Coaching Management VOL. XIII, NO. 8
TRACK & FIELD POSTSEASON EDITION 2005
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Circle No. 100
Coaching Management Track & Field Edition Postseason 2005
Vol. XIII, No. 8
Bulletin Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
College coaches grapple with new academic measure … First pole vault helmet hits the market … Are your athletes at risk for over-hydration? … Purdue Adopt a Sport program means more helping hands at meets … Iowa survey provides window into high school athletes’ supplement use … Sanctioning snarls complicate Penn Relays.
Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 In 35 years, Ron Allice has coached 250 All-Americans, 16 Olympians, and four world record holders. The Director of Track and Field at the University of Southern California talks about creating a balanced team, issues facing the sport today, and making each season better than the last. ADVERTISERS DIRECTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Publisher Mark Goldberg Marketing Director Sheryl Shaffer Marketing/Sales Assistant Danielle Catalano Art Director Pamela Crawford Photo Research Dina Stander, Signs of Life Studio
Editor-in-Chief Eleanor Frankel Associate Editor Dennis Read Assistant Editors R.J. Anderson Kenny Berkowitz Abigail Funk David Hill Greg Scholand Laura Smith
Successful coaches share practical tips for collaborating with assistant coaches, including how to balance giving advice with allowing independence.
A Fresh Start
At some point, most coaches have thought about quitting their jobs. How do you know whether it’s time to hang up your clipboard, or if you just need a fresh start?
On the Fast Track
At Williams College, sprinters are shaving seconds and heading off injuries with a progressive strength and conditioning program. TEAM EQUIPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 UNIFORMS & APPAREL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 TRACK FACILITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
TRAINING & CONDITIONING AIDS . . . . . . 35 NUTRITION PRODUCTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 MORE PRODUCTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
On the cover: All-American shot-putter Sam Segond contributed to Rutgers University’s first-place finish in the 2005 Big East Track and Field Championships. Rutgers Head Coach Roberta Anthes offers advice on working with assistant coaches for our cover story, which begins on page 14.
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LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD Coaches Grapple with APR In addition to feet and inches, minutes and seconds, and personal bests, NCAA Division I track and field coaches now have another number to keep an eye on when measuring their teams’ success—one that comes with potentially huge consequences. This past March, the NCAA released the first set of Academic Performance Rate (APR) scores, assigning a score to each Division I team in the country. Teams that fail to score high enough on their APR will eventually face stiff penalties, including loss of scholarships. The numbers made public in March reflect the academic performance of each Division I scholarship athlete on a coach’s roster during the 2003-04 academic year. Each student-athlete can earn two points per semester—one by remaining in school and one by remaining academically eligible. At the end of the year, points are tallied and divided by the total points a program could have earned.
3.6 percent of women’s squads fell below 925.
or eliminate the small-squad adjustment.
No penalties will be imposed until after the next round of scores is released in December. At that point, a team that has fallen below 925 and has an athlete who earns 0 points will be barred from replacing that athlete’s scholarship at the next awarding opportunity. A team has to have at least one 0-for-2 student-athlete to trigger penalties, the NCAA says.
In a key change this fall, the Division I Board of Directors voted to count academically eligible student-athletes who leave to play their sport professionally, or for some other reason beyond the control of the athlete or the institution, as 1-for-1 instead of 1-for-2. The Board also voted to award a “1-for-0” bonus point to an institution when a student-athlete later returns and finishes his or her degree.
Since programs with small rosters—cross country, for example—can be brought down more easily by a poor performance from one or two student-athletes than can larger-roster teams, the NCAA is giving a margin-of-error number below 925 at which penalties won’t be imposed on small squads. The reprieve is temporary, however, as the NCAA may eventually shrink
Coaches across the country are working to cope with the new scoring system, and the first hurdle has been figuring out exactly how the scores are calculated. A particular wrinkle for track and field—how to handle student-athletes competing in some combination of indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country—
For purposes of NCAA financial-aid limits, track and field and cross country are considered one team, and some institutions reported these student-athletes in only one sport, says Jennifer Kearns, NCAA Associate Director of Public and Media Relations. But because there are separate championships in the three sports, she says, the NCAA believes institutions should have the chance to earn a separate APR score for each squad. So, for example, a student who only runs cross country won’t be penalized because of poor academic performance by the indoor track and field team. Institutions are being asked to create a separate cohort list of student-athletes for each sport, Kearns says. These are athletes who are receiving athletics-related financial aid and are on the team’s roster as of the first date of championship competition. As the APR system undergoes further refinement, it’s clear that coaches have the looming penalties in the back of their minds as they recruit and mentor student-athletes. “The process has to begin in recruiting,” says Doug Molnar, Head Coach of Men’s Cross Country and Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field at Austin Peay State University. “You have to recruit solid student-athletes who understand the expectations in the classroom as well as on the track.”
The NCAA set 925—or 92.5 percent of possible points—as the team and department minimum below which penalties might be imposed. That number, the NCAA says, represents an APR that would result in a 50-percent graduation rate among student-athletes. More than half of Division I schools had at least one team fall below the cut point. Across Division I, about 10 percent of all men’s teams and 2.6 percent of women’s teams fell below the 925 cut point after a small-squad adjustment made by the NCAA. For track and field, the figures were 6.6 percent of men’s outdoor teams, 7.4 percent for men’s indoor, 3.1 percent of women’s outdoor, and 3.4 percent for women’s indoor. In cross country, 4.9 percent of men’s teams and
caused confusion that required the NCAA to revise its March scores.
Austin Peay State University Head Coach Doug Molnar is working to improve his team’s APR by recruiting strong students and making sure his athletes know he expects solid performances in the classroom. Above, Austin Peay’s Sherlonda Johnson competes in the long jump.
Austin Peay’s initial APR numbers came out below the 925 cut point for all three teams, but Molnar says there were special circumstances, in particular a coaching change— the second in three years. That led to transfers, which count against the retention
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Circle No. 101
LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD point. “I look at it not so much as an issue to tackle but as a goal to meet,” he says. “You want to get as close to 1.000 as you can. I see it as a mark to strive for and reach.”
whether that could be an incentive to load up available financial aid on sure-fire academic and athletic prospects while neglecting those who might just need a chance.
Molnar also sees a twist that affects track and field more
“That’s always in the back of your mind,” Molnar says. “At
are going to think twice about giving that kid an opportunity.” Dean Hayes, Head Track and Field and Cross Country Coach at Middle Tennessee State University, says the APR affects how coaches counsel student-athletes on matters
“Every time I recruit a kid, I say, ‘Whether you're an All-American or just have a PR, the big thing is to get your degree. If you can do that, everything else will take care of itself.’” than major revenue sports at many institutions: Many of his athletes receive partial scholarships, some quite small, and these amounts don’t provide a big incentive to stick with the sport and the books if things get difficult. He’s heard other coaches in the sport wonder
another school as an assistant, I had a head coach whose basic philosophy was to recruit a bunch of solid kids and take a chance every year or two on a kid who didn’t have such good grades but who he wanted to give a shot at making it. Now coaches
such as transferring or, in rare cases, leaving for a pro endorsement deal. Hayes says MTSU had two Olympic athletes who were about to exhaust their NCAA eligibility but who were still a few credit hours away from
earning their degrees. “I sent them to an NAIA school,” Hayes says. “Should I tell them they need to stay so my APR stays up? And what about a problem child who creates attitude and discipline problems on the team but does okay in school? Should I keep him for the APR?” Coaches will in all likelihood continue to sort through questions about how the APR will affect their teams, but Molnar believes the measure itself is good for college athletics. “It’s another reminder to coaches that we need to pay attention to the books,” he says. “Every time I recruit a kid, I say, ‘Whether you’re an All-American, all-conference, or just have a PR, the big thing is to get your degree. If you can do that, everything else will take care of itself.’”
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Pole Vault Helmet Hits the Market Pennsylvania State University sophomore Kim Pfeifer stood out from the crowd at track meets this season—she was
2002. Available for the first time during the 2004-05 season, over 100 helmets were shipped in the first month of availability. And Eventys expects that number to steadily increase as the 2005-06 season approaches.
hadn’t performed many vaults without it. But for others, the benefit of added protection might be offset by the unfamiliarity and discomfort of wearing a helmet. “Some kids who are more experienced and have never worn one just won’t adapt to it, and for them it could become more of a hindrance,” says Sullivan. While the helmets remain optional at the collegiate level, six state high school associations currently require athletes to wear some type of headgear for the pole vault. Designed specifically for pole vaulters, the KDMax weighs just over one pound, is composed of carbon fiber, and features an interior lining that is dent and compression resistant.
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Pole vault’s first official helmet, the KDMax, became available during the 2004-05 season. Helmets for vaulters are optional at the collegiate level, but for high school athletes in six states, they’re mandatory. Above, pole vaulter Ablazah Swofford of Azusa Pacific University donned one of the new helmets while competing in the decathlon. the one wearing a helmet during the pole vault. A newcomer to the sport, Pfeifer decided to wear the KDMax, the first helmet developed exclusively for pole vault, as a safety precaution. The helmet was developed by the engineering firm Eventys, with the help of Penn State and Edward Dare, a pole vault safety advocate whose son Kevin suffered a fatal head injury while pole vaulting in
Penn State is also working in collaboration with the Big Ten Conference, the NCAA Competitive Safeguards Committee, and the NFHS to make a pole vault safety video currently used in the Big Ten available to a wider audience. Those groups gathered for a viewing of the video in December, and approved its use. Next year the safety video will be available in DVD format to the entire pole vault community.
Dying from Hydration? In April, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study involving 488 runners in the 2002 Boston Marathon. It showed that 62 of those runners drank so much water or sports drink during the race that they had extremely low sodium levels, and three had sodium levels so low they were in danger of dying. Should high school and college track and field coaches rethink their hydration advice for athletes in light of this highly-publicized study? In general, the answer is no, according to Dr. Marvin Adner, Medical Director for the Boston Marathon. Adner says that dangerously low blood sodium levels, also known as hyponatremia, are most common in slower athletes who participate in long-distance or longduration events, and the condition is usually not an issue in the shorter races associated with track and field. “Track and field athletes do not typically share the same risks as marathon runners,” says Adner. “If we’re talking about athletes who run dis-
“We informed our athletes at the start of the year that they had the option of wearing the helmet,” says Penn State Head Women’s Coach Beth Sullivan. “We told them the pros and cons based on the information we have so far. I encouraged our athletes to look at it and if it worked for them, to go ahead and try it.” For Pfeifer, donning the helmet put her mind at ease, and was an easy adjustment as she
For more information on the KDMax helmet, visit: www.polevaulthelmet.com. To read more Momentum Media stories on pole vault safety, visit Athleticsearch.com and type “pole vault” in the search window.
A recent study proved drinking too much water can be deadly for slower marathoners, but experts say track and field athletes are not at risk and should keep on hydrating. Above, athletes at the 2005 New York State high school championships take the experts’ advice.
LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD tances like the quarter mile, they probably aren’t at risk. Athletes who compete for four hours of constant moderate exercise, such as a marathon, and who drink while they compete, are most at risk.” The runners in the Boston Marathon study who developed complications from hyponatremia tended to be slower, taking four or more hours to complete the race, which gave them ample time to consume liquids. Those suffering from the condition drank about three liters of water throughout the race and actually gained weight during that time.
were encouraged to adopt a Boilermaker team, and offered incentives for doing so. For signing up, the proud parents were provided with T-shirts identifying them as “Purdooligans” for their sport, e-mail reminders before each home contest, and a once-per-season hospitality event, typically held at a local restaurant. In return, each student in the group promised to attend a set number of events on the team’s home schedule. “It all started because we found that every time we gave away T-shirts, a lot of students came to our sporting events,” says Sara Fetzer, Assistant Promotions Director for the ath-
the team they had adopted.” While the main idea was to put more fans in the stands, attendance wasn’t a problem for Purdue’s track meets, which typically draw 500 to 1,000 spectators. So when students from the fraternity and sorority who had adopted track started showing up at meets, they soon asked how they could get more involved. “Some of them had track experience from high school, so they knew how much work went into running a track meet,” says Jack Warner, Head Men’s and Women’s Coach. “They told us they would rather be doing something for the meet than
many as 20 showing up to an event. They moved hurdles and other event apparatus, ran indicator boards to display results (a luxury that hadn’t always been possible before), and even performed tasks that are sometimes difficult to find volunteers for. “Raking the pits is a really gruesome job,” says Warner, “and there were these three guys who for some reason loved doing it. We showed them on the first day how it was done and from then on they came to every meet, and we had the best raked pits in the conference.” In addition to all their help at the meets, Warner says an added benefit of the adopt-a-
Adner advises coaches to monitor their athletes during long training sessions and to have them drink to maintain fluid levels. “If athletes are doing long workouts sweating and drinking a lot for a period of four hours or more, monitor their weight fluctuations,” he says. “If they’re gaining weight during a training situation, that’s a sign of overhydration. And if they’re losing weight, they need to drink more.”
Send in the Purdooligans When Purdue University hosts a track meet, visiting teams frequently comment on how organized and well run everything is: There’s always someone standing by to promptly rake the pits, operate indicator boards, and offer a helping hand. How did meet organizers go out and secure so much support? They didn’t—the track team was “adopted,” so the support came to them. Last year, Purdue’s athletic promotions office launched the adopt-a-sport program, aimed at boosting attendance at home sporting events and getting more students interested in athletics. Residence halls, fraternities, sororities, and student organizations
Purdue University’s track and field program was adopted last season by a group of student-fans. The “Purdooligans” didn’t just attend meets—they also moved hurdles, raked pits, and offered helping hands. Above, Purdue’s Kara Patterson competes in the NCAA Mid-East Regionals. letic department. “So to inspire students to come out to watch our Olympic sports, we created this affinity program. We got groups of students involved with a specific sport, and they took ownership of being there to support
just watching, and we said we always need people to help, so they jumped right in.” Throughout the season, meet organizers regularly counted on the Purdooligans to provide helping hands, with as
sport program was that it garnered extra recognition for track athletes on campus. “It gave the kids a little bit of an identity outside the athletic department,” he says. “I hope those students will sign up to adopt us again next year.”
HS Athletes Answer Supplement Survey With all the messages high school student-athletes hear about performance-enhancing substances, what are they actually choosing to put into their bodies in an effort to get ahead? This spring, officials at the Iowa High School Athletic Association decided to ask. The IHSAA conducted an anonymous statewide supplement survey, gathering information from 3,200 athletes at over 100 schools. The results contained mostly good news, but also identified a few areas of concern. In general, the substances Iowa student-athletes reported using most aren’t the ones likely to put them at risk for
health problems. A large majority—95 percent of males and 93 percent of females— reported consuming sports drinks to enhance performance. Thirty-nine percent of males and 36 percent of females take vitamin supplements, 37 percent of males use protein bars or powders, and 13 percent of females use meal-replacement bars or drinks. IHSAA officials were pleased to learn that far fewer athletes are using the substances they’re most concerned about. Only 17 percent of males and one percent of females reported using creatine, and one percent or less of both genders said they used androstenedione (commonly known as andro), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), or betahydroxy methylbutyrate (HMB).
The results were welcome news for Alan Beste, IHSAA Assistant Executive Director and Wellness Coordinator. “We realized that for the most part, the things kids were using to enhance their performance weren’t the things we were afraid of,” he says. One number, however, did cause concern. Thirty percent of males and 17 percent of females said they use energyenhancing products, such as highly caffeinated energy drinks or gels, many of which also contain other stimulants not regulated by the FDA. “That did raise a bit of a red flag for us,” Beste says. “We are meeting with our association board later this summer to talk about a plan of action for addressing that area, because those products can have some negative effects if used improperly.”
The survey also asked athletes to identify their main sources of information about performance-enhancing products. Topping the list for both males and females were friends, which naturally includes other athletes (44 percent for males and 50 percent for females), parents (37 percent for both genders), and coaches (37 percent for males and 35 percent for females). No other single group—doctors, athletic trainers, school nurses, or athletic directors—polled above 15 percent for either gender. Beste says those numbers are encouraging for the IHSAA, because the association has long focused its educational efforts on the groups it appears athletes turn to most often for information. “We believe that by keeping our focus on these three groups,
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LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD we can lower some of those percentages, especially for energy-enhancing products,” he says. The IHSAA presently distributes pamphlets and other printed materials with information about supplements and their risks, and more educational resources are currently in the works. The associa-
ments, and in particular weight-gain products and substances like creatine, they may start relying on them,” Beste explains. “And when they aren’t satisfied with the outcome, the next thing they turn to could be andro or anabolic steroids.” Tim Thomas, President of the Iowa Track Coaches Association and Head Girls’ Coach at GalvaHolstein High School, believes coaches can play an important role in creating a team atmosphere where supplement experimentation is discouraged. “The coach’s attitude creates a perception for what is acceptable,” he explains. “You might be encouraging athletes to use a legal supplement that you think is harmless. But if you do that, somebody may misinterpret it to mean any kind of supplement use is okay. That’s not the right message to send, and I don’t think it’s a role coaches should take on.”
Of 3,000 high school student-athletes in Iowa surveyed about supplement use, a third of males and 17 percent of females said they use energy-enhancing drinks or gels to boost performance. Seventeen percent of males reported using creatine. tion has partnered with Iowa State University to produce multimedia presentations in the form of CD-ROMs, DVDs, and PowerPoint slideshows for coaches and teachers to use when talking to student-athletes and parents about safe and unsafe methods of performance enhancement.
One of the beauties of the Penn Relays, held at Philadelphia’s vast and venerable Franklin Field and drawing competitors from the high school through Olympicdevelopment ranks, is that it offers a chance for studentathletes to compare themselves against peers from across the nation. But the near-national meet stature of the Relays also provides one of its biggest challenges: running an event where athletes subject to different states’ sanctioning rules must compete together. The issue came to a head in the weeks leading up to this year’s Relays in April, when the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced it wouldn’t allow its member schools to take part without formal assurances that other states’ scholastic-division athletes attend schools belonging to their respective state high school sanctioning bodies. The NYSPHSAA had recently revised its sanctioning process, which is designed to ensure that athletes compete against true peers in terms of age and eligibility in legitimate events, and it used membership in a state association as such assurance. Trouble was, certain Pennsylvania high schools, including those in a Philadelphia-area Catholic league, aren’t in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, and PIAA officials wouldn’t check off a section of the sanctioning form saying that certain nonmember schools were approved. “As a state association, we did not want to stick our neck out and say, ‘Yes, we approve these schools,’ because we really don’t have any jurisdiction over them,” explains Melissa Mertz, PIAA Assistant Executive Director.
Penn Relays organizers juggled schedules to avoid pitting NYSPHSAA competitors against athletes whose schools weren’t vouched for by the PIAA. Eventually, the PIAA had nonmember Penn Relays applicants sign a statement promising that they abide by PIAA eligibility rules. “By signing the statement, the principal of that school was saying they adhere to all the rules and regulations, just as the member schools do,” Mertz says. The deal worked for the New Yorkers. “Our students were able to participate,” says Nina Van Erk, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “There was cooperation with the management of the Penn Relays, and we have spoken with our counterparts at the PIAA as well.” While it’s straightened out for now, Penn Relays Carnival Director Dave Johnson fears the issue could resurface and involve other state associations. In Maryland, for example, private and parochial schools aren’t eligible to join the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association even though many regularly compete against MPSSAA members. In other states, private schools aren’t technically members but are “affiliated” or have some other relationship that might not meet another state’s criteria. And in a much-publicized case, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Activities Association required its member schools to sign waivers before allowing them to participate in the Penn Relays—run by the University of Pennsylvania, in conflict with the MIAA’s rule that secondary-school people be in charge of every event. Johnson says he’s spoken with the NFHS seeking uniformity among sanctioning procedures. But there’s only so much the Federation can do, says Assistant Executive Director Elliott Hopkins.
“We have always believed that if we don’t inform athletes about nutritional supple-
At least three states —Michigan, Illinois, and Texas—have agreed with Thomas’s assessment, passing laws that prohibit school employees from recommending or supplying performance-enhancing supplements to high school athletes. In May, Oregon considered a similar bill, but after passing through the state senate it was narrowly defeated in the house, where members cited concerns that it made no distinction between legal and illegal substances. Iowa law currently only prohibits coaches from selling nutritional supplements to athletes.
Sanctioning Snarls at Penn Relays
“It’s a voluntary membership, so our members don’t have to abide by our rules,” says Hopkins. “We do all we can to facilitate uniformity and smooth out rough edges, but we don’t have the authority to tell a state to relax its rules or be more inclusive or less restrictive.”
Lindsey Ferguson of Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) High School leads the pack on the first day of the 2005 Penn Relays. New York high school athletes came close to not being able to compete at the Relays this year due to sanctioning issues raised by the state’s high school athletic association.
As for any coaches who might like to send athletes to the 2006 Penn Relays, scheduled for April 27-29, Johnson advises having athletic directors or principals get questions sorted out with their state associations early, whether they are at a member school or not. “It’s mostly a matter of communication,” he says. “Better to find out in advance than to get someplace and find out, ‘Whoa, we’re not allowed to participate.’”
Circle No. 104 COACHING MANAGEMENT
RON ALLICE University of Southern California
You could nearly fill a Trojan horse with all the trophies and accolades Ron Allice’s men’s and women’s track and field teams have earned during his 11-year tenure at the University of Southern California. On the men’s side, his teams have captured three Pac-10 titles in the past nine years, and from 1994-2000 they went on a run of seven consecutive top-10 finishes nationally. His women’s teams have been equally impressive, winning the 2001 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championship after finishing second the previous year and third the year before that. Along the way, Allice has coached such standouts as Angela Williams (winner of the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year award and Honda-Broderick Cup in 2002), Natasha Danvers, and Torri Edwards.
