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Coaching Management VOL. XVI NO. 1



PART OF THE CROWD Increasing participation numbers ■ ■

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Circle No. 100

Coaching Management Track & Field Edition Preseason 2008


Vol. XVI, No. 1






Bulletin Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Part of the Crowd

Learning from Marion Jones’s mistakes … Questions remain on pole vault helmets … Hawai’i coach sues over gender inequities … Coaching the top Special Olympians … High school rules changes.

Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Dan Doherty, Head Coach at Pearl River (N.Y.) High School, has coached his team to 29 consecutive cross country sectional titles. SURFACES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 TRACK FACILITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 STRENGTH TRAINING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 TEAM EQUIPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 MORE PRODUCTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Publisher Mark Goldberg Editor-in-Chief Eleanor Frankel Associate Editor Dennis Read Assistant Editors R.J. Anderson, Kenny Berkowitz, Nate Dougherty, Abigail Funk, Greg Scholand, Laura Ulrich Art Director Pamela Crawford Photo Researcher Susan Morrello Business Manager Pennie Small Special Projects Dave Wohlhueter




Convincing high school athletes to become part of the track and field crowd is getting tougher. In this article, coaches provide new ideas on recruiting and retaining participants.


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The Coaching Management Track & Field edition is published in January and September by MAG, Inc. and is distributed free to college and high school coaches in the United States and Canada. Copyright © 2008 by MAG, Inc. All rights reserved. Text may not be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the permission of the publisher. Unsolicited materials will not be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Coaching Management, P.O. Box 4806, Ithaca, N.Y. 14852. Printed in the U.S.A. Mailing lists for Coaching Management Track & Field are provided by the Clell Wade Coaches Directory.



LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD Coming Clean After years spent denying her use of banned performance enhancing substances, Olympic sprinter and jumper Marion Jones finally came clean this fall about her connection to steroids and also admitted to lying to federal investigators. During her public apology in October, Jones announced her retirement from track and field, and was later forced to

lina’s most decorated female athletes and her image is omnipresent throughout the Tar Heels athletic facilities. There are photos of her in the North Carolina Track and Field Hall of Honor, and her face is shown on a large banner hanging from the rafters at Carmichael Auditorium. However, according to UNC officials, images of Jones from the 2000 Sydney Olympics and

so there’s no reason for us to touch them.” Head Track and Field Coach Dennis Craddock, who recruited Jones to the university and coached her for two years before she turned pro, says he was disappointed with how things turned out for Jones, because he remembers her as a model student-athlete and an outstanding teammate during her time at North Carolina. “She was a great young lady who just made some really bad decisions,” he says. The importance of making good decisions is a message that Craddock hopes his current student-athletes will learn from Jones’s situation. “I’ve talked with my team about this because Marion is a hero around here, and she always will be,” he says. “I tell them that everybody is faced with choices and when you make poor choices, you end up with bad consequences. I’ve also told my team they need to surround themselves with friends and associates who have the same goals, values, and ideals that they have. They can’t allow negative forces and personalities to penetrate that circle and influence their decision-making.

Marion Jones admitted in an October media address that she used performance-enhancing drugs during her career. At her alma mater, University of North Carolina Head Coach Dennis Craddock hopes current athletes will learn from her mistakes. return the medals she had won in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Many of Jones’s supporters were hurt by her lies and actions, including members of the athletics community at her alma mater, the University of North Carolina.



Though Jones’s recent troubles have hit home for current members of the Tar Heels track and field program, Craddock says he will stick to the same plan the athletic department has been using to educate athletes about banned substances. “I think we’ve always done things the right way, so there’s no reason to panic now and do something different,” he says. “I’ve been at Carolina for 22 years and we’ve always had

Despite Jones’s tarnished image and ruined career, Craddock hopes she can one day make a positive contribution to track and field by using her experience as a teaching tool to reach young athletes. “I hope that one day Marion will become an ambassador for our sport again, but this time it will be the Marion Jones who says, ‘Listen, I was at the top and had it all, but I let it slip away because I did the wrong things. Don’t make the same mistake,’” Craddock says. “Young people like to hear from people who have made mistakes but have rectified the situation and gone on to make something of their lives. They would rather listen to somebody who’s been through it than someone who says, ‘I’ve never done it, but I hear it’s bad.’”

Questions Remain on Pole Vault Helmets After years of effort, all the pieces would appear to be in place: There are established standards for pole vault helmets. There is a helmet specifically designed for pole vault. There are rules in some states that require high school vaulters to wear helmets, while others are looking into mandating their use. Yet despite all this, the puzzle of pole vault helmets is not yet complete. More than five years after the first major push to put helmets on vaulters, no helmet has been certified as meeting the recently established standards, leaving coaches and athletes wondering what to do.


A standout track performer during her time at Chapel Hill and a member of the school’s 1994 national championship women’s basketball team, Jones is one of North Caro-

references to her medal-winning performances may soon be removed from the school’s athletics facilities. “After we have all of the information, we’ll probably take down references to her achievements at the 2000 Olympics,” says Steve Kirschner, Associate Athletic Director of Communications at North Carolina. “But in terms of what she achieved here—her records and her titles—none of those are in question as far as we know,

“While she was here at Carolina, Marion had good people helping her choose to do things the right way,” Craddock continues. “Then, once she left and entered the professional ranks, the people around her changed and so did her decision-making.”

good medical and nutrition programs that give athletes consistent messages about what they should and shouldn’t do. We also have life skills classes once a month provided by the university that teach those kinds of lessons.”

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LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD When ASTM International finally approved its standards for pole vault helmets in 2006 after much debate over the contents, it looked like vaulters might finally have the answers they were seeking. However, no helmet has even been submitted for testing since the standards were announced. Possible reasons include the expense involved with testing and fears of increased liability on the part of manufacturers.

While the ASTM task group wrangled with the details of the pole vault helmet standards, it recommended skateboard helmets that were certified as meeting ASTM skateboarding helmet standards as a possible alternative, including the KDMax helmet. Lacrosse helmets meeting National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment standards, with facemasks and

more states may make helmet use mandatory. In Texas, the state high school coaches association asked the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the state’s athletics governing body, to require helmets. The proposal is still being considered, but Mark Cousins, Athletic Coordinator for the UIL, says the league’s sports medicine advisory com-

“It was quite frustrating being the chair of that committee and trying to get people to come to an agreement,” says Peter McGiniss, Assistant Director of Graduate Studies at SUNY Cortland and Co-Chair of the ASTM Pole Vault Helmet Task Group. “I felt pretty good that we got something passed, and I think the standards we came up with are reasonable. It’s a little disappointing to get this done and then have nothing happen—it’s up to the manufacturers now.”


There is one helmet on the market specifically designed for pole vault—the KDMax, developed by Penn State University, Eventys, and Ed Dare, whose son Kevin died while vaulting for the Nittany Lions at the 2002 Big Ten Indoor Championships. McGiniss says that even if it’s submitted for testing, the KDMax helmet likely will not meet the design standards because of the depth of the helmet in the rear. Still, he thinks other existing helmets may meet the ASTM pole vault standards, and at a November ASTM meeting, he encouraged helmet manufacturers to submit existing helmets for testing. “There is an ASTM standard for skateboard helmets, and I think some of the helmets that meet that standard may meet the pole vault standards,” he says. “Some of the tests are identical in terms of impact and straps, but we need someone actually testing the helmet in the lab to see if it will pass.”

says. “But once there is a helmet that meets the standards, I imagine they’ll look at the information again.” Like most states, Texas allows vaulters to use helmets if they choose, but leaves it up to individual schools to establish guidelines for their use. Cousins estimates that about 10 percent of vaulters wore helmets at last spring’s state meets.

Hawai’i Coach Sues for Equity On Sept. 6, University of Hawai’i Head Women’s Coach Carmyn James filed a Title IX lawsuit against her school, alleging several serious charges. She claimed that she received less support and fewer staff members than coaches of men’s sports, that she was excluded from discussions that shaped the future of her program, and that she was discriminated against in the department when she fought for equal treatment. James, who has been Hawai’i’s women’s track and field coach since the program was reinstated in 2001, also alleged that the school’s athletic department had a history of noncompliance with gender equity laws. As evidence, she pointed to salary inequities, shorter contracts for female coaches, and the unequal distribution of resources.

High school coaches in Texas have asked their state governing body to require pole vaulters to wear helmets, but the state association is waiting for an ASTM approved helmet to hit the market. Above, a Texas high school athlete opts for a helmet during this attempt. visors removed, were also recommended for pole vaulters. Only four states—Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Maine—require helmets for high school athletes. But if a pole vault helmet is approved as meeting ASTM standards,

mittee is waiting to see if there is any approved helmet available before requiring use. “Our medical advisory committee is reluctant to recommend that helmets be required when there is nothing available that meets the standards,” he

“You get to the point where you say enough is enough— and I reached that point,” James told the Honolulu Advertiser in September. “I just felt after five years I’ve been patient, persistent, and positive, and little progress was being made.” In early December, however, James dropped the suit, after meeting with athletic administrators at her school. “My lawyer told me I have a very strong case,” James told the



LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD Honolulu Advertiser. “But I have put off having it served in order to create an opportunity for the UH athletic department to resolve the issues. As a result of the progress that we’ve made, I have great faith that our administrative staff will do the right thing and they don’t need a jury’s input in order to do so. “Although no changes have immediately occurred, I am very optimistic and confident that things will improve in the near future,” she continued. James’s case represented the leading edge of a new trend in Title IX litigation: lawsuits originating from coaches who perceive inequity. In a highprofile case decided this summer, a Fresno County (Calif.) Superior Court awarded for-

mer Fresno State University Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Lindy Vivas $5.8 million (later reduced to $4.5 million) after she claimed that Fresno State discriminated against her and eventually fired her in part because she complained about gender inequities. And in 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Alabama girls’ high school basketball coach Roderick Jackson could sue his school under Title IX for firing him in response to his gender equity complaints. “In the past, fear of retaliation kept coaches from coming forward when they saw female athletes being treated unfairly,” says Dina Lassow, Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center. “But that’s changing. The Jackson case was important because

it clearly established that a coach has legal protection if he or she comes forward and complains about inequality.” Indeed, one of James’s ongoing fears at Hawai’i had been retaliation that could jeopardize her job. “One person said to me, ‘Oh, you’re committing [career] suicide if you [file the lawsuit],’” James told the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her suit specifically asked the court to prevent discrimination related to her employment status as a result of the inequity complaints. “This was not about financial gain,” James said. “Together, we are going to work more effectively to elevate the quality of the women’s program here at UH.”

