contents Volume 5, Number 2 November 2011
A Letter from the President
Division I Track & Field Division I Cross Country
Division II Track & Field Division II Cross Country
Division III Track & Field Division III Cross Country
High School IAAF Report
Jump to It by Nathan Taylor
The Single Support in Hammer Throwing by Andreas V. Maheras, PH.D.
Heat and Humidity... And Distance Runners by Scott Simmons
A Faster Runner by Jason R. Karp, PH.D
Coachâ€™s Leadership By Brian Zuleger M.S.
Updates from the NCAA Eligibility Center By John Pfeffenberger
USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2011
The Bowerman Finalist 2011
Cover photograph by Kirby Lee NOVEMBER 2011
A Letter From the President PUBLISHER Sam Seemes
love this time of the year. Cross country is in full swing, the weather is crisp and another academic year is underway. As refreshing as the summer is, I am always energized by getting back in touch with the student-athletes involved in our program. It is great to catch up with the returners and enjoyable to begin working with the new student-athletes on our teams. I trust that all is well with you and within your program. While we are all focused on cross country and fall training for our track & field athletes, the 2011 USTFCCCA convention will be here before we know it. I am thrilled at the announcement that NCAA president Dr. Mark Emmert will be our keynote speaker at the opening session of our convention. I am looking forward to meeting Dr. Emmert and hearing what he has to say about his first year as president and what his vision of the future looks like. We are also fortunate to have Grant Teaff, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, speaking at our convention. Mr. Teaff will be giving a presentation on professional development on the Tuesday of convention. The AFCA has about 11,000 members. A bit larger than our association but not dramatically so. What is dramatic is that they regularly draw 6,000 attendees to their annual convention. The USTFCCCA has made great strides with attendance at our convention, but think how fantastic it would be to have over 50% of our membership attending the convention. We still have a good amount of growth we can reach! Since assuming the presidency of the USTFCCCA in August I have had the opportunity to work closely with our associationâ€™s staff at the national office in New Orleans. Let me assure all of our membership that the professionals doing the day-to-day work of the USTFCCCA are all extremely competent, professional and easy to work with. Our CEO Sam Seemes along with Shannon Wright, Tom Lewis, Mike Corn, Mandi Magill and Sylvia Kamp have made my first six weeks on the job a breeze. If you get a chance to meet our staff at the convention, let them know you appreciate their good work. The 2011 convention is our opportunity to gather with fellow coaching professionals - not only to build fellowship with each other, but also to learn, to contribute and to advance our sport. Letâ€™s all come prepared to work hard in our business sessions, learn all we can at the symposiums and have a little fun along the way. The USTFCCCA has developed into a vehicle that we can use to improve our programs, enhance the experience of our student-athletes and further develop track & field and cross country. I look forward to working with you as we continue to make the greatest sport in the world even better!
DR. TED BULLING PRESIDENT, USTFCCCA DIRECTOR OF TRACK & FIELD AND CROSS COUNTRY, NEBRASKA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY firstname.lastname@example.org
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EXECUTIVE EDITOR Mike Corn ASSOCIATE EDITOR Sylvia Kamp ASSOCIATE EDITOR Mason Cathey MEDIA MANAGER Tom Lewis MEMBERSHIP SERVICES Mandi Magill PHOTOGRAPHER Kirby Lee EDITORIAL BOARD Vern Gambetta,
Larry Judge, Boo Schexnayder, Gary Winckler, Ralph Vernacchia
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techniques (ISSN 1939-3849) is published quarterly in February, May, August, and November by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the permission of the publisher. techniques is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in techniques are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the magazines' managers or owners. Periodical Postage Paid at New Orleans La and Additional Entry Offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: USTFCCCA, PO Box 55969, Metairie, LA 70055-5969. If you would like to advertise your business in techniques, please contact Mike Corn at (504) 599-8900 or email@example.com.
Division l Track & Field and Cross Country
PRESIDENT, NCAA DIVISION I TRACK AND FIELD COACHES
PRESIDENT, NCAA DIVISION I CROSS COUNTRY COACHES
s your president, I would like to encourage all coaches to attend the 2011 Convention in San Antonio. This year’s convention has a great mix of social, educational, and legislative topics and discussions that you will not want to miss! The opening session will kick off a great week, as NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert will be the keynote speaker. In addition, we are fortunate to have the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, Grant Teaff, speaking at the Convention on Wednesday. Teaff has helped the AFCA become perhaps the most influential coaches association in the U.S., and he will be speaking about the development and importance of a strong coaches association. I also would invite all of you to attend the first-ever women’s summit at the convention, held on Thursday after the voting sessions. There is no cost for Convention attendees, but registration is required. This summit provides a great platform for all coaches to share and learn from seasoned leaders in the field of women’s issues in athletics. As we close 2011 and move into 2012, the Division I Track & Field Executive Committee, as a leadership team, hopes to continue to improve and professionalize the way we do business throughout the year and at Convention. We asked that all convention discussion topics be submitted by November 1st. Topics submitted by this deadline will be reviewed by the Executive Committee for acceptance into the Convention agenda. In addition, we have adopted a new process in which submitted agenda items are reviewed and discussed at their first Convention and voted on at their second convention, unless the issue is time-sensitive. This new, extended timeline will give us more time to discuss issues and perform due diligence in terms of working out details and anticipating potential challenges prior to taking a vote. This is an NCAA playing rules-change year for our sports, with new playing rules proposals due May 1. I want to encourage coaches who have ideas for playing rules changes to bring them to Convention for discussion by the body. We also will continue to make recommendations to streamline the Outdoor Track and Field Preliminary Championship Competition, in concert with the NCAA Division I Track and Field Sport Subcommittee. I look forward to seeing each of you in San Antonio! Your thoughts and ideas are important to me and to our Association.
Ron Mann is the Head Men’s & Women’s Track & Field Coach at the University of Louisville. Ron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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e are already in the midst of an exciting 2011 cross-country season. Each week your regional representatives devote significant amounts of time to producing a poll with the top 15 teams in each region. These 18 men and women are doing a great job so take some time to thank them for the efforts. Think about this for a second: We are ranking 135 men’s teams and 135 women’s teams! This is great publicity for our sport. If your squad is ranked, please make sure your Sports Information Office is aware of this and that they post it on your school website and any other outlets they have access to. There seem to be more large invitational races in mid-October than in previous seasons. Having a variety of scheduling options is good for our sport. I would encourage coaches to commit to whatever meet they choose to attend as early as possible to allow meet directors time to plan their events proplerly. In September, the NCAA cabinet voted to approve the move of our championship meet from Monday to Saturday and the date of the regional meets from Saturday to Friday. (As this letter goes to press we are waiting to see if this will go into effect for 2012 or if we will have to wait for 2013.) The national office and our Executive Committee are already hard at work in planning for the convention. I urge you to take the time this week to go online to register for the convention and to make your travel plans. At the fall meeting of the Ivy League coaches I strongly encouraged each school to have at least one representative at the convention. I hope you each will do the same when you meet at your conference championships. Here are some of the issues we plan to discuss, debate and move forward on at the convention: We need to advocate the better promotion and television coverage of our national championship. We need to discuss the optimal size of the championship field. Increased field size clearly gives more access to the championship. We need to balance that with the question of how many athletes we can put on the starting line at the championship and still have a safe and fair competition. (The Division II championship will now include 32 teams, but not as many individuals as Div. I.) There is a strong consensus to rank 64 teams at the end of each session. At the convention we plan to present a template to the coaches on how this could work. These topics, and others, will be addressed by the executive committee. Coaches will be able to weigh in on these at the regional breakout sessions and in the general sessions. If you want your voice to be heard, please come to San Antonio. Good luck in your coming meets. I hope to see many of you in Terre Haute, at the convention or other meets along the way.
