art: teaching athletes the mental skills necessary to succeed in sports. To fully reach their potential, athletes need to be taught how to “think to win” in a structured way. Through research and trial and error with my own teams, I’ve developed a program for teaching the mental side of sports that I’d like to share with other coaches. Its premise is actually pretty simple: If you teach athletes how to be aware of their thinking process and remain positive in all that they do, their performance will improve.

Many mistakes made by athletes are mental mistakes. When your sprinter comes out of the blocks slowly, it’s not because he is not strong enough to get a great start, but because some mental lapse caused him to not execute at that point in time. When an athlete is not concentrating or giving maximum effort during practice, it is a mental

problem, not a physical one. If you can teach your athletes to recognize this, corrections become more permanent. As a result, practices are more efficient—athletes end up learning more in a shorter period of time. And they are more effective during competition. I’ve used the program with teams at many different levels—youth, high school, and college—and I’ve watched these squads consistently give the most effort they can, have fun, and perform better than anyone thought possible. Mitch Lyons is an Assistant Coach for Men’s Basketball at Lasell College. He is also the President of GetPsychedSports.org, Inc., a nonprofit corporation based in Newton, Mass.

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Here’s the best part: You will also be teaching skills that will help your student-athletes succeed in life. Teaching athletes how to think inside and outside the classroom setting and to be positive even when faced with a pervasive negativism in our society can help them be leaders as adults. The Game of Life The program I describe in this article aims to make athletes winners both on and off the track or field. Most of you probably already subscribe to this ideal. We all want to win, but any good coach also thrives on seeing an awkward freshman mature into a confident senior leader. And we certainly aren’t the first generation of coaches to think this way. For example, today, we take the concept of teamwork for granted, but 100 years ago it was a new idea. Back in 1906, Luther Halsey Gulick, the first Physical Activity Director for New York City, started high schools operating sports programs (for boys) because, in his words, “Through the loyalty and self-sacrifice developed in team games, we are laying the foundations for wider loyalty and a more discerning self-devotion to the great national ideals on which democracy rests.” Gulick was amazingly successful. Today, not only do athletes and members of educational institutions understand “loyalty to the whole,” but entire communities support their home teams with abandon. We regularly pepper our speech with sports metaphors because the teamwork lessons in sports are clearly what we experience in our everyday lives. Gulick’s vision also included teaching morals through sports. And while most coaches would agree with the idea that we should be teaching life skills on our teams, this concept has proven more difficult. One hundred years later, we still don’t have a standard method for teaching these types of lessons. We point out right from wrong during teachable moments, and we hold our athletes accountable to a code of conduct, but I think we can do more. I think we can teach life skills—through mental skills training—in a systematic way. I

think the time is ripe to fulfill Gulick’s ideal of using sport to shape society. Studies in sports psychology say that performance can be improved through building an athlete’s self-worth. Our program combines self-talk, goal-setting, visualization techniques, and a positive environment to help athletes enhance their performance in any sport. These same mental skills help today’s young people find the right path and succeed in life. My belief is that low self-worth contributes to many of our adolescents’ problems (violence, addictions, eating disorders). We must teach young people how to find success

Thus, we need to teach them, just as we teach sport-specific skills. Here are the six major skills we teach in the program: ■ Give maximum physical effort because when we do we feel good about ourselves. ■ Be positive with ourselves and with others because people perform better and learn faster in a positive environment. ■ Set written goals because they promote preparedness, which leads to feeling confident. ■ Be task-oriented and not outcomeoriented, because our own performance is all we can control and success is more likely when we think about the details than when we focus on the final product. ■ Visualize performing body motions successfully outside of practice. ■ Meditate to learn how to change harmful thoughts into helpful ones. You may already talk about these things, but are your athletes getting the message? Is there a text that they follow? Are they absolutely certain what they are trying to accomplish through sports? Do all members of your team understand the concepts? On the teams I coach or advise, the program starts with a 90-minute workshop where we introduce the principles of the curriculum. Athletes are also given a text to read and are tested on it with a short open-book quiz. By reading and writing about the skills, the athletes better understand their meaning and importance. We then apply those skills at every practice and competition, without fail. We push ourselves as coaches the way we ask athletes to push themselves. Of the six major skills, the three we concentrate on most are effort, goals, and creating a positive environment. We work as a team on these areas and also ask each athlete to think about them individually. In the following sections, I’ll elaborate on these three points.

Setting daily goals helps the athletes transition to practice time. By handing in their goal books as they come into practice, athletes think about their sport before they begin to practice and are able to clear their minds of whatever they have been doing.

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by building their own feelings of value in our society. If our society’s negative attitudes promote feelings of hopelessness, we must teach young people how to create a positive atmosphere in which people flourish and are empowered. Mental skills training fills those needs for your team, your school, and our society as a whole. The Program A main tenet of the program, and of sports psychology, is that people who engage in positive thinking and feel good about themselves will probably perform better in anything they do. But what is not so obvious is that self-worth and positive thinking need to be taught. Helping your teammates, focusing, and even working hard are all skills. They may seem like simple skills to adults, but to youngsters they can be difficult.

