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Coaching Management VOL. XVII NO. 1

TRACK

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FIELD

PRESEASON

EDITION

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2009

PASS IT ON

Developing great relay teams

Hosting an Invitational

The Psychological Side of Nutrition


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CONTENTS

Coaching Management Track & Field Edition Preseason 2009 Vol. XVII, No. 1

3 LOCKER ROOM

Bulletin Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 NCAA Division I alters regionals … New law may put more wheelchair athletes on track teams … Hartford’s Latasha Jarrett wins national sports­ manship award … Checking out the ATLAS and ATHENA programs … A team of 200 explains its tactics.

Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Ian Wilson, Head Coach at Waterville (Maine) High School, talks about his coaching philosophy, mental training, and working with parents. SURFACES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 TRACK FACILITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Strength Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Team Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

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COVER STORY

Pass It On

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Building great relay teams entails choosing your athletes carefully, developing camaraderie, and implementing appropriate drills. Top coaches pass on their advice.

LEADERSHIP

All In a Day

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Hosting an invitational meet can garner attention for your program and create great memories. This article will give you a running start.

NUTRITION

Mind Over Menu

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When advising athletes about their eating habits, you shouldn’t just talk carbs, calories, and calcium. You also need to address the psychology behind their relationship with food.

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ADVERTISERS DIRECTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 On the cover: Louisiana State University won the NCAA Division I outdoor women’s team championship last spring thanks to a second place finish by its 4x400 relay squad. Penn State University won the event. Story begins on page 16.

Publisher Mark Goldberg Editor-in-Chief Eleanor Frankel Associate Editors Dennis Read, Greg Scholand Assistant Editors R.J. Anderson, Kenny Berkowitz, Abigail Funk, Kyle Garratt, Mike Phelps

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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.

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LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD NCAA Alters D-I Regionals

The current East region includes the most schools, with 110 men’s teams and 112 women’s teams, while the West region has only 40 men’s teams and 42 women’s teams. In addition, some areas of the country are traditionally stronger than others in certain events. For example, the West is seen as a powerhouse in the distance events, and that has also been a stumbling block to the regional format.

The regional qualifying format for the NCAA Division I outdoor track and field championships has seen a few tweaks in the six years since it was implemented. Now it’s facing some major adjustments. Beginning in 2010, regional competition will occur at just two sites—East and West—down from four, and there will be a new method for determining who qualifies. The Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet approved the proposals from the Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee at its meeting in September.

For the 2009 season, there will be a slight change to the system, as 52 schools from the East and Mideast are being moved into the Midwest and West regions. Still up for debate is exactly where the line will be drawn between East and West in 2010. “When the regional concept was first brought up, it was said that we’d try it and tweak it as needed,” Henry says. “This is another tweak in that process. We will adapt like we always have.”

“I think the pulse is that we want to continue with the regional format, and having two regions is the right way to make sure the best athletes get to the championships,” says Jeff Schemmel, Chair of the Championships/Sports Management Cabinet and Director of Athletics at San Diego State University.

Braden Villanueva/CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE

Under the new plan, each regional meet will have a group of 48 athletes per event as determined by national descending order lists of season-best performances. Predetermined qualifying times will no longer be used and conference champions will no longer automatically qualify. The top 12 finishers in each regional meet will advance to the national championships. “Using predetermined qualifying times takes some of the value out of regular season competition,” says Pat Henry, Head Men’s and Women’s Coach at Texas A&M University and President of the U.S.

California State University-Northridge long jumper Reindell Cole competes in the 2008 NCAA Division I West Regional, in which he finished sixth. Regional competition will get a new look in 2010, when only two meets will be held and criteria for qualifying will be based on a national descending order list. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. “It tells our youth that once they reach the time they need to get to regionals, the rest of the meets don’t matter. In my opinion as a coach, we have to have competitions that are important to our athletes every time, and the descending list will do that.”

Another issue surrounding the current format is inequity among the four regions. In one regional, an event’s heats may be full of qualifiers, while in another, there are only a few entries, meaning the athletes in the crowded region have less chance to advance to the championships.

A former track and field All-American at Kansas State University, Jeff Schemmel talks about his career path and the challenges he’s facing as Director of Athletics at San Diego State University in a Q&A on our sister Web site. Click on “Features” at: www.AthleticManagement.com.

“Each year, the Championships Cabinet takes a hard look at all of the championships we conduct, and the question we always ask is, ‘How can we make this the best experience for the student-athletes who compete?’” Schemmel says. “We hope that these changes do make the regionals as fair and as great an experience as possible for our athletes.”

Racing Towards Equity Should wheelchair athletes be allowed to compete on high school track and field teams? For coaches in Maryland, that question will be answered with more clarity this year, thanks to a new statewide educational law that went into effect last summer. Called the 2008 Maryland Fitness and Athletic Equity Act, the legislation requires high schools to provide disabled

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LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD students equal opportunities to participate in physical education programs and on athletic teams. Exactly how to make that happen is currently being studied by an advisory committee established by the Maryland State Department of Education (DOE).

districts are required to make their own decisions.

advantage or disadvantage or increase any safety risks.”

“Say a student with a disability wants to try out for the track team,” says Colleen Seremet, Assistant State Superintendent for Instruction. “If there are any questions about whether

The driving force behind the passage of the law was the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), which, after a successful effort in Maryland, is now hoping to replicate the

”The GAO study will get the basic data out there to reaffirm what we already know— there aren’t enough athletic opportunities for students with disabilities,” Lakowski says. “To have the government assess the lay of the land for us will be a good starting

Steve Gilbert, Head Girls’ Coach at Upper Darby High School in Drexel Hill, Pa., integrated a disabled student-athlete into his program over the past four years. “It was a great experience,” he says. “Yes, it was challenging, but it increased my awareness and made me a better, more well-rounded coach.” One of the DOE’s main projects is creating a model policy that Maryland school districts can use as a guide, which will include eligibility criteria and details on equipment modification or aids. But the model will only recommend procedures, as individual school

their accommodations would fundamentally alter the sport, the model policy will recommend the school district have a committee that could convene quickly and be able to answer those questions. They might discuss whether a racing wheelchair would provide an

MAC08-032 Athletic Mgmt Coaching Jan Issue:Layout 1

model on the federal level. Terri Lakowski, Public Policy Director for the WSF, says it is hoping to get a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study commissioned with legislation introduced to Congress within the next year. 12/23/08

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point for building support for national legislation.” Although the law is new in Maryland and still looking to gain traction on the federal level, some schools have already dealt with this issue successfully. At Upper Darby

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High School in Drexel Hill, Pa., Head Girls’ Coach Steve Gilbert integrated a disabled student-athlete into his program over the past four years.

practices and meets, we never had an accident. And as time went on, the opposing coaches got to know her and were excited to see her compete.”

Kaitlyn Willard, who suffers from spina bifida and is paralyzed from the knees down, joined the track team at Upper Darby as a freshman in the spring of 2005. While Gilbert welcomed Willard and her wheelchair wholeheartedly, he remembers being nervous about the how-to.

Upper Darby installed a lift for Willard to use to get onto the school’s track, which was otherwise accessible only via a staircase. Gilbert also made sure that there was always a wheelchair lift on the bus his team took to away meets.

“I wasn’t hesitant to take her on the team—I thought it was a great idea—but I was worried about safety issues and that I wouldn’t know how to train her,” Gilbert says. “Because our track gets so crowded with both the boys’ and the girls’ teams practicing at the same time, when she started, I would wait to work with her until the later stages of practice when fewer athletes were there,” he continues. “But as I saw that the kids were pretty good about not getting in each other’s way, I integrated her more fully with the team. In retrospect, I probably could have started her sooner with the rest of the team.”

By Willard’s junior year, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association allowed her to score a single point in each event she competed in if she achieved a set time. If the points she scored had no effect on the final team outcome, they were added to Upper Darby’s total, but the team wasn’t permitted to win a meet based on those points. Since graduating this past spring, Willard is now at the University of Alabama on a scholarship to play wheelchair basketball. She was the first wheelchair athlete Gilbert ever

coached, and he says he will gladly do it again if the opportunity presents itself. “I gained a level of respect for these athletes who can compete against able-bodied athletes,” he says. “It was a great experience. Yes, it was challenging, but it increased my awareness and made me a better, more well-rounded coach.”

The Best Policy Pays Off While competing at the 2008 America East Conference outdoor championships, University of Hartford senior heptathlete and high jumper Latasha Jarrett was surprised to be credited for clearing a height she hadn’t yet jumped. Given the choice between honesty and improving her chances of winning, Jarrett chose honesty—and was named NCAA Division I Sportswoman of the Year. “To me, the decision was a no-brainer,” says Jarrett, who

also won the conference’s sportsmanship award. “All the attention has been confusing because I don’t see this as a huge deal. If I had won the high jump without clearing that height, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself knowing that I had cheated.” The situation came toward the close of the meet, as Jarrett was switching gears between the heptathlon and the high jump. After clearing the qualifying height for the high jump, Jarrett left the pit area to run the last event of the heptathlon: the 800 meters, where she finished a half-second behind the leader. Combined with heptathlon victories in the high jump and 200 meters, Jarrett’s 800-meter performance was enough to secure the heptathlon title. But before she could celebrate, she needed to finish the high jump competition. Returning to the pit area, Jarrett found she had mistakenly been credited with clearing

Gilbert says he gave Willard the same types of workouts as the rest of the team and was able to improve his coaching techniques as time went on. “Communication was key,” he says. “At first, I wasn’t sure when a workout was too much for her. She had to learn to be really honest with me and let me know what she could handle.” Prior to each meet, Gilbert would call the opposing coach to inform him or her that his team included a wheelchair athlete. “I told coaches that she usually raced in one of the last heats, was very aware of the people around her, and wouldn’t cause a problem,” he says. “During four years of

University of Hartford high jumper and heptathlete Latasha Jarrett was named NCAA Division I Sportswoman of the Year this fall. The award honors student-athletes who “have demonstrated one or more of the ideals of sportsmanship, including fairness, civility, honesty, unselfishness, respect, and responsibility, through their actions.”

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LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD 1.58 meters (5’2”). She told the official, who gave her the option of letting the mistake stand or trying to clear the height. Even though Jarrett was winded from running the 800 meters, she chose to jump.

ues to work with the team as a volunteer assistant coach and plans to finish her doctorate in the summer of 2010, when she hopes to begin a career in sports medicine.

“I was really, really tired,” says Jarrett, whose personal best in the high jump is 1.68 meters (5’6”). “I had given every ounce of energy I had in the 800, and to immediately give my best effort in another event was very difficult. But jumping at 5’2” was the right thing to do.”