Barry Hartwick is the Head Men’s Track & Field and Cross Country Coach at Dartmouth College. Barry can be reached at Barry.Harwick@Dartmouth.EDU
Division ll Track & Field and Cross Country
PRESIDENT, NCAA DIVISION II TRACK & FIELD COACHES
PRESIDENT, NCAA DIVISION II CROSS COUNTRY COACHES
would like to introduce Sterling Martin, head coach at the University of Missouri S&T, as our new second vice president. I am fortunate to have Troy Johnson (1st VP) and Sterling as we continue to promote Division II Track & Field. I would encourage each member of Division II Track & Field to come to the convention this December. Please review the 2010 minutes on the USTFCCCA website. It is possible that by the time that you read this the November 1 deadline to submit proposals for consideration at this year’s convention will have passed. You may, however, make proposals at the convention but those may be tabled until next year. Also at the convention this year there will be a Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country summit. I cannot stress enough the importance of being at the convention. Many things have been done to benefit Division II Track & Field due to the work done and the support of our coaches. For example, the increase in participant numbers at national meets and addition of events were the result of the work put in at the convention over the last few years. We are excited about the increase in NCAA Championship field sizes and the addition of the 3k indoors. I would like to thank our NCAA Track & Field Committee for their efforts in pushing this through. As a body of coaches we will need to discuss how this should be integrated into our championships, which will be done at the convention. According to the NCAA Track & Field Committee, starting this year programs will not be able to score meets as double-duals. The indoor season will require a minimum of 3 meets with at least 10 athletes in each meet. The outdoor season will require 4 meets and 14 athletes minimum. Another item the committee is working on is making the conversion standards the same across the 3 divisions. The committee is still receiving data and this is a work in progress. Our Division II USTFCCCA national office liaison Sylvia Kamp has done a tremendous job preparing our D2 Handbook; please take the time to look over it. Our Vice President, Troy Johnson, is now the chairperson for the USTFCCCA Track & Field and Cross Country Hall of Fame. Nominations will be accepted until December 5 for men’s and women’s Cross Country and Track & Field. Forms are located on the USTFCCCA Division II web page. We would like to congratulate the World Championships athletes who were former Division II participants. Scott Bauhs, Chico State; Bershawn Jackson, St. Augustine; Christine Merrill, USCD; Carmelita Jeter, CSUDH; and others represented Division II well. Wish you and your teams the very best this season and hope to see you in San Antonio. Steve Guymon is the Head Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Coach at Harding University. Steve can be reached at email@example.com
he cross country season is in full swing as the conference, regional, and national cross country championships dominate our thoughts during the fall. Speaking of the NCAA National Meet, it was announced this fall by the NCAA that we will have expanded field sizes starting in 2012. The expansion will allow three teams per region to advance to the National Meet, along with the eight additional bonus berths based on the previous years’ National Meet -for a total of 32 teams, rather than the current 24 teams. Additionally, the regional meets will now automatically advance three individuals per region, rather than just two, for a total of 24 individuals, rather than the current 16 individuals. These changes will create a national championship meet with 248 participants, rather than the current 184 athletes, which is something I think coaches and athletes alike are excited about. These changes were made in part due to the voices of our coaches at the USTFCCCA National Convention over the course of several years and the help of our office lobbying the NCAA to make these important changes as the number of institutions in NCAA DII continues to grow. It is a good example of why it is important to attend the USTFCCCA National Convention yearly and get involved in the discussions and voting. Also, as you prepare for the National Championships, it is helpful to remember that you can always go to the USTFCCCA website to find documents such as the NCAA Participant and Pre-Championship Manuals. It is exciting to watch the weekly USTFCCCA cross country polls to see who appears to be moving up and who has dropped in the rankings. I would like to thank our Division II National Poll Chair, Michael Friess; men’s national poll rater, T. J. Garlatz; and women’s national poll rater, Ray Hoffman; and our eight regional raters . It is often difficult to compare teams due to varying courses, competition, and weather conditions, so what they do is very impressive. The national and regional polls are a great way for coaches to help motivate teams, as well as an even better way to help teams get some much deserved recognition through our sports information departments, local media outlets, and USTFCCCA website. Cross country is a great sport because no matter what the polls say, the athletes and teams are actually allowed to compete head-tohead at the end of the season to see if it all plays out according to the rankings. With the expanded field size for 2012, we have a proposal to expand the depth of the ratings, which we will discuss at the Convention. Good luck to all of you as you wrap up your cross country season! I look forward to working with you in San Antonio at the convention! Marlon Brink is Head Men’s and Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country coach at Wayne State College. Marlon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Division llI Track & Field and Cross Country
PRESIDENT, NCAA DIVISION III TRACK & FIELD COACHES
PRESIDENT, NCAA DIVISION III CROSS COUNTRY COACHES
s we are getting closer to the 2011 USTFCCCA convention I wanted to take this time to write about some possible changes in how student-athletes would qualify to the NCAA championships. I believe this will be a major discussion point at convention and would like to use this report to pass along some of the details of this possible new method of advancement. As I turn in this report to the national office, this proposal is awaiting review by the NCAA Management Council. The NCAA Division III Championships Committee has proposed a “fixed field size” for all events at the NCAA Track & Field Championships instead of the current method where 223 indoor athletes and 398 outdoor athletes advance based on the final recommendation of the committee. At this time, they would like to advance the top 15 declared women and 13 declared men in the indoor championships for individual events along with 10 relay teams. For outdoors, the numbers they are considering are 22 women and 20 men in the individual events along with 16 relay teams. The numbers they arrived at were based upon data collected over the past several years with the goal to have the same number of total participants in the meet as we currently have. The reason for a larger women’s field size is that they traditionally compete in multiple events more than the men and the belief is that this will create a more equal number of total men and women in the meet. The committee feels that this new system of qualifying would have the following positive results: • Ease of understanding for coaches, student-athletes and fans • A set schedule and advancement formula created in advance • Transparency (instead of making subjective decisions on additional qualifiers the fixed field size would allow all decisions number to be made by the competitors) • Equalization of number of track athletes and field athletes The addition of TFRRS allows for this system as we have an all encompassing honor roll already in place. TFRRS would also be able to show tie breakers which will be necessary in order to determine the final qualifiers. This is perhaps the greatest change in qualifying to the NCAAs since the addition of the provisional standard in the late 1980s. From what I have heard about this new qualifying process it appears to be a very positive change and I believe the majority of our membership will welcome the new format. However, as is often the case with change a lot of questions will likely arise. Convention is our best opportunity to have clarity on these issues and to have open discussion on any concerns. Please plan to attend convention so that your voice can be heard.
Chris Hall is the Head Men’s & Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field coach at the University of Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com
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t is hard to believe, but convention time is rapidly approaching. I encourage each of you to make every effort to attend. Every year convention is an opportunity to learn and grow professionally from the terrific technical seminars taught by many of our most successful peers. There are great events like the Bowerman presentation and Hall of Fame banquet, as well as many great meals. However, the most important reason to attend is to take part in the business of our sports. Convention is the time and place we want to discuss and resolve ALL of the most important issues affecting our great sports. Taking part in the discussion, contributing to the dialog, and pledging your support takes place most effectively by being present. Our decisions become more representative when more opinions are considered and our collective voice becomes louder and harder to ignore when more coaches are present. This year the two topics I foresee having the longest discussions are regional realignment and criteria used for selecting the teams advancing to the national championships.
REGIONAL REALIGNMENT It appears that regional realignment will be a reality sometime in the next couple of years. The current model aims to place multiple sports (soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball) all into the same region while keeping conferences together (with a few exceptions for conferences spanning huge geographic areas). This model does not address cross country’s need to distribute the number of teams competing in each region more evenly.
NATIONAL SELECTION CRITERIA Last year we had great discussion resulting from a proposal to use a statistically driven selection procedure. This has been a continued topic of discussion for the NCAA Division III Cross Country and Track and Field Subcommittee and is the subject of a proposal for convention this year. Regional realignment and national selection criteria will both have the potential to dramatically affect team’s access to the national championships. Besides changing some great traditional rivalries and significantly changing the strength of some regions, the realignment model does not alleviate the largest regions’ ability to find suitable courses to host their championships. Changing the criteria used to select teams to compete at the national championships is our access to the national championship. This is an issue that must be done with the consent and direction of our coaching body. Convention is where we have the opportunity for the great thinkers of our sports to get together, discuss options and devise a course of action to keep our sports the greatest in the world and to make sure we are providing our student-athletes with the best possible experience. I hope to see you there! Greg Huffaker is the Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach at Illinois Wesleyan University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
HIGH SCHOOL REPORT
IAAF COACHES COMMISSION REPORT VICTOR LOPEZ
CHAIRMAN, IAAF COACHES COMMISSION
hope it will never happen, but unfortunately, in many parts of the country, the mid-week track meet may soon fall victim to the budget axe and once gone, will be lost forever. Let’s take a look at some options that may add meaning to that meet, perhaps saving it for your developing athletes. Many of the mid-week meets stand alone, being independent of any championship. However, in some conferences/counties, schools may be crowned “dual meet champions,” while others may even have the dual meet wins and losses figure in to the end of the season championship Saturday meet. Regardless of where you find yourself, it is incumbent on the administration and coaching staff to put the proper emphasis on the mid-week meet for the good of each participating athlete. To minimize its importance, is to put the continuance of the mid-week meet in jeopardy. The traditional dual/triple meet with a boys home-girls away setup splits your staff with a potentially bigger problem of supervision at both sites. Two better alternatives follow:
1. The Co-ed Dual Meet – two teams with Boys and Girls at same site PROS All coaches at one site CONS More rest between events 1. Some events may not be competitive Small teams can travel on one bus 2. May limit JV participation Many hands to work meet 3. Must be organized Good value with officials 4. Need two sets of officials i.e. throws Lots of spirit 2 .The Co-ed Double/Double Dual Meets – three teams with Boys and Girls at the same site PROS All events may be competitive All coaches at the siteup months in advance Great value with officials Great event for local rivalries Lots of help setting up meet CONS 1. A major event, requiring tremendous organization 2. Need total cooperation of visiting teams and coaches 3. May have to limit JV events 4. Order of field events may have to be adjusted to free athletes 5. May need many good officials to run meet under 2:45 Great coaching at the high school level continues to be the lifeblood of track & field in America. The USTFCCCA convention is not just for college coaches. In addition to gaining knowledge, you will meet other competent coaches from across the country, as well as network with the college coaches, potentially providing your athletes a “head start” to the next level.