“The lesson from cases like this is that coaches should examine whether their own women’s teams are being treated fairly,” says Lassow. “And if they’re not, the coaches should feel free to speak up.”

An Olympic Experience Twenty years ago, when Cathy Harper started a physical education program for developmentally disabled students at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Palos Hills, Ill., she had no idea it would eventually take her across the globe. But this fall she found herself in Shanghai, China, serving as the Head Athletics (track and field) Coach for Team USA at the 2007 Special Olympics. Over the past 30 years, Harper has at various times served as Stagg’s physical education teacher, girls’ volleyball coach, and girls’ track and field coach. The physical education program for students with disabilities she helped launch now serves 80 students and includes track and field among its 13 sports.

The University of Hawai’i’s Novelle Murray, above, threw 53.79 meters for a second place finish at the 2007 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field West Regional Championships. This fall, Hawai’i Head Women’s Coach Carmyn James began a Title IX suit against her school.



As Head Coach of Team USA, Harper was responsible for overseeing 80 athletes spread


Her journey to the 2007 Games began two years ago, when the Illinois Special Olympics chapter took notice of Harper’s experience coaching athletes with disabilities and invited her to apply for Team USA’s head athletics coaching job. “During the second phone interview, I asked them to switch my application to an assistant coaching position because I figured I had a better shot at an assistant’s spot,” Harper says. “But they said, ‘Actually, we’d like you to be the head coach.’ So after I peeled myself off the floor, I accepted, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past two years.”

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LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD “Whether an athlete dropped their 100-meter dash time from 20 seconds to 19.9, or 12-flat to 11.9, the point we emphasized was that they improved,” she says. “When it’s about a personal improvement, most athletes will respond. Not only is it an attainable goal, but let’s face it, people are usually most in tune when it’s about them— especially athletes. “Having them concentrate on personal records also built camaraderie on the team because they realized, ‘This person is going for a PR just like me,’” Harper continues. “They stood and cheered and supported each other because they knew it was important for each individual to do their personal best.”

Brittany Painter of Amity, Ore., competes in the 4x400 relay for Team USA during the 2007 Special Olympics in Shanghai, China. Cathy Harper, Head Coach for Team USA, got her start coaching at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Palos Hills, Ill.

Team USA went to China for 10 days in October and com-

peted alongside some 7,000 athletes from 164 countries and regions across the globe, the biggest turnout yet for the Games. Harper said although the team’s schedule was tightly laid out, the athletes had some free time to visit with special education students in local schools called sunshine houses. The athletes performed well, and many brought back medals for their efforts. However, awards weren’t the focus for Harper, who instead had her athletes concentrate on breaking personal records.

If you find yourself coaching a special education athlete for the first time, Harper suggests going back to junior high-level track and field books for drills and activity ideas. “The junior high level is a good starting point,” she says. “Also, remember that practicing just for the sake of practice gets old fast. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, if you can make your practices more interesting and fun, your athletes will look forward to them. “For example, during the indoor season, I get our ath-

For more information on the Special Olympics, go to: For more on Team USA, go to:



While Harper’s journey across the globe included countless hours of organizing and stress—she twice got shingles over the past two years—she couldn’t have asked for a better experience. “We built camaraderie on this team and had an amazing journey,” she says. “I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity to do this, and will continue to help these athletes as best I can for as long as I can.”

No Jump, No Foul High school pole vaulters who feel their try has gone awry and abort their attempt will no longer have to worry about being charged with a foul just because their feet leave the ground. According to 2008 rules changes passed by the NFHS, as long as the vaulter has not broken the plane, they will be allowed to try their jump again within the allotted time. Previously, vaulters were charged with a foul if their feet left the ground during an aborted try. The change brings high school rules in line with NCAA and international regulations, as well as those for the high jump. “This is a nice change for the vaulters, whether they have a misstep in the approach or just need to abort the attempt,” says Becky Oakes, NFHS Assistant Director and liaison to the Track and Field Rules Committee. The rule has a safety component as well. “Athletes will no longer need to try to make something happen when it’s not the best idea to continue


across the country in addition to her work at Stagg High. She also selected 19 assistant coaches to help her. “Our youngest athletes were 12, and our oldest were in their 50s,” Harper says. “My job entailed a lot of organizing and grouping athletes with coaches to train. Each assistant had four or five athletes to work with, and I had a wide variety of coaches in specialties like sprinting or the marathon, so that was a great asset.”

All of Harper’s assistant coaches had experience working with developmentally disabled athletes, but Harper’s advice to them was the same as it would be for a coach working with a special education athlete for the first time: “Keep it simple,” she says. “No one wants to be talked down to, so talk to your special athletes as you would anybody else. I think even your most elite athletes appreciate simple drills and explanations.”

letes outside to do fun relay races even though it’s winter weather,” Harper continues. “Who can make the most snow angels? Which team can make the most snowballs and run the length of the field to put them through a hoop? These are great drills to build endurance and the kids have a good time, too.”

the attempt,” Oakes says. “And having to make their jump in the allotted time limit keeps athletes from abusing the rule.” The 2008 rules changes also allow meet coordinators to designate specific areas where coaches may observe and confer with their athletes during competition. This change was made in an attempt to give coaches more opportunities to talk with their studentathletes during events, which can improve safety. “Track and field is a sport where coaching is relatively limited, and if coaches must be in the stands while the athletes are on field, they have no access to them,” says David Anderson, Assistant Executive Director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association and member

of the NFHS Track and Field Rules Committee. “We’re trying to address that and give coaches the opportunity to do more coaching during the events. This will be especially significant in events like the pole vault—if some coaching needs to be done to help ensure the safety of the event, now the coach can be right there.” Another new rule allows event scores to be corrected at any time after a previously disqualified athlete has participated and scored points. Oakes says this covers cases when student-athletes who are not eligible because of academic or transfer issues compete in a meet and clarifies that there is no time limit imposed by NFHS rules for correcting the final scores. States and conferences, however, may still set their own limits.

Other rules changes include the following: The size of the stopboard for shot put events will revert back to four feet. In 2007, the throwing sector for shot put was changed to 34.92 degrees, but no standard stopboards fit that sector size, Oakes says. This change clarifies that teams may continue to use the stopboards they have been using for years with no need to customize one to fit the new sector size.

Student-athletes may wear undergarments that display a school logo as long as the logo

is no larger than 2.25 square inches and no single dimension exceeds 2.25 inches. The previous rule allowed competitors to wear undergarments, such as mock turtlenecks, that displayed a manufacturer’s logo. But the rule failed to specify that school names or logos could also be used. “We received a lot of questions about whether schools could put the school name or mascot on the collar as well,” Oakes says. “The previous wording implied that this wouldn’t be legal, and the committee wanted coaches to know that this is okay to do.”

The rules changes can be found online by going to:, clicking on “Track and Field/CC” under sports, then clicking on “Pole Vaulters Allowed to Leave Ground Without Breaking Plane.”

Circle No. 104 VSathletic_CM1601.indd 1

COACHING MANAGEMENT 9 12/6/07 12:01:51 PM


Dan Doherty Pearl River (N.Y.) High School

In 1978, Dan Doherty was a senior at Montclair State College (now Montclair State University), running for the track team and completing his teaching degree, when he received a call from his alma mater, Pearl River (N.Y.) High School. The coach of the fledgling girls’ cross country team had quit unexpectedly, and the school was hoping Doherty, an alum of the boys’ program, would step in to fill the vacancy. He agreed to give it a try, telling himself it would be a one-year commitment. Thirty years later, Doherty’s cross country teams have won eight state titles. They’ve also claimed one Eastern States Championship and 29 consecutive sectional titles.

CM: As the 2007 season started, the Pearl River girls’ cross country team seemed unlikely to extend its winning streak. How did you turn things around? Doherty: Going into the season, I told the girls we were going to shock the world. And even though we didn’t exactly shock the world, we did surprise a lot of people around here, winning the sectionals and coming in third in the state championship meet. Back in August, we were a very young, inexperienced team. On paper, it looked like we were going to be perhaps the weakest team in the history of the program. Getting the girls to believe in themselves was key, because if an athlete doesn’t believe in herself, it doesn’t matter what her coach says. Team dynamics were another important part of our success this year. In late September, we added three ninth graders and an eighth grader, and they made all the difference. When they moved up to varsity, we became 10 times better, not only because of their performances, but because of the way they lifted everyone. The older girls helped mold the younger girls, and the younger girls helped spark the older girls.



As the coach of girls’ indoor track and field, Doherty has been almost as successful, coaching his team to 22 straight league championships and 19 sectional championships. As the coach of girls’ outdoor track and field from 1979-2005, he brought home 21 league championships, 18 sectional championships, and seven county championships. Doherty holds the New York state record for girls’ outdoor track and field victories (247) and the longest dual-meet winning streak in girls’ outdoor track and field state history (140), with a 27-year record of 178-19 and a winning percentage of .904. He was named National Coach of the Year by the National Federation Interscholastic Coaches Association in 1998 and given the same honor by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association in 2001. In this interview, Doherty talks about evolving a coaching philosophy, teaching responsibility, and keeping his winning streak alive.