Maximum Physical Effort Giving maximum physical effort is a mental skill, not an emotional event. While emotion may aid us, we must make the conscious choice to give all


OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE

the effort we can muster for as long as we can sustain it. The following points are what we tell our athletes and show them in writing: Accept that each practice is a competition in itself. The challenge is, “How long can I keep up my maximum physical effort?” Identify maximum physical effort as if it were a separate goal so that you know how it feels kinesthetically, how it feels emotionally, and what it looks like visually. Identify maximum effort in practice when it is happening so you know what it is. Demand that you make a choice whether to give all you have—or not. Don’t kid yourself with your answer. Expect consequences for bad choices that do not fit the identity of the team. Each person on the team has been asked to give something they have complete control over: their effort. Ask, before each training interval, “What am I thinking about?” (Answer: My level of effort.) When the effort level sags, ask, “What am I thinking about?” Sometimes we just forget to give maximum physical effort as our thoughts go elsewhere, especially during particularly difficult training. Rate your effort after each training drill, individually and as a team, until maximum effort is the rule, not the exception. Stop and reflect on how confident and prepared you feel when you work as hard as you can all practice, every practice. Stop to reflect on how good you feel as a person after you’ve worked as hard as you can. Notice each physical letdown and consciously try to reduce the number of letdowns. Support teammates, whether you are on or off the track. During meets, athletes who are not competing should help those who are to achieve the level of effort everyone practices daily. Naturally, athletes who spend the time and have the commitment toward maximum effort in every practice will perform better in competitions. But more importantly, each member of the team learns how to raise his or her selfworth. They feel more confident and prepared and have learned that hard work has more dividends than just faster times or longer throws. They respect themselves.

Writing Goals Setting written goals is another way to gain self-worth. Before practice every day, each athlete must write down three goals to be worked on that day. Why should you insist that athletes construct written goals? 1. Scientific evidence shows that setting goals, with a coach’s feedback, improves athletes’ performance. 2. When athletes write down the little things they have to do to improve, they

remember them better and make more progress. 3. Setting daily goals helps athletes transition to practice time. By handing in their goal books as they come to practice, athletes think about their sport before they begin to practice and clear their minds of whatever they have just been doing. 4. The discipline required to run a 400-meter interval all the way through is the same type of discipline required to

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bring written goals every day. I have “Think arms in every single time I’m Creating a Positive Environment found that if you inform kids of what is running.” Being positive all the time is not expected of them, they see parallels Giving feedback on goals is also easy—for coaches or athletes. Thus, the between what they do off the track and important. After the players drop off program actively teaches the mental skill what they can accomplish on it. As their goal books and start warming up, of being positive and demands that coaches, we establish discipline coaches model it. Here is what in a number of ways, and goalwe do to make a positive envisetting can be one of them. ronment a constant: For those of you thinking this ■ We make sure all athThe type of goals set is very all takes too much time, I can important. Goals should be letes understand and accept challenging, yet realistic. They that people learn faster and tell you from experience that should be performance-relatperform better in a positive because athletes learn faster ed, specific, and quantifiable. environment. ■ We make sure athletes And they should be shortin a positive, hard-working, term, as we want success every understand that it is a skill to goal-oriented environment, the be actively positive. We agree day so athletes can see their own progress. to practice this skill every time amount you can fit into pracFor example, a goal of “runwe meet and model it for each tice increases and the quality ning with less wasted body other. ■ We notice and correct motion” is not specific enough. of the practice improves. Instead, the coach should work negative behavior as soon as with the athlete to discover it happens in ourselves and how to achieve that goal in a more I, as an assistant coach, make the time others. We make sure it is corrected in a detailed way. If the athlete is allowing to read their goals, make comments, positive way, such as, “I understand your her arms to extend too far outside her and try to remember their goals during frustration, but stay positive.” To body, then that should be the focus. A practice so I can see how they are encourage this, we notice impatience, better goal for this athlete could be, doing. sarcasm, negative tone, rolled eyes, and

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OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE

other body language in ourselves and others—then we say something about it. ■ We frequently ask ourselves and others, “What are we thinking about?” to determine if we are having negative thoughts that hurt our performance. Everyone practices replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. ■ We encourage loud and frequent support from those not participating at a certain time. Everyone practices being vocal in their support of others. ■ We actively attempt and encourage others to see the good in people, getting past old differences for their own happiness and the unity of the team. ■ We teach and model that constructive criticism from others is instruction— it is not about you as a person, but about your performance. We recognize defensiveness and practice changing it. ■ We acknowledge as a group that those not in the travel squad have the

most difficult job on the team. As coaches, we must take the time to teach them how to be positive without the self-worth gained from competing. For example, have them work on replacing negative thoughts (“Why am I not competing?”) with helpful thoughts (“How could we make that baton pass more quickly?”) Too Much Time? For those of you thinking this all takes too much time, I can tell you from experience that because athletes learn faster in a positive, hard-working, goaloriented environment, the amount you can fit into a practice increases. More importantly, the quality of the practice improves. What you will find over time is that you are not using more words, just different ones. You can concentrate your critiques on the cause of the error instead of the

result, making corrections more permanent. And because the athletes are grounded in the material, they will respond to your coaching much more quickly. But, beyond this program helping your athletes on the track or field, it can help create a society that Luther Halsey Gulick began to talk about a century ago, adding in what we now know about the mind-body connection. If we standardize coaching to include practicing the skill of being positive, millions of young people will become adults who know the power of positive thinking. Ten years from now, the athletes you have on your team today will not remember their personal bests. They may not even remember your name. But if you teach them to be aware of how their thoughts affect their performance, they will remember that lesson in everything they do. ■

To request a copy of the curriculum offered by GetPsychedSports.org, the author can be contacted at mitchlyons@getpsychedsports.org. The group’s Web address is: www.getpsychedsports.org.

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The horizontal jumps have some of the same movements that you will see in the hurdle events. In the horizontal jumps an athlete must be able to shorten their last stride before take-off and generate a forceful step off the ground. This action is similar to the drive step into the hurdle. A good hurdler will not be able to take 3 full strides in between the hurdles. The athlete will have to learn how to shorten their final stride and still stay quick and powerful through the hurdle. If you have a horizontal jumper who is very good with the last two strides of the jump phase you are already on your way to an above average hurdler.