Wayne Clark is the Clinic Chair of the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches. He can be reached at email@example.com.
ne of the priorities of the IAAF is coaching education. The IAAF understands that, unless they develop a strong coaching education system and introduce it all over the world, the total development of our sport will not get anywhere. Therefore, the developed and industrialized countries which have either a strong coaching education system or a good university system will always be at the forefront in obtaining the best performances and medals in world class competitions. Twenty years ago the IAAF introduced a Coaching Education Certification System (CECS) that became the model for other coaching education systems in the world and has been recognized as being among the best of the programs sponsored by international federations. The system started with a three-level format and after years of revision, an expansion to cover the education of individuals who work with young primary school athletes to individuals who work with high performance athletes; in 2007 it was changed to a five level format. Now the CECS has developed a curricula for its level-one and -two courses which cover the education of individuals who work at the primary and intermediate school levels. It took the IAAF 20 years to develop what we feel is the ultimate coaching education system, to the point that it is recognized by the European Union as having a good relationship with the emerging European Framework for the Recognition of Coaching Competence and Qualifications. The EU has recognized the increasing attention that sport as a whole has received in recent years; therefore, the European Coaching Council has been discussing this important matter with lead agencies for coaching, international federations and universities. The point is that coaching education is a major factor in the development of any sport and the IAAF recognized this fact back in the 1980s and took on the task, with the cooperation of many individuals and some of the best coaching education programs in the world, to put together a Coaching Education Certification System. In the NACAC area and in the CAC region we have seen the results of the IAAF CECS. Our countries, many of them small islands, are producing some of the best athletes in the world from the youth level to the high performance level. There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that one of the main reasons is better coaching. As a footnote, the USTFCCCA has, in the past 12 months, introduced a new coaching education program called The Track & Field Academy which offers multiple levels of instruction and certification.
Victor Lopez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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KIRBY LEE PHOTOGR APH
KIRBY LEE PHOTO
JUMPTOIT TECHNIQUES AND TRAINING FOR THE TRIPLE JUMP BY N ATHAN TAYLOR
Great triple jumping requires a unique combination of speed, strength, power, balance and coordination, all channeled into performance through impeccable technique. Many people consider the event to be the supreme test in track & field.
GENERAL TRAINING AND PREPARATION:
Posture, Balance, Co-ordination: Posture, balance and coordination are critical general motor requirements that can have a significant positive and/or negative impact on the final performance outcome. For the coach, developing these systems takes knowledge of proper techniques in the most basic movements of the sport and event, the ability to see when itâ€™s not right and the capacity to communicate the necessary, appropriate corrections, as well as the ability to develop drills and exercises that coerce improvements. Consistently good sprinting and running mechanics are the raw material that can be delivered to the jump itself. The specifics of these mechanics can be imparted and enforced through a variety of exercises incorporated into the warm-up and through basic activity circuits. The warm-up is a great place to learn proper techniques through the inclusion of mobility exercises, efficient loading activities, and improved ground contact exercises such as the Z series of running technique drills. The Z-walk â€“ tight toe up, knee up, Z-march, Z-skip - 1/4, Z-
JUMP TO IT
skip - 1/2, Z-skip – full, all of which are activities that are very valuable and as a result should be a staple of the training process. Circuits kill many birds with one stone by increasing general and specific strength levels in athletes in multiple directions as well as training balance, coordination and posture. Hurdle mobility and heel cord strength exercises have a high rate of transference to performance. When you design your circuit workouts, remember the axiom: “If it’s not challenging it’s not fun and if it’s too challenging it’s not productive.” The incorporation of hurdle walk-overs, lateral hurdle skips, standing Z’s, karate kid, speed skates, power skips, lunges with double arm swing, and prisoner squats are just the beginning levels of valuable circuit exercises that can be directed at working on lower body needs while there are many more that focus more on the mid-body and core as well as the upper body. Great posture begins during the warm-up drills and is supported by extensive multi-directional work using core fitness and strength exercises. The multifaceted requirements of exercises like around the world, heel to the sky, 10-degree leg lift, elbow support superman, supine 360 twist and about 100 others are perfect ways to work on this component. Proper alignment of the skeletal system allows the muscles to function more naturally and efficiently and thus more powerfully. It will allow the triple jumper to develop more speed and enable them to handle the abnormal and unpredictable forces that are found in the triple jump.
SPECIFIC TECHNIQUE CONSIDERATIONS:
The Run: Everything starts here. The run establishes the groundwork for big jumps. The run should be long enough to develop maximum usable speed and still have excellent posture at the takeoff. Once proper landing and take-off mechanics are perfected, the run-up should be pushed back and the athlete given the opportunity to bang out the really big jumps. Proper timing at full speed is a key ingredient to success.
If, from the side, the coach sees a low heel recovery, the athlete needs to be reminded to: • Lean forward and push. • Drive out of the back – head in the neutral position. • Hit the TOP. Toes up, knees up. • Make the first step count – Drive out of the back. • As a note, in this phase the idea that the shin should be parallel to the ground when the knees meet is a result of outstanding power production and not the cause of it.
2. Continuation Phase: As the rate of acceleration decreases, posture gradually becomes more upright. Foot contacts are increasingly under the hips. Don’t let the lower leg cast out prematurely. It’s important to develop great sprint mechanics that allow the jumper to open up and stay opened up all the way to the board, generating greater velocities. There’s no good reason to artificially decelerate, float or accelerate the rhythm. Remind your athlete to maintain great front-side mechanics and to put lots of force down and back into the track. Toe up. Toe up! TOE UP!!! Keep the run opened up all the way to the takeoff and finish it. Trust the run. Learn to feel it. Don’t look for it. Don’t cruise into the takeoff. There are some simple ways to develop a great approach run. Sled running, harness running, hill running and running over sticks with a definite acceleration pattern are excellent activities. Add in small 8-10” hurdles, then vary their placement with the sticks and now you’ve got some real challenges to the nervous system to create the very best mechanics and coordination. Doing four to eight full speed run-throughs on days when athletes are fresh is a great way to work on multiple capacities. The coach must develop a sense of each athlete’s ability to generate and handle increased velocities during the run-up and jump as well as evaluate each athlete’s bio-motor idiosyncrasies. No two athletes are exactly alike and athletes can’t be forced into the exact same technical model. The critical parts have to be the same but no two jumpers will get their best exactly the same way. The Take-off:
1. Drive Phase: First 6-8 total contacts or 3-4 take off foot contacts. Push forward hard, straight down the center of the runway. Push - Push – PUSH Foot contacts at the beginning are slightly behind the jumper and gradually progress to being underneath the hips. The amount of forward lean is directly proportional to the rate of acceleration and determined by the athlete’s ability to produce power. The athlete needs to maintain great posture throughout the whole jump but when they are in the drive phase and inclined forward; there should be a straight line through the support leg, hips, torso, shoulders and head. This line is not perpendicular to the ground. Hit the top with the thigh parallel to the ground. Hard Z so that at the top the toe is directly below the knee and not casted out in front of the knee. Don’t let the lower leg cast out prematurely. Improved front-side mechanics are critical for setting up the potential for transferring power from the body into the ground which will minimize ground contact time.
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Set-Up - The triple jump take-off is a running, slightly pushing take-off with a low trajectory and there is little that is done to set it up. There should be very limited lowering of the jumper’s center of mass. The great majority of athletes try to jump up too much on the take-off, killing the whole jump, while there are some others who definitely need to jump up more.