CM: One of the hallmarks of a Ron Allice team is balance. Why is that important to you, and how do you achieve it year after year? Allice: When I answer my office phone, I say “track and field,” and that’s exactly what this sport is all about—not one or the other. I feel it’s very important that my program works to excel at all events. For me that’s a top priority, and I’m lucky to be at a place that has the resources to make it possible. We have a history and tradition of success dating back 100 years, and I never want any of our alumni to feel their event is being neglected or allowed to slip. The tradition is so steep here, I consider that part of my mandate as head coach. As far as how I achieve it, we benefit enormously from having both the men and women under my direction in a combined program. We have eight coaches who work with both teams, instead of four for each. I’ve built a staff of people who are experts in specialized areas, so our athletes have an opportunity to get the best instruction for their event every day. How do you help incoming athletes adjust to the pressure of competing for a program with such a tradition of excellence? I tell them that the history of this program shouldn’t be a source of pressure, but a source of pride. I explain what it
Allice’s career as a track and field coach spans more than 35 years. In 16 seasons at Long Beach City College, his last stop before USC, his teams won 16 conference championships and 11 state championships. In 1980, Track & Field News named his men’s team the best junior college team in history. Allice has also coached college squads at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona and Long Beach State University, and he began his career in the 1960s leading AAU and high school teams. His lifetime dual meet record is 211-43-1, and he has coached more than 250 All-Americans, 16 Olympians, and four world record holders. In this interview, Allice talks about motivating college athletes, how track and field has changed during his career, and issues facing the sport today.
means to put on the uniform, with that interlocking SC that has been on our jerseys for 100 years. In my office I have a history room where I collect old memorabilia, and when a recruit or an athlete comes to see me I
USC's Jesse Williams won the men's high jump at the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Head Coach Ron Allice believes in placing equal emphasis on events in both track and field.
encourage them to look around and learn about the people who came before. I even have plaques in my office that show records in yard marks, from the days before track and field went metric. I think having a sense of the history of their program can be a real source of motivation
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for today’s athletes. It’s part of my job to let them know what they’ve become a part of. Your teams also have a reputation for academic success. How do you encourage athletes to make school work a priority? I give out an award every year at our banquet to the person who earned the highest GPA during the calendar year, and it’s the same heavy cast sculpture that we give to the most outstanding athlete. I also have everyone at the banquet who carried a GPA above 3.0 stand and be recognized. We had 39 women and 37 men stand up at our last banquet.
forfeited a USC athletic scholarship to become the first track and field athlete to go pro straight out of high school. Did you counsel her about the decision? After we signed Allison, she had an unbelievable senior year in high school and broke a world record in Mexico, and that took her to another level. By the time I sat down with her and her parents, I knew she was leaning toward going pro. One piece of advice I gave her was that if she decided to take that step, she should see to it that tuition at USC be paid for. And she took that advice. Allison went to the Olympics and won a silver medal. Even though she’s not competing with us, I still consider her to be part of our Trojan family.
“Almost everything you read about track and field now is a drug story. Some of that is the media being attracted to negative stories, but the problem is real and it has hurt our sport tremendously ... It's absolutely a good thing that they are cracking down with testing in the pro ranks and working to clean up our sport.”
You’ve coached more than a dozen athletes who have gone on to become Olympians. What is it like to see someone achieve that “holy grail” of track and field competition? It’s extremely gratifying as a coach to see an athlete reach that level. The Olympics is the pinnacle of our sport, and getting there is an accomplishment that people treasure for the rest of their lives. If you’re in this profession long enough, the championships and the team successes can all sort of blend together, but you never forget the individuals. The beauty of coaching is that when one of your athletes reaches a great milestone, you can feel good about knowing you had an opportunity to help them get there. That doesn’t always mean somebody who wins Olympic gold—it may be an athlete who simply achieved something they never thought they could do. It’s sharing those moments with individuals that I’ll remember long after I’m finished coaching. High school standout Allison Felix made headlines this year when she
I doubt that track athletes going pro out of high school will become a trend. Can and will it happen again? Yes. But Allison is an exceptional athlete, and she moved into a vacuum created by the drug scandals at the professional level. She has a wonderful reputation and she’s articulate, attractive, and marketable. She has all the characteristics it takes to be a tremendous representative for our sport.
Steroid use has grabbed many headlines in track and field recently. Is this a case of undeserved bad publicity for the sport, or is it shining overdue light on the problem? It’s both. The negative side is that almost everything you read about track and field now is a drug story. Some of that is the media being attracted to negative stories, but the problem is real and it has hurt our sport tremendously. People now look at us with a skeptical eye. I truly believe that it’s not a major issue at the collegiate level as it is at the professional level, but it’s absolutely a good thing that they’re cracking down with testing in the pro ranks and working to clean up our sport and its reputation. More optimistically, though, I think there is a tremendous youth movement coming up in our sport, with new athletes who are not surrounded by drug suspicion because they’ve learned from what has gone on in the past few years. The college setting is a great environment for athletes to develop into professionals, because college coaches aren’t so influ-
enced by the win-at-all-costs mentality that you find in the pros, which can steer athletes toward steroids. After your men’s team won the Pac-10 championship in 2003, you had to forfeit the title because of an ineligible athlete. How did you talk to your team about that? It was very hard, because I didn’t make the mistake, and neither did the athlete. It was an administrative error made by the person who calculates GPAs. Everything we were told indicated that he was eligible. But once we reached the postseason, they recalculated and discovered the error. We had just won the title, and less than a week later we realized we’d have to forfeit. I brought the team together and the first thing I did was make sure they understood that it wasn’t the athlete’s fault. Then I explained that in life, there are hills and valleys, and you’re not going to ride the crest of the wave all the time. But those kids knew what they had accomplished, so I told them to hold their heads high. After coaching for over 35 years, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the sport? The men’s talent level is not as great as it used to be. Some of the teams I had 20 years ago could probably light up the teams I’ve had more recently. One of the biggest reasons for that is the disappearance of multi-sport athletes. Everybody is a specialist by age 10 nowadays, and if they’re focusing on only one sport, most of the time they aren’t going to choose track and field. On the women’s side, I’ve seen the exact opposite. There’s been a tidal wave of talent year after year. Title IX has created a wonderful set of opportunities for girls. You don’t have to be the blue-chipper in high school to compete in a college program—you can be a good athlete with decent performances and have your education paid for, which is wonderful. What do you see as the biggest problems facing collegiate track and field today? The NCAA regional championships were controversial when they were first introduced, and I think they have created a major issue in our sport. For the people who support the idea, it’s all about getting the head-to-head competition and an elimination process like the NCAA has with basketball, where it works incredibly well. But track and field is a very different sport, and many schools don’t have the
Q&A budget to travel to their regional site. Athletic directors have to take a hard look at the bottom line when it comes to non-revenue sports, so when you’re going to increase expenses in such a big
tive exposure. We need athletes who are recognized for their success and who appeal to people. Kids sitting in front of the television get interested in a particular sport because they want to imitate what they see. We need to package and promote track and field in a way that’s entertaining “Look at something like the X and draws people in. Look at something like the X Games— Games —that’s become incredibly that’s become incredibly popular popular with the younger generawith the younger generation because it’s packaged well and tion because it’s packaged well it looks exciting. If I’m a kid, let and it looks exciting. If I’m a kid, me have that! Track and field needs to increase its exposure let me have that! Track and field and look for new ways to generneeds to increase its exposure and ate that type of appeal.
look for new ways to generate that type of appeal.” way, there should really be some thought about whether programs will be able to afford it. Besides that, the biggest issue in track and field right now is the need for posi-
One way you’ve generated appeal at USC is by bringing back the annual dual meet against cross-town rival UCLA. How important is that event to your program? It’s huge. There are people who know more about what happens in that meet than they do about anything else in the Pac-10 or the NCAA. People who were
not track and field fans have become hooked on it, because the one-on-one competition is a great draw. The tradition of the dual meet is really in jeopardy in some areas, because you don’t have as many schools with complete programs that can compete head-to-head in every event. But it’s an important tradition for us at UCLA—it’s always one of the highlights of our year. In your career at USC thus far, what achievement are you most proud of? I can’t really single one thing out. I could go back and point to one occasion, one individual, or one event in a particular meet, but it’s impossible for me to say that any one moment has been my high point. My mindset is more about consistently building up the program and having more and more high points. I hope that when I leave here, I’ll know that I’ve given all I can and that this program is better than it was when I started. If you do that over the course of a career—constantly try to make things better or maintain them at the place where they should be—then I think you’ve done your job.
Circle No. 106 COACHING MANAGEMENT
At Rutgers, Head Coach Roberta Anthes sees it as her job to prepare Assistant Coach James Robinson to lead his own program in the future. Robinson was named the 2005 East Region Assistant Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
arge rosters, often comprising both men and women. Athletes with disparate abilities, competing in a wide array of unconnected events, each with a hundred nuances. Several of your athletes competing at the same time in far-flung venues. These factors, and others, mean head track and field coaches need to rely on their assistant coaches, perhaps more so than head coaches in any other sport. Setting up effective communication between head coach and assistants is an important first step toward a solid working relationship, but it takes more than communication to work well with your staff. It also takes a conscious effort to build mutual trust and respect. Effective head coaches work to include their assistants in decisions that affect the whole program, gracefully handle disagreements among staff members, and foster an environment where coaches and assistants learn from each other. This article examines techniques successful high school and college coaches use to develop rich and productive relationships with their staffs. As one of them succinctly puts it, “Let’s face it. You’re only going to be as good as your assistants.” Building Cohesiveness A constant flow of effective communication is the first ingredient in a strong head coach-assistant coach collaboration, according to Chris Bucknam, Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s
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Track and Field at the University of Northern Iowa. Bucknam is so convinced of the importance of communication that he insists on having his entire staff share one office. “We have a large, one-room office where I can get a feel for everything that’s going on in our program,” says Bucknam. “It’s like having a continuous coaches’ meeting. If there’s an issue we need to talk about, I can just swivel my chair around, start a discussion, make a decision, and then swivel back. For two years, we were in separate offices where we couldn’t do that, and we lost some of our momentum. Now that we’re all back together, we’re getting a lot accomplished again.” The system seems to work: In 2004-05, Bucknam’s staff guided the men’s squad to indoor and outdoor conference championships. Bill Bruno, Athletic Director of the Brick (N.J.) School District, who worked for 17 years as a head track and field coach and for 16 years as an assistant, also believes in the value of regularly getting staff members in the same room. As head coach, Bruno held breakfast meetings in his homeroom, arriving 45 minutes early to discuss afternoon practices over coffee and donuts with two of his assistants. For Marty Owens, Head Men’s and Women’s Coach at Susquehanna University, regular sit-downs with the entire staff are unrealistic. As a part-time head coach supervising a staff of five part-time assistants, he has little opportunity to schedule meetings that everyone can
attend. Instead, he keeps in close contact with assistants by e-mail and cell phone, and when he needs to speak with the whole group, Owens holds a staff meeting while the team stretches. No matter how you set up your chain of communication with assistants, remember that communication is more than just you talking to them. “Solicit assistants’ opinions at meetings and make decisions as a staff,” advises Bruno. “Make your assistant coaches feel like an important part of the program and make sure they know they’re truly vital to the overall success or failure of the team.” Once you have an effective communication system in place, follow the second rule of making a staff into a team: Let your coaches coach. “Give your assistants a sense of independence,” says Bruno. “You can’t pay them a higher compliment than that.” At the University of California-San Diego, where the men’s and women’s coaching staff includes one associate head coach, three paid assistant coaches, and five volunteers, Head Coach Tony Salerno gives his staff as much autonomy as possible. “Our organization is very decentralized,” he says. “I run the show, but mostly I follow basic management theory: Hire assistants who are smarter than you, let them do their jobs, and give them support. As a rule, I ask my assistants what they need and then stay out of their way. “In order to be effective, they need to know that I have complete confi-
dence in their abilities,” Salerno continues. “They know that I trust them to get the job done, and once that responsibility is put into their lap, it puts them on notice that they need to be at the top of their game.” At Susquehanna, Owens takes responsibility for the tasks that affect the whole program, such as scheduling indoor facilities, coordinating equipment purchases, planning meets, and setting team goals. On most every other decision, his assistants are free to do as they choose. “I believe in letting them coach,” says Owens. “As long as they’re not hurting anyone or anything, our assistant coaches have total freedom. I will never claim to Kenny Berkowitz is an Assistant Editor at Coaching Management. He can be reached at: kb@MomentumMedia.com.