What does it take to win 29 straight sectional titles? A lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, and some luck. Every year is a new year and every race is a new challenge. Each athlete is unique and every group of athletes is different, so you always have to come up with new ideas to keep people motivated. You can’t succeed by trying to motivate athletes the same way year after year. How has your coaching style evolved? I learned a lot of my coaching philosophy from my brother, who was my high school coach. He taught me not to set limits on my goals and that a school like Pearl River can reach the top. I’ve also learned that if you’re going to do something, you’ve got to be fully dedicated to doing it right. If you’re going to ask your kids to make a full-time commitment, you’d better be ready to make one yourself—every season and every year. However, times change, and you need to change with them. Kids today are involved in so many different things that you have to be a lot more flexible with them when it comes to missing practices or leaving early. When I started coaching, I expected a total commitment, and even though I’m still looking for it, it’s not always possible anymore. I’m still pretty strict about attendance, but I’ve also

Pearl River’s Kelli Vanhouten competes at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association 2007 Cross Country Championships. Head Coach Dan Doherty teaches athletes to not put limits on themselves.

learned to bite my lip from time to time and just say, “Okay.” What do you do to encourage kids to come out for the team? I have an eye for identifying kids who could be good runners, and when I see them in the halls at school, I do my best to persuade them to join the team. The challenge is that kids don’t grow up thinking they’re going to be runners— you’re really starting from scratch with every athlete you get. I tell prospects I’ll make them famous. Even though I say it in a joking manner, it’s safe to say that the most famous athletes from Pearl River have come from the running programs. We’ve been very successful, traveled a lot, and built a national reputation, so at this point, I’m able to use our success as a selling point. What has been your biggest surprise in these 30 years? A few years back, we had an athlete on the cross country team who wasn’t very talented. Her first two years, I wouldn’t even label her as mediocre. But between her sophomore and junior years, something clicked. She started working harder,

believing in herself, doing whatever it took, and by her junior year she played a major role in our team winning the state championship.

Division III Nationals. So I enjoy giving my team the chance to travel. Running opened up opportunities for me, and I want it to do the same for our athletes.

The lesson I learned is to never count anybody out. Looking back, I think it made a difference that we kept encouraging her to stick with it and work hard. As long as they keep coming to practice, there’s always a chance that something good will happen.

How much time do you spend planning the meet? A lot. The work starts out slowly, then as we get closer to the holidays, it gets more and more involved. In the last few days before the event, it becomes a full-time job. But it’s worth it. It gets our school name out in the public eye and teaches the kids about responsibility. Most of them compete, but before and after their events, they’re asked to help out. That’s an important part of coaching—not just training kids to run, but teaching the importance of discipline, dedication, and integrity.

How do you fundraise? We host a big track meet at Rockland Community College every year around Christmastime. It’s a pretty big meet, with anywhere from 60 to 75 schools from the New York metropolitan area competing, and we raise enough money to help pay for a trip. This year, we went to the Florida Runners Invitational, where we won the small-school division. Over the years, we’ve also been to Alabama, Arizona, California, Virginia, and a bunch of places in Florida. I wasn’t from a rich family growing up, and the first time I was on a plane was when I went to compete in the NCAA

What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach? Working with the kids and seeing them come together as a team. They’re running because they want to run. They’re young and enthusiastic, and as their coaches, we get to make a real difference in their lives. They’re at a formative age, and if we teach them well, we can make a big impact on them.



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include familiar faces from the year before to lend experience and leadership, new blood to keep the program building toward the future, and of course, a wide range of talent and interest spread across events. But when it comes to making that hope a reality, today’s high school track and field and cross country coaches face new challenges. For one thing, high schoolers have more options for how to spend their after-school time— more sports offered each season, more non-athletic clubs and activities, more opportunities to hold jobs, and more academic demands. “When I was in high school, it was either football or cross country in the fall, basketball or wrestling in the winter, and baseball or track in the spring,” says

Aaron Locke, Head Boys’ Track and Field Coach at Bridgman (Mich.) High School. “Now, tennis, golf, and countless other sports are offered in high school, not to mention club sports. I even have to compete for athletes in the spring now thanks to AAU basketball leagues.” The rise of the single-sport athlete is another factor pulling students away from track and field. In years past, many athletes turned to track and field to keep in shape during their off-season. Now they find there is no off-season, as club participation turns many of them into year-round purists. For Locke, the competition is AAU basketball. For Grant Carboni, Head Track and Field and Cross Country Coach at McClatchy High School in Sacramento, Calif., it’s recreational league soccer. “A lot of my cross country girls play rec soccer,” he says. “It’s a non-competitive league where they get to hang out with their

friends and kick a ball around. It’s hard for me to compete with that.” At the same time, a lack of youth and recreation programs in track and field forces many coaches to recruit novices to the sport. But the individual nature of track and field can make it hard to sell new kids on the idea, since teens see being part of a cohesive group as a big reason to join a team. For high school programs in many states, these factors are adding up to falling numbers. The good news, however, is that creative coaches around the country are finding ways to counteract the trend. By working to understand and attract a new generation of high school athletes, these mentors are ensuring that the sport remains strong. For this article, Abigail Funk is an Assistant Editor at Coaching Management. She can be reached at:

CROWD Convincing high school athletes to become part of the track and field crowd is getting tougher. Here, coaches provide new ideas on recruiting and retaining participants. BY ABIGAIL FUNK




we’ve gathered their advice on drawing athletes to track and field and keeping them coming back for more. Adjusting Your Approach For many high school track coaches, attracting today’s athletes means examining their own coaching philosophy and becoming more flexible. They’ve learned that adjusting to kids’ hectic schedules and activity options requires letting go of a hard-line approach. Carboni, for example, has found that to compete with low-key rec soccer leagues, it helps to loosen his expectations on practice attendance. “My athletes who play rec soccer don’t want to come out and practice every single day,” he says. “They think they can get by with one practice a week before the meet that weekend. I compromise by allowing them to attend soccer practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays as long

as they’re at my practice on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.” McClatchy is an inner-city school in Sacramento, and many students have after-school jobs or are expected to care for younger siblings until a parent’s workday ends at 5 p.m. Here, too, flexibility is essential to keeping athletes. “I split time with jobs,” Carboni says. “I do the same thing I do with rec soccer—I expect these athletes to be at practice two or three days a week instead of five. It’s a juggling act, but I wouldn’t have a team if I didn’t compromise.” Locke attracts today’s time-crunched kids by promoting his practice workouts as quick and no-nonsense. “I tell these kids I’m not going to waste their time,” he says. “I have really tough practices, but they’re out of there in an hour. I’ll stick around and work on field events and hurdles with the athletes who want to stay, but I think the brief practice for-


iddle school coaches are a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to strengthening numbers in high school track and field and cross country. “As a middle school coach, I see it as my role to spark an interest,” says Chris Longo, Head Cross Country Coach at Bethel (Conn.) Middle School. Longo has been quite successful—Bethel has over 80 participants on its cross country team. He has found that drawing kids in middle school and younger to track and field and cross country takes planning and a careful approach. “Middle school is a tough age to attract kids,” Longo says. “They’re not very good at listening to announcements, so I get the word out through flyers, posters, the school newspaper, school Web site, and a parent newsletter that goes home. Because there are so many kids participating now, chances are every kid at the school has a friend who runs and will bring them to practice to check it out. We have so much fun, they talk about it all day at school and the kids themselves really create the buzz.” Keeping performance in perspective is also important. “One way we keep the pressure off is by focusing a lot on personal bests,” Longo continues. “I print out the results after each meet because that’s the kid’s indicator of how well he or she is doing over the course of the season. If

mat has been a big motivator to get kids to come out for the team who were on the fence. After the fall and winter seasons, they want more of the social scene, and they may be a little sport weary as well, so I’ve found that a get-it-done mentality helps.” For coaches with a strict, no-nonsense style, attracting and retaining high schoolers today may mean learning to coach in slightly different ways. This can be a difficult transition, but coaches who have made it say it’s possible to lighten things up without abandoning your work ethic. “In my early years I’d call kids on the carpet and say, ‘Look, we’re here to work—you’re socializing and not participating, so you might as well leave,’” Carboni says. “But now I’m less strict. I’ve discovered that a more laid-back approach where some socializing is okay keeps kids around. There’s a fine line

they’re 30 or 40 seconds faster, they can see growth in themselves—and that’s really satisfying for these kids.” Longo’s team meets for practice just twice a week to avoid early-age fatigue. “Burnout is a reality, so I err on the side of caution,” he says. “These kids are still developing biologically, emotionally, and socially, and they’re just not ready for much of a load. Their bodies can’t take the kind of a beating they would have to if we had practice more than twice a week. “This is one of the few sports in which every kid can participate,” Longo continues. “There are no cuts and it’s coed. Because anyone can participate, we have runners on many different levels. But we adapt to that easily in practice by allowing the kids who want to run more to go back out for another loop after a water break. And for the kids that do the short run, it’s still a sense of accomplishment.” Longo believes a great way for high school coaches to ensure strong participation in their programs is to partner with their school’s middle school coach. “We work together to promote the sport,” he says. “One of my primary goals is to help out the high school team in any way possible. I coached at the high school before I started teaching here at the middle school, and I’m still in constant contact with the athletic director and coaches there. We really see our two programs as one big one.”



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between loosening up and having the kids run the team, but we’ve managed to find a good balance.” Peter Brewer, Head Track and Field Coach at Castro Valley (Calif.) High School, agrees that a light-hearted coaching style helps draw athletes. “I’ve learned to make sure that practice is a place my athletes want to be every day after

it keeps kids excited about the sport, it’s okay with me.” Making It Fun Drawing athletes to your program means making track and field appealing. To keep practices enjoyable, savvy coaches focus on team building and mixing things up.