The Hop Phase: A great hop is the key. Without a great hop there will be rapidly diminishing returns from the rest of the phases. It will short-circuit your jump. It will go from poor (or bad) to worse (or terrible) to awful (or non-existent). It’s like a fast-motion train wreck. Coaches need to figure out which leg delivers the best technical hop phase, which incidentally may not be the longest phase in the beginning of the learning process. Great technique at this point allows jumpers to sustain momentum from the run and utilize more of it later. A great hop is an extension of a great run. This phase has the
CORNELL ATHLETICS PHOTO
lowest vertical displacement (height). The foot stays in a dorsiflexed position. Toe up always. At take-off, the ground contact should be slightly in front the hips so that there is some vertical component imparted. Push off just a little and leave the takeoff leg back by running/pushing on the take off – out and up. The takeoff leg will naturally travel back and then swing though vigorously. Toe up, heel up, knee up. The rhythm can only be as slow as the distances traveled, and the limbs should be constantly moving. Many athletes want to cycle too quickly, resulting in a pause prior to landing and faulty foot contacts. Don’t rush it. Prior to landing, the take off leg is pulled to the ground with a very active flat-foot or heel-first contact. Don’t wait for the ground and then try to push. This is one of the big drawbacks to short run jumping. When running slowly, it’s easy to accelerate during the phases by pushing rather than by pulling. The pulling action should be achieved with the foot dorsiflexed (toe up). Heel to toe rolling contact. Feel it, don’t look for it. As for the Arm Action: (For a right foot takeoff) I really like the double-arm action and try to teach each and every jumper, male and female, how to do it. To catch the double arm action only on the last step of the run, stall the left arm back on the next to last step and then get the right back quickly. Drive the hands past the waist and block in front just above chin level. Proper arm movements keep you square to the runway. Head up. Chin up – eyes focused past the end of the pit. Turn the thumbs down – sweep long arms around and back WIDE to get them as far back as possible. Have the chest up for maximum alignment potential.
The Step Phase: On the hop landing the free leg will swing low, and needs to drive hard until the thigh blocks at or near parallel to the runway. Don’t let the toe drop or the lower leg cast out prematurely. Good posture is essential for balance in this phase. Head up. Chest up - perpendicular to the runway. Many bad postural positions can result from bad positions during the hop and are continued and magnified throughout the remainder of the jump. The coach should check arm action and shoulder mobility/flexibility to see if they are importing unwanted rotational forces to the torso. Dorsiflex. Keep the toe up - hard, then push the leading heel forward. The leg is then pulled toward the ground to a foot
contact in front of the hips. Ankle must stay dorsiflexed with as active as possible, heel-first, slightly rolling contact. Feel it. Don’t look for it. Head up.
The Jump Phase: The jump needs to have the highest trajectory. The free leg is vigorously swung completely upward and blocked quickly at take off. Drive the thigh upward to achieve the most height possible; every centimeter counts. Block the arms quickly – then let the hands go above the head. Hold them there as long as possible and be patient. There’s no doubt you’ll come down at some point! Then press the palms around and down past the heels. Of the 10 top jumpers in the world there are probably six or seven different landing techniques. Stays focused on the big pieces and utilize the one you like. GREAT DRILLS FOR GREAT DISTANCES: (IMPORTANT POINTS) In utilizing drills, it’s always important to progress from less NOVEMBER 2011
JUMP TO IT
complex to more complex. Teach drills that promote proper foot contact patterns, swinging limbs (free leg and contact leg) and arms. Do about 60 percent of all drills with the dominant foot first and 40 percent on the non-dominant foot.
Simple Beginner Drills for Proper Foot Contacts: • Hops beside cones with proper-heel-to-toe rolling contacts – cones should be close together; increae distance as the athlete acquires the skills. • Short alternate bounds beside cones to promote rolling contacts – cones should be close together; increase distance as above . • All hop-and-step ground contacts should be aimed at projecting the athlete with a pulling contact, not a pushing contact.
• Toe Raise – Seated are preferred • Hamstring curl – positive with two legs, negative with one • Step-ups – static, dynamic, ballistic • Snatch • TJ Double Arm Punch – weights or bungie. • If you can, it’s always good to follow weight lifting with some light to moderate plyos keeping the number of contacts under 40.
Increasing Speeds Comes Next: • There are Plyo’s we all love to do– For me it’s the BIG 5 for 40 meters – no more than 15’ run in. • Hop on Left - LLLLLLL • Hop on Right - RRRRRRR • Alternate Hop - RRLLRRLLRRLL • Bound - RLRLRLRL • Power Skip
Simple Drills for Horizontal displacement: • Standing long jump. Double footed jumps to pit. 3-4 landings. • Standing triple jump. • Standing alternate hops RRLL. • Machine gun triple jumps.
TECHNIQUE AND STRENGTH TOGETHER - FIRST
Technique – It’s not simply about plyometrics. Speed exaggerates every technical flaw. If an athlete can’t do it right walking or with low to moderate speed, how can the athlete do it right with full speed? Even for advanced jumpers the walking bound is important to hone the skills exactly. These drills are great on easy days since they don’t stess any systems other than the neurological ones. Walking bound – Up, Back, Out, Through • Arms and knee up • Arms sweep back • Heel pushes out – forward – toe up hard • Leg pulls back – arms drive/sweep forward • Heel contact pulls you through to first position • Other exercises include: double arm pump, hanging bound, hanging triple jump, hurdle-supported bound, hurdle-supported triple jump WEIGHT TRAINING:
Strength – As athletes reach the age of 16 or 17 they can begin to do effective weight training that can have a positive impact on their performances. For beginning triple jumping, weight training should have as its’ ultimate goal a minimum of 2.0 x body weight for the squat and 1.3 x body weight for the power clean. Beginning athletes benefit more from broader-based training with a greater number of exercises and slightly fewer reps; advanced jumpers benefit from fewer exercises with more sets. Until the athlete can do those kinds of weights, plyometrics and most bounding will have an initial upside with a longer term down side and potential for fatigue, flatness and injury.
Primary exercises include: • Squat • Clean • Lunge 12
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Start with two sets and build to a maximum of five. If you want to make these tougher add a little weight.
Great drills for the middle to later in the year: Begin all the following exercises from a maximum run of about 20’ and build to a run of 50’ over the course of the year. Don’t do more than 5-7 repetitions of 3-4 drills in any one session. • Hop, 4 bound for distance -40’ run-up • Progressive hop offs for distance – can go as far as 80’ • Step to box, jump • Hop to box, step phase ride into sand or mat • Hop, hop to box, step phase ride into sand. • Hop, step to box, jump • Hop, hop, step to box, jump One of the reasons people have always felt that “speed kills” in the triple jump was because many of the methods used to simulate competition speeds were technically counter-productive. Additionally, it takes way too much out of a triple jumper to full run jump in practice. It is the toughest event in the sport on your body. The adrenaline is never high enough to make things repeatable. Every good triple jumper takes a pounding.
Organization of the training plan: Developing the most effective training plan requires that the coach study the event carefully. Don’t take my word for it, learn what it takes to do it right and then decide what’s important. Take the long term view by working backwards from the big meets and make your plan – month by month, week by week, day by day. Build a great foundation – train early to go far late. Create a solid framework, finish it off with the details and then enjoy the fruits of your labors. Cornell Triple Jump Motto: GO BIG or GO HOME!
Nathan Taylor is the Head Track & Field Coach at Cornell University. Taylor’s teams have dominated the Ivy League, winning both the indoor and outdoor championships in eight of the past nine seasons.
ANDREAS MAHER AS PHOTO
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THE SINGLE SUPPORT IN
HAMMER THROWING BY ANDREAS V. MAHERAS, PH.D.
o achieve maximum distance in hammer throwing, one needs to release it at a high speed and under an optimum angle. For the release force to be increased substantially, the thrower would need to minimize the time taken in the turns. At the same time the thrower can 1) maintain maximum radius, or 2) maintain optimum radius and exert tension on the hammer above and beyond of that which results from the naturally generated centripetal force due to the system’s rotation, or 3) primarily exert tension (pull) on the hammer, ahead of the center of rotation of the hammer’s path, by using an asynchronous pattern between the thrower’s center of mass and the hammer head (moment of lowest point of thrower’s center of mass approximately coincides with the highest point of the hammer head and vice versa) and, secondarily cause reductions in the hammer radius, both of these actions causing increases in speed above and beyond of that which results from the naturally generated centripetal force due to the system’s rotation. This third possibility seems to be the most beneficial to achieve a high hammer speed at release. The question then arises as to when the thrower can achieve those increases in the speed of the hammer head. It is still a convention and a common
assumption among practitioners that acceleration in hammer throwing occurs only during the double support phase. Along the same lines many practitioners also seem to imply that no speed increase is possible before right foot touchdown, and that no speed increase is possible after the zero-degrees azimuthal angle (when the hammer starts rising against gravity) even if the thrower is still in double-support. Many will also claim that biomechanists have demonstrated that such statements regarding the benefits of double support are true. To the contrary, none of the above assumptions is necessarily true. Speed increases and decreases are not necessarily linked causally to double support and single support, respectively. Just because two quantities coincide in time, it does not mean that one causes the other. There is also nothing to prevent speed from being gained after the low point. We do not know that any biomechanist has actually shown any such things (Dapena, 2008; 2009), and if they have attempted to, it would probably be a fairly crude biomechanics study in which the authors would have simply looked at where speed was gained, without taking into consideration what causal factors made that speed increase when it did. That is, one needs to consider that such graphs are probably “raw” hammer speed graphs, and therefore are uncorrected for gravity effects or for the
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Figure 1. The angle between the shoulder axis and the hammer wire (view from top).