Successful coaches share practical tips for collaborating with assistant coaches— including how to balance giving advice with allowing independence.
BY KENNY BERKOWITZ
know everything about track and field— there’s just too much information. Each assistant has an area of expertise, and this team is just as much theirs as it is mine.” Bringing volunteer assistant coaches into the fold and helping them make the most of their roles can take a little special effort and mentoring, but according to Salerno, the extra work can reap big rewards. At UCSD, Salerno uses volunteer assistant coaches who are often alumni of his program and only one or two years removed from the student-athlete experience. They help the team by taking times during workouts, monitoring weight training, providing advice on technique, and relieving Salerno of some of the responsibilities
tant coaches. The challenge, he says, is to make sure that they get the supervision they need. “You have to watch them a little more closely in practice, to see how they’re interacting with the athletes,” advises Bucknam. “At the beginning, I give them daily supervision, and as they get more proficient, I allow them to do more on their own.” Handling Disagreements Many head coaches welcome differing opinions from their assistants knowing that varied approaches produce better results. In some cases, though, a head coach must make a tough decision, even if some people on staff disagree with them. In many cases, an assistant coach’s view will carry the day, but the head coach should retain the power to have the final say and know when and when not to use it. The key to managing disagreements, says Roberta Anthes, Head Women’s Track and Field Coach at Rutgers University, is for head coaches to clearly articulate their coaching philosophies with their assistants from the beginning. That way, when conflicts arise, the head coach can refer to those fundamental principles. “If there’s a disagreement, the head coach has to say, ‘This is my philosophy,’” says Anthes. “‘I understand that if you were in charge, you would do things differently. But it’s my responsibility to make this decision, even though I know you don’t like it.’ Listen to your assistants, but be decisive about your philosophy and true to your vision.” When Anthes does intervene, it’s almost always to protect athletes from potential injury, either in training or competition. She teaches assistants to err on the side of caution, and on the rare occasions that she overrules another coach, Anthes carefully considers her assistant’s reasoning before explaining her own. In one example, Anthes wanted a star athlete to compete in two events at a championship meet, while her fulltime assistant coach, James Robinson, thought the athlete was healthy enough to compete in three. “I told James I respected his reasoning, because he knows his athletes very well and he
“The more you help your assistants grow in their profession, the more engaged and devoted to the program they become. By bringing them into the decision-making process, they have more at stake.” of hosting a meet, like managing officials and videotaping events. On top of all that, one of their most important contributions to the program isn’t even part of their job description: befriending student-athletes. “Because they’re generally closer to the age of the athletes on our team, our volunteer assistants help us stay in touch with what’s going on,” says Salerno. “We get some pretty good information about personal issues. Our volunteers provide some real benefits in managing this many athletes.” The key to working well with volunteer assistant coaches, says Salerno, is to pick them wisely, which is why he prefers using former student-athletes, especially former captains. He coaches them to be clear about the disciplinary boundaries that go with their new positions, to avoid romantic entanglements with any members of the team, and to see themselves as role models for their studentathletes. Bucknam also sees clear advantages to using recent alumni as volunteer assis16
made a very strong case,” she says. “But even though it might have been a good idea in some contexts, I felt that given this athlete’s history of injury, it wasn’t a good idea in this context. I didn’t feel completely comfortable overruling him, but I felt that my discomfort had to be secondary to the well-being of the athlete. It was not worth the risk of injury to score a few extra points.” Bruno recommends looking at disagreements as learning opportunities— for both you and your assistants. “You’re not always going to agree with each other, and that’s part of the point of having multiple perspectives,” he says. “What’s crucial is that people trust one another and that everyone is encouraged to openly discuss what they’re thinking. It’s good for assistants to provide input, even if the decision doesn’t go their way. And a head coach who really trusts his or her assistant coaches will respect their opinions. “A disagreement is a chance for you to take a step back and reevaluate what you’re doing,” continues Bruno. “One of your assistants may have a better way of dealing with a given situation, and you may end up going with their idea. If their ideas are better, be mature enough to say, ‘That’s a great point. Let’s do it your way.’ If you go with their opinion, it will only strengthen the bonds you have with your assistants.” Help Them Grow One of the best ways to foster assistants’ morale—while at the same time giving you a stronger staff—is to look for ways to help your assistants further their skills. Salerno encourages his assistants to learn from other coaches, both on his staff and at other schools, and to integrate other systems into their own program. Bucknam fosters professional development by giving assistants the chance to recruit in groups and having them watch competitions together, discussing and analyzing other coaches’ successes. He expects younger assistants to continually challenge themselves, finding mentors in their events and presenting papers at local, regional, or national clinics. At Pinelands (N.J.) Regional High School, where he spent 11 years as head track and field coach, Bruno used subvarsity competitions to provide additional opportunities for assistants to
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EVALUATING ASSISTANTS Because head track and field coaches expect their assistant coaches to work with a great deal of autonomy, evaluating their performance can be a challenge. Bernie Cullen of Cambria Consulting, a Bostonbased firm specializing in human resource management and organizational development, offers a handful of tips for effective evaluations: Instead of thinking of your evaluation as a once-a-year event, maintain an open, year-round dialogue. “Provide constant feedback, just as your assistants do with their athletes,” says Cullen. “Doing evaluations as an ongoing process eliminates some of the formality of an annual review.”
To evaluate an assistant’s day-to-day performance, ask for help from your student-athletes. “If you don’t have direct access to an individual assistant’s performance, go to the people who do,” says Cullen. “Solicit information from your athletes by asking questions in a general, informal fashion: ‘How’s it going? What are you working on?’ Don’t explicitly try to extract information about the assistant coach, because that could compromise his or her authority. Simply find out how the athletes are doing and use that to form a fuller picture of your assistant.”
Present that feedback to your assistant coach as the basis for a dialogue. “Let’s say an athlete tells you she needs clearer feedback on her technique,” says Cullen. “You can relay that to your assistant by asking, ‘What would lead someone to say that?’ You shouldn’t
use the feedback in a crass, evaluative sense, but as a catalyst for discussion about how the assistant coach is approaching these situations.” ■ If you have concerns about an assistant coach’s performance, don’t put off discussing the problem. “If there are obvious deficiencies in an assistant coach’s performance, you need to address them as they come up,” says Cullen. “Don’t hold back your bad news until the end of the season. When you come to the annual review, there really shouldn’t be any surprises.” ■ Provide a balance of positive and negative comments. “When you go into an evaluation, don’t just focus on the areas that need improvement,” says Cullen. “Make sure you give equal time to talking about what the assistant coach is doing right.”
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gain experience. “I would send one or two assistant coaches to a freshmansophomore track meet and give them control of the whole group,” says Bruno. “They’d be in charge of as many as 30 athletes at a full-fledged track and field invitational. They’d have the experience of getting everyone to the meet, filling out the relay card, taking care of timing, and getting results. “They were completely in charge of those student-athletes, and they got a feel for what a head coach goes though on a daily basis,” continues Bruno. “Then, when they came back, we’d talk about their day. I’d ask, ‘How did it go? What did you do well? What would you do differently next time around?’ “As they became more comfortable in their roles, there were times when we would split the varsity team in half. Some assistants would take athletes to a meet in New York, and some would take other athletes to a meet in South Jersey. That way, assistants became even more involved in running the program, and they became much better coaches because of it.” At Rutgers, Anthes mentors Robinson, who was named the 2005 East Region Assistant Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, by involving him in all the day-to-day details of her job. “I try to expose him to absolutely everything about the profession, with the idea that he should become capable of being a head coach some day. I share questions I have about our schedule, our recruits, and our scholarships. Before I go into a budget meeting, I sit down with him and say, ‘Here’s the budget I’m proposing. What do you think?’ “The more you help your assistants grow in their profession, the more engaged and devoted to the program they become,” continues Anthes. “By bringing them into the decision-making process, they become more knowledgeable and have more at stake.” Effective Evaluations As they do in any successful organization, evaluations play a crucial role in providing feedback for your assistants, promoting open communication, improving performance, and increasing job satisfaction. This is true whether a coach is a paid assistant or a volunteer.
In Brick Township, where all coaches work with renewable one-year contracts, Bruno observes both practices and meets before sitting down with assistant coaches at the end of the season. “I want to see how our athletes respond to their coaches and how our coaches respond to each other,” says Bruno. “I also want to see how they handle criticism. Everything I see is going to be part of that evaluation.”