The controlled speed on the runway is also similar to what a hurdler must maintain in between the hurdles. Hurdling is a speed event, but it also is a quickness event. A hurdler who

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NUTRITION

Carbs: To Cut or Not? That is the question many athletes are asking these days as everyone and their best friend seems to be losing weight on low-carb diets. BY LAURA SMITH

F

or decades, sports nutritionists have been preaching the same message: To fuel working muscles, athletes need to get the majority of their calories from carbohydrates. Lately, though, carbohydrates’ reputation has taken a hit as a new message has been gaining volume: Carbohydrates make you fat. No one can blame student-athletes for being confused, but what do they really need to know about finding the optimal nutritional balance? And how can you help them separate out the messages that pose risks to their health and performance? Debunking Myths Hoards of American dieters are taking carb-bashing to heart, gobbling up

10 million copies of low-carb guru Dr. Robert Atkins’s New Diet Revolution since its release in 1992. Models and celebrities continue to add themselves to the list of those attributing their milliondollar physiques to cutting carbs, and a dizzying array of “low-carb” products compete for space on supermarket shelves. So should athletes looking to lose a little weight consider low-carb diets? Sports nutritionists have a clear answer: no, never. Gale Welter, Nutrition Counselor for the University of Arizona athletic department, explains: “Very-low-carbohydrate diets were designed for people who are very overweight and have insulin resistance. Student-athletes, even ones who want to lose weight, are incredibly

unlikely to have insulin resistance. Their glucose uptake is going to be fantastic, just by virtue of their high activity level. These diets were not designed for a population of college athletes.” But student-athletes are certainly not immune to the marketing. “Studentathletes see their peers losing weight fast on low-carb plans, and they want to try them, too,” says Matt Radelet, Associate Athletic Trainer at Arizona. “Along with wanting to lose weight to perform at their best, there are powerful social pressures to Laura Smith is an Assistant Editor at Coaching Management.

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look a certain way, especially for women in this age group, and that can add up to drastic dieting. “Over the past year or so, it’s become tough to combat the messages they’re getting,” he continues, “but it’s critical that we educate athletes about the risks.” Those risks can be both short and long term. A diet that shortchanges athletes on carbs saps their muscles of needed glycogen, compromises their performance, and can lead to health problems. “Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for working muscles,” Welter explains. “Athletes eating low-carb

diets are taking away their primary fuel and making their bodies jump through additional hoops. They’re at greater risk for losing lean mass. I tell them, ‘Sure, you may lose some weight—you’ll lose some water and some muscle—weight you didn’t want to lose.’” “A very-low-carb diet is not going to give them the energy they need, so they’re not going to make the strength gains they need to perform at their best,” agrees Suzanne Nelson Steen, Director of Sports Nutrition for the University of Washington athletic department. “By limiting their carbohydrates, they’ll limit their glycogen

H E A LT H Y W E I G H T L O S S

O

ne of the best ways to steer weight-conscious athletes away from

diets dangerously low in carbohydrates is to offer tips for a healthy alternative plan. First, it’s important to encourage them to restrict weight-loss efforts to the off-season.

“The first thing I tell them is, ‘Don’t try to lose weight during your season, or you will end up decreasing your performance,’” says University of Arizona Nutrition Counselor Gale Welter. “It’s a difficult message to get across, because during their season is exactly when they are under pressure to improve, and they think that they can do that by losing weight. But to lose weight, they have to create an energy deficit, and that really risks decreasing their performance.” Then, instead of restricting carbs, Welter offers other suggestions. “I tell them to get very tight with the quality of the foods they’re eating, reduce their calories, and depending on their sport, consider increasing the aerobic work they’re doing,” she says. “Athletes in power sports who want to lose fat may think they’re getting a lot of exercise, but they may actually need to get more cardio output going.” Welter also cautions against trying to lose weight too quickly. “If an athlete chronically over-restricts their calories, the body can over-ride it for a while and get the work done,” she explains. “But they will eventually fall apart, because they can never fully recover until they re-fuel themselves.” Encouraging athletes to consider their body composition rather than their weight is another way to promote healthy eating. “Body comping is always my preference, instead of looking at a number on the scale,” says Caroline Hodges, Nutrition Counselor at the Elmira (N.Y.) Nutrition Clinic. “It can be very helpful with athletes who think they need to lose weight, because it gives them accurate information about exactly where they are.” Often, a closer look can reveal that an athlete’s weight is fine as is. “If an athlete believes they should lose weight, I first ask them, ‘Okay, why do you need to do that?’” says University of Arizona Associate Athletic Trainer Matt Radelet. “‘Are you saying that because your performance has dropped off and you think there is a connection? Or are you just saying that because you’ve gained a few pounds over the season?’ If we can’t make a connection between performance and the need for weight loss, we have to seriously ask why they think they need to lose weight.”