Positive Peer Pressure

takes a different approach to reducing their use is gaining ground. ATLAS and ATHENA, which have been 20 years in the making, are peer-led programs that educate athletes about the dangers of performance-enhancing substances—and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle—in a proactive way.

While high school state associations continue to debate the merits of testing athletes for steroids, a program that

“ATLAS and ATHENA are not simply ‘Just say no’ programs,” says Linn Goldberg, Professor

In her second attempt, Jarrett cleared the height, but that was as high as she would go, and she finished tied for third. Even though she failed to match her 1.62-meter (5’4”) finish in the heptathlon high jump, Jarrett took home the continuing admiration of her teammates and coaches.

One of the keys to the programs’ success is that they are gender specific. Athletes Training & Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) is for male athletes and emphasizes avoiding steroids and other supplements. Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise & Nutrition Alternatives (ATHENA) caters to female athletes, providing information about eating disorders, weight loss drugs, and depression.

“She’s been an outstanding role model for four years,” says Hartford Head Men’s and Women’s Coach Kathy Manizza, who nominated Jarrett for the sportsmanship award. “Latasha has always been a very conscientious worker at practice and has always had a positive attitude, even in years when injuries kept her from performing at her best. She encourages her teammates and congratulates her opponents. She’s the kind of person other people want to be around.”

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Another key component is that students teach each other. “We found that kids learning from one another is much more powerful than listening to a talking head at the front of the room,” says Goldberg. “Student-athlete leaders present the information in a nonconfrontational way and that really works to change attitudes towards steroids completely.”

Tamera Purpura, a student-athlete at Lowell High School in San Francisco, participates in the 800-meter run at the California Interscholastic Federation championships in May. Lowell has implemented the ATLAS and ATHENA programs to educate its athletes about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs.

The lessons are broken into several 45-minute sessions and taught in small groups. During each session, student leaders pass out workbooks, lay out objectives, and teach their peers using role-playing activities, student-created anti-steroid campaigns, and instructional, interactive games. The program has received a Sports Illustrated Champion Award and was named a Model Program by the U.S. Department of Health and

DIRK DEWACHTER PHOTOGRAPHY

Although Jarrett struggled with illness and injury for much of her first three years at Hartford, she was a team captain for two years and was twice named most valuable team member. She served on the university’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, helped organize Hartford’s annual Hall of Fame banquet, taught nutrition to students at city elementary schools, and raised funds for the Hartford Marathon. Now a graduate student in physical therapy, Jarrett contin-

of Medicine and Head of the Division of Health Promotion & Sports Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, who created the curriculum along with Diane Elliot, also Professor of Medicine at the school. “They provide ways to say no to performance enhancing drugs and supplements in a constructive manner, by giving young athletes the tools to improve their athletic ability. The activities teach sports nutrition and strength training techniques while also deterring athletes from using harmful substances.”


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LOCKER ROOM BULLETIN BOARD Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It has also caught the eye of the NFL, which has designated $1.7 million to offer the program in 16 NFL cities, reaching 80 high schools and about 40,000 student-athletes. Andy Leong, Head Boys’ and Girls’ Coach at Lowell High School in San Francisco, which was one of the inaugural schools to partake in the program through NFL funding, says it has made a big impact on his athletes. “This is definitely information our kids normally wouldn’t get,” says Leong. “Now they really understand the drawbacks of steroids and learning those lessons at a young age will hopefully prevent them from ever using steroids.” “Our athletes walked away from the program with a lot more knowledge about their bodies and health,” says Kelly Moore, coordinator of the ATLAS and ATHENA programs at Soldan International Studies High School in St. Louis. “I have seen really positive changes in the way our athletes train and prepare for games.”  Moore and Leong also liked how the program gives athletes leadership opportunities. For peer instructors, Leong chose athletes who had previously gone through the program in other sports or the school’s health classes, and found they rose to the occasion. “My leaders stepped up,” he says. “I found some kids who showed leadership potential that I didn’t notice until that day.” Goldberg and Elliot started generating ideas for ATLAS and ATHENA in 1987 and settled on the first experimental For more information on ATLAS and ATHENA, visit: www.ohsu.edu/hpsm.

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protocol in 1993. “We worked with thousands of athletes and coaches and everybody was videotaped and audiotaped,” says Goldberg. “We also had focus groups with the kids to find out what teaching methods were most effective.” The first study proving ATLAS’s effectiveness was published in

The More, the Merrier Michael Miragliuolo’s cross country team looks like an army. His runners at Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C., wear camouflage shirts with the team slogan “An Army of One,” written on the

How does he attract so many members to his team? To start, he has worked on making cross country the “in” team at Green Hope. “Cross country has always had a reputation as being a sport with different kinds of kids,” says Miragliuolo. “They’re thought of as dorky or geeky

At Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C., the cross country squads total more than 200 athletes, growing from 25 participants eight years ago. Head Coach Michael Miragliuolo attracts students by cultivating a fun and friendly atmosphere and he organizes practices using a three-tier system. A network of parents help with both organizational and team-building activities. the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1996, and was based on 3,200 athletes. Both programs have been proven to reduce the use of steroids, supplements, drugs, and alcohol, while improving nutrition. ATHENA participants have also shown decreased use of diet pills and amphetamines and reduced injury rates. Coaches at participating schools can choose to have staff from OHSU train them to run the programs or use instructional manuals and DVDs to prepare. High schools can obtain the materials from OHSU, and Goldberg says he is hoping to expand the NFL partnership to all 32 league cities next year.

back and total 205 boys and girls. As Head Coach, Miragliuolo has grown the squad from 25 members to its current size in eight years. “It is so beneficial for our kids to have something that allows them to connect to the school beyond the classroom,” says Miragliuolo, who is also the school’s Head Baseball Coach. “Plus, I really want to get our young people active at a time when obesity is such a problem in our society. I wish I could keep everybody on the baseball team, but I just can’t because of the nature of the sport. One of the things I love about cross country is that I don’t have to put a limit on the roster.”

or whatever. I wanted cross country to be seen as a cool thing to do. So I started by getting some of the kids who are seen as more popular to join the squad.” From there, he has relied on word of mouth from his runners, building the program’s reputation one athlete at a time. “I always ask each team member to find one friend to come out the next year,” says Miragliuolo. He also makes sure to cultivate a fun atmosphere. Practice occasionally turns into an ultimate Frisbee game, and team parents host weekly pasta parties that draw 160 team members. Miragliuolo makes it a point to accommodate his


runners’ lives outside of cross country, and the sheer size of the team makes practice seem more like a social event. To help organize the team, Miragliuolo has a network of seven or eight team parents, who round up other parent volunteers. Along with overseeing the pasta parties, team parents help with administrative functions like ordering warm-up suits. They also organize fan support, making sure there are cheering sections stationed throughout the course at each meet. To make practices manageable, Miragliuolo uses a tier system. Three groups of 60 to 70 runners each complete

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workout plans at three different levels of difficulty. The runners are then further broken down into companies of 10 each, with a student-athlete captain leading the workout and taking attendance for his or her company. “Having the tiers is essential,” says Miragliuolo. “We talk to the kids a lot about their reasons for running. Some of them do it just to stay in shape, for socializing, for their resume, or to prepare for another sport. Those kids will be in one of the less intense or competitive groups, and we don’t mind that, as long as they do what they’re supposed to do inside their group.

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Miragliuolo staggers the days he works with each group, doing intervals with one tier, while the other tiers are on a long run. Three assistant coaches help out, but none are at practice every day. The large squad size has certainly not hindered the team’s competitiveness, as the boys have won seven straight Tri-8 Conference titles and the girls have won six out of the last seven. The girls’ team finished second in the 2008 state title meet and the boys took fourth. Beyond the team’s success, Mira­gliuolo is very proud of making everyone and anyone feel welcome. Green Hope suits up around 50 runners for dual

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meets, and every team member gets to compete at least once. Two seasons ago, Will Craigle participated while flying back and forth to Boston for chemotherapy to fight a brain tumor. This year, Nathan Baker, who is deaf and has cerebral palsy, has cut eight minutes off his 5K race time, down to 24:18. “We try to create 200 different options for our 200 kids so they can find a comfort zone, and then we push them from there,” Miragliuolo says. “I say hello to each team member as often as I can, and I walk around and talk with the kids about anything, whether it’s school or workouts. The important thing is that everyone feels a part of it.”

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Q&A

Ian Wilson Waterville (Maine) High School

Growing up, Ian Wilson never competed in track and field and never planned to become a coach. But one day in 1990, while running near his alma mater, Mount View High School in Thorndike, Maine, the boys’ outdoor track coach invited him to become a volunteer assistant. As a recent college grad with a philosophy degree and little else to do, Wilson agreed. Two years later, he inherited the program, while also working at Mount View as a substitute teacher, tutor, and Head Girls’ Soccer Coach. That led to a full-time job teaching English at Waterville High School, where he’s been the Head Boys’ and Girls’ Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Coach for the past 12 years

CM: What’s your overall coaching philosophy? Wilson: My philosophy used to be push, push, push all the time. But I’ve evolved into more of a mentor for my athletes and a guide to my assistants. As a coach, you have to know your Xs and Os—you need to attend clinics, stay current on the latest ideas, and read as much as you can—but you have to know how to be a counselor, too. My most important contribution is letting athletes know they can come to me with their problems, and my best motivating is letting them know I’m invested in them as people. Kids will work awfully hard for someone who honestly cares about them.

Looking back, there were times when I was guilty of overtraining some athletes. I’ve found that if you push too hard, you wind up with a couple of really tough runners but you squeeze out some others who you need as team competitors. By the time you see performance drop, it’s already too late. Before that happens, you need to read your kids, especially the toughest ones, who are your measuring sticks.

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During his tenure at Waterville, Wilson has led his girls’ indoor and outdoor teams to seven state titles and his boys’ squads to three. He says his most satisfying season was Spring 2007, when both teams won state titles, a feat they repeated this past spring. He has been named Maine Track and Cross Country Coach of the Year 10 times. In this interview, Wilson talks about the evolution of his coaching philosophy, the importance of setting goals, mental training, and learning from mistakes.