To begin this discussion, Bruno uses a two-page evaluation form. One page rates assistants on the performance of their specific responsibilities and a second page summarizes their performance for the season, complete with areas that need improvement. The assistant then has 10 days to respond in writing before the evaluation is placed in his or her file. When Anthes began coaching at Rutgers 22 years ago, she had no formal
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COACHING COACHING MANAGEMENT MANAGEMENT
procedure for evaluating assistant coaches. At the end of the season, she would sit down with her assistant for a conversation about what had and hadn’t gone well. Two years ago, she started adding some structure by writing a short synopsis of the season to use in the evaluation process. The written summary has proven to be a great help in setting the tone for a two-way conversation between head coach and assistant. “The evaluations have been a learning experience for James and for me,” says Anthes. “Writing down my ideas has made me more exacting, but really, the evaluations have been more like having a discussion than giving a grade. It’s been just as important for me to listen to him as for him to listen to me. He gets a chance to tell me where I can improve, too.” For more advice, see “Evaluating Assistants” on page 18. Sharing Credit Making assistant coaches feel valued also means sharing the limelight when your teams succeed. There are numer-
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ous ways, both big and small, to share the credit. Robinson’s 2005 Assistant Coach of the Year award was the result of a nomination by Anthes—a step which resulted in nationwide recognition for his efforts. However, she has also made sure to send him a thank you card at the end of each season—a small gesture that’s nonetheless important. When Owens was named the 2005 Division III Mideast Regional Track Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track Coaches Association, he brought all five of his assistants onto the stage, where he thanked them for their contributions to the team. “We don’t think of any event as being more important than any other,” he says. “What got us to the championships was working as a team. I look on this award as Coaching Staff of the Year, because our success comes from all of us working together.” As head coach, Bruno directed members of the media to speak with his assistant coaches. He also announced their successes on the school’s PA system, publicly praised them in front of the team,
and recognized them at the program’s end-of-season banquet. “I could never have been as successful as I was without the assistant coaches who worked with me—not under me, but with me,” says Bruno. “Track coaches work with a large number of athletes, and there is a lot of teaching that goes on before any of them can be successful. You have to rely on your assistants, and you have to make sure they get their due credit.” For Anthes, the time and thought she’s put into working with her assistant coaches has led to an unexpected benefit: It’s made her better at her own job. “As a head coach, mentoring your assistants forces you to evaluate what is really and truly the best method of doing something,” she says. “You become more aware of your own standards, why you have them, and what you have to do to live up to them. As you teach that to somebody else, you get to hear their point of view, and you may learn something that you’d never considered before.” ■
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A FRESH START BY LEM ELWAY
At some point, most coaches have thought about quitting their jobs. How do you know whether it’s time to hang up your clipboard, or if you just need a fresh start?
JUST FINISHED UP AN INCREDIBLY TOUGH SEASON AND YOU’RE READY TO THROW IN THE TOWEL. The athletes didn’t seem moti-
vated, their parents drove you crazy, and your athletic director was off playing golf whenever you needed a helping hand. You worked your tail off for the team and all you got in return were complaints. You’re about to hand in your letter of resignation, but then again, you’re not really sure you want out. You do love coaching—working with the kids and the thrill of competition. Ever have a season like that? Most all of us have at some point in our coaching careers. How do you decide whether it’s time to leave and start over? I recently left the school where I’d been coaching for 16 years. It was a difficult decision, but one that was ultimately in my best interest. It took a lot of reflection, thinking about my options, and getting ready for new challenges. But here I am, at age 58, a rookie head coach in a new school with more energy than I’ve had in years. Lem Elway just completed his first year as Head Baseball Coach at Black Hills (Tumwater, Wash.) High School and Head Football Coach at Rochester (Wash.) High School, where he teaches special education. A member of the Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame, he has coached sports at the middle school, high school, and college levels.
What Went Wrong? There are many factors that might make a coach want to resign. Sometimes it is because a painful situation arose with parents. Maybe the time commitment has become too overwhelming. For some, lack of support from administration and a shrinking budget is the impetus. Others just feel they’ve lost their passion for coaching, and they’re not sure why. Before you write that resignation letter, it’s important to reflect on why you are thinking about calling it quits. A critical and unemotional look at the situation is essential to making the right choice. This is the only way to figure out if you truly want to quit coaching altogether, if you should move to another
who break school or team rules. One of the reasons I left my former school was that I was verbally attacked (as were members of my family) after the administration disciplined five seniors from my team who were caught breaking the team no-drinking rule. Some of the parents of these student-athletes were relentless in trying to get me fired. Although the administration backed me and I stayed at the school for another five years (and we continued to have a winning program), the negativity took its toll. Having a fresh start at a new school was what I needed to preserve my enthusiasm for coaching. School Climate: Sometimes the overall climate of the school and athletic
Think about what you want in a job, as well as about your overall coaching goals ... How has your experience prepared you for the next step? school, or if you just need to change some of your strategies before the next season starts. Here are some areas to think about: Parents: When I started coaching, working with athletes’ parents was not an issue. Parents rarely dared to question a coach and they were quickly told to mind their own business if they did. Today, working with parents is a big part of the job, and it can run even a veteran coach ragged. If you are thinking about moving to another school because of issues with parents, you should know that parents in another district are probably not going to be much different. Every team, no matter what school district you coach in, has parents who will question your decisions, overprotect their children, and not understand the greater good. The simple truth is you need to embrace working with parents if you want to continue coaching. However, some schools are better at supporting their coaches through parent problems than others. If your current athletic director and central administration do not have procedures in place for parent questions and do not back you up in parental disagreements, you might want to look for an administration that will. This issue can be especially sensitive when it comes to disciplining athletes 24
department make coaching difficult. A coach I know relocated after seeing his budget cut year after year and the administration not giving him the support he needed to do a good job. He found a position at a school with a strong athletic director and a community committed to high school athletics. On the flip side, some coaches become frustrated with a climate that puts too much emphasis on winning. A new generation of parents who want the team to bring home a regional championship every year might not be your idea of a good time. If that’s more pressure than you want, then it may be time to say good-bye. Time Commitments: Being a head coach is much more time-consuming than it was 10 years ago. If you aren’t spending enough time with your family, you’ve got a very good reason to take a break from coaching. Whether you’re juggling childcare with your spouse, or taking your kids on weekend college visits, there are things in your family life that you can’t afford to miss. In most cases, you can return to coaching when the time is right. Even if your old job has gone to someone else, there will be opportunities to coach in just about every community. I’ve seen head coaches leave one post, then return to coach a different team. I’ve also seen former head coaches return as assistant coaches with great success.
Mistakes Made: This is hard to do, but it’s critical that you think about the mistakes you’ve made that contributed to the negative situation. We all make mistakes, but only those who can analyze their missteps will learn from them. Conduct a critical evaluation of yourself and write down what you could have done differently. For example, maybe you didn’t make your expectations clear enough at the beginning of the season. Maybe you are struggling with evaluating the talent on your team. Maybe your strategies weren’t well thought out. Maybe you haven’t found the right balance of being strict yet understanding with your athletes. Maybe you tried to skirt parents’ questions instead of dealing with a situation. Maybe you neglected to ask for help when you needed it. Maybe your practices weren’t focused enough. Be honest with yourself about the mistakes you’ve made. And then be honest about figuring out your role in avoiding similar problems in the future. Is Repair Possible?: With a complete understanding of what went wrong and your role in the problem, you next need to think about whether the situation can be repaired. If you feel that, by doing some things differently next year, you can avoid the same problems, then write down your goals for how you want to change and stay where you are. In some cases, you might also need to talk to people to repair any damage done. If you honestly don’t feel the problems will go away no matter what you do, then hand in your resignation letter and think about your next step: Do you want to stop coaching altogether or look for a new position? To help make this decision, think about going to practice next season at a new school: Are you pumped up as you imagine yourself meeting new athletes (and parents)? Or would you be forcing yourself to get excited at that first meeting? If you still feel a genuine spark of excitement, keep reading. Putting Out Your Resume Before you decide to look for another job, understand that there is work to be done and there are decisions to be made. First of all, think about your parameters: “Is it possible to relocate or do I need to look for a job in the area? What are my financial needs? What are my family’s needs?”
Family considerations cannot be overlooked. Having a family partnership is critical on a short- and long-term basis. In my early days of coaching, I had an opportunity to move to the junior college ranks, but my spouse was not eager to move because of the lifestyle changes that would result. Looking back, I am so glad I did not accept that job offer. In my most recent coaching change, it was not until my spouse said she was ready to move that we made our decision. Think about what you want in a job, as
well as about your overall coaching goals. What has your current school taught you about what gives you job satisfaction? What has it shown you about finding a work environment that suits you? What have you learned about the qualities to look for in your next athletic director? How has your current experience prepared you to take the next step? Once you know what you want, start researching and networking. I found it helpful to talk to other coaches at schools that had openings and in communities I
I N T E RV I E W Q U E S T I O N S Here are eight questions you should be prepared to answer as a coaching candidate: ■
Why should anyone hire you?
How are you different from other candidates?
What can you offer to make a program better?
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
How do you handle problems with parents?
How do you deal with conflict?
What is your coaching philosophy?
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was interested in moving to. I asked them about working with the athletic director and other administrators, how problems with parents are handled, what type of students attend the school, whether the coaches on staff get along, and the history of my sport at the school. Next, get your resume and a list of personal recommendations in order. Supply occupations, addresses, and phone numbers to the committee. Review your interview skills, making sure obvious questions have been studied and your answers practiced. Talk to others who have recently gone through the process for tips. For example, in today’s world, questions about handling parents and program philosophy are at the top of the list. Make sure you have practiced answers to a list of possible high-priority interview questions. This will give you interview confidence. (See “Interview Questions” at left.) New Coach on the Block Once you have secured a new position, plan to work hard in that first year
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Circle No. 114 COACHING MANAGEMENT
to get off on the right foot. When taking leadership of a program, there is much to learn and communicate. To start, establish relationships with as many people as you can: ■ Meet with prospective athletes to introduce yourself and learn about their goals and objectives. ■ If possible, meet with the former coach of the team to get his or her perspective on the history of the program. ■ Meet teachers, counselors, and secretaries in the building to establish professional relationships. ■ Establish lines of communication with parents who might be involved with your program in any way. Make sure there are multiple ways they can contact and communicate with you. ■ Meet with local radio and newspaper outlets to introduce yourself and facilitate ways to satisfy their needs for information. ■ Attend and be visible at as many school and community activities as possible to show your support for other programs.
■ Meet with the booster club to get members’ sense of the program and begin to work on projects together. ■ Meet with “feeder” coaches to provide leadership, information, and support for their programs. ■ Talk to the principal and administration about the issues they see as important. As you talk with people, find out the history of your sport at the school and any significant issues from the past. This will give you an important perspective that will help guide your decision making. For example, understand why the former coach left and what people liked and disliked about him or her. Get a sense of whether the best athletes at the school are involved in your sport, and if not, why not. Find out how problems have been handled in the past and how parents have responded. It’s also a good idea to understand the coaching dynamics in your new school. As time passes, you can put your personal touch on the program to reflect your style, but to start, follow the
standards set by veteran coaches. For example, if coaches are supposed to lead individual booster clubs, then do so. If they are supposed to follow the lead of a booster club president, then don’t step on anyone’s toes. Other things to find out: ■ Do the school’s talented athletes specialize or play multiple sports? ■ What is the success level of other sports at the school? ■ What outside influences in the community are related to athletics and your sport? ■ Do players participate in club sports during the off-season? ■ How strong is the involvement and support of parents? ■ What is the expectation level of the program from the athletes, school, and community? If there are assistant coaches to be hired, work with your athletic director to get the best folks on board. If possible, it’s great to have a veteran coach of another sport work as your assistant to help you with the details of the pro-
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Circle No. 116
gram. If you’re hiring all new assistants, make sure to do your homework on prospects. With some background knowledge, start the season by communicating your expectations to athletes. Some coaches draw a line in the sand about rules, but when starting new, it often works best to set some guidelines, and then adjust gradually. Most important is to communicate everything well. As a new coach, your rules might contradict the past, and so you must use positive and diplomatic skills to make the transition smooth and constructive. Pick your battles carefully. Starting a new program means selling your procedures, expectations, and philosophy, which can’t be rushed you want it if done right. In addition, don’t assume anything. It’s easy to forget about the little things, but if they aren’t addressed, frustration and anxiety can result. For example, when I took over here at Black Hills, cell phones and CD players became a big issue. I’d always allowed CD players on the bus, but not on the bench.