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stores, which will limit their ability to exercise at a high intensity. And if they can’t train at a high intensity, they won’t be able to perform at a high intensity. In addition, they’ll be more prone to injury because they’re fatigued.” The long-term health consequences are just as damaging. “The biggest danger is that if you’re eating all protein, you’re cutting out foods like bagels, bananas, and breads,” says Nancy Clark, Nutrition Counselor at SportsMedicine Associates in Brookline, Mass., and author of the best-selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. “This means you’re not getting enough fiber or cancer preventing phytochemicals. Every major medical association recommends fruits and vegetables and whole grains as part of a healthy diet—and those contain carbs. To eliminate them is counter to a plethora of health wisdom.” Caroline Hodges, MS, RD, Nutrition Counselor at the Elmira (N.Y.) Nutrition Clinic, who works with Cornell University student-athletes, finds that eating-disordered athletes can be particularly susceptible to the low-carb message. “Athletes with an underlying eating disorder are the most likely to want to severely restrict carbs, and that is a huge concern,” she says. “Eating-disorder patients are typically very sensitive to serotonin level changes, and because serotonin is a byproduct of carbohydrate metabolism, a low-carbohydrate intake depletes the serotonin levels in the brain. With lower serotonin, these athletes become more depressed and more obsessed, and that makes their eating disorder worse.” Most sports nutritionists recommend athletes follow a diet that takes 65 percent of its calories from carbohydrates, although they sometimes advise going a bit lower for athletes whose aerobic output is low. Leslie Bonci, Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, suggests that to help athletes put this percentage into practical terms, athletes might visualize their plate as divided into thirds. “The protein should fit on one third, while the rest of the plate should be covered with carbohydrate-containing grains, fruits, and vegetables,” she says. Smart Carbs But what can you do when an athlete is set on trying out a low-carb diet? The


NUTRITION

best approach is to ask them to first examine the type of carbohydrates they are consuming. Many college-age students consume a lot of empty calories. If athletes can recognize which of their carbohydrates are coming from refined sugars and replace them with healthier carbs, both weight loss and increased energy will follow.

“Cutting back on simple sugars will facilitate weight loss without sacrificing energy, so I advise them to make some substitutions,” she continues. “Instead of two big bowls of cereal, how about whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a cup of yogurt or some scrambled eggs? The traditional bagel with cream cheese packs 500 calories. Instead, they can

Timing is another key piece of the puzzle. In order to fuel themselves for their activity and then recover, athletes need to be eating carbohydrates throughout the day. “I tell our student-athletes they need to be grazing,” says Nelson Steen. “It’s really important to help them build frequent meals and snacks into their busy schedules because they’re constantly going through the cycle of getting fuel to exercise and then recovering from exercise.” “When we tell athletes ‘high carb,’ they tend to hear ‘high sugar,’” Nelson Steen says. “I think the best message is, ‘It’s important to eat sufficient carbohydrates, but you’ve got to think about the kinds of carbohydrates you’re eating.’” “Student-athletes tend to get an overwhelming amount of sugar in their diets,” Clark agrees. “It’s important that we educate them about the fact that carbs come in many different categories, and they aren’t all created equal. You have fruits and vegetables and whole grains, which are very health-promoting. Then you have Twizzlers and Big Gulp sodas, which is the logical category for an athlete to limit.” Even foods that don’t appear sugarladen can be replaced with more nutritious carbohydrates. “They may not be eating chips and cookies, but they may be living on white bread, bagels, and cereal,” says Welter. “If that’s the case, they probably don’t realize how many calories they’re taking in, and that could be the source of the unwanted weight.

have a piece of fruit and yogurt, a slice of whole wheat bread, and a soft-boiled egg for fewer calories than that one bagel. They’re always amazed when I point that out.” Timing Is Everything It’s not only the quantity and quality of carbohydrates that matter for studentathletes. Timing is another key piece of the puzzle. In order to fuel themselves for their activity and then recover, athletes need to be eating carbohydrates throughout the day. “With their crazy schedules, that issue can become even more important than numbers and percentages,” Nelson Steen says. “I tell our student-athletes they need to be grazing. It’s really important to help them build frequent meals and snacks into their busy schedules because they’re constantly going through the cycle of getting fuel to exercise and then recovering from exercise.” Along with eating carbs throughout the day, nutritionists have suggestions

for what to consume during the time immediately surrounding practice. Preexercise, athletes need foods high in carbohydrates along with some protein, Welter says, and during practice, she suggests a small amount of a high-carb food. Post-workout meals and snacks should contain about 6 grams of protein, along with about 35 grams of carbohydrate, Nelson Steen says. “It’s also important for them to eat their postworkout carbs within 15 or 30 minutes, because there is an enzyme active in their bodies at that time that encourages glycogen repletion,” she explains. Educating Your Athletes Getting your athletes to understand the science and not believe the hype can be done through workshops, handouts, and individual counseling. The key is making the information easy and convenient. “I try to give my athletes very practical strategies,” Nelson Steen says. “I give them recipes and quick, easy ways they can get fuel so they can feel better during practice and make the strength gains they need.” Knowing what’s in your school’s cafeteria can be another great way to help student-athletes choose healthy carbs throughout the day. “I have listings of foods that are in every dining hall and eating area,” says Nelson Steen, “so we can talk about what their actual choices are.” Even if your educational efforts cannot include guidance from on-staff nutritionists, you can still inform your athletes with a simple message. “It’s all about balance,” Nelson Steen says. “The next extreme diet they come across may look attractive, but it’s up to us to arm them with the information to choose reasonable behaviors that are going to be best for their health and their performance.” ■ This article originally appeared in Coaching Management’s sister publication, Training & Conditioning.

HANDOUTS

At the University of Arizona, Nutrition Counselor Gale Welter helps her athletes make good food choices through handouts she posts on her department’s Web site. Topics include “Fast Food Best Bets,” “Pack & Go Foods,” “Power Switches,” “Eating Out,” and “Healthy Weight Loss Tips.” They can be found at:

www.health.Arizona.edu > click on Online Library > click on Nutrition > click on Sports Nutrition

COACHING MANAGEMENT

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As the world leader in the supply of polyurethane components for sports surfacing systems, Conica has multiple IAAF approvals, and its indoor and outdoor Class A track systems meet ASTM F215702 requirements. Conica materials are 100-percent free of mercury. Recent Installations: East Kentwood High School, Cutlerville, MI (see photo); Douglas Park, Regina, SK, Canada; Washington High School, Kansas City, KS; Upper Perkiomen High School, Pennsburg, PA; St. Joseph’s Academy, Brownsville, TX

SURFACES: CONIPUR SW (indoor and outdoor) Materials: Polyurethane base mat with embedded EPDM surface Spike resistant: Yes Length of warranty: five years

CONIPUR SP (indoor and outdoor) Materials: Polyurethane base mat with structural spray surface Spike resistant: Yes Length of warranty: five years CONIPUR MX (indoor and outdoor) Materials: Polyurethane full-pour with embedded EPDM surface Spike resistant: Yes Length of warranty: five years

Conica

Circle No. 200

Circle No. 201

Hellas Construction, Inc.