Last spring, as we prepared for the state championships, I checked in with one of my seniors. He was a pretty tough kid, and he was cooked. So I actually rested the team in the week leading up to the state finals, and it worked very well. Do you ask your athletes to set goals? Yes. Our kids have hundreds of individual goals throughout the season. Setting goals helps athletes stay focused on performance, measure their progress, and stick with this sport. I think a lot of coaches underestimate the importance of setting goals. We’re really pressed for time, and with so many things to do every week, often a goal-setting meeting is the first thing we cut from our schedules. But as I get older, I realize how crucial these meetings are. You often use sports psychology with your teams. What are the most important elements? We try to get kids to believe in themselves. At this age, some athletes really suffer from a lack of confidence. We use scripts where they write down positive statements about themselves. Some kids have a very difficult time verbalizing those words in a script. One of my athletes once started crying because he couldn’t say something as simple as, “I can be a great athlete.” What do you do in a case like that? I counsel the athlete and encourage them to keep trying. When a kid comes in with a really poor self image, they’re fighting a lot of battles, and that probably includes

Dominik Alexis was a key contributor to Waterville’s Class B state championship this past spring, winning the high jump, 200-meter run, and 110-meter hurdles.

TIM GREENWAY/PORTLAND PRESS HERALD-MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM

What led you to alter your approach? I used to be much more vocal than I am now, trying to keep my athletes fired up day after day. But I was getting some kids so pumped up, I tied them into knots. That’s when a light went on in my head and I realized that every kid needs to be motivated differently. Sure, some respond well to being cranked, but you can crank others so much that you inhibit their performance.

and Head Girls’ Soccer Coach the past two years. He’s also served as Interim Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Thomas College (2001) and Head Boys’ Soccer Coach at Messalonskee High School (2003-07) in Oakland.


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Q&A some problems at home. It’s tough for a kid like that to come full circle, but seeing them start to develop a sense of self-confidence is one of my biggest rewards. You also teach your athletes visualization exercises? Yes, we’ve found that visualization dramatically reduces the learning curve. I can

I start with a little visualization early in the season, and toward the end of the season, we do more. As we approach the bigger meets, visualization fine tunes our athletes mentally, helps them rest physically, and keeps them focused as a team.

What are some good ideas you’ve learned at clinics? I remember hearing [track coach and consultant] Loren Seagrave talk about a core strength warmup at a USATF clinic. It was so “Every season, I want to learn somedemanding that when I did it thing big. This past year, I learned myself, I couldn’t move for three days. But it showed that I had the value of video. In five minutes of underestimated the importance looking at video, kids can get a of core training, and when I good idea of what they need to do incorporated that warmup into our program, there was a drato improve.” matic improvement in our sprinters. These days, we do 30 minutes of core work at every practice, and it’s made a big difference. attest first-hand that kids who go through the process of visualizing become In another example, for years we’d had mechanically sound faster than kids who some good middle-distance runners, but don’t. The more times an athlete goes our two-milers had not been very strong. through the mental process of landing After attending a USATF Level Two correctly in the long jump, for example, endurance clinic, I brought back a training the faster they’ll learn the technique.

model that called for doing endurance work before moving on to the anaerobic portion of our workout. That spring, in our first season of doing real endurance work, Waterville took five of the six top spots in the two-mile run at states. Are there ideas you’ve brought back to Waterville that haven’t worked? A million of them. For example, in hurdles, I spent a couple years trying to get athletes to lower their center of gravity. That’s a great approach for advanced hurdlers, but for our high schoolers, I was putting the cart before the horse and as a result, we suffered. When I went back to working on rhythm, keeping the hurdles low, and working through a progression, our hurdlers started improving again. What’s the advantage of coaching another sport? From soccer, I’ve learned a lot about the mental approach. I think coaching soccer has helped me prepare track athletes psychologically for competition. Often, the most successful soccer teams are really relaxed and the ones struggling are tight. The biggest difference is usually what’s going on between the players’ ears.

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Q&A Back in 1998, you were Head Girls’ Soccer Coach at Waterville for one year, but your contract wasn’t renewed. What happened? Without a doubt, that was the worst experience of my coaching life. When I came on board as a first-year coach, there were two groups of parents who’d been feuding during travel soccer for years. My policy was not to treat upperclassmen differently than underclassmen, and some parents didn’t like that. At the end of the season, I received favorable reviews from my principal and athletic director, but one faction of parents felt I was favoring the other, and one of the parents convinced the superintendent to block my nomination to coach the next season. This may sound weird, because coaches don’t usually talk about losing confidence, but it took me a year to get over that. I knew I was doing all I could to help kids improve themselves, and this felt like the ultimate rejection. What did you do? I just put one foot in front of the other and kept working—that’s all anyone can do. I continued to focus on helping kids

get better, and in 2000 we won the state championship in girls’ indoor track. I was alright after that. When the girls’ soccer job opened up again at Waterville two years ago, I jumped at it, and it’s been great this time around. What did you take away from the negative experience? In hindsight, I should have asked the athletic director to step in and start holding meetings with the parents to try to mend the fractured relationships. The biggest lesson I learned was to never discus playing time or my relay team selection process with parents. If you open that door, you’ll have a line of parents around the corner waiting to talk to you. I now keep my discussions with parents to grades, health, and what they can do to encourage their child to improve. After 17 years as a head track coach, what have you learned about supervising your assistants? To trust them more. I used to micromanage my assistants, but I’ve learned to give them a lot more freedom. When I start working with a new assistant, I’m pretty meticulous about writing instructions.

Then, as time goes on and we develop a rapport, they take on more responsibility. I haven’t yet reached the point, though, where I let all my coaches write their own workouts. How do you deal with the cold weather in Maine? As long as the temperature is above zero, our distance runners run outside. Our sprinters will run in hallways and stairwells—whatever we can find—and a huge part of these workouts is making sure kids are safe. We post people to watch the corners and doorways to make sure there are no collisions. Do you set goals for yourself? Every season, I want to learn something big. This past year, I learned the value of video. I did a lot of work building a video library, then showing kids what their movements look like as compared to clips of elite athletes. In five minutes of looking at video, they can get a pretty good idea of what they need to do to improve. I believe there’s always more that I need to learn to become a better coach. When you’re done learning, you’re done.

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Circle No. 109


COVER STORY

At the NCAA Division I Outdoor Women’s Championships last spring, runners pass the baton from the second to third leg of the 4x400-meter relay. Penn State University (on right) finished first in the race and Louisiana State University (in middle) came in second, bolstering the Tigers to their first team championship in five years.

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Pass It On Building great relay teams entails choosing your athletes carefully, developing camaraderie, and implementing appropriate drills. Here, top coaches pass on their advice.

BY MIKE PHELPS Victor Mathis shouldn’t have been surprised when his Cuero (Texas) High School boys’ track and field team won the 3A state championship last spring. After all, the Gobblers also finished on top in both 2005 and 2006 and placed second in 2007. Yet he was. There was something very different about the most recent title for the veteran head coach. Perhaps it’s the fact that Cuero didn’t score a single point in any of the 11 individual track events contested. In fact, the Gobblers didn’t even have an entry in any of those races. Where Cuero did excel, however, was in the relays, as it took first in both the 4x100 and 4x200 to account for 40 points—topping the total output of all but two other schools and providing nearly two-thirds of Cuero’s overall total. Field events added another 22 points, allowing the Gobblers to best their nearest competitor by nine and a half points. For the 2008 Cuero squad, it was teamwork and not just talent that made the difference. “We preach relays first and put a lot of emphasis on them,” Mathis says. “We feel if we can come in first or second in a relay, we’ll have a chance to win a lot of meets. Being chosen for a relay is something our kids strive for.”

Mathis admits that success in relays begins with speed, but he also works hard on putting runners in the right spots, developing team chemistry, and teaching proper baton exchange techniques. Great relay teams can energize an entire track and field squad—if you know how to develop them. Positioned To Win Even the best recipes will be ruined if the proper ingredients are not put in at the right time, and the same goes for relay teams when their members are not properly assembled. There’s a lot more to constructing a fearsome foursome than simply picking out your fastest runners. Natasha Brown, Head Men’s and Women’s Coach at Drake University, learned this lesson well before becoming a coach. During her own competitive career, Brown ran on the U.S. women’s 4x400 team that finished second in 3:20.92 at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. An impressive feat to most, Brown still wonders if the team should have won gold instead. “That relay had the four fastest women in the nation, but we weren’t quite in the right order,” says Brown, who ran the leadoff leg in the finals. “I had run leadoff maybe one time before that,

Mike Phelps is an Assistant Editor at Coaching Management. He can be reached at: mp@MomentumMedia.com.

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COVER STORY

and there I was at the Olympic Games running first. I just knew it wasn’t right. I gave it the best I had, but in the back of my mind I felt I wasn’t really a leadoff person.” The following year, after changing one member of the squad, Brown and her teammates had a coach who knew each of the athletes and their strengths. With Brown running the third leg, the women ran a blistering 3:16.71 at the 1993 World Championships, establishing a meet record in the process. “It was unbelievable,” she says. “We switched the order around and all of a sudden we had a new record.” Now, 15 years later at Drake, Brown is using her experiences to help craft the Bulldogs’ relay teams. She’s learned what types of runners generally work best in each leg and how to maximize each relay’s potential. For example, in the 4x100, she places her athletes based on who runs the straights better than the curves and who has the best block starts. “My hurdlers tend to be the best curve runners, and my sprinters are the best straight legs or anchors,” Brown says. “Height also plays a role. Usually, the shorter you are, the better block start you have and the better you run

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curves. My taller runners tend to take a while to get moving because they have longer legs.” In putting together his 4x100 team at Florida State University, Men’s Sprints, Relays, and Hurdles Coach Ken Harnden places a lot of emphasis on finding the perfect curve runners for the number one and three slots. “There are a lot of guys who can run really fast in a straight line, but turn runners are much harder to come by,” Harnden says. “A great four-by-one is largely determined by who runs the best turns.” When constructing his 4x400 teams, however, Harnden focuses more on what types of runners will best fit the mental demands of the different legs. “For my leadoff, I’m looking for someone who will be solid and keep us in the mix,” he says. “He doesn’t have to be the flashiest guy, but he needs to put us in solid position. Normally, the third leg in a four-by-four will be the weakest, so you hope that the second guy can put you in a good enough spot that the third can hold on to it for the anchor.” For any relay, the last leg, of course, is key. At Cuero, the Gobblers were trailing in each of their two relay victories before anchor Stefon Hargrove ran down the

he transition from high school to college competition can be difficult for any student-athlete, even at the top levels. That’s why Florida State University Men’s Sprints, Relays, and Hurdles Coach Ken Harnden uses relays to break in his newcomers.

“You’re bringing in 18-year-old freshmen and expecting them to compete against 22-year-old seniors,” he says. “A lot of times, that can be really intimidating, especially if they were the best runner in their state, region, or wherever, and all of a sudden that’s not the case anymore. The athlete is going from being the big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond.” Harnden says the key to the transition is boosting the athlete’s confidence, which can happen if the freshman experiences success in early-season relays. “If you’ve got good relays and you put that young guy in there, it places him in a situation where he feels like he’s meant to be the best,” Harnden says. “Then, all of a sudden, that rolls into the individual events as well. Nobody can ever downplay the importance of confidence in any athlete in any sport.”