Players brought them on the bench without my knowledge at first, and I was surprised. However, instead of getting angry, I quickly set the rules straight and explained why I banned CD players on the field and bench. Another example is the role of seniors on a team. Some new coaches like to work only with the younger athletes and think toward the future. Here at Black Hills, I elected to work with the seniors and make them the leaders. Seniors often have a high level of anxiety with a new coach. My attitude was that, as long as they work hard, provide enthusiasm, and are coachable, I would find a role for them on my team. My number one priority was to change the attitude of the program (which will eventually lead to higher performance levels) and I felt it would work best if the seniors could help me do this. Whatever you decide to do, remember that how you handle seniors is important. It’s also critical to explain your expectations to parents. A parents’ meeting needs to occur a month or so before the
start of the season, at which time you cover all aspects of your program’s operations, expectations, and procedures—including discipline procedures. This can easily become the most important meeting for your program and your leadership. It puts you in a proactive mode and opens the lines of communication. Parents must be encouraged to ask questions, and they should receive good, clear answers. Parents can only support policies they know and understand. Starting over can be a painful or exhilarating experience. To make it a rewarding one, take the time to think deeply about your desires and your options. Then, have an organized, systematic approach, stay positive, and communicate well. The future is in your hands. ■ A version of this article has appeared in previous issues of Coaching Management. To read other articles by Lem Elway, search “Elway” at our Web site: www.AthleticSearch.com.
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VSAthletics.com 800-676-7463 Circle No. 117 COACHING MANAGEMENT
BY RALPH WHITE & FLETCHER BROOKS
ON THE FAST TRACK
HE BLINK OF AN EYE. For a sprinter, that can be the difference between winning and losing. Races are sometimes decided by hundredths of a second. Shaving such a sliver off a sprinter’s time, however, is the result of months and months of work, much of it in the weight room. Building lower-body strength is the most obvious way a strength and conditioning coach can help sprinters improve, but it is not the only one. At Williams College, we have found that improving conditioning, reducing injuries, and developing upper-body strength
At Williams College, sprinters are shaving seconds and heading off injuries with a progressive strength and conditioning program.
also help sprinters—both over the long haul and during the short run. A Balanced Plan Here at Williams, we address our strength and conditioning program by first establishing a plan for the entire season. We start by determining what we will be doing with our sprinters on the day before the national championships, then work on two days before,
then a week before, and so on until we have the whole season mapped out. We take care that our plans account for a wide range of experience and skill levels. All too often, strength and conditioning programs are developed around a team’s top athletes. But a plan that will help an All-American senior often will do little for an inexperienced freshman and may actually cause substantial harm.
Ralph White is the Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Track and Field at Williams College. He has coached 15 Olympians and more than 200 NCAA All-Americans during his career. Fletcher Brooks served as the Coordinator of Strength and Conditioning and Associate Head Coach of Track and Field at Williams until June 2005. He is now the Head Coach of Women’s Track and Field at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
At a Division III program such as Williams, we see many incoming runners who are relatively weak and who have had little or no experience with strength training. As a result, we may spend up to two years working with these athletes to establish their base strength before moving on to more specific work to help them become faster sprinters. But just because an incoming athlete has experience with strength training doesn’t mean he or she won’t have problems that need to be resolved. Oftentimes, new athletes come into our program with some sort of strength imbalance that we must address before moving on to event-specific work. As with all our athletes, we start with our sprinters’ strength and conditioning program by first measuring for strength imbalances. We do this by comparing their results in any number of simple lifts, such as the front squat versus the back squat or a clean versus a snatch. If the differences fall outside predetermined percentages, we know that we have identified an area that needs to be more balanced. Simply watching an athlete squat may reveal certain problems we need to address before moving onto sprinter-specific work. We have found that most athletes have some strength imbalances, which can usually be corrected through exercises designed to strengthen the weaker muscle. If you do not address those imbalances first, you can exacerbate them, leading to decreased performances or increased risk of injury. For example, if someone is quad dominant or glute dominant compared to the hamstrings or hip flexors, a lift that might work both muscle areas will be taken over by the stronger muscle group. Therefore the imbalance is never corrected. Once strength imbalances have been corrected, real performance gains can be attained. Sprint Strength With strength imbalances addressed and base strength developed, we focus on ways to turn strength into speed. We use plyometrics to help make the transition from base strength to sprint strength in conjunction with targeted weight training, mostly using Olympic lifts. We have a very structured plyometric program, aimed at getting muscles strong and ready to handle the speed
work on the track. Plyometric work usually begins in January and increases in intensity very gradually. We increase the number of touches per session week-by-week rather than jumping into heavy work immediately. To decrease the risk of injury, we perform many of our plyometric workouts on soft surfaces, such as a synthetic track or dry grass. We emphasize to the athletes the importance of landing on their full foot, not just their toes, and make sure they have plenty of recovery time with a typical work-to-rest ratio of one to five. Typically, we have one plyometric session every four days. Table One (below) lists some sample plyometric routines that we have used early in the training schedule for athletes who have attained a sufficient base of strength. The number of sets and reps will increase as we progress through the schedule and will be adjusted for individual athletes. Our lower-body strength work focuses on variations of Olympic lifts, along with back squats, split squats, front squats, and lunges. At our level, we find that sprinters get stronger with greater ease than they get explosive, and we will often see them performing better cleans
than snatches. Since the snatch is more of a speed lift, we will often use more variations of the snatch than the clean to help build that explosiveness. Snatches also involve the whole posterior chain— a critical area for sprinters that includes the hamstrings, glutes, and low back— more so than the clean does. For more advanced athletes, we add some contrast sets. Some of our favorites are squats followed by hurdle jumps, squats followed by jump squats or inplace jumps, and snatch pulls with chains followed by a full recovery and box hops. These sets are a little more fun for the athletes, but it is vital that they have the proper lifting experience and strength base to avoid injury. Rarely do we have athletes doing any of these complex exercises in their first year. While much of the focus for sprinters is on the lower body and core, it is important to also work on the upper body. If we can make their arms and torso stronger, athletes can move them with more efficiency and relative speed to the lower body and in turn increase sprint performance. This is especially important for female runners who generally do not have the same upper-body strength as males.
TABLE 1: PLYOMETRIC ROUTINES Here are some sample plyometric routines we use to help develop strength and conditioning in our sprinters: EASY
Hop on both feet over a line for 30 seconds, rest 2:30, and repeat Hop on one foot over a line for 30 seconds, rest 2:30, and repeat with other foot Hop for distance and height with both legs x 10, rest 60 seconds Hop for distance and height on right leg x 10, rest 60 seconds Hop for distance and height on left leg x10 MODERATE
Two sets of 10 depth jumps off 12- to 18-inch box, rest two minutes, and repeat
Three sets of tuck jumps for 30 seconds with 2:30 rest between sets Three sets of double-leg jumps over six to eight low hurdles with 90 seconds rest DIFFICULT
Two sets of alternate-leg bounds for 60 meters up hill followed by slow walk back for recovery Two sets of 10 double-leg depth jumps down and immediately up from 18- to 24-inch box with two minutes rest between sets Two sets of single-leg bounds on each leg and two sets of double-leg bounds onto and off from six to eight 12- to 24-inch boxes with 2:30 recovery between sets
Running Work When prescribing running workouts for our sprinters, we follow a simple ruleâ€”sprinters need to sprint. Sometimes, younger sprinters will tell us they want to run cross country to help them prepare for the track season. It is their decision to make, but our philosophy is that if you train slow, you will run slow. Although most of these athletes are correct in thinking they have to establish a strong base for the track season, we feel there are much better ways for sprinters to do this than by running cross country. Instead of having them run four or five miles to improve their aerobic base, we have them run 20 to 30 minutes Fartlek style. This is a form of interval training where athletes will sprint, jog, and walk for a specific time or distance. For example, after warming up they may sprint for 30 seconds, jog for 30 seconds, and walk for one minute. This pattern is then repeated until they reach their desired time. This trains the athlete to run fast at the same time they are building their appropriate speed endurance levels. Here is an example of running workouts we might use early in the indoor
season. Of course, the exact workout will vary based on the athleteâ€™s fitness level and experience. We begin each workout with a 10-minute jog followed by running drills and dynamic stretching. Monday: Three sets of three reps of 100-meter form running at 80 percent of max with 15 seconds between each 100 meters and three minutes between each set. Tuesday: Circuit (see Table Two, below). Wednesday: 20 to 30 minutes of Fartlek running, with sprint times ranging from 10 seconds to one minute. Athletes should be jogging or walking when not sprinting. Thursday: Swimming or games, such as water polo, ultimate Frisbee, or angle ball after warmup. The goal is to give the legs a chance to recover while still keeping the athletes active. Friday: Three sets of two reps of 150 meters with each 50 meters getting faster (75 percent, 85 percent, 95 percent). These also provide an opportunity for sprinters to work on running relaxed. Once we have developed a solid strength and conditioning base, we focus more on sprinting-specific work, including hill work. Here are sample January
workouts. All are performed after warmup. Monday: Two reps of 30 seconds of hill work at 85 percent with 2:30 rest. Two reps of 20 seconds of hill work at 90 percent with 1:45 rest. Two reps of 10 seconds hill work at 95 percent with 60 seconds rest. Athletes sprint up the hill and walk or jog down. Tuesday: Nine 30-meter sprints at 98 percent, three from a standing start, three from a three-point start, and three from a jogging start. Rest one minute between each sprint. Three sets of three one-minute reps of 200 meters. (For example, if it takes the athlete 35 seconds to complete the 200, he or she would rest for 25 seconds.) Rest four minutes between sets. It is much better to start out slowly and get faster each set than to start out fast and get slower. Wednesday: Six reps of 100-meter form running with walk back. Two reps of split 300 meters at 400-meter race pace. (Example: Run 200 meters at 400meter race pace, rest one minute, then run 100 meters.) Focus on mechanics throughout. Thursday: Pool workout. This could be swimming Fartlek-style or a ladder of flutter kicks such as four sets of one-
TABLE 2: CIRCUIT TRAINING Our circuit consists of eight stations located 50 meters apart. Each station is assigned three related exercises. Athletes begin by pairing up. The first member of the pair starts the circuit at Station 1 and performs the first exercise at that station 25 times. He or she then sprints 50 meters to Station 2 and performs the first exercise listed there 25 times. Athletes continue until they have done the first exercise at all eight stations. The second member of the pair then completes all eight stations while his or her partner rests. After the second partner completes his or her first circuit, both partners run 400 meters. The process then repeats with athletes completing the second circuit, running 400 meters, completing the third circuit, and finishing off with a 400-meter dash.