Brewer uses creative workouts to help keep practices fresh. “We’ve used pool workouts once a week and practices where we do relay races,” he says. “We schedule several of these special practices into the season so there is always something to look forward to around the corner.” school,” he says. “I think the coaches and athletes joking around and teasing and poking fun at each other is really important. Sometimes I feel like our coaching staff specializes more in standup comedy than cardiovascular improvement, but if

Team building is key because, despite the team scoring aspect of track and field and cross country, it can feel like an individual sport. And for adolescents, that can be a drawback. “Feeling like they’re a part of something is really important to

high school athletes,” says Jodi Roberts, Assistant Track and Field Coach in charge of the pole vaulters at Escondido (Calif.) Union High School. Carboni has found that nothing builds team bonds like a getaway, so twice a year he takes athletes to Lake Tahoe. “We do one camp in August and another one specifically for veterans in June,” he says. “It’s beautiful countryside with lots of trees and trail running. And who wouldn’t want to spend a week in Tahoe?” Another strategy is to help athletes feel connected to others in their event by scheduling special activities just for them. Roberts has found that holding team bonding activities helps her attract pole vaulters. “I make spaghetti and have all the vaulters over to my house to watch movies,” she says. “I’ve gotten together materials for them to make T-shirts and last year we ordered T-shirts that distinguished the pole vaulters from the rest of the team, and they loved that.” Projects like fundraising events also build bonds between teammates. Carboni uses a track and field team Web site to

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keep athletes and parents updated on meet results and scheduling changes as well as details for the next fundraising activity. “We just did a fundraiser at a local wine tasting event where the kids sold raffle tickets, and they loved it,” Carboni says. “They had so much fun doing it together and feeling like a team.” Fun practices are also selling points for young athletes, and provide a sense of belonging. In order to keep his practices fresh, Carboni takes the cross country team off campus for a change of scenery. There is a city park next to the high school offering a perfect setting, and runs across a nearby levy are a regular occurrence. Brewer uses creative workouts to help keep practices fresh. “We’ve used pool workouts once a week and practices where we do relay races,” he says. “We schedule several of these special practices into the season so there is always something to look forward to around the corner.” The last aspect of keeping things fun entails making sure your athletes experience some success, which requires care-

ful scheduling. Carboni experienced first-hand the difficulties that come with maintaining enthusiasm for track when there’s little chance for team success. Over the past decade, McClatchy High has competed in a couple of different leagues because of realignment. When it was moved to a league where it competed against much larger schools, participation dropped. “With the realignment, we were dumped into a league with these onehigh school suburban towns that had 100 kids on their track teams,” Carboni says. “We couldn’t compete with those numbers. But then we went back to our original league of inner-city schools, and now we’re all on a much more level playing field. Last year, I had 60 kids on the track team, the largest number we’ve had in my nine years here, and I think it’s a direct result of us being more successful than in years past.” Branching Out Another strategy for keeping numbers strong is to collaborate with other






sport coaches and look to other sports for potential athletes. At Bridgman High, Locke lends a hand as an Assistant Football Coach. Being directly involved in another sport has helped him fill out his track and field roster when the spring season rolls around. During the fall he promotes running track as a great way for the football players to keep up their speed in the off-season. “This is a small high school—about 380 students—and on average I have 25 to 30 boys come out for track each year,” he says. “I have my core track and field kids, but I’m able to fill every event because of those other athletes. “I have great relationships with other coaches in the building, too,” Locke continues. “I’ll ask the baseball coach to send anybody that he’s going to cut my way. I’ve gotten a number of kids that way. If there’s a good relationship between the spring coaches instead of a rivalry for attracting each other’s athletes, that can play a really big part in increasing your numbers.” Carboni takes a similar approach.

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“Our sprints coach is the head football coach and a physical education teacher,” he says. “The fact that he sees the athletes every day is invaluable. I’ve also been working with the soccer coach, who is going to have all his soccer players run track in the spring if they want to be considered for varsity soccer in the fall.” Brewer goes to cuts for spring sports to try and entice the athletes who don’t make the baseball or softball teams. As a teacher on campus, he also has the ability to persuade new athletes daily to give track a try. “The worst a potential athlete can do is say ‘no,’” he says. “I put up bulletin announcements, posters, and do my best to get the football, wrestling, and basketball coaches to allow their athletes to run track.” To recruit athletes for hard-to-fill events, consider looking in some unusual places. Roberts has found, for example, that gymnasts make great pole vaulters, and in fact, she made the transition herself in high school. A gymnast before entering high school, she switched to

pole vault her freshman year and ended up vaulting in college at UC San Diego. She has converted several gymnasts into pole vaulters for Escondido. “Gymnastics is perfect preparation for pole vaulting,” Roberts says. “For one thing, it’s just sprinting—no endurance necessary. And upper body strength is a great help. If you combine the speed and power of the vault and the upper body strength and coordination of the uneven bars, that’s essentially the skill set for pole vaulting.” Roberts also has several wrestlers who have come out for pole vaulting. “Like gymnasts, wrestlers have a great awareness of their bodies,” she says. “They are also very strong to begin with.” Focus On The Future For some programs, increasing high school participation means getting kids interested in track and field and cross country before they hit ninth grade. Even though you may not see the fruits of your labors for a few years, helping out with feeder programs in your com-

munity will pay off later when those athletes come out for your team once they’re in high school. Brewer had 150 athletes on his track and field teams last season, and it was the first year he saw freshmen with training experience at the high school level. He helps out as an assistant coach with the Castro Valley Track Club, a local running group for athletes in fourth through 12th grade started by a Castro Valley High alumnus about five years ago—which introduced those freshmen to track and field. “I am glad to have incoming freshmen who are training veterans and don’t give me grief about workouts,” Brewer says. “I’m hoping the club’s influence is enough to keep newcomers trying out, and then as a coaching staff we can work our charismatic magic to get them to stay.” The club is not seen as a separate entity in Castro Valley, but a complementary one. When alumnus Jim Philips formed the club he spoke with every running group in the town—ele-

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mentary school, middle school, high school, and the two local parish youth groups—about his goals for the club. Philips aims to help support the public school track and field programs through the club by keeping athletes conditioned year-round, and working with the schools to increase their participation numbers. One way the club does this is through Castro Valley High track athlete mentors, who help coach the younger participants in the club. “When a younger runner can pair up with a veteran high school runner, that is invaluable,” Brewer says. “The competitive learning curve goes way up, and the kid is mentally ready for competition at a much earlier age. Not only does the younger athlete learn from an older athlete already competing, but the high school athlete feels they are a part of the larger track world.” Worth The Effort Examining your coaching style, creating fun practices, lobbying potential athletes, helping out a middle school

coach—it sounds like a lot of work. And it is, according to Roberts. But she believes it’s worth the effort. She’s found that her team bonding dinners and attracting

Brewer, too, believes high school coaches who take on the extra work will be rewarded. “Promoting the sport by working with a club team is a huge invest-

“When a younger runner can pair up with a veteran high school runner, that is invaluable ... The learning curve goes way up, and the kid is mentally ready for competition at a much earlier age. Not only does the younger athlete learn from an older athlete already competing, but the high school athlete feels they are a part of the larger track world.” gymnasts and wrestlers to pole vaulting over the last few years have given her more pole vaulters than she can keep occupied for an entire practice. “I think next season I’m going to just split them up one day and have them at least try out another event,” she says. “But having too many of them is a much better problem than not having enough.”

ment of time and energy beyond the demands of being a high school coach,” he says. “But if more high school coaches take the initiative to promote the sport and work with club teams, we will see a strong upswing in team sizes and quality of performance. Ultimately, that will be a huge positive for high school track and field.” ■

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Looking to climb the coaching ladder? To land an interview in today’s highly competitive job market, coaches need a systematic and dynamic strategy. You’re reading the morning newspaper or casually scanning the coaching job boards, and you see it: your dream job. You’re at a point in your career when your experience and skills fit all the requirements. You’re excited. You think about picking up the phone to tell the school’s athletic director that you’re the perfect person for the job. But then you ask yourself: Is that the right way to go? How do you land an interview for a coaching job you desperately want?

The competition for coaching positions can be fierce, and getting noticed is not easy. For some jobs, hundreds of resumes will arrive on an athletic director’s desk, and only a handful of applicants will be interviewed. How you proceed over the next few days is critical. Your goal is to create a buzz about yourself with the athletic director and/ or hiring committee members. You want to gather momentum so the committee will be excited to learn more about you. To do that, you need to follow a system-

BY WILL REECE atic approach to keeping your name in front of decision-makers throughout the application process. Initial Contact The number one factor in landing that interview is how you present yourself. The trick is being aggressive while also showing that you’re a team player. You want to stand out from the crowd as a go-getter, but not as a loudmouth. You want to follow directions, but also show that you can exceed expectations.

Will Reece is the Founder, President, and CEO of Next Level Consulting, which assists coaches at all levels in personal branding and communications. He is also a former coach and athletic administrator, and can be reached through his Web site at:




That’s why the first step in the process is to learn exactly how to apply for the position. No matter how you found the job opening, always check the institution’s Web site for the official posting. This description will tell you where to send your resume and provide any special instructions, like whether they’re willing to receive e-mails or phone calls. If the posting says no phone calls and you call anyway, you are definitely not starting out on the right foot. If phone calls are permitted, you should contact the athletic director (or appropriate hiring person) as soon as possible. Prepare a 30-second pitch that quickly highlights why you are a good candidate for the job. Tell them who you are, what position you currently hold, one or two highlights of your career, and that you intend to apply for the job. If the person on the other end of the line is receptive, ask how long the process will take, and then close with a positive, confident statement. If you can’t reach the athletic director by phone, leave a

30-second pitch on his or her voicemail or send a brief e-mail. Here’s an example of an appropriate phone message: “Mr. Smith, this is Jane Jones. I am currently an assistant coach at State, and I am calling to let you know of my interest in your head track and field coaching position. We have been very successful at State. This past year we won the conference championship and sent 10 athletes to nationals. We have consistently recruited the top studentathletes in the state. I am sending my resume and references, which should reach you later today. I look forward to having an opportunity to share my vision for your program with the search committee.” What are some tips for this initial conversation? You want to be positive and upbeat, but not obnoxious. You should come off as confident, but not cocky. And you want to be honest—if things work out, this athletic director will be your next boss, so represent yourself truthfully throughout the process. The day you make contact with the

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hiring school, fax or e-mail a copy of your resume. Follow that up by sending any additional materials, with another copy of your resume, via overnight mail. The value of sending overnight (or secondday delivery) is that recipients generally turn their attention toward overnight deliveries before opening regular mail. And by sending a printed resume, you can be assured everything will look the way you want—rather than being blurred by lines on an old fax machine or jumbled because an administrator opened your text file with the wrong program. Check the tracking information, and three days after your materials arrive, make a follow-up contact. Send an e-mail inquiry asking whether your materials have been received and letting the search committee know they can call with any questions. E-mail is instant and the contact person can read it as their schedule permits. It also opens up an easy line of communication if they have any additional questions for you. If you call instead, keep your conversation brief while communicating the same message.