effect of forward travel of the system’s center of mass, or other possible effects. This was a very common (and flawed) approach in early research on the hammer throw. Much of the observed fluctuation in hammer speed is not due to single-double support alteration but to other causal factors (Dapena, 1984; 1985; 1989; 1989). For example, (1) gravity is going to tend to produce a gain in hammer speed between the high point of the path (c. 180 degrees) and the low point of the path (c. 0 degrees), and (2) the forward progression of the thrower along the throwing circle tends to produce a gain in hammer speed between the 270-degree point and the 90-degree point. By not correcting for these two factors, maximum hammer speed tends to peak at roughly 45 degrees, and to have a local minimum at around 225 degrees. Both of these speed increases will occur regardless of the athlete’s efforts. In addition, there will be speed increases produced by the thrower’s efforts, and these efforts are the ones we need to be interested in, and study. Dapena (1989) stated that there are virtually no increases in horizontal velocity during the turns in hammer throwing, and that any increases in speed are all in the vertical aspect of it (about a horizontal axis) while most of the horizontal speed is acquired during the winds and remains mostly the
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same thereafter. Similarly, Murofushi, Sakurai, Umegaki & Takamatsu (2007) found that the ground reaction force during the turns is almost entirely in the vertical. Such ground reaction force results do support Dapena’s finding that a hammer throw is very different from a tug-of-war in that the hammer thrower does not push forward very much on the ground with his feet. We must note here that the study’s ground reaction force results do leave open the possibility that the thrower might exert enough horizontal “pull-push forces” with the feet to produce a fair amount of horizontal speed increase for the hammer through the use of such horizontal forces during the turns. However, it does not prove that the thrower is increasing hammer speed through those horizontal forces; it just leaves open the possibility that she might be doing such a thing. Dapena (1989) has also stated that increases in vertical velocity can occur during both double and single support (for more, see Maheras, 2008). What has been observed is that the increase in the speed of the hammer ball during the turns is due mainly to the addition of vertical velocity, and in part also due to the shortening of the hammer radius. It is not due to a horizontal pull-push mechanism of the feet against the ground. That is something that stops happening with the end of the
Figure 2. Vertical force (F) made by the ground, and counterclockwise torque (T) produced around the longitudinal Y-axis during single support. This axis would be perpendicular to the page and is passing through the center of mass (white dot at the right hip area). The torque about the center of mass would be the product of (r) x (F), and the torque itself would be as indicated by the curved red arrow. The torque vector would be pointing along the Y-axis, from the page toward the reader (adapted from: Dapena, 2008, reprinted by permission).
winds. Neither the increase of vertical velocity nor the shortening of the hammer ball radius are favored by being in double support. That is why, from this point of view, the achievement of a long double support during the turns may not be as important as many think. It is not needed for the kind of speed increases that occur during the turns – that is, speed increases that are based on the generation of vertical speed and, to a lesser extent, on shortening of the hammer radius. Morriss & Bartlett (1992, 1994) suggested that longer double support phases along with a greater path traveled by the hammer during that time, might not guarantee
higher speeds of release. They further argued that the pattern of the observed changes in the speed of the hammer head suggests that there are increases in the speed of the hammer during parts of the single support phases and also decreases during parts of the double support. Their main point was that acceleration of the hammer indeed occurs during single support. They actually suggested that “acceleration begins in the single support phase and continues all the way through the double support phase to the moment the right foot leaves the ground to begin the next single support phase.” Their subject (a Russian thrower during a 78.82
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m. throw) exhibited acceleration paths of 283, 273, 209, and 239 degrees in turns one through four respectively. If acceleration were to occur during double support only, the expected acceleration path would be approximately 160 degrees. The maintenance of an optimum radius is important as the thrower progresses from turn one to the last turn. In this respect, a progressive, moderate reduction in the hammer’s radius throughout the turns has been observed in most skilled hammer throwers. It is caused by the attempt of the thrower to “counter” the hammer while at the same time there is an increase in the tension on the hammer head which eventually results in an increase of its speed. To obtain optimum radius, the thrower should maintain a “strong” triangle – that is, a shoulder-to-wire angle that is as close to 90 degrees as possible (see figure 1). In reality though, most throwers allow that angle to fluctuate more or less. Therefore, tension is the other, more important, component contributing to the increase of the hammer’s acceleration and it is this tension (or pulling) that is responsible for most of the speed increases (Dapena, 1989; Bartlett, 1983) and not the alternation of decreases and increases in the radius of the hammer path (Dapena, 1989). To maintain acceleration, the thrower should pull ahead of the position of the centroid (center of rotation) of the hammer’s path, although in reality throwers do tend to also pull behind the center of rotation of the hammer’s path in the course of a throw, which results in decreasing the speed of the hammer (Dapena, 1984). In that respect the direction of the pull is crucial. During double support, wire tension is achieved by the deliberate action of the thrower to “untorque” the torque that has been established during the single support phase where the hip axis is markedly ahead of the shoulder axis. In turn, proper unwinding occurs as the thrower sits back and, more or less, straightens her legs as the hammer passes through the low point at an approximately 0-degree azimuthal angle. This action starts quickly as soon as the right foot touches down. During single support the torque is produced automatically because the point of support, which is the left foot, is not directly under the thrower, and the reactionary vertical force generated by the ground on the left foot exerts a torque about a longitudinal axis passing through the center of mass (figure 2). To better picture this effect, if a person who is standing with both feet on the ground were to remove the right foot without making any other changes, he will fall toward the right. However, this is not the case during hammer throwing. This is because the torque that the thrower receives from the ground is transmitted to the hammer. This way the thrower does not fall despite the fact that his point of support (her left foot) is not directly beneath her center of mass while at the same time the hammer speeds up. We need to point here that although the existence of the torque is automatic, the size of it can be altered by the thrower, depending on how she interacts with
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the hammer, how she uses her leg muscles and so on. For example, we know that most advanced throwers exhibit a progressive bending of the left knee during the single support phase (Morriss & Bartlett, 1994; Karalis, 1991). The bending of the left knee starts as soon as the right foot lifts off the ground up to the moment when the right foot touches down again to begin another double support phase. This bending of the left knee lowers the center of mass of the thrower and as a result enables the latter to exert tension on the hammer. In this fashion, acceleration of the hammer begins during the single support phase. Morriss & Bartlett (1994) also suggested that the single support phase start as early as possible which in turn means that the right foot needs to lift off as early as possible, probably at an 80degree azimuthal angle in the first turn which could be
The single support phase is not the guaranteed wasteland that many think. reduced to as low as 50 degrees by the last turn. Karalis (1991) also proposed an early and fast-moving right leg. This early right foot lift off will eventually enable the thrower to quickly place the right foot on the ground to begin the double support phase as early as possible somewhere at the 260 degree azimuthal angle. By proposing such a right foot sequence pattern, i.e., early lift off and early touch down, Morriss & Bartlett (1992;1994) and Karalis (1991) seem to differ from the, late lift off and early touch down, right foot sequence many practitioners advocate. The latter sequence (late lift off – early placement) seems to emphasize maximization of the double support phase whereas the former (early lift off – early placement) seems to place equal importance to both single and double support. Regarding the duration of the double versus the single support phases, Gutierrez, Soto & Rojas (2002) suggested
SHARON S AHLFELD PHOTO
that the theory of the maximization of the double support, accepted by many practitioners, did not find full support from the their collected data. Many of the throwers analyzed in their study initiated their double support later and later and there was “a tendency to reduce the distance traveled by the hammer during the double support phase in each turn.” In that study many top throwers, both female and male, exhibited longer single support phases, either in all turns or particularly during
turns three and four. Morriss & Bartlett (1992) found that although throwers may start and finish the double support phase late or early; in the end those differences did not seem to affect the length of the acceleration path. In their analysis the best thrower (both in distance thrown and velocity of release achieved) did not necessarily spend more time in the double support phases. In Murofushi’s et al. study (2007), it seems that the best thrower of the three studied equally divided the time
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between double and single support in turns two and three. In general, some throwers may spend more time in double support than in single support throughout their throw or during part of it while similarly, others may favor single support over double support during all or part of the throw. However, it is the interconnection of several known and unknown factors in hammer throwing, including individual variations, which will determine the maximum performance for a given thrower. For example, although the thrower, who for a given angular velocity attains a greater radius, will also attain a greater tangential velocity, in Gutierrez’s et al. (2002) study, the best thrower had the smallest average hammer radius. Therefore, no factor alone can be the criterion for an effective throw.