Regular-grip push ups
Wide-grip push ups
Closed-grip push ups
V sit ups
Split squats (each leg)
Toe raises (straight)
Toe raises (inward)
Toe raises (outward)
Bent-leg doggies (right)
Straight-leg doggies (right)
Back-leg extensions (right)
Bent-leg doggies (left)
Straight-leg doggies (left)
Back-leg extensions (left)
minute flutter kicks followed by four sets of 45-second flutter kicks followed by four sets of 30-second flutter kicks. Use a one to one rest-to-work ratio. Friday: Two to four sprint starts with gun, baton work, and 150 meters at 98 percent. Recovery becomes extremely important as the championship meets approach. At this point, we focus on quality over quantity and run less volume with increased intensity and rest. Here is an example of late season work: Monday: Three sets of 20 seconds of hill work with 10 minutes between runs. Tuesday: Block and baton work. Wednesday: Four flying 60-meter sprints at 99 percent with complete recovery followed by one quality 150meter sprint. Thursday: Running drills in pool. Friday: Active warmup or rest. Injury Prevention The two most common injury types for sprinters are shin splints and hamstring problems. To help keep these
injuries at bay, we do a daily dynamic warmup, which includes running drills. Many times, coaches will have their athletes jog for 10 or 15 minutes and then sit and stretch. The problem with this approach is that quite often the body cools down during the 20 to 30 minutes of stretching. Also, with static stretching, there is no movement of the jointsâ€”there is no activation of the synovial fluid to lubricate the joints, there is really no warming of the joints or the muscles at all. You need movement to accomplish that. There is nothing complicated about dynamic warmup. It is just a matter of moving the joints as well as stretching and working the muscles. We start with a five- to 10-minute run, followed by running drills that include leg swings, arm swings, backward weaving runs, skipping, and side-sliding. Following the drills, we have our athletes do some hurdle-mobility drills, such as going over the hurdles with a single leg, walking over and then under the hurdles, or
going over sideways, which warm up the hips and core muscles. We also take static stretches and make them active by adding movement. For example, our version of a quad stretch looks like this: Athletes grab one leg, hold it for a few seconds, then take a step forward and grab the opposite leg. In some cases, our active warmup may take 30 minutes or more, but the beauty of an active warmup is that it is more that just a warmup. Motor learning and even strengthening occur with many of these exercises. Early in the season, athletes will sometimes think the warmup is the workout! But within two weeks, they are breezing through it, which shows its value as a conditioning tool as well. We also vary the surface we use for our active warmup to include sand and grass. Of course, none of these steps will eliminate the possibility of injury, but we have seen very few shin splints or hamstring problems over the yearsâ€” something that has helped keep our sprinters on the right track. â–
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Cabana Banners 800-697-3139 WWW.CABANABANNERS.COM
Make your sprint and jump marks official with the help of VS Athletics’ Compact Wind Gauge, the smallest and best-selling 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. 505
Captivate your visiting team with conference banners from Cabana Banners. They represent each team in your conference with individual school colors and mascot. The company maintains its own large mascot and logo library, or each school logo in your conference can be scanned at no extra charge. Send your information and Cabana Banners takes care of the rest. Call today and ask about special conference package pricing. Circle No. 508
Uniforms & Apparel
RS Track 800-567-2739 WWW.RSTRACK.COM
Austin Plastics & Supply, Inc. 800-290-1025 WWW.ATHLETICRECORDBOARDS.COM
Created in 1988 by two former national team athletes who, through their own experiences, wanted to train and compete wearing clothing that was more comfortable and looked good, RSTrack specializes in the design and manufacture of custom high-performance team apparel. The company utilizes the best fabrics, such as CoolMax®, Supplex® and Supplex® Lycra®, to allow teams and clubs to look their best without blowing their budgets. Visit their Web site or call toll-free and explore all the possibilities. Circle No. 509
Athletic record boards from Austin Plastics are effective tools for motivating your athletes to do their best. The boards are easy to install, are made of durable plastic, and are available in various colors. They come in three standard sizes: 38” x 48”, 45” x 80”, and 72” x 120”. Engraved record nameplates are also available, or teams can print their own using perforated card stock supplied by the company. All record boards, whether custom or standard, are available for all sports. Circle No. 512
Russell Athletic WWW.RUSSELLATHLETIC.COM Introducing Russell Athletic’s lightweight warm-ups. Available in men’s, women’s, and youth sizes, these warm-ups are perfect for all track and cross country teams. They are 100percent nylon and available in eight team colors with contrasting white athletic piping. The jacket is meshlined with taffeta sleeves for comfort and ease of movement. The open-bottom pants with side leg zipper are available in tall sizes to fit all athletes. Circle No. 510 Coordinate Russell Athletic’s warmups with the company’s new track and cross-country uniforms featuring an innovative Dri-Power tricot nylon fabric. These uniforms are offered in eight team colors with contrasting white side panels. As with all Russell Athletic Dri-Power fabrics, this new fabric manages moisture to keep athletes cool and dry so they can perform at their peak during every race. Circle No. 511
Beynon Sports Surfaces, Inc. 410-771-9473 WWW.BEYNONSPORTS.COM The BSS 2000, an IAAF Certified surface, is grounded by a bio-engineered force reduction layer of Butyl rubber and full-depth color polyurethane. Each system is finished with a customized texture engineered to meet the intense demands of competition. EPDM granules—either embedded or encapsulated—are mixed throughout the depth of the wear layer for better traction and control. The BSS 2000 can be tuned to meet the exact desires of your program. Circle No. 513 On Track 800-697-2999 WWW.ONTRACKANDFIELD.COM On Track Fast Lane High School Hurdles are the original truly stackable rocker-type hurdles. Constructed with a double-tube steel base and heliarc welded for superior strength and durability, these hurdles ship completely
assembled and ready to use. There is no rear crossbar to intimidate young hurdlers, and button latches quickly adjust to five heights. Upright tubes are also available in most school colors at no extra charge. See On Track’s ad for a special promotion board-printing offer. Circle No. 514 On Track High Jump and Pole Vault Standards feature weight-saving anodized aluminum uprights equipped with polymer measurement scales that resist peeling and tearing. Unique “onoff” riser clamps make height adjustment positive and secure at all heights—no more slipping because of loose screw-downs. The steel riser tubes and offsets are zincelectroplated for durability. The Pole Vault Standards slide along heavy steel rail units for unsurpassed stability. Circle No. 515 Rephouse 866-898-8007 WWW.REPHOUSE.COM Since 1985, Rephouse has been manufacturing rubber-flooring systems for both indoor and outdoor track facilities. Its dedicated experts and experienced staff have maintained the company’s mission in providing total quality and support for its customers’ needs. The company’s reputation rests on its steadfast pursuit in the development of rubber-flooring systems designed to last, no matter what the team’s needs or facility specifications. Rephouse was honored to have its track surface selected as one of the practice surfaces used by the track athletes competing in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Circle No. 516
Training & Conditioning Aids Cardinal Publishers Group 800-296-0481 WWW.CARDINALPUB.COM WWW.SPORTSWORKOUT.COM The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Sports is a series of books devoted to sport-specific weight-training programs. Each guide, authored by Robert Price, CPT, contains detailed instructions for workouts appropriate for preseason preparation, seasonal development, and post-season maintenance. The books are available now for the following sports: swimming, triathlon, volleyball, golf, basketball, soccer, baseball/softball, football, and tennis. Circle No. 517 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. 518 M-F Athletic Company 888-556-7464 WWW.PERFORMBETTER.COM M-F Athletic introduces “soft design” cones to prevent injuries during plyometric training. Available in four sizes—four inches to 18 inches—these cones flatten with pressure and return immediately to original shape. A weighted polyvinyl base prevents tipping and sliding. The cones are featured in the company’s 2005 Track & Field Catalog. For further information call M-F Athletic Company, or visit its Web site. Circle No. 519
In its 2005 catalog, M-F Athletic introduces the Biokinetic Plyobox. This plyobox allows you to adjust the stiffness of the landing surface through Isogel™ technology embedded in the landing surface, dynamically reducing the impact forces. A “tuning” feature allows users to preselect the stiffness desired to meet training needs. The Biokinetic Plyobox is available in four sizes, from 12 to 30 inches. For further information call M-F Athletic Company or visit its Web site. Circle No. 520 PowerLung, Inc. 800-903-3087 WWW.POWERLUNG.COM “The PowerLung program allows our athletes to compete at their highest level,” says University of Tennessee Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Johnny Long. Why? Because under-trained breathing muscles restrict athletes’ performances. Stronger breathing muscles mean improved capacity, reduced heart rate, and faster recovery. Use PowerLung to improve your athletes training, competition, and recovery. Contact PowerLung now for a free copy of The Importance of Respiratory Muscle Training for Inspiratory and Expiratory Muscles white paper and PowerLung’s Specialized Training Program. Circle. No. 521 Power Systems 800-321-6975 WWW.POWER-SYSTEMS.COM Power Systems can improve athletes’ force production with the partner-controlled resistant Power Harness. The Power Harness helps develop maximum leg drive through short sprints and power marching exercises. The Power Harness package comes with your choice of the waist belt or shoulder harness, strong nylon lead, a padded handle constructed of tubular steel, and instructional manual. A VHS tape or DVD is also available. The versatile waist belt option is available in standard-size (30- to 42-inch waist) or in XXL (40- to 48-inch waist). Circle No. 522
Drive home the power, and develop explosive lower-body strength with Power Systems’ Power Sled. Utilize the body harness to target stride length and acceleration, or use the handles to push the sled to develop a powerful hip and leg drive. The waist belt can be used for backward, forward, and lateral running drills, adjusting easily to any body type. Add weights to increase difficulty and challenge acceleration. A Power Sled instructional manual and VHS or DVD are also available. Circle No. 523 Xvest 800-697-5658 WWW.THEXVEST.COM 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 internally it has a new weight configuration that allows for 84 pounds of weight. Because of its 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. 524 “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, Ph.D., PT, ATC, CSCS, author of Jumping Into Plyometrics Circle No. 525
Training & Conditioning Aids Lane Gainer 800-443-8946 WWW.LANEGAINER.COM Lane Gainer offers Gorilla™ Agility Hurdles. Convenience is the biggest feature of these highly-visible orange agility steps. They stack and carry “briefcase” style and store easily. The hurdles have a synthetic edge for indoor and outdoor use, and they feature a collapsible design for safe use. Steps are available in a three-inch model for $8, six-inch model for $9, and a 12-inch model for $10. A carry tote is available for $10. Circle No. 526 Hammer Strength 800-634-8637 WWW.LIFEFITNESS.COM The new Hammer Strength Olympic Heavy Duty Combo Rack gives collegiate and high school athletic facilities the ultimate training variety in the most space-efficient combination. It offers two training stations, two flip-up, non-slip spotter stands, and two Dock ‘N Lock stations, which secure two optional benches in the proper position. Like all Hammer Strength products, the Heavy Duty Combo Rack provides premium durability, functionality, and ease of use, providing optimal team training for enhanced sports performance. Circle No. 527
Beynon Brings Olympic Performances to Prefontaine Classic
“We have had ample opportunity to use the new surface at Hayward Field for both training and meets. While the surface feels soft and has good rebound qualities, it is fast. We are very pleased with the new surface both in training and competition.” Alberto Salazar Former Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon Winner Head Coach for Nike’s Oregon Project “The new track surface at Hayward Field has surprised everyone. While it is soft and user-friendly, it has consistently brought great performances in college and invitational meets. This year’s performances at the Prefontaine Classic were truly astounding—both in the sprints and distances and the field events.” Tom Jordan Meet Director Prefontaine Classic “While feeling soft, the track at Hayward Field is surprisingly fast, and the 100-meter times produced at the 2005 Prefontaine Classic were truly astounding.” Trevor Graham Coach of Justin Gatlin and Shawn Crawford Olympic Gold Medalists 100-and 200-meter races Athens, Greece, 2004
Catalog Showcase First To The Finish, Inc. 800-747-9013 WWW.FIRSTTOTHEFINISH.COM For more than 18 years, First To The Finish has been dedicated to quality and ser vice. The company has built a reputation on providing coaches and athletes with a reliable source for select apparel, accessories, and equipment. Its 50,000-square-foot warehouse, online inventor y, and commitment to quality make it the only choice for team apparel and equipment needs. Call for a free catalog today 1-800-747-9013. Circle No. 528
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Beynon Sports Surfaces, Inc. 16 ALT RD. HUNT VALLEY, MD 21030 410-771-9473 DBEYNON@BEYNONSPORTS.COM WWW.BEYNONSPORTS.COM
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Great Ideas For Athletes...