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competition. “Being an anchor is all about confidence,” Mathis says. “If you don’t believe you’re going to win, you’re not going to have success. Stefon was in great shape, both physically and mentally, and he wanted to win for his team.” “It’s not necessarily the fastest athlete who should run the anchor, but the most gutsy,” says Desmond Dunham, former Head Boys’ and Girls’ Coach at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md., and currently a volunteer assistant at the University of Maryland. “If it’s neck and neck, you want to know that this athlete is going to dig and dig, give it every ounce of energy they have, and lean through the finish line. That last leg has to be a fighter.” The mental aspect should also be considered when choosing who your four runners will be. Top coaches look for runners who manage to consistently rise to another level when placed in a relay situation. Dennis Shaver, Head Men’s and Women’s Coach at Louisiana State University, says this phenomenon is especially apparent in the 4x400. Shaver says he has coached athletes who run “unbelievable” relay splits, but when placed in an individual 400-meter race, don’t even place. “It has a lot to do with their confidence and their ability to distribute a race,” he explains. “When you’re in an open race, you’re in one lane the whole way, and your mind is focused on conserving energy and finishing strong. “But when you get that stick in your hand on a relay and there are opponents right there that you can run with, you’re not thinking about race distribution or going out too hard,” he continues. “You’re thinking about beating that opponent because there are other guys counting on you. It’s added motivation that some athletes really feed off.” Chemistry 101 Once you have a perfect foursome ready to go, how do you create the right chemistry among them? During his time at Eleanor Roosevelt, Dunham worked hard to help his team form bonds. “There’s a lot that has to happen for success to take place on a relay, but it all starts with chemistry,” says Dunham, whose 4x800 girls’ team broke a national high school record at the 2008 Penn Relays. “That was one of our cornerstone philosophies—no matter what,


COVER STORY

we will have a team atmosphere.” Dunham organized lots of activities, from karaoke parties, movie nights, and bowling outings to paintball events and team-building workshops. “We looked

Harnden does a number of small things with his relay squads to develop camaraderie. He tries to get extra uniforms in a different color or a different style of spikes specifically for the relay

into a football-type atmosphere, which is a lot of fun. “I like to do things that make it more of a team sport and promote that group feeling,” continues Harnden. “There’s no question it works and the guys respond to it. The relays are always a way to make it us versus them, rather than me versus them.” That group chemistry can be especially important when something goes wrong on a relay. “If teammates are being critical and not communicating properly, then they enter the next race with a lot of tension and anxiety,” Brown says. “You don’t want one athlete playing the blame game and saying, ‘We were doing great until you got the baton.’ Instead, each person should ask themselves, ‘What did I do? Was it my fault? What can I do to help?’” One way to build that trust is by working together on a frequent basis. “Each runner has to know what their incoming

Johnson feels drills are the best way to teach athletes how the baton should be placed and caught in the hand. “My big thing is hand dexterity,” he says. “All the speed in the world means nothing if the outgoing runner doesn’t know how to open and close their hand.” at various ways we could get the athletes to better know one another, respect one another, and always support their teammates no matter their background or differences,” he says. “We found success by developing athletes who were willing to go that extra step because they knew they were competing for three other individuals.”

teams. He also encourages the runners to find their own ways to develop a sense of team. “For example, on our four-by-one team, Charles Clark is one of those rahrah guys who gets the other three pumped up,” Harnden says. “He has this whole war chant that the team does before the race. The guys get hyped up and it turns

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runner looks like so you can sense when they’re in stress, struggling, or not as fast as they normally are so you can adjust,” Brown says. At LSU, Shaver extends that relay practice to not just four, but six team members. “I can’t count how many times we’ve been at a big meet and something happened that forced us to go with a different person in a relay whom they hadn’t participated with competitively for a month,” he says. “So we try to have everything rehearsed by at least our top six candidates. That way, if we have to make changes, we don’t move into panic mode.” Team Drills Of course, drill work also has a critical place in developing sprint relay teams.

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In fact, Robert Johnson, the former Head Coach at Wabash College before retiring last year, made a career out of it. Along with serving as the sprint and relay coach for the United States at the 1993 World University games, Johnson often gives clinics on relays and has produced a teaching video centered on the topic. He feels drills are the best way to teach athletes how the baton should be placed and caught in the hand. “My big thing is hand dexterity,” Johnson says. “All the speed in the world means nothing if the outgoing runner doesn’t know how to open and close their hand.” To give outgoing runners a sense of how they should position their hand to receive the baton, Johnson suggests they stand with their backs to the wall, far

hile most teams use verbal commands to indicate when the incoming runner wants the outgoing runner to extend their hand back, Lincoln University (Mo.) Head Men’s and Women’s Coach Victor Thomas has a different method. “Our relay exchanges are non-verbal,” he says. “We don’t say ‘stick’ or ‘reach’ or anything.

“In our system, the outgoing runner, immediately upon entering the exchange zone, puts up their receiving hand,” he continues. “The incoming runner knows to look for the hand and place the baton in it.” Thomas has been using this method for the past seven years with success, as his teams are consistently among the best in NCAA Division II. He says he created the system in order to make things simpler for his athletes. “I noticed that the verbal cues tend to confuse the less-focused and lessexperienced relay runners,” Thomas says. “When you have eight people on the track saying ‘reach’ or ‘stick,’ some people cannot concentrate, and they get confused. They tend to put up their hand too late or too quickly. “So, I thought the best thing would be to eliminate that completely,” he continues. “You don’t have to listen—just know that once you enter the zone, your hand comes up.” Thomas also tries to lessen the pressure involved with relay exchanges by giving his athletes one overriding rule to remember. “I tell my runners, when in doubt, just slow down,” he says. “If you get too far ahead in the zone, and you haven’t gotten the stick, put the brakes on. Something must be wrong behind you. Don’t look, just slow down. No matter how fast you are, if you don’t get the baton around the track, you’re not going to beat anybody.”

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enough away so that only the tips of each finger can reach the wall. As a drill, the athlete simply reaches their hand back, practicing the proper hand position. Fingers should be parallel to the floor, with the thumb pointed downwards, perpendicular with the floor. “It leaves a natural pocket to catch the baton,” Johnson says. “Like you’re catching a softball. You don’t want to passively receive the baton, you want to catch it.” When athletes struggle to make a good pocket, Johnson suggests they do the wall drill in front of a mirror. That way, they can look over their shoulder to see what type of target the incoming runner is seeing. To simulate catching a baton, Johnson uses a drill involving an empty water bottle. To begin, he places the bottle on the corner of a table or desk. Then, standing with their back to the table, the athlete pumps their arms four or five times before reaching back and snatching the bottle off the table. “You want the athlete to drive their elbow back to grab the bottle,” Johnson says. “When we do this drill, we don’t want the arm to look like a pendulum swing. We don’t do a long arm. We drive the elbow back, almost like a karate move. Kick that elbow back and drive the hand up.” A third drill provides an even greater challenge. The runner begins with the bottle in his or her hand, back to the wall, standing far enough away from the wall so that the fingers can barely touch. Then, using the same high driving elbow motion, the arm is extended backwards—as if pouring the water onto the ground—and the athlete bounces the bottle off the wall slightly, aiming to catch it in the same hand. Since the bottle is larger than an actual baton, this forces the runner’s hand into a more favorable position to receive a baton on the track. When he teaches incoming runners how to pass the baton, Johnson uses what he calls the push-press method. “The incoming runner controls the exchange,” he says. “He has to push and press—not slap or stab—the baton into the other runner’s hand. If the outgoing runner does not snatch the baton, the incoming runner must hang on to it.” When practicing handoffs on the track, Johnson likes to use the phrase,


COVER STORY

“inside, down the middle,” which reminds athletes to keep their inside, or baton side, leg, and the baton itself, down the middle of the lane. He places pieces of tape down the center of a lane to ensure each runner stays on his or her respective side, with the baton in the center. For example, if the incoming runner is holding the baton in their right hand, they stay to the inside of the lane and pass it to the outgoing runner’s left hand. “What happens frequently on turns is the leadoff runner will drift out to the right, the outgoing runner cuts to the left, and the baton is being passed across the body,” Johnson says. “Both runners have to stay to their side of the lane, with the baton being passed down the middle.” When coaching his athletes on relay exchanges, Mathis finds it best to start slow and make sure they understand the concepts involved before gradually building speed. But he says it’s also important for a team to practice exchanges at full speed, especially dur-

ing warmup before a meet. “I’ve been to a lot of track meets where other teams only take their warm up at half speed and then their timing is off during the race,” Mathis says. “Athletes have to work at full speed, or they’ll never be able to get the timing down.” Along with teaching the mechanics of relay exchanges, Dunham drilled his runners on handling the mental side of relays. “We would play out every possible scenario you can think of,” he says. “From a crowded field, which happens at big relay meets, to having someone come into your lane when you’re accepting the baton, we went over it. So when something happened a little outside the norm, our runners felt confident that they were prepared. “You can get so wrapped up in the technical aspect of track that you forget, this is a sport and anything can happen on a particular day,” he continues. “What if the baton drops? Who picks it up? When do you pick it up? We quizzed our athletes on these topics

weekly so they would feel comfortable no matter what happened.” Low Pressure At the NCAA Division I Women’s Championships last spring, as LSU’s 4x400 team lined up, the four athletes knew they had to beat Arizona State in this last event of the meet to win the national team title. They did, coming in second to ASU’s fifth. It might seem like a lot of pressure, but Shaver doesn’t think his foursome felt any. That’s because as much as he pushes his athletes to be the best they can, he remembers to ease up when it comes to relays. Too much emphasis, he says, takes the fun out of it, and that’s exactly what relays must be. “The more you emphasize something, the more pressure you’re putting on the athletes and the less likely it is that they’ll be able to relax and perform,” Shaver says. “If you’re running not to make a mistake instead of running to win, the results are not going to be good. And it’s supposed to be fun.” n

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Circle No. 112


LEADERSHIP

By Dr. David Hoch

All In a Day

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Hosting an invitational meet can garner attention for your program and create great memories. This article will give you a running start.

ave you ever thought about hosting an invitational or championship meet, but weren’t sure if it was worth the effort? As a former coach and current athletic director, I am always looking to make the student-athlete experience the best it can be, and I’ve found that there are many positives to putting on these kinds of events. The biggest benefit is that it can become a very special part of the season for a team. When team members, coaches, and parents work hard to pull off a special event, the camaraderie and

good feelings are long-lasting. I see a lot of pride in everyone’s faces at the end of a successful hosting experience. Another positive is that this type of meet provides good public relations for the school, the team, and individual athletes. It’s a chance to showcase your school’s facilities, hospitality, and organization. It also helps get your program in the local newspaper. Some teams even turn the event into a fundraiser. Through entry fees, concession sales, and advertising sponsors, many schools make significant money from hosting a big event.