Beynon Sports Surfaces

www.hellasconstruction.com 512-250-2910 See ad inside back cover

www.beynonsportssurfaces.com

Hellas Construction installs ultra-responsive track systems for performance and durability. With perfection in design, engineering, and construction, every Hellas track is a winner.

Beynon Sports Surfaces is the premier manufacturer and installer of synthetic athletic surfacing. Beynon’s track systems can take a beating from training, events, weather, and just about anything that can walk or roll, and spring back with the resilience required for world-class competition.

Recent Installations: New Chicopee High School, Chicopee, MA (see photo); Sprayberry High School, Marietta, GA; McClave High School, McClave, CO; Park City High School, Park City, UT; Austin Independent School District, Austin, TX

SURFACES: Sport Track™ 1000 (outdoor) Materials: Polyurethane and EPDM granules, SBR rubber base layer Spike resistant: Yes Length of warranty: five years

Hellas Construction, Inc. Circle No. 202

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COACHING MANAGEMENT

Sport Track™ 200 (indoor and outdoor) Materials: Polyurethane and EPDM rubber granules Spike resistant: Yes Length of warranty: five years Seal-Flex (outdoor) Materials: Rubber and latex Spike resistant: Yes Length of warranty: three years

410-272-2045 See ad on page 13

Recent Installations: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (see photo); Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA; University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; Missouri Southern State College, Joplin, MO; University of Richmond, Richmond, VA SURFACES: BSS-2000 (indoor and outdoor) Materials: EPDM rubber granules, red butyl rubber, aliphatic coating Spike resistant: Yes Length of warranty: five years

Beynon Sports Surfaces Circle No. 203

BSS-1000 (indoor and outdoor) Materials: EPDM rubber granules, SBR rubber Spike resistant: Yes Length of warranty: five years BSS-300 (outdoor) Materials: Polyurethane and EPDM rubber granules Spike resistant: Yes Length of warranty: five years


Team Equipment Cho-Pat 800-221-1601 WWW.CHO-PAT.COM Cho-Pat’s patented Dual Action Knee Strap provides an extra level of relief for painful and weakened knees. It applies pressure to the tendon below the knee to reduce patellar subluxation and improve tracking and elevation. It also puts pressure on the tendon above the knee to provide added support and stability. The Dual Action Knee Strap allows full mobility. Circle No. 205

Dekan Athletic Equipment Corp. 800-332-7740 WWW.DEKANATHLETIC.COM Dekan Athletic Equipment offers a wide variety of quality products suitable for any track and field program, including pits, vault poles, hurdles, standards, discus, and shots. The company also has a broad selection of track accessories, such as stopwatches, waterproof and tear-resistant numbers, starters’ guns and blanks, field tents, starting blocks, distance markers, and much more. Dekan also offers an assortment of strength and fitness equipment, including dumbbells, medicine balls, weight plates, and plyoboxes. Circle No. 206

Dynamic Team Sports 800-437-6223 WWW.DYNAMICTEAMSPORTS.COM Dynamic Team Sports has introduced its Elite Series line of custom uniforms for track and field. The Elite line offers an unlimited number of color combinations to choose from. Team names, logos, and numbers are dyed directly into the fabric. This eliminates the added weight of embroidery, and the fading, peeling, and cracking of sticky silkscreens. Dynamic guarantees never to discontinue your uniform, so replacements are always available. For more information, contact your team uniform supplier. Circle No. 207

Dynamic Team Sports offers a revolutionary line of custom uniforms called the Elite Series. The Elite Series is unique because of one special feature: All the artwork, logos, and numbers are sublimat-

ed into the garment’s lightweight and breathable fabric. This eliminates the need for heavy, sticky silkscreens that can peel, crack, and fade over time. With an endless array of color combinations, Elite uniforms are customized for your team. This means a world of possibilities for teams with unusual colors. Circle No. 208

Check out www.AthleticBid.com to contact these companies.

TRACKLINE Polyurethane IAAF Approved Surfaces Latex Track Surfaces Field Event Equipment TURFLINE NEW and Improved Synthetic Surfaces Turf Installations & Repairs Sand and/or Rubber Granule Infills and Brushing Fibers Elastic Subbases & Shock Pads TENNISLINE New Court Design & Construction Court Resurfacing Lighting & Fencing Certified Tennis Court Builder on Staff Track Field Events surfaces installed by Sportsline, Inc. at Franklin Field stadium in Philadelphia for the 2005 Penn Relays.