SUMMARY In the past, many lay papers regarding the hammer throw have provided qualitative descriptions of elite throwers; however, they did not demonstrate a clear cause-and-effect relationship between an increase in hammer speed and double support. On the other hand, there is experimental evidence of the potential positive role of the single support in this event. Film analysis data have failed to add support to the “double support” theory in hammer throwing. It used to be believed (and many apparently still believe) that the double support is the profitable part of each turn, and that the single support is the wasted time. If that were the case, it would obviously be advantageous to maximize double support, leaving as little as possible of the turn to the single support. We know, however, that pretty good stuff can be done in single support and that deceleration throughout the turns can be minimized or even excluded. Therefore, the single support phase is not the guaranteed wasteland that many think. What this means is that we cannot be sure that maximizing the double support time is the optimum. We can’t be sure, but maybe maximizing double support is still the optimum. Or maybe maximizing single support is the optimum. Or maybe some intermediate breakdown between the two is the optimum. We simply don’t know what is the optimum. All we know is that there is not a guarantee that maximizing double support is the de facto optimum and that the single support phase is not the “poor relative” in hammer throwing. As Riley (2009) speculated, a further and systematic examination of the biomechanics of the hammer throw will aid in the evolution of the event. Otherwise hammer technique will be advancing through trial and error only. Note: After this article was written in the summer of 2009, it has come to the author’s attention that the veteran Russian coach Anatoly Bondarchuk was quoted as saying (see the 42009 issue of the I.A.A.F New Studies in Athletics journal, pub-
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lished in the summer of 2010, p.p. 85) to another coach (Klaus Bartonietz) that: “contrary to common assumption, the double support phase is not the key to greater acceleration of the hammer and longer throws. World Record holder Yuriy Sedych threw farther when total time of the throwing foot contacts was shorter, as do the best today”.
REFERENCES Bartlett, R. (1983). Vertical acceleration in the hammer throw-a film analysis. Circle, 5, 30-32. Dapena, J. (1984). The pattern of hammer speed during a hammer throw and influence of gravity on its fluctuations. Journal of Biomechanics, 17 (8), 553-559. Dapena, J. (1984). Tangential and perpendicular forces in the hammer throw. Hammer Notes, 5, 40-42. Dapena, J. (1985). Factors affecting the fluctuation of hammer speed in a throw. In Biomechanics IX-B, Winter, D.A., Norman, R.W., Wells, R.P, Hayes, K.C., & Patla, A.E., editors. Human Kinetics, 499-503. Dapena, J. (1989). Some biomechanical aspects of hammer throwing. Athletics Coach, 23 (3), 12-19. Dapena, J. (1989). Influence of the direction of the cable force and of the radius of the hammer path on speed fluctuations during hammer throwing. Journal of Biomechanics, 22 (6/7), 565-575. Dapena, J. (2008; 2009). Personal Communication. Gutierrez, M., Soto, V., & Rojas F. (2002). A biomechanical analysis of the individual techniques of the hammer throw finalists in the Seville athletics world championship 1999. I.A.A.F, New Studies in Athletics, 17 (2), 15-26. Karalis, T. (1991). Control torque components of center of mass motions in hammer throwing. Archive of Applied Mechanics, 61 (5), 344-360 Maheras, A. (2008). Speed generation in the hammer throw. Techniques, 2 (2), 34-38. Morriss, C. & Bartlett, R. (1994). Biomechanical analysis of the hammer throw. Athletics Coach, 28 (3), 18-27. Morriss, C. & Bartlett, R. (1992). Biomechanical analysis of the hammer throw. Athletics Coach, 26 (3), 11-17. Murofushi, K., Sakurai, S., Umegaki, K., & Takamatsu, J (2007). Hammer acceleration due to the thrower and hammer movement patterns. Sports Biomechanics, 6 (3), 301-314. Riley, Z. (2009). Lack of research hinders evolution of hammer throw. Long and Strong, April, 2009, 30-32. Dr. Andreas Maheras has been the throws coach at Fort Hays State University since 2004. Maheras was a former member of the Greek national team and has developed the FHSU throws program into one of the elite in NCAA Division II.
SCOTT SIMMONS PHOTO
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HEAT&HUMIDITY ...ANDDISTANCERUNNERS BY SCOTT SIMMONS
H E AT & H U M I D I T Y. . . A N D D I S T A N C E R U N N E R S
OF HEAT & HUMIDITY FOR DISTANCE RUNNERS
WHAT WE KNOW Just about every seasoned distance coach has experienced the negative effects of heat and humidity on the performance, training and health of distance runners. Coaching athletes in championship events in locations with high heat and humidity, we always see a significant suppression of ability, if not an outright disastrous result. With many collegiate and world championships being held in southern or tropical climates, the number of DNF’s (Did Not Finishes) and the number of heat-related injuries are always a cause for concern. Historically, we see many championships staged in troublesome climates including the 2005 Athens Summer Olympics with average daily highs of 84 degrees and 60 percent humidity; the 2007 IAAF Osaka World Outdoor Track & Field Championships with averages ranging between 85 and 95 degrees with humidity up in the 60th percentile; and the 2008 Beijing Olympics with actual daily highs of 84 degrees. Probably the best example of the effects of heat and humidity on distance running performance was documented at the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships that were held in the tropical city of Mombassa, Kenya. These championships saw 29 DNF’s in a world-class field that had only 134 finishers. That’s an almost 20 percent dropout rate. And, for me as a coach, I followed that same race with interest online, getting updated splits for Fasil Bizuneh, a member of the U.S. team whom I was coaching at
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the time, competing on the six-loop IAAF criterion course. Fasil went from 65th on lap 1, staying close to even at 67th on lap 2, moving up to 61st and 64th on the third and fourth circuits, respectively, before fading to 70th place on the fifth lap and then succumbing to the conditions and struggling in to the finish line at 129th. And Fasil was not unique in being affected by the temperatures as the dropout rate shows. Even the race favorite, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, failed to finish, along with three of his fellow countrymen. What’s more, any coach from a high school or a college in states of the deep south like Florida, Georgia, Alabama or Louisiana, to name a few, can tell you that training is also effected, especially during the early part of the fall cross country season. As a coach of 20 years, I do not think it is a coincidence that no collegiate crosscountry team from a city south of the Mason-Dixon Line has won an NCAA Division I cross country title, with the exception of Arkansas. Having begun my own running career in high school in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and having coached for nearly a decade in Mobile, Alabama, the effects of heat and humidity on recovery and, therefore, on adaptation and progression were evident. There is no doubt, and the research shows, that the added stress of training in heat and humidity can cause physical damage at the cellular level, sometimes lasting a lifetime. Heat and humidity have presented a long-term challenge for me, something for which I have continually sought a solution.