David Hoch, EdD, is the Athletic Director at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County, Md., and a past President of the Maryland State Athletic Directors’ Association. He can be reached at: dhoch@bcps.org.

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LEADERSHIP

Over the years, we’ve hosted a number of different tournaments and large track meets here at Loch Raven High School. At our most recent basketball tournament, one coach said as he was leaving, “We really enjoy coming here. We are treated so well, and it’s a great event.” And his team had lost earlier that evening. Without a doubt, organizing a big meet takes some work, but it can be extremely rewarding. Planning Ahead No matter what ideas you have for a special meet, the first step is to talk with your athletic director. There are a ton of logistics to think about, and you need his or her support before making a single move. In most cases, your athletic director will be happy to provide advice, but he or she will need to know that you are willing to organize and oversee the event with minimal supervision. To start, the two of you should talk about the major tasks of planning the meet and enlisting help. Here are some areas to consider: The Date: Setting a date for a new invi-

tational may take some strategic thinking. Because most teams go to the same longestablished Saturday meets every year, there are usually few, if any, open dates. So, you may need to find a date that solves a current problem. Maybe there’s a meet that isn’t organized very well and your invitational can provide a good alternative on that date. Figuring out conflicts with other events is also key. There are the obvious ones: Are school facilities already booked? Is your baseball team hosting its own tournament during that time? But there are other conflicts to consider: Are SATs or proms scheduled for that weekend? Is there a big community event going on? Is it a bad weekend to ask parents or faculty members to help? Invitations: Deciding whom to invite should be based on the goal of the event. If great competition is what you’re hoping for, you may want to talk to the coaches of teams you plan to invite before choosing a date. If fundraising is key, you’ll want to invite schools with large fan bases. In some cases, the event

can serve as a way for local teams in different size classifications to compete against each other once a year. Staffing: Along with your typical contest personnel, you will need some additional help, usually from volunteers, to host a quality meet. We’ve found it works best to create shifts and produce a written schedule so that everyone knows where they should be and when. It would also be wise to have a substitute system organized in case someone is ill or simply forgets to show up for a shift. If you don’t normally have a PA announcer at your meets, you will want one for an invitational or championship. It is critical to have someone announcing calls for the start of events so the meet can run smoothly. The announcer should also recognize the top finishers and winning times and distances. In addition, you may need to graciously thank any sponsors for making the meet possible. All of this can be optimized with a good PA announcer. Who should you ask to help with these jobs? Your booster club or par-

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ents of student-athletes, as well as student-athletes themselves, should form the bulk of your volunteer corps. But also consider asking coaches from other sports and faculty members. You might want to try a reciprocal arrangement with coaches who host their own events

other expenses that may be unique and necessary in your setting. With costs known, think about revenues sources. Gate receipts and profits from concessions are the major ones. You may also find it necessary to bring in money from entry fees. Do some research to find out the going rate for entry fees at other meets in your area. Before you go any further, make sure the money balances. If you’re looking to make a profit, find a way to increase revenues or decrease costs. After you’ve decided on the when, who, and how, you can start a todo list. It is vital to set up a written time line for all the details to be completed. For each task, establish a completion date and determine who will accomplish it.

Another way to make a meet special is to make it unique. For example, a co-ed relays-only meet can be a lot of fun for the athletes. Or maybe your area could use a freshmen-only event. they may need help at. With a little charm and arm-twisting, many people are often willing to help a good cause, but only if you ask. Rules & Regulations: Find out early in the process whether you need to secure sanctioning from your state athletic association. In Maryland, for example, this is an absolute necessity. You also want to make sure that you follow any applicable state procedures in order to avoid problems or embarrassing situations. This may mean limiting the cost of tickets or types of awards given to the athletes. Publicity: Provide local newspapers with the date and time of your meet well beforehand. Even if they don’t normally publicize your events, they can be coaxed to do so for a large invitational. Sell what’s special about it—maybe you have a lot of competitors from outside the area, or it’s one of the few times this many local squads will be together. You want to attract as many fans as possible in order to generate a healthy gate. Also, make sure a plan is in place to spread the word about any postponements. In our case, we post changes as soon as they are known on our Internet scheduling site and alert local media. We also put a recorded message on the athletic department’s answering machine and a notice on the sign board in front of the school. Budget: You can’t count on making money, or breaking even, without a realistic budget. To start, determine the fixed cost of medals, officials, custodians, and security. Also consider any

Making It Special Covering the basics will ensure a well-organized meet, but for it to stand out, consider some personal touches. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending money, but rather adding nuances that define your event. One idea is offering a hospitality room for officials, coaches, and the media. Take a classroom and turn it into a private room, with some sandwiches and bottles of water and soda. Offer a few computers with Internet access, and you’re set. At our two-day wrestling tournament, we put a lot of effort into our hospitality room, and have found it really pays off. The room is overseen by the athletes’ parents and the family of our head coach, and they prepare an Italian buffet (homemade dishes of lasagna, baked ziti, eggplant Parmesan, meatball sandwiches, tossed salad, and more). During the tourney, at least one volunteer is always in the room to serve meals whenever an official or coach has a break. There is no doubt that teams return every year for this reason alone and referees actually contact the assigner of officials months ahead to ask to work our tournament. It is just as important to provide refreshments to spectators, although you’ll want to charge them for their food. Even if you don’t normally have concessions at regular season meets, it is needed for a

setting where people may spend a full day on campus. The right type of food and drink will not only provide a service, but can usually turn a profit. We extend our hospitality theme by communicating regularly with our guests. We share our sportsmanship expectations, ticket prices, and all other pertinent information with participating teams well in advance. I feel it’s important that our guests are not surprised by any of our procedures. For example, before hosting our first regional track meet we called the county athletic office and asked if it was okay to charge admission. As soon as they said yes, I sent a letter to all of the athletic directors and coaches involved. In this letter, we asked them to share the ticket prices with their parents and fans. We also posted photocopies of this letter at our ticket booth to show parents that we did communicate with their schools. Providing a meet program for the fans, athletes, and coaches is usually an appreciated amenity and adds a nice touch. This can be accomplished by using a commercial printer or someone in-house, such as an assistant coach, art teacher, student, or parent. We are fortunate to have a parent who does an outstanding job, inserting digital photos, the day’s schedule, articles, and advertising into the pages of our programs. She makes it look professional and we can either photocopy it at school or have it printed commercially. If you decide to use an outside printing company, know that some of them will even secure the advertising as part of their service. Another way to make a meet special is to make it unique. For example, a co-ed relays-only meet can be a lot of fun for the athletes. Or maybe your area could use a freshmen-only event. You could consider inviting schools with very different populations than your own to create a cross-cultural awareness event. Turning A Profit While we don’t charge a large entry fee or aim to make a huge profit with our events, meets can be a good fundraiser if that’s your goal. Beyond entry fees and ticket sales, here are some ideas for making money: Find A Sponsor: This is probably the single most important consideration. If a sponsor pays for the officials and awards, CoachingManagementOnline.com

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the gate and refreshment stand revenue can be counted as pure profit. Clearly establish what the sponsor gets in return for its investment. It would be reasonable for the company to be able to display signage and have advertisements in the program. The company’s name could be incorporated into the name of the meet and prominently displayed in the program. But these issues cannot be assumed. They have to be discussed and clearly stated, preferably in writing, to avoid any misunderstanding. Consider having the sponsor provide T-shirts for the participants. Whether the sponsor’s name is placed on one of the sleeves or the back of the shirt, these keepsakes become “walking advertisements” for years to come. Add Advertising: Securing advertising in your meet program will increase your profits significantly, and many people are happy to be involved. We charge $125 for a full-page ad, $75 for a half, $50 for a quarter-page, and $25 for business card-size ads. But prices can vary greatly depending on your community

and the size of the meet. Even though you might make a few additional bucks by selling the programs, we’ve found that offering them for free to the teams and fans is a better option. You’ve already made money with the advertising and you want as many fans, athletes, and coaches as possible to see the ads. Sell Mementos: Student-athletes love commemorative items from meets they participate in, and T-shirts fit the bill perfectly. Parents buy them, too. You do want to be careful how many you order, particularly if they include the date of the meet, because this would restrict selling any leftovers the following year. The Right Concessions: Offering items your clientele would prefer is the key to success. At our regional track meet, for example, we sell bottled water, sports drinks, oranges, and bananas, as well as healthy turkey sandwiches. With a little extra work, you can even provide foods not normally found at a school sporting event and make a larger profit. A group of ambitious parents can

THE RESULTS ARE IN!

put together a chicken barbecue or sell homemade pies toward the end of a meet. You can even consider partnering with a food vendor and splitting the profits. Better Every Year As with most projects, you will want to make notes at the conclusion of the meet concerning any improvements or changes for next year. You may find you had too much down time between races, not enough volunteers for a certain task, or overestimated the amount of food needed for the concession stand. Write down all those thoughts before you forget them! With a great organizational system in place and some special touches that make it unique, your meet can gain a following. With a budget that turns a profit, you also have a fundraising source that can help your program grow. n A version of this article has appeared in other sport-specific editions of Coaching Management.

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Mind Over Menu

N

BY Laura Ulrich utritionists who counsel the general population

AP PHOTO/MARK HUMPHREY

often focus on the men-

tal side of eating. They help their clients understand how thoughts and feelings affect eating behaviors, and explain concepts like “emotional eating” and “comfort food.” When it comes to the average person trying to eat right, nutritionists know that much of the process takes place in the mind. However, nutrition advice aimed at athletes tends to take a very different

When advising athletes about nutrition, you can’t just talk carbs, calories, and calcium. You also need to address the psychology behind their relationship with food. tone, focusing instead on grams of carbohydrate and protein, percentages of body fat and muscle, and technical advice for exactly what and when to eat. Since athletes are eating for their sport, it’s assumed they aren’t subject to the same cognitive struggles over food as others. But that isn’t always true. “Sometimes we forget that athletes are human, too,” says Lisa Dorfman, Sports Nutritionist at the University of Miami. “On the one hand, performance nutrition is about the science—on paper, it does come down to grams and ounces.