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Presenting Yourself On Paper Traditionally, applying for a job requires sending in your resume and a list of references. However, in today’s world of coaching hires, that isn’t enough. To make yourself stand out, you need to present a polished description of your philosophy and accomplishments. The best way to do this is by compiling a portfolio. Today’s athletic directors want coaches with a vision and a professional image, so that’s how you need to present yourself. You need to accurately communicate your successes and beliefs. You need to come across as a multi-dimensional coach with a personal brand. Your portfolio should be broken down into three sections: biographical information, career highlights, and coaching philosophy. Strive to make your information clear, well organized, and easy to read, and make sure there are no grammatical mistakes or typos. Biographical Information: This is the section that most resembles a traditional resume. It should contain: education, athletic experience, coaching experience, other related work experience, memberships in professional organizations and on committees, and any significant volunteer work. It usually works best to list your information chronologically, starting with the most recent position. First and foremost, be absolutely certain that the information in this section is accurate and truthful. There have been several highly publicized cases in recent years of coaches “beefing up” their biographical information and subsequently losing their jobs when the truth came out. Today we live in a society where information travels around the world in the time it takes to click a mouse. The chances of getting away with misrepresenting yourself are slim. If you have an established career and track record, you should simply list your past positions and dates. However, if you have limited work experience, add a couple of lines describing the duties and responsibilities at each of the positions you have held. This will impress upon potential employers that even though you may not have extensive work experience, you have had the opportunity to start building a quality skill set. You should be aware that including personal information is not required. In fact, employment law prohibits those hir-

ing from asking candidates about their personal lives. Personal items include your birth date, marital status, family background, health issues, etc. You can include information about your personal life in your portfolio, but employers are not permitted to ask follow-up questions relating to it and cannot use it to make their hiring decisions. Career Highlights: In this section you list your professional accomplishments. Include individual and team honors, awards, records, and other important

information. Some coaches say they are reluctant to list honors because it will seem like they are tooting their own horn. But the truth is, if you don’t highlight your accomplishments, nobody else will. Rest assured that listing these achievements in the portfolio is informative and not conceited. The first step in formulating your highlights section is to compile an exhaustive “brag” sheet. List every piece of positive recognition you have received during your competing and coaching

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Circle No. 116

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COACHING MANAGEMENT 25 12/6/07 1:39:43 PM


careers. Then, include those honors in your portfolio that are most relevant to the position you are seeking. Also, be sure to include the accomplishments of your players. If you had an athlete named All-American, you as a coach played a role in developing (and possibly recruiting) that player. Think about how to “spin” your achievements. To be clear, you should never include information that is not true, but sometimes you can present the facts so that they have maximum impact. For instance, your team may have won a respectable 50 percent of its dual meets in your first season. But you can also compare that record to previous years to show improvement. Let’s say the team hadn’t won a meet the season before you got there. That means you accomplished a huge improvement in your first season. You can also use this section to fill any holes in your resume. For example, if you have only worked at the NCAA Division III level and you are applying for a job in Division I, include some information on how your experiences have prepared you to work at a Division I school. Philosophy: It is important to have a coaching philosophy that is detailed,

organized, and well written. I suggest breaking down your philosophy into technical and program approaches. A technical philosophy consists of how you believe the sport should be coached. This may include practice philosophy, competition strategy, technical skill building, and strength and conditioning. A program philosophy includes all the factors that go into building and maintaining a championship program, such as motivating athletes, team-building, academics, fundraising, recruiting (at the college level), discipline, and public relations. The position you are applying for will dictate whether to include your philosophy in your portfolio. Generally, if you are applying for a head coaching position, it is appropriate to include an explanation of your philosophy. If you are applying for an assistant coaching position, it’s not appropriate to include your personal philosophy. As an assistant coach you will be expected to implement the head coach’s philosophy. Extra Touches: If you have the resources, you can add visual elements to make your portfolio stand out. Photos are a great way to highlight your accomplishments. Let’s say you’re an assistant coach at


ACH HIRING PROCESS IS DIFFERENT from the next, and some can be downright quirky. At one school, coaches may be hired solely by the athletic director, who is eager for as many references as possible. At another school, a hiring committee may be used, with very strict rules on what information is allowed. To deal with the nuances, try to find out as much as possible about the process. What is the timetable? Who are the members of the interview committee? How will the decision be made? What type of coach is the school looking for? Why did the former coach leave? Getting this information is not as difficult as it may sound. Usually, you can find an inside connection who will be able to provide you with answers. You may know a coach who knows a coach at the school. You may be able to call the coach who is leaving. Or one of your references may be able to ask these questions for you. If not, it helps to establish good communication with the athletic director’s staff. Generally, you will have contact with them in the follow-up process. If handled professionally, these people can be a great source of information.



the NCAA Division I level and have recruited several All-American athletes. To send a powerful message, you could include a full-page picture of one of these athletes with a tagline that says: “Recruited to State by Coach Jones, Jana Smith went on to be a three-time All-American.” If you have written recommendations from well-known coaches, it can be effective to add a section of quotes from these people. You could even add small photos of the coaches to accompany their quotes. Bringing In The Big Guns Once you’ve made initial contact and sent in your portfolio, it’s time to bring in the big guns! These are the coaches who are respected by their peer coaches and administrators, and may include your current boss, a former boss, a coach for whom you competed, or a coach you met through networking. You should ask two or three of these people to call the athletic director (or whomever is the contact person) to recommend you for the position. Arrange these calls to come on consecutive days so the contact person is hearing about

It’s especially important to find out how the hiring decision will be made. For example, if student-athletes’ parents make up a good chunk of the search committee and have a final vote, you’ll want to include something about working with parents in your philosophy statement. If the departing coach was let go due to poor academic performance by his athletes, add something about your student-athletes’ academic achievements in your portfolio’s highlights section, or even directly on your resume. Since coaches are used to competition, many spend a lot of energy trying to find out who else is applying for the job. This is not a good use of your time—and it’s certainly not as important as finding out about the search process. All it leads you to is trying to discredit another candidate, which will ultimately reflect poorly on you.



you each day. And be sure to send a copy of your resume to these folks so they can refresh themselves on the details of your career before they call. Selecting those who will call is of the utmost importance. Many young coaches approach “big name” coaches they might have had a 10-minute conversation with at a clinic and ask them to call. This generally backfires. The coach doesn’t know you well enough to answer questions the athletic director might ask about you. Many times he or she may actually end up recommending another candidate with whom he or she has a personal relationship! Choose coaches or administrators who know and respect you. If there are specific points you would like them to bring out, talk about them with your callers in advance. For example, if this would be your first head coaching job, ask them to talk about your leadership skills and how you are ready to take on a higher profile position. Also think about anyone who would strike a chord with the contact person. If you know a coach who has a relationship

with the hiring athletic director, you have an ideal scenario. If the contact person is someone other than the athletic administrator (a principal, dean, or vice president), then it may be beneficial to have a non-coach call on your behalf. It could be helpful for the contact person to hear from someone in a similar position at your current institution. High school coaches often ask me what it takes to jump to the college ranks. To be honest, this is a tough move to make. So in this situation especially, bringing in the big guns is critical. Of course, it takes a lot of networking beforehand. Working camps, attending clinics, and volunteering at events are all important steps to building relationships with college coaches. When networking, look to build authentic relationships. If you are trying to make friends just to move up, you will only end up hurting yourself. This type of jump often necessitates more than two or three phone calls from successful coaches who can recommend you. And, in addition to their phone calls, you should have a long list of references

available by post mail, e-mail, or fax. Playing It Cool As you make your way through this process, there are two more tips to keep in mind. One, make sure to time your approach: Make contact, send in your portfolio, follow it up, and bring in the big guns, in that order. This timetable ensures decision-makers will be hearing your name throughout the process. Two, don’t become a stalker. If you or your references call too many times, you run the risk of inundating the decision-makers. Although being persistent is a great trait for a coach, being overly persistent could be a real turn-off. Play it cool and use a systematic approach that keeps your name in front of the search committee, while respecting their time and the job they have to do. Play up your strengths, and you’ll come across as a confident, savvy coach who knows how things should be done. ■ This article is also appearing in other editions of Coaching Management.