WHAT CAN HELP Many inventive scientists and coaches have worked on the challenge of exercising in heat and humidity. One of the first scientific efforts to lower and control increasing core temperatures was initiated by Nike scientists when they studied the use of ice vests. Much like similar research going on in Australia, Nike produced results showing that pre-cooling of the body core resulted in reduced core temperature during competition afterward in comparison to non-pre-cooled athletes. (1) That early research lead to the development of Nikeâ€™s PreCool Vest which was debuted in the lead-up to the Beijing Games and used by many in that competition and others. Scientists at Stanford also began looking at mechanisms to reduce core temperature in athletics. Their research looked at cooling core temperatures in a different way. Instead of attempting to lower core body temperatures by surrounding body mass with external ice, Stanford targeted heat exchange through the vascular area of the palms. Not only did they find this extremely effective, they also discovered that the submersion of palms in cold water was much more comfortable than the ice vests, which often produced shivering and discomfort in athletes. Realizing the practical drawbacks to
hand submersion in ice water, Stanford developed a device that was even more effective yet also quite expensive. Their device resembled a coffee pot-shaped unit where the user would slide their arm into a duct that led to a cold metal bar at the core of the device. The device, called the AvaCore Core Control, creates a pressure gradient that assists in blood flow exchange in the user and, therefore, heat exchange at the unitâ€™s core. Professional teams like the San Francisco 49ers began using them on the sidelines, but the price of the unit, estimated at $3000, along with the inability for a large group of distance runners to use it at the same time, has limited its use in collegiate cross country and track & field. Still trying to find a feasible, inexpensive and effective solution for my athletes, I began experimenting with varying designs of a hand-held unit that could be used to pre-cool during warm-up. Filling aluminum cans with water and then freezing them provided a somewhat useful device, with the exception that the ice melted quickly and frequently ruptured the cans. I also tried a hard plastic container, which I discovered worked to some degree as well, but was a poorer conductor of heat than aluminum was. I was able to find a manufacturer who could make a
H E AT & H U M I D I T Y. . . A N D D I S T A N C E R U N N E R S
smaller, more durable aluminum can and I switched to a gel substance that froze colder and lasted longer. When I began testing these devices, I discovered that when an athlete began warming up holding the device in his hands that the increase in blood flow due to exercise created an exchange of heat with the palms similar to the exchange that Avacore’s pressure sleeve created. I then produced several devices and decided in late summer to do a pilot study to gauge the devices effectiveness in lowering core temperature. I chose four athletes and a hot and humid Charlotte August afternoon. After taking core temperatures, I had four athletes, two holding the frozen core coolers and two holding nothing, begin a 30-minute run around a turf field under direct sunlight and 90-degree temperature and 60 percent humidity. Core temperatures were measured every 10-minutes during the run and afterwards at intervals of five and 10 minutes. What I discovered was that the two who ran with the cooling units actually decreased their core temperature over the course of the 30-minutes run and that temperature remained lower for the 10minute post-run period. The athletes running without the coolers, as one might expect, experienced an increase in core temperature over the entire time of the experiment. While not a completely controlled scientific study with a solid number of participants, the results
encouraged me to manufacture coolers for both my men’s and my women’s collegiate cross country teams. Through last cross country season’s early months, when the South experienced extreme temperatures all the way into November, we used the devices before most workouts and even on some recovery runs to great effect. Several coaching colleagues asked about getting the units for their teams so we manufactured a certain number more and put up a website, CoolerCore.com. It has been my hope that a Ph.D. would be interested in staging a scientific study and providing scientific support for the effectiveness of the devices. Another invention I recently came across also addresses decreasing muscle core temperatures to facilitate recovery, but also adds on a compression component. The idea, developed by a company called 110%, combines the benefits of compression tights and compression calf sleeves that have pockets for ice packs. I am testing a pair now with my athletes and hope to have some feedback soon.
REVIEW There are many ideas and new ones are being hatched all the time targeted at reversing and preventing the negative effects of exercising in heat and humidity. The simplest thing a coach can do, of course, is attempt to avoid these climates altogether either doing workouts indoors or changing training locales. The interspersion of pool workouts throughout a week can provide escape from heavy distance training in extreme temperatures. In addition, any of the pre-cooling products like the ice vests or core coolers can provide a preventative effect while post-exercise cooling with ice baths and products like the 110% ice/compression tights can aid with recovery and regeneration as well. The bottom line is that every coach dealing with training and racing in heat and humidity should develop their own strategy to address this challenge.
REFRENCES (1) Hunter, I., Tegeder, A., Martini, E. “Core Body Temperature During Cross Country Racing with the Nike Ice-Vest.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Jun. 2006. Vol. 37. S58-S59. Scott Simmons is the head coach of Queens University of Charlotte’s men’s and women’s crosscountry & track teams as well as the Co-Coach of the American Distance Project. Simmons is the co-author of “Take the Lead: A Revolutionary Approach to Coaching Cross Country” and USA Track & Field’s “Post Collegiate Distance Runners’ Survival Guide.”
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MIKE CORN PHOTO
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A FASTER RUNNER 30
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BY JASON R. KARP, PH.D.
KIRBY LEE PHOTO
FIVE LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED FROM PHYSIOLOGY AND HOW THEY CAN MAKE YOU A FASTER RUNNER
A FA S T E R RU N N E R
NE OF THE THINGS I LOVE MOST ABOUT the sport of distance running is that, in its simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other, it is also extremely complex. When done correctly, it is a scientific endeavor to maximize one’s speed and endurance. Unfortunately, nearly all scientists spend their careers in academia without venturing out into the arena that got many of them interested in physiology in the first place—competitive sport. As a result, few scientists are coaches. The opposite is also true—few coaches are scientists. Being both, I have learned that each can learn from the other, as my experience has given me a unique view of the sport and of the training process. Here are five lessons I have learned from physiology and how they can make your athletes faster runners.
LESSON 1: LACTATE THRESHOLD AND RUNNING ECONOMY ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN VO2MAX. While VO2max (the maximum volume of oxygen your athletes’ muscles can consume per minute) has received most of the attention among runners and coaches, a high VO2max alone is not enough to attain elite-level performances; it simply gains one access into the club, since a runner cannot attain a high level of performance without a high VO2max. But, while your athletes can improve their VO2max, it is largely genetically determined. The other two major physiological players of distance running performance—lactate threshold (LT) and running economy (RE)—exert a greater influence on your athletes’ performances and are more responsive to training. I have tested many athletes in the laboratory with an elite-level VO2max, but few of them were capable of running at the elite or even sub-elite level because they did not have a high LT or were not very economical. From the time of the classic study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in 1979, research has shown that the LT is the best physiological predictor of distance running performance. It is an important physiological variable that demarcates the transition between running that is almost purely aerobic and running that includes significant oxygen-independent (anaerobic) metabolism. It represents the fastest speed your athletes can sustain aerobically. (All running speeds have an anaerobic contribution, although at speeds slower than the LT, that contribution is negligible.) Since the LT represents your athletes’ fastest sustainable pace, the longer the race, the more important their LT.
TRAINING LACTATE THRESHOLD (LT) LT Pace • LT pace is about 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower
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than 5K race pace (or about 10K race pace) for slower runners (slower than about 40 minutes for 10K). If using a heart rate (HR) monitor, the pace is about 75 to 80 percent max HR. For highly trained and elite runners, LT pace is about 25 to 30 seconds per mile slower than 5K race pace (or about 15 to 20 seconds per mile slower than 10K race pace) and corresponds to about 85 to 90 percent max HR. The pace should feel “comfortably hard.”
LT Workouts • Continuous runs at LT pace, starting at about 3 miles and increasing up to 7 to 8 miles (or about 45 minutes) for marathoners • Intervals @ LT pace with short rest periods, such as 4 to 6 x 1 mile @ LT pace with 1 minute rest • Shorter intervals at slightly faster than LT pace with very short rest periods, such as 2 sets of 4 x 1,000 meters @ 5 to 10 seconds per mile faster than LT pace with 45 seconds rest and two minutes rest between sets • Long, slow distance runs with segments run at LT pace (for marathoners), such as 12 to 16 miles with last 2 to 4 miles @ LT pace or 2 miles + 3 miles @ LT pace + 6 miles + 3 miles @ LT pace Running Economy (RE) is the volume of oxygen consumed at submaximal speeds. In 1930, David Dill and his colleagues were among the first physiologists to suggest that there are marked differences in the amount of oxygen different athletes use when running at the same speeds, and that these differences in “economy” of oxygen use is a major factor explaining differences in running performance in athletes with similar VO2max values. For example, research has shown that, while Kenyan runners have similar VO2max and LT values as their American and European counterparts, the Kenyans are more economical, possibly due to their light, non-mus-
cular legs that interestingly resemble those of thoroughbred race horses. The heavier your athletes’ legs, the more oxygen it costs to move them. RE is probably even more important than the LT in determining distance running performance because it indicates how hard your athletes are working in relation to their maximum abilities to use oxygen. For example, if two runners have a VO2max of 70 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute and an LT pace of 6 minutes per mile, but Jack uses 50 and Martin uses 60 milliliters of oxygen while running at 6:30 pace, the pace feels easier for Jack because he is more economical. Therefore, Jack can run faster before using the same amount of oxygen and feeling the same amount of fatigue as Martin. I have yet to see a runner who has superior RE who does not also have a high VO2max and LT. Despite its importance, RE seems to be the most difficult of the three physiological players to train. While many runners and coaches think that RE is a reflection of running form, it is more influenced by those microscopic structures that influence oxygen delivery to and use by the muscles—capillaries and mitochondria, the densities of which are both enhanced with high mileage. Research has shown that runners who run high mileage (more than 70 miles per week) tend to be more economical, which leads one to believe that running high mileage improves RE. In addition to increasing mitochondrial and capillary density, the greater repetition of running movements may result in better biomechanics and muscle fiber recruitment patterns and a synchronization of breathing and stride rate, which may reduce the oxygen cost of breathing. RE may also be improved by the weight loss that often accompanies high mileage, which lowers the oxygen cost. Since VO2max plateaus with about 70 to 75 miles per week, improved RE may be the most significant attribute gained from running high mileage. However, it’s hard to prove cause and effect, since it is not entirely clear whether high mileage runners become more economical by running more miles or are innately more economical and can therefore handle higher mileage. Other forms of training, like intervals and tempo runs, can also improve RE since, as VO2max and LT improve, the oxygen cost of any submaximal speed is also likely to improve. However, it is possible to become more economical without improving VO2max or LT, as research on power training with very heavy weights and plyometrics has shown. Power training focuses on the neural, rather than metabolic, component of muscle force development to improve RE.