But an athlete’s thoughts and emotions can interfere with the best formula you give them. Unless you address the psychological side of eating, you’re not going to be successful.” Ingrid Skoog, Director of Sports Nutrition at Oregon State University, believes the emotional side of sports nutrition is actually the most difficult training challenge her student-athletes Laura Ulrich is a contributing writer for Coaching Management. She can be reached at: laura@MomentumMedia.com.

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face. “If an athlete shows up to practice and puts in their best effort, they’re done for the day,” she says. “But food decisions have to be made all day long. Each scenario poses different psychological hurdles for making the right choices.” Food Trajectories Dealing with the emotional side of the nutrition formula starts with educating athletes about how their thoughts and feelings play a big role in the food choices they make. “It’s critical to help them understand that there’s a lot more going on with eating than meets the eye,” says Dorfman. “Nearly every time we select a food, emotions play a large role in that choice.” Dorfman refers to this concept as “food trajectories.” “Food trajectories are the feelings, connections, and ideas

Dorfman says. “And once we uncover the association, we can make a conscious decision about how to handle it. “We decided that after a big meet or heavy training, it was fine to have some chocolate,” Dorfman continues. “But I also told her, ‘If you’re going to do it, don’t settle for cheap chocolate—go out and buy the best chocolate you can find and enjoy it. Acknowledge that it’s making you feel closer to home and relish the feeling. If you do that with awareness, just a small amount will satisfy you.’” One of the best ways to help athletes realize when their emotions are compromising their nutritional goals is by asking them to track what they eat and how they feel while they’re eating. “I ask almost all the athletes I work with to keep this kind of log,” says Nancy Rodriguez, Sports Nutritionist at the University of Connecticut. “Seeing it on paper can really help them identify any emotional component to their diet. “For example, an athlete may come in and tell me they ‘blow’ their eating plan every night by snacking on chips or ice cream while they study,” she continues. “If they log how they’re feeling when they eat, they may discover that’s the time of day when they really miss their family. Then we’ll talk about things they can do at those times instead of snacking, like calling someone from home.” At Oregon State, an athlete who had lost 20 pounds asked Skoog what he could do to lower his body fat even more. Because the athlete had been trying to lose weight, Skoog was impressed. But when she found out that a breakup with his girlfriend had led to restricted eating, she changed her advice from nutritional to psychological. “He’d discovered that restricting his food and losing weight were things he could focus on to avoid his feelings,” she explains. “The connection between food and feelings is something more often discussed with women, but men encounter the same issues.” Whether the issue is with calorie restriction or binging, Skoog works to

“An athlete may come in and tell me they ‘blow’ their eating plan every night by snacking while they study. If they log how they’re feeling when they eat, they may discover that’s the time of day when they really miss their family.” we bring to the table with us,” she says. “They operate below the surface to influence our food choices and how we feel when we eat particular foods. An individual’s food trajectories are shaped by their family, culture, and experiences.” For example, Dorfman recently worked with a swimmer who reported regularly veering from her eating plan to indulge intense cravings for chocolate. “She had recently moved to the U.S. from Switzerland,” Dorfman says. “For her, chocolate meant home and happiness. It was perfectly obvious to me why she wanted to eat it often, but as far as she was concerned, it had simply become an off-limits food that she craved and then felt guilty for eating.” Counseling this athlete focused on helping her see the psychological connection. “I explained to her there is absolutely nothing wrong with having food connected to emotions—it’s human,” 28

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help athletes understand that when negative emotions hit, food is a temporary distraction and not a genuine fix. “I talk with them about what’s going on in their lives and tell them, ‘Let’s not get this confused with food,’” she says. “Food cannot cure depression or anxiety or lack of sleep. To fix any problems, we need to address the real issue.” Battling Body Image In addition to emotions, another psychological factor driving athletes’ food choices is how they feel about their bodies. When an athlete is struggling with body image issues, it can present a big hurdle to implementing performance nutrition advice. “If they’re one of the larger athletes on the team, they look at the thinner athletes and decide they should look like that,” says Amy Freel, Director of Sports Nutrition at Virginia Tech. “How body conscious the sport is and the type of uniform the team wears are factors. We see a lot of this among distance runners.” Skoog has also noticed an increase in the number of male athletes battling body image issues. “It’s a disturbing trend,” she says. “I have more men coming in and comparing their body shape to those of their teammates.” Freel says self-reported eating patterns can be a good way to tell whether an athlete’s body image is getting in the way of his or her fueling habits. In addition to restricting calories, an athlete may hesitate to eat after working out and go long periods without eating during the day. Discussions with these athletes should be approached with sensitivity and compassion. “I keep the focus solely on performance and try to get them to not dwell on appearance,” Freel says. “Athletes with body image issues are often struggling to accept themselves on a very basic level and you need to be sensitive to that and help them through it.” Skoog has another tactic that works well. “I point to role models who don’t fit the thin body stereotype—an athlete who has gone before them on their team or a professional athlete they respect,” she says. “I ask them to think about the self-confidence that athlete embodies, and I tell them they can get there, too.” Other Hurdles Sports nutritionists point to several other mental stumbling blocks. Each


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That’s why it’s critical to quickly identify an athlete who is struggling and step in. “It’s incredibly important that these athletes get help early on,” Bennett says. “It’s much easier to help an athlete when their mental obstacle is still small. The longer the issue goes on, the harder it is to change.” Bennett suggests looking for certain red flags that indicate when an athlete’s food issues need immediate attention. “Does the athlete have rigid, highly specific

There’s a

lists of foods he or she will and won’t eat? Is there a list of forbidden foods?” he says. “When you’re eating with athletes on the road, that can be a good time to spot problems. Also look for athletes who are doing additional workouts on their own.” Other warning signs include performance that is highly variable and a preoccupation with nutritional supplements, says Ingrid Skoog, Director of Sports Nutrition at Oregon State University. Shying away from social contexts involving food should also trigger concern. When Skoog suspects an athlete’s food struggles range into disordered eating territory, she gathers as much information as she can and refers the athlete to a counselor, if needed. “If I have any doubts at all, I get them connected with a therapist,” she says. “I tell them, ‘It’s just like when you go to practice and your coach teaches you a new skill. Therapists have a box of tools they can share with you—it just happens in an office instead of on the track.’ Athletes tend to be very receptive to counseling when you present it that way.”

RED FL A G S

“Psychological issues with eating and genuine eating disorders exist on a continuum,” explains Gary Bennett, Sports If it’s common for athletes Psychologist at Virginia Tech. “It to face mental challenges starts with a small to eating right, how do issue and culminates you know when that challenge represents a serious in a diagnosable disorder. An athlete psychological problem? who has taken the first step on the path to an eating disorder is usually struggling with body image and restricting calories or engaging in eating perfectionism.”

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comes with its own set of solutions. Eating perfectionism: Some athletes actually try too hard to eat exactly right. “These athletes become preoccupied with the numbers, and they get into the minutiae of weight and counting things,” Skoog says. “Athletes with food perfectionism may not end up having anorexia or bulimia, but they’re obsessing about food, and as a result they’re not thinking about other things.” To help, Skoog addresses the issue directly. “I’ll ask them point-blank if they consider themselves a perfectionist,” she says. “Usually, they’ll say yes. It’s an aspect of their personality they’re proud of. Then we talk about what benefits it has for them. Most of them believe it causes them to work harder than they otherwise would. “From my experience, though, eating perfectionism is rooted in a deeply held belief that they are not worthy—that it’s a fluke they’re successful,” she continues. “They secretly believe that if they let up even a little bit, everything will fall apart. They believe if they’re not 100 percent perfect, they’ll be a 100 percent failure.”

Many times, simply helping athletes uncover and articulate their subconscious beliefs about perfection and failure helps them relax eating rules. “It can take a while, because this is a deeply rooted way of seeing themselves and the world,” Skoog says. “My job is to convince them that they have a lot more to lose by obsessing over being a perfect eater than they have to gain. I encourage them to try having some flexibility.” Peer pressure: Wanting to fit in with friends can pose another hurdle to performance nutrition. “Athletes tell me, ‘My friends go out for ice cream three nights a week and I want to be part of the group, but I know it’s causing problems for my nutritional goals,’” Freel says. “That’s a hard one. You want them to be social—that’s really important.” Dorfman encounters the same issue. “An athlete trying to manage his weight who goes out for pizza with his teammates isn’t going to want to stick out by just ordering a salad,” she says. “So we work on options: He can eat fewer slices, or take the cheese off the second slice, or

cut back a little bit during the day to leave room. I don’t recommend that on a daily basis, but occasionally it’s okay.” Ingrained misinformation: Some athletes hold strongly to inaccurate beliefs about food. “Maybe they think all carbohydrates are bad, try to avoid all fats, or refuse to eat after 6 p.m.,” Dorfman says. “They’ve picked up a message and bought into it, and as a result, they aren’t open to hearing accurate nutrition advice.” Rather than arguing with an ingrained belief, Skoog first asks the athlete to evaluate his or her own performance. “If an athlete tells me she follows a lowcarb or low-fat diet, I’ll ask, ‘How is that working for you? How do you feel after a workout?’” she says. “A lot of times athletes who are following these nutrition myths are performing below their desired level. When they analyze how their nutrition is affecting them, I can start to debunk the myths.” Rodriguez has had success sharing scientific studies that help dispel myths, particularly ones that reveal how their

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mistaken belief can damage performance. “When they can see the evidence right there in front of them, most will let go of the myths,” she says. Too many temptations: Today’s college campuses attract students by boasting of their great dining halls, but for student-athletes, the plethora of choices and easy access to comfort foods can be hard to resist. At UConn, athletes receive shopping lists, cookbooks, and handouts on making healthy choices when eating in dining halls. “Overcoming this hurdle is about making sure athletes are prepared,” Rodriguez says. Dorfman counters the problem by telling her athletes to plan ahead. “It’s hard to resist the temptation to eat a bag of chips when you’re hungry and it’s all you have around,” she says. “I teach my athletes to pack for the day as if they’re going on a trip, and I give them lists of foods to put in their bags—a banana, a protein bar, pudding, an electrolyte drink. I make sure they have a collection of protein, carbohydrate, and fat and that the foods appeal to them. You can’t ignore the taste factor. If the dining hall offers their favorite comfort foods and what’s in their bag is unappealing, it’s going to stay in their bag.”

tioning coaches, and sport coaches. “We meet monthly to share information, and anyone who has noticed an athlete struggling with food can talk about it,” Bennett says. “Anyone outside the committee who has noticed an issue can attend and join the discussion as well.” And whether you have a sports medicine team to assist you or not, your efforts in this endeavor can be long-lasting. “Most of our student-athletes won’t go on to the next level of competition,

A Consistent Message Because the psychological side of nutrition can go under the radar, nutritionists’ last piece of advice is to get everyone in the athletic department on board with the program. One key is for those who communicate with athletes to realize the power of the messages they send. “I have had athletes tell me, ‘My high school coach said I was fat, and I’ve been struggling with that ever since,’” says Gary Bennett, Sports Psychologist at Virginia Tech. “High school and college athletes are incredibly sensitive to what is said to them about their bodies, and coaches should never discuss an athlete’s size, shape, or weight. Instead, talk about performance. Does the athlete need to be stronger or faster? If so, how can he or she accomplish that?” A team approach can also be extremely helpful, which is why Virginia Tech began its Nutrition and Performance Committee five years ago. Freel and Bennett are part of the group, along with the team physician, members of the athletic training staff, strength and condi-

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but all of them will keep making eating decisions for the rest of their lives,” says Rodriguez. “If they leave our programs with an understanding of how their psychology affects those decisions, we’ve given them a wonderful tool.” n This article was previously published in Training & Conditioning, a sister publication to Coaching Management. More articles from T&C can be found at: www.Training-Conditioning.com.