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Circle No. 118


TIMING IS EVERYTHING When it comes to sports nutrition, that is. Teach your athletes how to time their nutrition, and watch their performances improve.


hen an athlete talks to a sports nutritionist, they generally receive advice about what they should eat. And rightly so, because without the right mix of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals, their body will be unable to reach its potential. However, recent research shows that athletes who focus exclusively on what they eat are missing half the equation: When they eat is just as important. In fact, studies suggest that the timing of nutrition is so critical that if two ath-

letes consume exactly the same diet and perform exactly the same workouts, the athlete who times his or her eating correctly will make greater performance gains than the one who doesn’t. To truly benefit from timing their nutrition, athletes need to focus on both the small and big pictures. To start, they need to understand how to schedule their meals and snacks across each 24-hour period. This is called nutrient timing, and it ensures they arrive at workouts well fueled and able to maximize their post-activity recovery. In the bigger picture, athletes need to know how to adjust their eating across the

BY LAURA ULRICH course of an entire year, so that whether it’s the off-season, preseason, or height of competition, their bodies are getting the right nutrition when they need it most. This concept is known as nutrition periodization. Nutrient Timing Dr. John Ivy, Professor of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas, has spent more than a decade studying how athletes can time their Laura Ulrich is an Assistant Editor at Coaching Management. She can be reached at:




eating across the course of a day to optimize their bodies’ response to training. In 2004, Ivy and co-author Robert Portman published the results of this work in a book titled Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition. “Over a period of 15 years, we looked at one main question: How does the timing of nutrition relative to exercise influence glycogen storage and protein synthesis?” Ivy says. “The answers to that question became the basis for the nutrient timing system.” Ivy’s system breaks an athlete’s day into three phases: the energy phase, the anabolic phase, and the growth phase. Each comes with its own set of nutrition recommendations based on what’s happening within the athlete’s body. The energy phase: In nutrient timing parlance, the part of the day when an athlete is working out or competing is called the energy phase. During this time, the body is using high levels of three hormones—cortisol, catecholamine, and glucagon—to break down muscle glycogen, liver glycogen, and

adipose tissue, sending them to hardworking muscles. This breakdown state is known as catabolism. The main advice for nutritional intake during this phase is no surprise. “First and foremost, hydration is important,” Ivy says. “Replacing carbohydrates and electrolytes is the next goal, so we recommend ingesting that fluid in the form of a sports drink containing four to six percent carbohydrate and a basic electrolyte combination. “More specific nutrition recommendations during the energy phase vary somewhat based on what kind of exercise the athlete is performing and how intense it is,” Ivy continues. “As a guideline, if the athlete is practicing or competing at 70 percent of VO2 max, he or she needs to consume about 200 to 300 milliliters of fluid every 20 minutes.” Ivy’s next piece of advice, however, differs from standard protocol: He suggests focusing on drinks that contain some protein during exercise. “Not everyone agrees, but we’ve found that a small amount of protein during a

workout helps reduce muscle damage and soreness and may actually improve performance,” he says. For an athlete in the weightroom, protein becomes even more of a focus. “Right before a weightroom workout, I recommend that athletes consume a carbohydrate-containing sports drink that contains two to three percent protein,” Ivy says. “It will reduce muscle damage and help protein synthesis post-exercise. During the workout, the athlete should continue hydrating by drinking water or a sports drink.” The anabolic phase: While the athlete works out, three key things happen in his or her body that prepare it to transition from catabolism to anabolism, a repair and rebuilding state. First, a large number of glucose transporters move to the outside of the cells’ plasma membrane, ready to pick up any glucose that enters the bloodstream and transport it to the muscles where it can be used to replenish glycogen stores. Next, the athlete’s sensitivity to insulin steadily increases, preparing muscles for

S TAY I N G O N S C HED U L E Most coaches and athletes are aware of the importance of recovery nutrition, and they



500 Percent Increase


Immediately After Exercise

Delay Up To 3 Hours After Exercise

300 200 100 0

Fat Oxidation

Muscle Mass

Net Protein Balance

Protein Synthesis

Amino Acid Uptake

Glycogen Storage

-100 Glucose Uptake

know that carb and protein intake after one workout is key to preparing for the next. However, what’s not as commonly understood is the critical role timing plays in making sure the post-exercise nutrition does its job. As shown in the graph at right, which is based on several years of research by Dr. John Ivy, Professor of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas, several markers of physical recovery can change by as much as 600 percent based on whether an athlete takes in recovery nutrients immediately after a workout or delays them by three hours. Strategies like having liquid recovery shakes immediately available can increase the likelihood that athletes will get the needed nutrients within the critical window, and simply educating athletes about the importance of timing their nutrition can help as well.




even better glycogen storage. Lastly, the athlete’s body gears up to synthesize new proteins, a function it can perform faster post-exercise than at any other time. “Thanks to these factors, even when the body is in a catabolic state, it’s preparing for a period of intense anabolism, or rebuilding, right after exercise,� Ivy says. However, there’s a catch: The body will not automatically transition from catabolism to anabolism when the athlete stops working out. “Post-exercise, catabolic hormones are still high and the body is still breaking down muscle protein,� Ivy says. “It won’t really start recovering until you do something about it—and doing something means putting the right nutrients in. “If you provide the right nutrients immediately, you can convert the catabolic state to a highly anabolic state in which the athlete rapidly increases muscle glycogen and builds new muscle proteins,� he continues. “But if you delay the nutrients, even if you provide them later on, you’ll never get the same effect. Once you miss the window, it’s gone.�

Unfortunately, determining the size of that window is not an exact science. “We know that waiting two hours to provide the nutrients is way too long,� Ivy says. “But is half an hour better than 45 minutes? We’re not sure. My personal belief is, the sooner the better. The

how hard they worked out). And they need 0.3 to 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. After weightroom sessions, the recommendations are essentially the same, but with a slightly higher emphasis on protein, at 0.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.

“At the end of your workout, all the windows in your muscles are wide open for about 45 minutes. When you put nutrients in then, they can accept them and replace all the energy you just used up.� quicker you interrupt the catabolic state, the greater the recovery.� What are the right nutrients? After practices and competitions that focus on aerobic output, in addition to consuming enough fluid to replace 150 percent of what they lost, athletes need between 1.0 and 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight (depending on

Two hours later, it’s important for the athlete to eat again. “This should be a light meal, and it should contain both protein and carbohydrate,� Ivy says. “This keeps the process of anabolism going. Over the two hours since their post-exercise nutrients, the concentration of amino acids in the athlete’s blood has dropped, along with insulin



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and glucose levels. The second meal causes them to spike again and keeps the recovery process going.” The growth phase: What about the rest of the day? Four hours post-exercise, the athlete should eat another light meal. Then, over the next 16 hours, he or she needs to eat every few hours, focusing on basic healthy nutrition. “Simply maintaining a balanced diet of carbohydrate, protein, fruits, and vegetables during that time is all that’s needed,” Ivy says. Making It Happen The first step in implementing the nutrient timing system is educating athletes about it, but that doesn’t mean you should give them a lecture on cortisol, glycogen, and metabolism. “When you start talking that way, you lose them,” says Todd Wright, Director of Basketball Strength and Conditioning at the University of Texas, who has used Ivy’s concepts extensively with his team. “Instead, I use analogies they can quickly understand and I break down the recommendations to simplify them.” To encourage athletes to fuel throughout the day and during workouts, Wright tells them to think of their bodies as racecars. “A car needs to start the race fully fueled and the driver needs to keep fueling to maintain performance,” he says. “I explain the recommendations about carbs and protein by telling them they can’t just put anything in the gas tank—the fuel has to be the right formula or the car won’t run well.” To help athletes focus on fueling during the anabolic period, Wright describes the post-exercise time as a window that’s gradually closing. “I tell them, ‘At the end of your workout, all the windows in your muscles are wide open for about 45 minutes. When you put nutrients in then, they can accept them and replace all the energy you just used up,’” he says. “‘But as the 45 minutes tick away, the windows start to close. When you put nutrients in after that, it’s like trying to push them through a closed window—it just doesn’t work.’” To ensure that they take advantage of the window, Wright provides a sports drink with both carbohydrate and protein to each athlete immediately after practices and workouts and makes sure they drink it. “They’re thirsty and probably don’t feel like eating, so this is the 32


best way for them to get the nutrients they need,” he says. Bob Seebohar, a dietician with the U.S. Olympic Committee who served as the University of Florida’s Director of Sport Nutrition in 2005-06, agrees that getting athletes to consume post-exercise nutrition can be difficult. “They don’t feel like eating, and scheduling can be a problem, too,” he says. “When they leave practice, they go to get treatments, sit in an ice bath, or take a shower—and then they’re ready to eat. But by then, they’ve missed the window. So it’s important to have something available with carbs and protein that’s easy for them to consume immediately.” Seebohar also advises providing liquid recovery meals immediately after practice, including powdered drinks and milk-based fruit smoothies. “A lot of things will work, as long as they are convenient and the athlete can tolerate them,” he says. “A protein-containing energy bar works great, and so does a lean-meat sandwich.” For the growth phase, or the time period before the next workout or meet, Wright reminds players to eat healthy foods at regular intervals by asking them

Giving athletes a chance to experience the results of properly timing their nutrients can often be the best way to convince them of its value. “If you can get them to give it a try, even for a short period, they’ll usually buy in,” Ivy says. “In the short term, they’ll see even after a few days that they’re recovering better from their workouts, are less sore, and have more energy for their next workout. In the longer run, after about three months, they’ll see big strength and performance gains.” Nutrition Periodization The nutrient timing system provides guidance over the course of a day, but athletes also need to time their nutritional intake for the bigger picture. Different phases of the year place different demands on athletes’ bodies, and to respond optimally, they must adjust what they eat to match. Seebohar has been studying this concept for nine years, and in 2004, he authored a book, Nutrition Periodization for Endurance Athletes: Taking Traditional Sports Nutrition to the Next Level, to summarize his conclusions. “We’re all familiar with periodization as it relates to training cycles, and we

Reduced training [in the off-season] can easily lead to unwanted weight gain, so athletes need another nutritional plan for this time period. “If they have at least three to four weeks when they’re not doing very much training, it’s critical to alter their eating to reflect that,” Seebohar says. “That is the time when their weight can start creeping up if they don’t control the calories.” to envision their metabolism as a campfire. “We tell them they need to get the fire burning first thing in the morning by throwing some fuel on it,” he says. “And unless they put more nutrients in regularly, the fire will flare out, so every two or three hours, they need to throw another log on by eating some healthy food. “It’s also helpful to provide them with some ideas for healthy meals and snacks that combine protein and carbohydrate,” Wright continues. “I give them lots of examples of foods to have two hours postexercise, as well as information on what constitutes a healthy dinner.”