ADVERTISERS DIRECTORY CIRCLE NO.
105. . Athletes.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
108 . Goldner Associates . . . . . . . . 18
110 . . Austin Plastics & Supply . . . . 19
119 . . Bullet Belt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
115 . . Beynon Sports Surfaces . . . . . 26
123 . . M-F Athletic . . . . . . . . . . . . . BC
107 . . California Raisins . . . . . . . . . . 17
116 . . Marathon Printing . . . . . . . . . 26
111 . . Cardinal Publishers Group . . . 20
104. . Omni-Lite Industries . . . . . . . . 9
121 . . Cho-Pat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
106. . On Track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
118 . . eFundraising.com . . . . . . . . . 31
103. . PowerLung . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
120 . . Electric City Printing . . . . . . . 35
112 . . Rephouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
102. . KDMax Pole Vault Helmet . . . . 4
109. . RS Track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
100 . First To The Finish . . . . . . . . IFC
122 . . Russell Athletic . . . . . . . . . . . IBC
113 . . First To The Finish (Pole Vault) . 22
117 . . Springco Athetics . . . . . . . . . . 27
101 . . Gatorade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
114 . . Xvest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
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 • Colors: Black and Tan
530 . . Athletes.com (Creatine) . . . . . . . . . 37
519 . . . M-F Athletic (“soft design” cones) . .34
529 . . Athletes.com (Whey Powder) . . . . . 37
502 . . Marathon Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
512 . . . Austin Plastics & Supply . . . . . . . . 33
504 . . Omni-Lite (ceramic spikes) . . . . . . . 32
513 . . . Beynon Sports Surfaces . . . . . . . . 33
503 . . Omni-Lite (lightweight spikes) . . . . . 32
508 . . Cabana Banners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
514 . . . On Track (High School Hurdles) . . . . 33
531. . . California Raisins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
515 . . . On Track (Jump/Pole Vault Standards) . . 33
517 . . . Cardinal Publishers Group . . . . . . 34
522 . . Power Systems (Power Harness) . . . 34
Dual Action Knee Strap
518 . . . Cho-Pat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
523 . . Power Systems (Power Sled) . . . . . 34
534 . . eFundraising.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
521. . . PowerLung . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
500 . . Electric City Printing . . . . . . . . . . . 32
516 . . . Rephouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
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
528 . . First To The Finish (catalog). . . . . . 35
509 . . RS Track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
501 . . First To The Finish (quality merchandise) . 32
511 . . . Russell Athletic (uniforms) . . . . . . . 33
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 Circle No. 121
533 . . Gatorade (Endurance Formula) . . . . 37
510 . . . Russell Athletic (warm-ups) . . . . . . 33
532 . . Gatorade (Nutrition Shake) . . . . . . . 37
505 . . VS Athletics (Compact Wind Gauge) . 32
535 . . Goldner Associates . . . . . . . . . . . 40
506 . . VS Athletics (Denfi discus) . . . . . . . 32
527 . . Hammer Strength . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
507 . . Worldwide Sport Supply . . . . . . . 32
526 . . Lane Gainer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
525 . . Xvest (Don Chu) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
520 . . M-F Athletic (Biokinetic Plyobox) . . 34
524. . . Xvest (Fire Fighter model) . . . . . . . . 34
536 . . M-F Athletic (catalog) . . . . . . . . . . 40
Need help fundraising? Check out the resources available at
Nutrition Athletes.com 877-991-3411 WWW.ATHLETES.COM You already know the importance of protein. Whey is the ultimate protein source, providing what you need to get results. Studies find that whey protein, when compared to other sources, contains the perfect combination of overall amino acids in just the right concentration for optimal performance. Athletes.com searched for the best price and found that 100-percent Whey Power was only $19.99 for a full five pounds. It contains 25 grams of protein per serving. Circle No. 529 “I can’t believe how fast my strength went up on the bench press after I started taking creatine.” Comments like this show the amazing power of creatine monohydrate, a natural and safe product found in beef and tuna. If athletes aren’t taking creatine, they are not getting the maximum results from their workouts. Higher Power Micronized Creatine 1000 from Athletes.com is the favored brand for people looking for the fastest gains. Circle No. 530 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 your train-
ing 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 yearround. They’re the healthy energy choice that meets your needs. Circle No. 531 The Gatorade Co. 800-88-GATOR WWW.GATORADE.COM Gatorade Nutrition Shake is a balanced nutritional supplement that’s ideal for use as a high-energy meal replacement, or a pre-event or between-meal snack. Gatorade Nutrition Shake contains vitamin C, calcium, and iron, so it’s great for athletes who want to perform at their best and need to supplement their diet with a convenient, balanced, and nutritious product. Gatorade Nutrition Shake is available in two flavors: chocolate and vanilla. Circle No. 532 After years of extensive research, scientists at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute have developed Gatorade Endurance Formula for athletes’ longer, more intense workouts and competitions. Gatorade Endurance Formula is a specialized sports drink with a fiveelectrolyte blend containing nearly twice the sodium (200mg) and three times the potassium (90mg) of Gatorade Thirst Quencher to more fully replace what athletes lose in sweat when fluid and electrolyte losses become substantial. Circle No. 533
Check out www.AthleticBid.com to contact these companies.
First To The Finish Announces Sweepstakes First To The Finish, Inc. provides high-quality apparel to high schools, colleges, track and field teams, and related markets. It calls on customers, distributes catalogs, and attends clinics in support of these products. Whether it’s a school or an individual athlete, First To The Finish guarantees to deliver quality to all its customers.
The company is proud to announce a new sweepstakes beginning September 15, 2005, and ending May 15, 2006. Customers will receive one entry for each order placed. The First To The Finish prize structure includes 80 MP3 players (10 given away per month at $50 each), as well as the Grand Prize: A High Jump Landing System to the win-
ning school (approximate retail value $2,700). No purchase is necessary. Entry without purchase and official rules may be found at: www.firsttothefinish.com. This offer is open to legal U.S. residents over 21 years except employees of First To The Finish and related companies. Odds of winning depend on number of entries. Taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited or restricted.
First To The Finish, Inc. 1325 N. BROAD ST. CARLINVILLE, IL 62626 800-747-9013 WWW.FIRSTTOTHEFINISH.COM COACHING MANAGEMENT
Great Fundraising Results Help Baseball Team Raise Money for Travel Equipment “The top-rate customer service and immediate delivery enabled us to raise over $4,000 in only two weeks.” Marcel Galligani Varsity Baseball Coach White Plains Public Schools
The varsity baseball team at White Plains High School in New York had a large challenge to overcome in a short amount of time: The team needed to raise money for travel equipment within two weeks. The various fundraisers the group used in the past could not bring in enough money to cover the costs as quickly as needed, so Varsity Baseball Coach Marcel Galligani contacted
eFundraising and explained his fundraising needs. He chose its scratchcard program, because it offered up to 90 percent profit and the cards could be personalized. Normally, such an order takes four to five business days to receive. However, eFundraising understood the team’s urgency and completed the personalized order in just two days.
eFundraising.com 205 W. SERVICE RD. CHAMPLAIN, NY 12919 866-461-1016 INFO@EFUNDRAISING.COM WWW.EFUNDRAISING.COM
The results were incredible: “The toprate customer service and immediate delivery enabled us to raise over $4,000 in only two weeks,” says
Coach Galligani. “With this large sum of money, we were able to purchase warm-ups and travel bags for our entire team.” Galligani is impressed with the camaraderie the program has brought to his players. “Not only did eFundraising’s 90-percent profit guarantee become a reality,” he said, “but its scratchcards program brought our team closer together more than any other fundraiser we have used in the past. “We enjoyed one of our finest seasons in many years, and are already looking forward to next year’s fundraising efforts with eFundraising. I cannot imagine why others would not want to use this program. They would simply be missing out!” eFundraising.com, part of the World’s Leading Fundraising Company, specializes in personalized scratchcards, World’s Finest Chocolate, online magazines, cookie dough, and gift brochures. Its personalized fundraising consultants are available through every step of teams’ fundraising campaigns, setting eFundraising.com apart from everyone else.
4HE -OST )NNOVATIVE /N ,INE "UYERS 'UIDE FOR !THLETIC /RGANIZATIONS
6IEW THE COMPLETE PRODUCT LINES OF COMPANIES LISTED ● 6IEW CATALOG PAGES OR SPEC SHEETS FROM MANY OF THE TOP COMPANIES ● 2EAD A PROFILE OR DESCRIPTION OF SELECT COMPANIES ● 3END AN E MAIL DIRECTLY TO A SUPPLIER OR MAKE A REQUEST TO BE CONTACTED BY A COMPANY REPRESENTATIVE ● 2EQUEST CATALOG AND SALES LITERATURE FROM COMPANIES ●