(610) 526-9476 • P.O.Box 389 • Villanova, PA 19085 www.sportslineinc.com

www.turfinstall.com

Request No. 117

COACHING MANAGEMENT

33


Team Equipment Aluminum Athletic Equipment 800-523-5471 WWW.AAESPORTS.COM

Marathon Printing, Inc. 800-255-4120 WWW.MARATHONPRINTING.COM

Many schools and universities are faced with crossover practices, where two or more teams must share a facility for practice. This creates two problems: track athletes and joggers being hit by stray balls from the infield; and teams wasting practice time either searching for, or avoiding tripping on, loose balls. Aluminum Athletic Equipment offers the following solution: the HBS BallStopper System—available in self-standing and ground sleeve models to accommodate both synthetic and natural turf fields. Model HBS-1 (shown) is comprised of heavy-wall aluminum uprights installed into ground sleeves. The synthetic treated netting has permanently attached galvanized steel cables (top and bottom). Visit AAE Online—your online source for outdoor sports equipment, goals, bleachers, benches, and accessories. Circle No. 209

Marathon Printing, Inc. specializes in numbers for all kinds of special events. Its goal is to provide on-time delivery of the highestquality custom and stock bibs available. Marathon prints all numbers inhouse, giving the company total control for easy customization of your bibs. If you need references, just contact Marathon. The company supplies numbers for some of the largest and most popular events in the world, and would be glad to talk with you about your event. Circle No. 211

Electric City Printing 800-277-1920 WWW.ECPRINT.COM For over 25 years, Electric City Printing has focused on leading the race industry to new heights, supplying competition numbers, print media, and race supplies to over 60 percent of the industry. The company takes its responsibility to ensure the success of your event seriously. EC Print’s support team is poised to handle all your needs for printing, marketing, design, and event consultation. Let the company save you time with its customized packaging and shipping options, or by coordinating all the supplies for a multi-location event. Circle No. 210

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COACHING MANAGEMENT

Oakworks, Inc. 800-558-8850 WWW.OAKWORKS.COM The Boss is a great treatment table designed specifically for ATCs. Its lightweight design and protective carrying case make it easily transportable from training rooms to sidelines. The unique aluminum understructure is tough enough to support 600 lbs. (UL weight-load rating), and the sealed seams and removable field feet make the Boss ideal for use in rain or shine. With its easy height adjustments, the Boss is the ergonomic answer for every ATC. Circle No. 212 Because the game isn’t played in the locker room, you need the Oakworks Portable Taping Table. It’s the only portable table on the market with an adjustable height. Weighing only 35 lbs., the table folds flat for easy storage and transportation. Features like a marine-grade plastic

top, an adjustable height range of 32 to 42 inches, a UL weight rating of 500 lbs., and a durable carrying case maximize its effectiveness for every ATC. Circle No. 213

Sports-Fab, Inc. 800-342-6350 WWW.SPORTSFAB.COM Sports-Fab’s new HCL Hurdle Cart is made especially for “L” style hurdles. It features custom widths, six-wheel construction, solid rubber tires, and steel hubs, and it turns on its own radius. The cart holds up to 12 hurdles. It's constructed of heavy steel, and has a zinc-plated open front. Sports-Fab also makes the famous HCX hanging cart that holds up to 16 rocker style hurdles. Use both carts for easier storage and transportation. Circle No. 214

Springco 800-333-7781 WWW.VSATHLETICS.COM Give your throwers the same discus Olympians use. The Denfi discus from Springco was thrown by all medalists

(men and women) at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. It’s scientifically designed to outperform any other discus on the market. There are four different models to suit any thrower’s ability and any throwing conditions. Circle No. 215 Make your sprint and jump marks official with the help of Springco’s Compact Wind Gauge, the smallest and bestselling legal wind gauge in the world. It’s very easy to set up and use. This product is a must for championship meets. Circle No. 216


Strength & Conditioning Gatorade 800-88GATOR WWW.GATORADE.COM Gatorade® Thirst Quencher’s optimal formula contains electrolytes and carbohydrates. It is based on more than 30 years of scientific research and testing. Nothing rehydrates, replenishes, and refuels better than Gatorade Thirst Quencher—not even water. REHYDRATE—Gatorade has the flavor to keep your athletes drinking, and a six-percent carbohydrate solution that’s optimal for speeding fluids back into their systems. No fluid is absorbed faster than Gatorade. REPLENISH—If your athletes don’t replace the electrolytes they lose when they sweat, they risk becoming dehydrated, which can take them out of the game. By putting electrolytes back, Gatorade helps athletes drink more, retain fluids, and maintain fluid balance. REFUEL—Unlike water, Gatorade has the right amount of carbohydrates (14 grams per eight ounces) to give your athletes’ working muscles more energy to help them fight fatigue and keep their mental edge. Circle No. 217

Jump Stretch, Inc. 800-344-3539 WWW.JUMPSTRETCH.COM The goal at Jump Stretch is to provide equipment that simulates actual game conditions to improve performance. Most sports require short bursts of explosive power, so the company promotes anaerobic training. Squats and squat thrusts performed with Flex Bands® provide a safe and highly-effective method for improving explosiveness. Jump Stretch has been helping pro, college, and high school teams improve vertical jump, speed, and power since 1980. Circle No. 218

OPTP 800-367-7393 WWW.OPTP.COM The Athlete’s Ball, by Rick Jemmett, PT, provides a cutting-edge, research-based exercise approach for athletes at all levels.