wouldn’t think of asking an athlete to train the same way day in and day out over the course of a year,” says Seebohar. “But when you look at an athlete’s overall nutrition, often you’ll find they’re eating the same way week in and week out, regardless of how their training changes. That sets them up for trouble.” Seebohar suggests thinking of training cycles like waves, with times of higher volume and intensity as the peaks, and times of lower intensity as the valleys. If an athlete’s nutritional intake is a constant—a straight line through the waves—they’ll be taking in too little


nutrition during the peaks and then eating too much during the valleys. “An athlete who ignores nutrition periodization will often be left without enough energy to complete workouts, or they’ll be gaining weight and won’t understand why,” Seebohar says. “Both can hurt their performance. “To avoid those pitfalls, nutrition needs to vary along with training cycles,” he continues. “Whenever there is a volume or intensity change, you should implement a corresponding nutrition change.” Preseason: When an athlete’s training volume and intensity is highest, the emphasis is on consuming enough nutrients to sustain the workload. Seebohar stresses daily preparation for workouts, urging athletes to fuel up one to two hours before a training session. He also emphasizes recovery using nutrient timing concepts. In-season: Once athletes are competing, their training volume usually goes down and the goal is to maintain the strength and endurance they have built. At this point, it’s time to reduce calories. However, athletes still need a steady stream of energy, so Seebohar recommends stressing smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding long periods without a meal or snack. “I can’t tell you how many high school and college athletes I meet who eat once a day,” Seebohar says. “To recover from meet to meet, they need to eat every two or three hours. It doesn’t have to be a full meal—it can be a piece of fruit and a granola bar. This works great during the competitive season, because frequent eating causes them to naturally curb their calories a little bit while still maintaining energy.” Hydration is another big focus in-season. “Athletes who were doing great with hydrating in the preseason can forget to maintain it in-season,” Seebohar says. “I tell them to carry a water bottle wherever they go. I also want them to make sure they’re urinating every two to three hours. If they’re not, they aren’t drinking enough.” Off-season: Reduced training can easily lead to unwanted weight gain, so athletes need another nutritional plan for this time period. “If they have at least three to four weeks when they’re not doing very much training, it’s critical to alter their eating to reflect that,” Seebohar says. “That is the time when

their weight can start creeping up if they don’t control the calories.” Preventing weight gain entails adding lots of fruits and vegetables to boost fiber, which makes athletes feel full. It also means making sure they include a lean protein source every time they eat, rather than filling up on carbohydrates alone. “In the off-season, I tell athletes they should never be eating from just one food group,” Seebohar says. “Every time they eat, they need some carbs, some lean protein, and a fruit or vegetable.”

With both nutrient timing and nutrition periodization, frequent communication is the key. “Start by explaining the concepts,” Seebohar says. “Then keep talking about them until they become just another part of your team’s routine. When it comes to nutrition, the more you educate your athletes, the more likely they are to follow your recommendations.” ■ A version of this article was previously published in Training & Conditioning, a sister publication of Coaching Management.


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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 - Md - Lrg

Bicep/ Triceps Cuff This patentpending device affords protection from overuse injuries for individuals performing repetitive lifting in activities such as weight training. Sizes: Sm - XXL 1-800-221-1601 Circle No. 122




103. . . AAE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 113 . . . Aer-Flo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 121 . . . Antibody (The BodyGuard) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 110 . . . Austin Plastics & Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 106. . . Beynon Sports Surfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 107 . . . Blazer Mfg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 120 . . . BulletBelt (Lane Gainer) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 109. . . California University of Pennsylvania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 122. . . Cho-Pat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 123 . . . Conica/BASF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IBC 102. . . FieldTurf Tarkett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 101 . . . First To The Finish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 124 . . . M-F Athletic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BC 114 . . . Marathon Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 112 . . . Mondo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-21 111 . . . Omni-Lite Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 117 . . . On Track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 116 . . . OPTP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 118 . . . Power Lift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 115 . . . Professional Turf Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 119 . . . Raceclock by Electro-Numerics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 108. . . Run Worldwide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 100 . . Rutozym . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IFC 105. . . Traction/ProTraxx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 104. . . VS Athletics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9




509 . . AAE (Ballstopper systems) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 510 . . . AAE (The Donkey) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 506 . . Aer-Flo (Bench Zone) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 507. . . Aer-Flo (Cross-Over Zone) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 533 . . Antibody (ankle brace) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 534 . . Antibody (compression shorts) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 508 . . Austin Plastics & Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 500 . . Beynon Sports Surfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 512 . . . Blazer Mfg. (Discus Ring) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 511 . . . Blazer Mfg. (Hurdle) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 535 . . California University of Pennsylvania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 536 . . Cho-Pat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 501. . . Conica/BASF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 502 . . FieldTurf Tarkett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 531. . . First To The Finish (Eagle Eye Digital Video software) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 532 . . First To The Finish (Nike products) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 514 . . . M-F Athletic (catalog) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 515 . . . M-F Athletic (First Place Competitor) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 523. . . Marathon Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 503 . . Mondo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 524. . . Omni-Lite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 525. . . On Track (high jump/pole vault standards) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 526. . . On Track (weight training implements). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 517 . . . OPTP (AXIS foam roller) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 518 . . . OPTP (Stretch Out Strap) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 520. . . Power Lift (Collegiate Rack) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 519 . . . Power Lift (Pro Select) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 521. . . Power Systems (Series 7 Hurdle) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 522. . . Power Systems (VersaFit vest) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 516 . . . Professional Turf Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 513 . . . Raceclock by Electro-Numerics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 537. . . Rutozym . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 505 . . Sportsline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 504 . . Traction/ProTraxx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 527. . . VS Athletics (discus) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 528. . . VS Athletics (Nishi shot) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 530 . . Worldwide Sport Supply (Chico Duffle). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 529 . . Worldwide Sport Supply (Japan Lite-Ning) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

4/16/07 11:44:41 AM

Track Facility Equipment Aer-Flo, Inc. 800-823-7356 The Bench Zone™ track protector is for tracks around football and soccer fields. The tough, thick polypropylene fabric resists and cushions against cleats and shoes, yet allows rain to drain through. A steel chain in the vinyl edging all around keeps the protector down in wind without the need for stakes. The Bench Zone is easy to install and ships quickly. It is 15 feet wide and 75, 100, 125, or 150 feet long. Custom sizes are also available. This product is great for protecting areas used by cheerleaders, bands, vendors, and crowds. Current users include Villanova, North Carolina State, New Mexico, VMI, and Moravian. Circle No. 506 The Cross-Over Zone™ track protector from Aer-Flo® resists and cushions against steel-tipped cleats. Its breathable polypropylene fabric allows rain to drain through while protecting modern track surfaces from crossing traffic. A steel chain inserted in the edging keeps the protector in place without stakes. Choose white or gold vinyl edging for durability and safety. The Cross-Over Zone is 7.5 or 15 feet wide and 30, 40, or 50 feet long. Custom sizes and multi-color printing are also available. This product is easy to install and remove, and it ships quickly. Hundreds are already in use. Circle No. 507 Austin Plastics & Supply 800-290-1025 Athletic record boards are effective tools for motivating your athletes to do their best. Visit Austin’s Web site to view examples of boards for various sports, off-season strength and conditioning record boards, player-of-theweek boards, goal boards, and all types

of recognition boards. Engraved record nameplates are available, or you can print your own using perforated card stock supplied by the company. Custom boards are also available. Circle No. 508 Aluminum Athletic Equipment (AAE) 800-523-5471 AAE manufactures and sells numerous styles of BallStopper systems—high ones, low ones, offset posts, straight posts, small netting, large netting—but each serves the same function: to prevent balls from escaping the field of play. They’re perfect for fields that are surrounded by parking lots, residential areas, or steep embankments. BallStopper systems are especially useful for adjoining fields, because they prevent ball interference when multiple practices or games are being held in close proximity to one another. Circle No. 509 The Donkey by AAE is a portable, elevated multi-purpose center with a long list of uses. It’s a scorer’s table, observation center, video station, broadcast booth, coach’s station, penalty bench (optional), and additional on-field storage unit (optional). No matter the sport--track, lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, baseball, or tennis--everyone benefits from what the Donkey has to offer. It’s fully portable, easy to move, features lockable wheels, and offers protection from wind, weather, and sun. Constructed of durable aluminum, it stands nearly 11 feet high and comfortably seats six people. Circle No. 510

Blazer Mfg. Co. 800-322-2731 Blazer’s premium line of hurdles includes some of the strongest, longestlasting hurdles on the market today. The new 1130 High School Open Base Rocker Hurdle is an extremely strong knock-down hurdle, and it is shipped flat to reduce freight costs. The 1138 Collegiate Hurdle is a welded L-hurdle that features an interlocking, stackable base. The FormFinder SelfTraining Hurdle helps athletes develop the correct body position for hurdling. Circle No. 511 New additions to Blazer’s premium equipment line include the model 1262 Indoor Urethane Discus Ring and the model 1189 Collegiate PV Standard. The orange discus ring is highly visible and snaps together for easy assembly and compact storage. The standard offers collegiate-level quality with aluminum uprights and a steel base for stability. Blazer also offers a full line of track equipment, including Steelex spikes, shot puts, performance indicators, and much more. Circle No. 512 Raceclock by Electro-Numerics, Inc. 800-854-8530 Raceclock timing clocks are available with four-, six-, or nine-inch digits featuring super-bright LEDs or traditional “flip” digits. The single- and doublesided models are accurate to 1/100th of a second. Internal batteries provide over 10 hours of operation with selectable timing modes set by a keypad. Accessories include a tripod stand, carrying case, remote control, and remote display operation compatible with FinishLynx. Circle No. 513