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ACCUSPLIT, Inc., 6120 Stoneridge Mall Rd., Suite 210, Pleasanton, CA 94588

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Track Facility Equipment Aer-Flo, Inc. 800-823-7356 www.aerflo.com The Cross-Over Zone® track protector protects costly track surfaces at crossing areas from damage due to teams, people, and equipment. It’s

constructed of thick, tough geotextile fabric with a vinyl edging featuring steel chain inserted all around, which keeps the protector down even in high winds. Steel-tipped cleats cannot puncture it, but rain drains through. Easy to install and remove, this product offers multicolor imprinting and is available in black with edging in your choice of gold, white, or a custom color. Circle No. 504 Landing Zone® ballasted pit covers from Aer-Flo® keep pit materials from blowing away and protect against weather, animals, and children. Chain

in the edge provides ballast to keep the cover down even in high winds. Easy to install, remove, and store, this product is available in your choice of solid vinyl for rain protection or Vipol Matrix mesh to eliminate pooling. It can be imprinted in permanent multi-colors, and custom colors are available. Landing Zone covers are custom sized for a perfect fit, and are used at several major colleges, including the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas. Circle No. 505 Aluminum Athletic Equipment 800-523-5471 www.aaesports.com Streamline your pole vault events by eliminating manual pole vault standard depth adjustments between every vaulter with AAE’s newest innovation, the Vault-O-Matic. With the push of a button, the Vault-O-Matic automatically

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adjusts both standards in unison to each athlete’s preferred position in relation to the vault box. Introduced with great success at the 2008 Penn Relays, the Vault-OMatic is a huge timesaver for meets and practices. Specially designed for use with AAE’s PVS Premier Pole Vault Standards, the Vault-O-Matic kit includes one wired digital keypad, one control panel, two steel base adapters, and two aluminum runway frames with VOM technology. Circle No. 506 AAE’s new Shot Return System made its debut at the 2007 Penn Relays, where more than 1,000 shots were

returned. The SRS saves officials and coaches much aggravation in returning heavy shots from the field during practices and events. It also creates a designated area for participants to retrieve their shot implement and eliminates the need to walk out into a danger zone. Circle No. 507 Austin Plastics & Supply, Inc. 800-290-1025 www.athleticrecordboards.com Athletic record boards from Austin Plastics are a great way to motivate your athletes to do their very best. The company’s boards are easy to install, made of durable plastic, and available in your school colors. Track record boards are available in three standard sizes and can be customized to fit your needs. Record plates can be engraved, or you can print your

own using Austin Plastics’ printing program and perforated card stock. Custom and standard boards are available for all sports. Circle No. 508 Blazer Manufacturing Co. 800-322-2731 www.blazerathletic.com Blazer’s premium line of hurdles includes some of the strongest, longest-lasting hurdles on the market today. The 1138 Collegiate Hurdle is a welded L-hurdle that features an interlocking, stackable, weight-adjustable base. The 1140 Open Base hurdle works great for plyometric drills. All Blazer hurdles meet high school pullover specifications at all five heights, and also meet federation rules. The Form Finder self-training hurdle helps athletes develop the correct body position for hurdling. Circle No. 509 Blazer manufactures three-, four- and five-digit performance indicators and lap counters with a stand and bell. They feature aluminum upper construction with a swiveling top. The all-steel base provides added stability with mounted wheels that make transporting easy. The Collegiate PV standard offers quality aluminum uprights and a steel base for stability. Blazer also offers a full line of track equipment, including Steelex spikes, shots for the shot put, and much more. Circle No. 510 Professional Turf Products 866-726-3326 www.proturfproducts.com 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


Track Facility Equipment

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. 511

laminate, GearBoss lockers incorporate antimicrobial nanosilver technology to create a surface that’s permanently resistant to microorganisms, including MRSA, staph, mold, and mildew. Between games and practices, optional lighted fans help dry uniform items, including shoulder pads, shoes, socks, gloves, and undergarments. Circle No. 512 On Track 800-697-2999 www.ontrackandfield.com On Track high jump and pole vault standards feature lightweight anodized aluminum uprights equipped with polymer measurement scales that resist peeling and tearing. Unique on-off riser clamps make height adjustment cer tain and secure at all heights--no more slipping because

GearBoss by Wenger Corp. 800-4-WENGER www.gearboss.com GearBoss lockers from Wenger Corp. are available in more than 1,000 different configurations—sizes, features, and colors. Constructed of a durable, easy-to-clean wood

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2415 A Kramer Lane, Austin, TX 78758 email: ausplas@io.com Circle No. 121 CoachingManagementOnline.com Untitled-5 1

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ADVERTISERS DIRECTORY circle Company page No. No.

“I have used them for years... There is nothing like them on the market...”

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

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Bicep/Triceps Cuff Patent-pending device affords protection from overuse injuries for individuals performing repetitive lifting. Sizes: Sm - XXL

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101. . . AAE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 120. . . Accusplit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 111. . . Aer-Flo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 104. . . Aer-Flo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 121. . . Austin Plastics & Supply. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 112. . . Beynon Sports Surfaces, a FieldTurf Tarkett Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 118. . . Blazer Mfg.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 113. . . California University of Pennsylvania. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 122. . . Cho-Pat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 106. . . HighSchoolSports.net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 109. . . Human Kinetics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 103. . . InSport International. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 124. . . M-F Athletic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BC 114. . . Marathon Printing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 102. . . McConnell & Associates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 100 . . Mondo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IFC 108. . . Omni-Lite Industries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 107. . . On-Track. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 117. . . OPTP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 105. . . Polytan-USA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 123. . . Power Lift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IBC 119. . . Power Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 116. . . Raceclock by Electro-Numerics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 115. . . UCS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 110. . . VS Athletics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

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507. . . AAE (Shot Return System). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 506 . . AAE (Vault-O-Matic) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 504 . . Aer-Flo (Cross-Over Zone) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 505 . . Aer-Flo (Landing Zone) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 508 . . Austin Plastics & Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 500 . . Beynon Sports Surfaces, a FieldTurf Tarkett Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 509 . . Blazer Mfg. (1138 Collegiate Hurdle) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 510. . . Blazer Mfg. (performance indicators/lap counters) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 525. . . Cho-Pat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 512. . . GearBoss by Wenger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 533 . . InSport Int’l. (running wear) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 532. . . InSport Int’l. (technology) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 513. . . Keiser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 523. . . M-F Athletic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 524. . . Marathon Printing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 501. . . McConnell & Associates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 502 . . Mondo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 522. . . NZ Mfg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 527. . . Omni-Lite (Christmas Tree spikes) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 528. . . Omni-Lite (Jump spikes). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 535 . . On-Track (Fast Lane hurdles) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 534 . . On-Track (high jump and pole vault standards). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 514. . . OPTP (BOSU Ballast Ball) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 515. . . OPTP (PRO Roller) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 516. . . Perform Better . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 503 . . Polytan-USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 519. . . Power Lift (Belt Squat). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 520. . . Power Lift (Combo Power Rack) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 517. . . Power Systems (Power Chute) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 518. . . Power Systems (Power-Stride Ladder). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 511. . . Professional Turf Products. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 529. . . Raceclock by Electro-Numerics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 526. . . Schedule Star . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 521. . . UCS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 531. . . VS Athletics (Resource Guide). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 530 . . VS Athletics (Vortex Throws Shoe) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

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Strength & Conditioning Aids Keiser Corp. 800-888-7009 www.keiser.com The M5 Strider is an exciting and innovative magnetic group elliptical. It comfortably adjusts to accommodate a wide array of users, and is designed, engineered, and manufactured in the U.S. to strict quality standards. A powerful computer system tracks power output and offers workout feedback. This unit works both the upper and lower body, increasing muscle activation and caloric output. Circle No. 513 OPTP 800-367-7393 www.optp.com The BOSU Ballast Ball opens the door to new exercise progressions and dynamic drills because of the weighted material inside. The Ballast Ball can be inflated to either 55 or 65 centimeters and comes with a pump and instructional DVD. For more information or a free OPTP catalog, visit the company online or call toll-free. Circle No. 514 Guaranteed not to break down, OPTP’s PRO Roller series has no equal. The closed-cell, cross-linked foam technology is heat-molded and able to withstand

your biggest challenge. These colorful blue and green marbled rollers have a firm density and textured surface, making them ideal for proprioceptive

balance, strength, and stability exercises. They are available from OPTP, along with other great rollers. Call or go online for more information. Circle No. 515 Perform Better 800-556-7464 www.performbetter.com Here’s a new idea: Slastix all-purpose bands in the Perform Better catalog offer protection from wear, nicks, and

cuts and also protect the tubing from being overstretched. They offer a positive solution to problems often arising with traditional tubing. The new miracle Slastix covering allows four-foot bands to stretch up to three times their length. Available in extra-light, light, medium, heavy, extra-heavy, and super heavy, they can be found at Perform Better’s Web site or in the catalog. Call today to request your copy. Circle No. 516

Improve speed by conditioning the muscles for optimum stride length and frequency with the Power-Stride Ladder from Power Systems. This 30-foot indoor/ outdoor ladder features eight high-impact PVC slats that easily slide and lock into place for setting specific intervals. Coaches and athletic trainers can create unique patterns or use any of the three pre-marked, color-coded acceleration patterns to accommodate different levels of athletes. A stacking pin and carrying bag for storage are included. Circle No. 518 Power Lift 800-872-1543 www.power-lift.com The Power Lift® Belt Squat is a great way to train the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and hips while eliminating spinal compression. From a standing

Power Systems 800-321-6975 www.power-systems.com Now available in black, red, and blue, the Power Chute offers resistance and overspeed training in the same run. It improves both stride length and frequency— two key elements of speed. Athletes love that “shot out of a cannon” feeling immediately after releasing the chute. The adjustable belt allows training in any direction, and built-in mesh panels keep the leads from tangling and stabilize the chute. The Power Chute is available in four resistance levels. Circle No. 517

position, the user disengages the work arm to start the exercise. The Belt Squat attaches to the work arms on each side, over the user’s hips. Force is evenly distributed through the user’s heels, emphasizing the muscles in the hips, glutes, and hamstrings. The machine is ideal for rehabbing injuries and for teaching squats, one-legged squats, and lunges. Weight storage and three custom belts are standard. Circle No. 519

Check out

www.AthleticBid.com to contact these companies.