The book outlines a comprehensive approach to physical conditioning known as Integrative Training. This type of training simultaneously incorporates balance and strength exercises to help athletes perform at higher levels and reduce their risk of injury. Circle No. 219 In The Essentials of Medicine Ball Training, Juan Carlos Santana, CSCS, demonstrates over 100 medicine ball exercises with progressions and an emphasis on the importance of correct form. This DVD is full of practical information, and will inspire athletic trainers, coaches, and rehab specialists to incorporate medicine ball training into their existing programs for maximized results. Circle No. 220

Power Systems 800-321-6975 WWW.POWER-SYSTEMS.COM Develop explosive lower-body strength to improve start and acceleration with the Power Sled by Power Systems. Perform resistance training with your choice of a waist belt or shoulder harness—no partner is necessary. For even more versatility, the sled can be pushed using the handles on the back. The waist belt is great for forward, backward, and lateral running drills. Additional weight can be added to increase difficulty and challenge acceleration. The waist belt is adjustable from 30 to 42 inches and the XXL belt adjusts from 40 to 48 inches. The shoulder harness option fits a chest of up to 56 inches. The Power Sled is made of strong welded steel. Circle No. 221 The Step Hurdle Ladder from Power Systems is a multi-purpose ladder that can be used for plyometrics, high-knee drills, forward and lateral drills, and more. With six adjustable cross slats and built-in

adjustable hurdles, this ladder is a Power Systems exclusive. The slats can be positioned at any distance and the hurdles snap quickly into place at eight or 12 inches in height. The hurdles fold down for storage and the entire unit stacks easily for transport, secured with a locking pin. The Step Hurdle Ladder can be used indoors or out, and comes with an instruction guide and a carry bag. The ladder measures 15’ long x 20” wide. Circle No. 222

Xvest 800-697-5658 WWW.THEXVEST.COM “I have found the Xvest to be an excellent tool for providing overloads in plyometric, strength training, conditioning, and rehabilitation programs. The fit and adaptability are excellent. The Xvest allows freedom of movement and doesn’t interfere with any of the agility, bounding, or running programs that I write for a wide variety of athletes, collegiate and professional. The Xvest has proven itself in my programs. Thank you for all your efforts and help in improving my capability as a strength and conditioning specialist.” —Donald A. Chu, PhD, PT, ATC, CSCS, author of Jumping Into Plyometrics. Circle No. 223 Xvest has a new weight configuration, and it’s heavy: 84 pounds of heavy. The new Xvest, known as the Fire Fighter model, was developed especially for fire fighters and their rigorous training. It has the same basic design as the original Xvest, but it has a new internal weight configuration that allows for 84 pounds of weight. Because of the ability to adjust weight like the original Xvest, everyone from body builders to military personnel is buying them. For more information on all the Xvest models, call the company or visit its Web site. Circle No. 224 COACHING MANAGEMENT

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Great Ideas For Athletes...

Knee Strap Cho-Pat’s Original Knee Strap is designed to alleviate certain knee discomforts due to overuse syndromes, arthritis, and other forms of degeneration. Nearly two million sold! Sizes: XS - XXL

Dual Action Knee Strap Patented device offers an extra level of pain relief and protection from knee degeneration and overuse syndromes. Stabilizes and strengthens the joint while allowing full mobility. Sizes: Sm - XL

Achilles Tendon Strap This patented device will reduce stress upon the Achilles Tendon and provide effective relief from pain and discomfort associated with Achilles Tendonitis. Sizes: Sm - Med - Lrg

www.cho-pat.com 1-800-221-1601 Request No. 118

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COACHING MANAGEMENT

ADVERTISERS DIRECTORY CIRCLE NO.

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PRODUCTS DIRECTORY CIRCLE NO.

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AAE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Austin Plastics & Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . Barry University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beynon Sports Surfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . California Raisins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cho-Pat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dekan Athletic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dick Pond Athletics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dynamic Team Sports (custom uniforms) . Dynamic Team Sports (Elite Series) . . . . . Electric City Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . eFundraising.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gatorade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Goldner Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hellas Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jump Stretch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M-F Athletic (bumper sticker) . . . . . . . . . M-F Athletic (catalog) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marathon Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oakworks (Portable Taping Table). . . . . . Oakworks (The Boss) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OPTP (Medicine Ball Training) . . . . . . . . . OPTP (The Athlete’s Ball) . . . . . . . . . . . . Power Systems (catalog) . . . . . . . . . . . . . Power Systems (Power Sled) . . . . . . . . . . Power Systems (Step Hurdle Ladder). . . . Sports-Fab, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sportsline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Springco (Compact Wind Gauge) . . . . . . Springco (Denfi discus) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Xvest (Don Chu) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Xvest (Fire Fighter model) . . . . . . . . . . . .

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BLUE STAR S P O R T S W E A R

Special

$10

Printed 1 color, 1 location Quantity of 12

Request No. 124


More Products Austin Plastics & Supply, Inc. 800-290-1025 WWW.ATHLETICRECORDBOARDS.COM

Barry University 800-756-6000 WWW.BARRY.EDU/HPLS

Athletic record boards from Austin Plastics are an effective tool for motivating your athletes to do their best. The boards are easy to install, made of durable plastic, and available in many different colors. They come in three standard sizes: 38” x 48”, 45” x 80”, and 72” x 120”. Engraved record nameplates are available, or you can print your own using perforated card stock supplied by the company. Record boards are available for all sports, and custom boards are also available. Circle No. 225

Barry University’s MS program in Movement Science offers a variety of specializations to prepare you for a future in athletic training, biomechanics, exercise science, or sport and exercise psychology. You can also choose the new general option, which allows you to customize your MS program with classes from all four specializations. Whichever specialization best meets your needs, you will benefit from state-of-the-art laboratory and research facilities, internationallyrespected faculty, and Barry’s ideal South Florida location, which offers

access to challenging opportunities for graduate clinical placements. Call today to learn more. Circle No. 226

California Raisin Marketing Board 559-248-0287 WWW.CALRAISINS.ORG Naturally sweet California raisins are a great source of energy. Recent research indicates that raisins help athletes maintain a steady level of energy for sports and other activities, making them an excellent choice for

Check out www.AthleticBid.com to contact these companies.

What can you really DO with giant rubber bands?! Run Faster Reduce Injuries

Jump Higher

Play Lower

Add Resistance to Machine Lifts

Improve Endurance

Increase Flexibility

Stay Ahead of Your Competition with Flex Bands! The Best-Kept Secret in Pro Sports Used by the Giants, Jaguars, Raiders, Ravens, Angels, Padres, Red Sox, and many more! Flex Bands have been improving athletic performance since 1980.