Track Facility Equipment

Strength & Conditioning

M-F Athletic 800-556-7464

OPTP 800-367-7393

The 2008 Everything Track & Field catalog is now available. It focuses on more than 50 categories of track and field and cross country essentials, and all products are neatly categorized for convenient examination and ordering. The items in this 76page full-color publication have been selected after careful examination by the M-F Athletic staff, which is made up of experts in various track and field specialties. Order your free copy today. Circle No. 514

Available exclusively from OPTP, the AXIS foam roller is firm and has a smooth surface. It is made of high-quality foam that won’t lose its shape after moderate to heavy use. The AXIS roller offers all the benefits of traditional rollers, and can be used for self-massage, balance, and core stability exercises. For more information and a free OPTP catalog, go online or call the company today. Circle No. 517

M-F Athletic has introduced its First Place Competitor high school pole vault pit, a very economical buy and a high-quality pit made of superior heavy-duty materials like 21-ounce knife-coated vinyl with 16-ounce urethane spread on the outside. It meets all NFHS rules and is designed with an 8’ x 10’ coaches box and an Angulax front so that no box collar is required. You can order a complete package, or the pit alone at a very favorable price. Circle No. 515

The Stretch Out® Strap, an OPTP exclusive, delivers the benefits of PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching without a partner. This type of stretching combines isotonic, isometric, and prolonged stretch. The Stretch Out Strap has a double-stitched series of loops for the hands and feet, allowing users to work progressively into each stretch. Call OPTP today or go online for more information and to request a free catalog. Circle No. 518

Professional Turf Products 866-726-3326

Power Lift 800-872-1543

Trax Armor™ Cross-Over Tarps are designed to protect your synthetic running track surface from all types of traffic, including football cleats, cheerleaders, and even maintenance machinery. All tarps are available in black and light gray. Call toll-free to find out more, or go online to view all the company’s products and specifications and to locate a dealer near you. Circle No. 516

Power Lift’s Pro Select selectorized line includes 11 pieces: seated chest press, incline chest press, shoulder press, lateral raise, leg extension, prone leg curl, bicep curl, tricep kickback, lat pulldown, seated row, and chin/dip assist. Standard features include extra-large pads for user comfort, 300pound weight stacks in 10-pound increments, five-pound add-on weights, and adjustable start positions. Circle No. 519



Power Lift has introduced its latest line of rack systems. The Collegiate Rack line includes a half rack, a power rack, and a combo power rack. All racks are available in eight- and nine-foot heights. Standard features include 11-gauge steel construction, fixed bar tabs, safety spot bars, weight storage, and straight chin-up handles. Circle No. 520 Power Systems 800-321-6975 The Power Systems Series 7 Hurdle is a versatile yet specific training tool that can be used to enhance power, speed, and flexibility. With seven height options, it is an excellent aid for plyometric training— especially when multiple hurdles are used. Each hurdle is adjustable from 24 to 42 inches in three-inch increments. The spring-loaded pins allow for quick adjustments. The Series 7 Hurdle conveniently folds and is lightweight and portable, so it can be used almost anywhere. Circle No. 521 The VersaFit vest from Power Systems is designed for exercises in which additional “body weight” is desired. This padded vest ergonomically places weight over the torso, so a variety of exercises from sprinting to plyometrics can be performed. It quickly slides over the head and is easily secured with Velcro™ straps. The VersaFit vest comes in 10-, 20-, and 40-pound options and can be adjusted in one- or two-pound increments. Combining the VersaFit vest with Power-Plyo Boxes significantly increases the number of training exercises at your disposal. Power-Plyo Boxes are available in six-, 12-, 18-, 24-, 30-, 36-, and 42-inch options. Circle No. 522

Team Equipment Marathon Printing, Inc. 800-255-4120 Marathon Printing specializes in numbers for all kinds of athletic events. The company’s goal is to provide on-time delivery of the highest-quality custom and stock bibs available. Marathon prints all numbers in-house, giving the company total control for easy customization of your bibs. If you need references, just contact Marathon. The company supplies numbers for some of the largest and most popular competitions in the world, and would be glad to talk with you about your event. Circle No. 523 Omni-Lite Industries, Inc. 800-577-6664 Omni-Lite’s ceramic spikes are onethird the weight of steel, and they’re designed to compress on the track to allow for maximum performance. The Pyramid spikes are recommended for middleto longdistance events. The spikes are available in five lengths: 1/8”, 3/16”, 1/4”, 3/8”, and 1/2”, and seven colors: black, silver, fast blue, Olympic green, violet, fast red, and Olympic gold. Circle No. 524 On Track 800-697-2999 On Track high jump and pole vault standards feature weight-saving anodized aluminum uprights equipped with polymer measurement scales that resist peeling and tearing. The unique on/off riser clamps make height adjustment positive and secure at all heights—no more slipping due to

loose screw-downs. The steel riser tubes and offsets are zinc-electroplated for durability. The pole vault standards slide along heavy steel rail units for unsurpassed stability. Go online for a list of On Track standard owners. Circle No. 525 On Track knows that modern training theory calls for incremental weight variation under and over competition weight for strength, speed, and technique development. With this theory in mind, Gillett Over-/UnderWeight Training Implements were created in both a discus and a shot series. An adjustable shot model is also available. All dimensional measurements remain consistent with competition specs. These are the throwing trainers you’ve read about on coaching Web sites. Circle No. 526 VS Athletics 800-676-7463 The Denfi Hypersuperspin Discus features a very high spin rate (six to eight RPS), creating a potential six-percent increase in distance for top throwers. This discus is superb for all wind conditions—including still and tailwind. It’s available in five weights: 2k, 1.75k, 1.6k, 1.5k, and 1k. Circle No. 527 When you pick up a Nishi shot from Springco you are handling a perfectly machined and balanced shot. Experienced shot putters can immediately feel the rough cast iron “grippy” but evenly machined, perfectly round

surface without any plugs. When the athlete places the shot to his or her neck, there is no need to rotate it to find the sweet spot. Every position of the Nishi shot is perfectly balanced and feels exactly the same. Circle No. 528 Worldwide Sport Supply 800-756-3555 features track spikes for serious athletes. The Japan Lite-Ning is designed for elite runners.

It’s the lightest sprint shoe ASICS has ever made (5.1 ounces.), and it is ideal for distances up to 400 meters. This high-powered shoe includes removable spikes as well as fixed spikes for increased traction and extended life. It offers a comfortable and lightweight feel, making it perfect for top runners who want to gain that competitive edge. Circle No. 529 The ASICS Chico Duffle, available from Worldwide Sport Supply, is a compact gear bag that’s perfect for workouts, short journeys, and long bus rides. This stylish bag is built to last. It’s made with highcount polyester fabric and offers a ton of room for your team name or logo. Runworldwide’s in-house custom screen printing and embroidery makes this an easy team choice. It’s available in seven colors for as low as $20.99 per unit. Circle No. 530



Team Equipment

More Products

First to the Finish 800-747-9013

Antibody 877-546-2639

Turn your computer into an automatic timing system with Eagle Eye Digital Video software. There’s no need to break the budget with expensive linescan systems or outside timing crews. Eagle Eye is compatible with Hy-Tek Meet Manager, and the software includes a motion analysis tool that can be used every day for practice and competitions. Virtually every school in the country can now afford a Fully Automatic Timing (FAT) system. Circle No. 531

The BodyGuard compression ankle brace is designed to add comfort, stability, and performance enhancement to the sprained ankle. In the uninjured ankle it reduces the incidence of sprains, strains, and impact trauma, while adding stability and performance enhancement. As with all BodyGuards, it provides compression, support, heat circulation to the muscles and tendons, strain distribution, and impact absorption. Circle No. 533

Already a major player in the track and field footwear industry, First To The Finish will now be featuring Nike products online through its Web site. New 2008 products for sale include track spikes, training shoes, fitness apparel, team uniforms, Nike+ accessories, and timing and vision products. First To The Finish provides sports equipment and apparel to high schools, colleges, and clubs in the track and field, volleyball, and competitive swimming markets. Circle No. 532

Need help fundraising for your team? Check out the source for fundraising tips, support, and suppliers: 40


The BodyGuard compression shorts by Antibody prevent and accommodate lower-body injuries to the groin, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and hip pointers. Because of their inner surface and custom design, they attach to the wearer and transfer their stored elastic energy to the muscles, creating torque and assisting with muscle flexion and extension. The shorts also provide constant compression, strain distribution, impact absorption, heat circulation, and absorption of fatigue-inducing muscle vibrations caused by repetitive use. Circle No. 534 California University of Pennsylvania 866-595-6348 California University of Pennsylvania’s Global Online offers 100-percent online degree programs designed to fit into your busy schedule. Access your classes from anywhere, at any time, through an asynchronous class format. All you need is

a computer with Internet access—no special software is required. For more information, visit the Cal U Global Online Web site or call toll-free. California University of Pennsylvania: Building Character, Building Careers. Circle No. 535 Cho-Pat 800-221-1601 Knees take a beating. Cho-Pat’s patented Dual Action Knee Strap provides an extra dimension of relief for painful and weakened knees. First, it applies pressure on the tendon below the knee to reduce patellar subluxation and improve patellar tracking and elevation. Then, by adding pressure on the tendon above the knee, the strap further strengthens and provides an additional level of support and stability for the joint. The Dual Action Knee Strap allows full mobility. Circle No. 536 Rutozym 888-766-4406 Rutozym™ is a clinically tested formula that can improve your athletes’ cardiovascular health by assisting their overall circulation and normalizing inflammation. Rutozym’s tablets have an enteric coating and contain a special blend of nattokinase, bromelain, and papain to supplement the body’s natural supply of enzymes and work systematically to improve vascular circulation. Contact Rutozym to learn more. Circle No. 537

Circle No. 123


SuperSource for

For Quality Equipment Backed wıth Sound Advice,

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M-F ATHLETIC COMPANY • P.O. Box 8090 Cranston, RI 02920-0090 Toll-Free 800-556-7464 Fax: 800-682-6950 Visit us online: Circle No. 124

Coaching Management 16.1  

Track & Field Preseason Edition 2008