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Strength & Conditioning Power Lift 800-872-1543 www.power-lift.com The Combo Power Rack from Power Lift combines two lifting stations into one space-saving rack. It is available in eight- and nine-foot heights and comes with all of the following: two pairs of safety spot bars, two pairs of patented rhino-hook bar catches, and two dual-grip chin-up bars. The unit also includes storage for bars, weights, and bumper plates. The space inside the rack accommodates two people for spotting two bench press stations at once. The Combo power rack can be customized with Power Lift’s patented Lever Action Benches and Olympic lifting platforms. Circle No. 520 UCS, Inc. 800-526-4856 www.ucsspirit.com UCS Strength and Speed’s fully padded Elite Plyo-Safe Boxes offer the ultimate combination of durability, stability, and safety, providing protection from common plyo-box injuries. The understructure is made of 3/4inch oak covered in a dense foam and upholstered in tough 38-ounce vinyl. A raised lip on all boxes allows for stacking and locking of the lids. The 24-inch box is bottomed with 3/4inch high-density rubber for stability. Circle No. 521 NZ Mfg., Inc. 800-886-6621 www.nzmfg.com TurfCordz Ankle Cordz are designed for abduction, leg curls, hip flexion, and other lower-body exercises. They can strengthen and rehabilitate after injury, or help prevent injury from happening in the first place. Ankle Cordz are easily portable and each unit includes two interchangeable eight-inch tubes for two different resistance levels. To learn more about the full line of innovative TurfCordz products, go online or call the company to request a catalog. Circle No. 522

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Team Equipment M-F Athletic 800-556-7464 www.mfathletic.com M-F Athletic presents the 2009 edition of its Everything Track & Field catalog. Included in this 72-page edition is a tremendous selection of specialty items, such as vaulting poles and pits, throwing implements, starting blocks, hurdles, spikes, stopwatches, timing equipment, and more. The selection of products has been tested in the field by the M-F team, and this year’s catalog includes more then 20 “special deals” at exceptionally favorable pricing to help buyers cope with strained school budgets. For your free copy, call M-F Athletic or go online today. Circle No. 523 Marathon Printing, Inc. 800-255-4120 www.marathononline.com 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 inhouse, giving the company total control for easy customization of your bibs. If you need references, just contact Marathon. The company supplies numbers for some of the largest and most popular competitions in the world, and would be glad to talk with you about your event. Circle No. 524 Cho-Pat 800-221-1601 www.cho-pat.com Cho-Pat’s Calf Compression Sleeve combines warmth, compression, and reinforcement to help reduce pain and discomfort in the calf and enhance healing. The four-way stretch material contours anatomically for maximum fit, comfort, and effectiveness. In addition, the knit material is breathable and

facilitates the movement of moisture away from the skin. This American-made sleeve does not contain neoprene or latex and is available in three sizes to provide more specific and effectual results. Circle No. 525 Schedule Star 800-258-8550 www.schedulestar.com Schedule Star is a leading athletic scheduling solution for athletic directors, leagues, and league assignors.

It is fast, easy to use, and instantly saves you time. Schedule Star delivers information automatically to the public, cutting down on phone calls. It inter faces with the Arbiter officials’ assignment program and is the only “Schedule once, use ever ywhere” solution. Schedule Star utilizes patented technology and is available for all computers. Get started today by going online for a free 60-day trial. Circle No. 526 Omni-Lite Industries, Inc. 800-577-6664 www.omni-lite.com 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 Christmas Tree spikes are recommended for sprint events. The spikes are available in three lengths: 1/8”, 3/16”, and 1/4”, plus 1/4” with extended threads. They’re available in seven colors: black, silver, fast blue, Olympic green, violet, fast red, and Olympic gold. Circle No. 527


Team Equipment Omni-Lite’s lightweight Jump spikes are designed to compress synthetic tracks, returning energy to the runner and minimizing damage to the track. The threads on these spikes are compatible with all major brands of track shoes. Omni-Lite’s spikes are made of ceramic composite, so they will never rust. The Jump spike and Pyramid spike are recommended for high jump and triple jump events. Circle No. 528 Raceclock by Electro-Numerics, Inc. 800-854-8530 www.raceclock.com 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 more than 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. 529 VS Athletics 800-676-7463 www.vsathletics.com The Vortex Throws Shoe by VS Athletics is one of the lightest throw shoes on the planet. It features a wide forefoot for stability, and a smooth rubber sole for quickness. There’s a forefoot lateral strap and “V” stabilizer saddle for support. Spin or glide, your athlete will leave the ring feeling great. Men’s: black/silver, sizes 6-12, 13, 14, 15. Women’s: pink/ white, sizes 6.5 - 12. Circle No. 530

Track and field starts at VS Athletics. The company’s 132-page 2009 VS Athletics Track & Field Resource Guide is chock full of ever ything your track and field program could possibly need: uniforms, warmups, footwear, shots, discuses, javelins, throwing cages, pole vaulting poles, standards, landing systems, hurdles, starting blocks, stopwatches, timing systems, training gear, and much more. Circle No. 531 InSport International, Inc. 800-652-5200 www.insport.com This is who you are: Driven to go farther, driven to go faster. Running is at your core, and it is at InSport’s core as well. The company has mastered the technology that keeps you dry and cool. This year, InSport’s designs are pushing your performance farther than ever, with a fit that’s so comfortable you can’t even feel it. The support is so fundamental you never have to think about it. Just run and run—InSport has got you covered. Circle No. 532 You run for lots of different reasons. You may even run for a different reason ever y day. But something gets you started ever y time. For InSport, it’s the determination to unite the best of innovation and technology with ever yday running wear that works for ever ybody, and ever ybody’s budget. In the end, it doesn’t really matter why you run. InSport simply makes sure you can afford to get started on the right foot. Circle No. 533

Testimonial

New Track Surface “A Fantastic Success”

“Thank you for your personal attention to the myriad details associated with building the competition venues at Hayward Field. It was a fantastic success, and you and your staff played pivotal roles in that outcome. I appreciate your willingness to respond to our specific and unique needs for Hayward Field.” Vin Lananna Head Track & Field Coach University of Oregon Co-Chair, Eugene ‘08 “I opted to go with a Beynon track over Mondo. I believe it to be a superior product. Our Beynon track has been in place since the fall of 2005, though if you came out to our track today, you would think it had just been poured yesterday. The Beynon track is easier on the athletes, too. Since our track has been in place, stress fractures have become almost non-existent.” Ralph Spry Head Track & Field Coach Auburn University “Birmingham-Southern College compared many surfaces and the companies that offered them. In an industry overwhelmed with technical jargon, quality assurance issues, and warranty concerns, Beynon established itself as a trustworthy company in every area.” Lars Porter Head Track & Field Coach Birmingham-Southern College

Beynon Sports Surfaces, Inc. a FieldTurf Tarkett Co. 16 Alt Rd. Hunt Valley, MD 21030 888-240-3670 Fax: 410-771-9479 www.beynonsports.com CoachingManagementOnline.com

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Company Q&A

A Trusted Partner for Track Construction and Maintenance McConnell & Associates has been in business for more than 40 years and is led by the third generation of McConnells. What has contributed to your longevity and success? We are a family company, so it’s our family name and reputation on the line if we aren’t there every day personally ensuring that our entire team is dedicated to service and quality. We are all very involved in every aspect of our projects, but I have to give credit to our team of loyal employees who have been with us a long time. They are highly trained, very experienced, and take a lot of pride in their work. What services does MAC Sports offer high schools and colleges?

McConnell & Associates Sports & Recreation Surfaces installed this new high school track in Kansas— just one example of the Kansas City-based company’s many projects throughout the Midwest. MAC Sports Vice President Rob McConnell talks about his company’s customer service-oriented culture in this Q&A.

For tracks specifically, we offer everything from consulting, design, and planning services to site surveying and engineering, as well as the actual work of grading, drainage, base construction, surface installation, and marking. We are also very dedicated to helping schools plan and perform regular maintenance, and we are happy to come out and consult on, or even perform, any needed repairs—whether or not we were the original contractor on the track. We also design, build, maintain, and repair tennis courts of all types, and offer synthetic turf field installation and maintenance. What advice would you give to a school that’s just starting to think about a new track?

MAC Sports 1225 Iron Street Kansas City, MO 64116 800-779-6066 JR@McConnellAssociates.org www.McConnellSports.com

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CoachingManagementOnline.com

This is a complex project and a significant investment for schools—and it’s an asset you expect to last a long time, so don’t skip any steps in preparation for your project. We’ve been called in later to help fix serious problems that could have been avoided. These have ranged from neglecting to have the site surveyed and finding out the chosen track design won’t fit, to having the track

marked by someone who didn’t measure properly. Problems like these can be avoided if schools bring in a partner who is a member of the American Sports Builders Association. Even if the school is working with another architectural or engineering firm, bringing in someone with specialized track design and construction experience can really help avoid costly oversights and mistakes. They can also help you through the design process by offering knowledge of all the options out there, and guidance on which options fit the school’s needs and budget. Is there anything else a school should consider when choosing its track builder? Remember that eventually your track will need maintenance and repairs. In many cases, this can be performed by school personnel. But often, you’ll want to consult a professional. Then you might call the company that built your track and find out they aren’t in business any longer or are unwilling to come out and make smaller repairs. My advice is to work with companies that have a long-standing reputation for good service to schools, even after the initial construction. McConnell & Associates has always been as committed to addressing those little repairs and maintenance issues as we are to building the track in the first place. McConnell & Associates is an approved vendor for several school purchasing cooperatives. How does that work? We recommend that schools consider going through their purchasing cooperative for a new track project. First of all, any vendor approved by the cooperative has already met specific criteria, including a solid financial position and good reputation. So the cooperative has already done some of the initial work in qualifying vendors for you. Then, the bid process is so much easier. One school in Kansas saved about 10 percent on the entire project just in streamlined paperwork by going through the cooperative.


Circle No. 123


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Coaching Management 17.1