Jump Stretch, Inc. 1230 N. Meridian Rd. Youngstown, OH 44509 www.jumpstretch.com 1-800-344-3539 Fax: 1-330-793-8719 Request No. 119

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COACHING MANAGEMENT


More Products your training and conditioning needs. California raisins also rank among the top antioxidant-rich foods because they contain important phytochemicals and minerals, including iron and potassium. Fat and cholesterol free, California raisins are easily portable and available year-round. They’re the healthy energy choice that meets your needs. Circle No. 227

eFundraising 866-825-2921 WWW.EFUNDRAISING.COM Try eFundraising’s On-line Fundraising Program, a new way to raise money quickly and easily. With your free, personalized Web site, complete with a magazine store, your supporters can purchase magazine subscriptions online and 40 percent of each purchase amount will go back to your group. Simply enter the site and send e-mails to friends and family across America, inviting them to visit your on-line store and buy, renew, or extend their magazine subscriptions to help support your group. They’ll save up to 85 percent off the newsstand price on over 650 magazine titles while you earn 40percent profit. Circle No. 228

Goldner Associates, Inc. 800-251-2656 WWW.GOLDNERASSOCIATES.COM Goldner Associates has been a leading supplier of medals, pins, and patches for 40 years. The company can create custom designs in any size or shape, and stock items are also available. Looking for an item with your team logo? As a top-50 distributor, Goldner offers a full line of promotional products, including team caps and T-shirts, trophies and awards, fundraising items, giveaways, and much more. Circle No. 229

M-F Athletic Co. 800-556-7464 WWW.MFATHLETIC.COM

Trust what time has endorsed for all your Track & Field needs. * Knowledgeable Staff * Quality Products * Fast Delivery of Discounted Gill Products

We are a company started by teachers and coaches; you can trust us with your Track program.

Dekan Athletic Equip. Corp. 1820 Wallace Avenue Suite 124 St. Charles, IL 60174 630-587-9333 630-587-5519 (fax) www.dekanathletic.com

The “It’s In Our Blood” auto bumper sticker is now available to all track participants and coaches, courtesy

of M-F Athletic. This year’s bumper sticker is a real conversation piece, and is sure to cause smiles and favorable comments. For your free bumper sticker, call M-F Athletic or visit the company Web site. Circle No. 230

Request No. 120

introduces...

Event Print Specializing in everything your event needs to hit the ground running! • • • • • • • •

Check out www.AthleticBid.com to contact these companies. IN THE SEPTEMBER 2005 ISSUE:

FUNDRAISING NUTRITION PRACTICE & COMPETITION SHOES SOFTWARE & VIDEO EQUIPMENT TEAM EQUIPMENT

Bib Numbers Ski Numbers Cycle Numbers Finish Line Aids Course Marking Aids Brochures T-Shirts Premiums

Rui thni t ! w

TRAINING & CONDITIONING AIDS

ec mouse

2005

Your one ELECTRIC

source supply

CITY PRINTING

CO. • BOX

print media for competition • (864) 224-6331 277-1920

1920 ANDERSON,

SC 29622

• (800)

1-800-277-1920

UNIFORMS & APPAREL

www.ecprint.com Request No. 121 COACHING MANAGEMENT 609389 Ad1.indd 1

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Catalog Showcase Dick Pond Athletics, Inc. 630-665-3316 WWW.DICKPONDATHLETICS.COM

M-F Athletic Co. 800-556-7464 WWW.MFATHLETIC.COM

Power Systems, Inc. 800-321-6975 WWW.POWER-SYSTEMS.COM

Dick Pond Athletics is America’s oldest running specialty company. It sets the industry standard for fast, reliable delivery of track and cross country shoes, apparel, and accessories. Products in the Dick Pond catalog include training shoes, racing and field event shoes, team apparel, and accessories for all levels of runners. All major brands are available, and the company offers both current models and closeout specials. Your order will be shipped within 24 hours. Circle No. 231

The 2005 edition of M-F’s Everything Track & Field catalog has been expanded to 80 pages. It includes all track and field essentials, such as vaulting poles and javelins, throwing implements, hurdles, pits, and so much more. The catalog also includes special sections of hardto-find specialty items, such as measuring tapes, cages, benches, bleachers, uniforms, running shoes, runways, and tents. This four-color catalog is neatly categorized for easy reference. Get your copy by calling M-F Athletic or visiting the company Web site. Circle No. 232

Since 1986, Power Systems has been a leading supplier of sports performance, fitness, and rehabilitation products and programming. The company prides itself on being the one resource for all your training needs. The 2005 catalog has a new look, with better graphics and photos. It includes sections on core strength, medicine balls, speed, plyometrics, agility, strength equipment, strength accessories, and fitness assessment. The catalog features hundreds of new products and dozens of products available exclusively from Power Systems. The company has even lowered some of its prices, enabling the customer to get premium products for less. Call or visit the company Web site for your free copy. Circle No. 233

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COACHING MANAGEMENT


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WWWHELLASCONSTRUCTIONCOM    Request No. 122


the

SuperSource for

Our 45th Year Serving the Track & Field Needs of High Schools and Colleges. Call for our 2005 Track & Field Catalog.

800-556-7464

M-F ATHLETIC COMPANY P.O. Box 8090 Cranston, RI 02920-0090 Toll-Free 800-556-7464 Fax: 800-682-6950

Request No. 123

H

M-F AT

LETIC

Our Annual Bumper Sticker is FREE for the asking.

Coaching Management 13.1  

TRACK & FIELD PRESEASON EDITION 2005

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