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LESSON 2: THERE ARE DIFFERENT MUSCLE FIBER TYPES. There are two types of runners—those who have superior speed, whose performance gets better as the race gets shorter, and those who have superior endurance, whose performance gets better as the race gets longer. As a coach, even as a coach of a team, it’s important to acknowledge differences in runners’ muscle fiber types and their associated metabolic profiles. The types of fibers that make up individual muscles greatly influence your athletes’ performances. Humans have three different types of muscle fibers, with gradations between them (see Characteristics of the 3 Muscle Fiber Types). Slow-twitch (ST) fibers are recruited for all of your athletes’ aerobic runs, while fast-twitch B (FT-B) fibers are only recruited for short anaerobic, high-force production activities, such as sprinting, hurdling, and jumping. Fast-twitch A (FT-A) fibers, which represent a transition between the two extremes of ST and FT-B fibers, are recruited for pro-
As a coach, it’s important to acknowledge differences in runners’ muscle fiber types and their associated metabolic profiles. longed anaerobic activities with a relatively high-force output, such as racing 400 meters. It’s a given that your athletes have more ST fibers than FT fibers, otherwise they would be sprinters rather than distance runners. However, even within a group of distance runners, there is still a disparity in the amount of ST fibers. Some runners may have 90 percent ST and 10 percent FT fibers (marathoners), while others may have 60 percent ST and 40 percent FT fibers (milers). In lieu of a muscle biopsy to determine your athletes’ exact muscle fiber type composition, ask your athletes the following questions: 1. When you race, a) are you able to hang with your
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competitors during the middle stages, but get outkicked in the last quarter to half-mile or b) do you have a hard time maintaining the pace during the middle stages, but can finish fast and out-kick others? If they answer “a,” they probably have more ST fibers. If they answer “b,” they have more FT fibers. 2. Which type of workouts feel easier and more natural—a) long intervals (800-meter to mile repeats), long runs, and tempo runs, or b) short, fast intervals (200s and 400s)? If they answer “a,” they have more ST fibers. If they answer “b,” they have more FT fibers. 3. Which workouts do you look forward to more—a) long intervals and tempo runs or b) short, fast intervals? If they answer “a,” they have more ST fibers. If they answer “b,” they have more FT fibers. (People tend to get excited about tasks at which they excel, while being more anxious about tasks that are difficult.) Understanding your athletes’ fiber types can help you train them smarter. While most runners do the same workouts to focus on a specific race, their training and racing should reflect their physiology. For example, if an athlete has 90 percent ST and 10 percent FT fibers, his or her best race will likely be the marathon and his or her training should focus on mileage and tempo runs. If an athlete has 60 percent ST and 40 percent FT fibers, his or her best race will likely be the 800 meters or mile, and his or her training should focus less on mileage and more on interval training. If both runners want to race a 5K or 10K, the former runner should initially do longer intervals, trying to get faster with training, such as 1,200-meter repeats at 5K race pace, increasing speed to 3K race pace or decreasing the recovery as training progresses. The latter runner should do shorter intervals, trying to hold the pace for longer with training, such as
800-meter repeats at 3K race pace, increasing distance to 1,200 meters or increasing the number of repeats as training progresses. Thus, there can be two paths to meet at the same point.
LESSON 3: A LARGER, STRONGER HEART CAN PUMP MORE BLOOD AND OXYGEN TO RUNNERS’ MUSCLES. Probably the biggest difference between me and 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials champion Ryan Hall (besides my charming good looks) is the size of our hearts. The amount of blood the heart pumps with each contraction of its left ventricle (the heart’s largest chamber, responsible for sending blood to every part of the body except the lungs) is called the stroke volume. Multiply the stroke volume by the heart rate, and you get the amount of blood pumped by the heart each minute, called the cardiac output. The larger your athletes’ left ventricle, the more blood it can hold; the more blood it can hold, the more blood it can pump. So characteristic is a large heart of genetically gifted and highly trained runners that it is considered a physiological condition by the scientific and medical communities called Athlete’s Heart. While your athletes may never attain the heart size and associated cardiac output of Ryan Hall, specific training can make their hearts larger and increase their stroke volume and cardiac output. Long intervals provide the heaviest load on the cardiovascular system because of the repeated attainment of the heart’s maximum stroke volume and cardiac output (and, by definition, VO2max). Evolutionary biologists believe that the structure of an organism evolves to cope with the stresses to which it is subjected, which has led to the theory of symmorphosis—that an organism’s structural design is regulated by its functional demand. As preeminent anatomist Ewald Weibel wrote,
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE 3 MUSCLE FIBER TYPES
Contraction time Size of motor neuron Resistance to fatigue Activity Force production Mitochondrial density Capillary density Oxidative capacity Glycolytic capacity
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FAST-TWITCH A (FT-A)
FAST-TWITCH B (FT-B)
Slow Small High Aerobic Low High High High Low
Fast Large Intermediate Long-term Anaerobic High High Intermediate High High
Very Fast Very Large Low Short-term Anaerobic Very High Low Low Low High
KIRBY LEE PHOTO
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“…the quantity of structure incorporated into an animal’s functional system is matched to what is needed: enough but not too much.” Remarkably, structural changes can also occur in the short term in response to training: bones increase their density, muscle fibers increase their metabolic machinery, and cardiac muscle grows larger. In response to the imposed threat of running at the heart’s maximum ability to pump blood, the heart responds by increasing its contractility (pumping strength) and by enlarging its most important chamber so that more blood and oxygen can be sent to the working skeletal muscles. In lieu of a laboratory test to tell you the velocity at which your athletes’ VO2max is achieved (vVO2max), you can use their current race performances or heart rate. vVO2max is close to 1-mile race pace for recreational runners and close to 3K or 2-mile race pace (10 to 15 seconds per mile faster than 5K race pace) for highly trained runners. Your athletes should be within a few beats of their maximum heart rates by the end of each work interval. Examples of workouts are: 1) 3 x 1,200 meters (or 4-5 minutes) @ vVO2max with 3 to 4 minutes recovery; 2) 4 x 1,000 meters (or 3-4 minutes) @ vVO2max with 2 to 3 minutes recovery; and 3) 6 x 800 meters (or 3 minutes) @ vVO2max with 2 to 3 minutes recovery.
LESSON 4: METABOLISM IS TIGHTLY REGULATED BY ENZYMES AND OXYGEN. Enzymes function as biological catalysts that speed up chemical reactions. In the absence of enzymes, chemical reactions would not occur quickly enough to generate the energy needed to run. The amount of an enzyme also controls which metabolic pathway is used. For example, having more aerobic enzymes will steer metabolism toward a greater reliance on aerobic metabolism (Krebs cycle and electron transport chain) at a given submaximal speed. Enzymes are also activated or inhibited (i.e., their effectiveness in speeding up chemical reactions can be either increased or decreased), determining which metabolic pathways are functional during certain cellular conditions. Thus, enzymes essentially control metabolism and therefore control the pace at which your athletes fatigue. A number of studies have documented an increase in enzyme activity in response to training. One of the first among these was published in 1967 in Journal of Biological Chemistry, in which aerobically trained rats increased mitochondrial enzyme activity, increasing the mitochondria’s capacity to consume oxygen. More recently, a study published in Journal of Applied Physiology in 2006 found that citrate synthase (a key aerobic enzyme) activity significantly increased by 37 percent in novice runners after 13 weeks of training during which weekly mileage increased from 15 to 36. Similarly,
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sprint training induces changes in the anaerobic enzyme profile of muscles and also increases aerobic enzyme activity, particularly when long sprints or short recovery between short sprints are used. For example, a study published in Journal of Applied Physiology in 1998 found that sprint cycle training three times per week for seven weeks using 30-second maximum-effort intervals significantly increased both anaerobic and aerobic enzyme activity. Research on changes in enzyme activity with sprint running is currently lacking. Metabolism is also regulated by its patriarch—oxygen. The availability of oxygen determines which metabolic pathway predominates. For example, at the end of the metabolic pathway that breaks down carbohydrates (glycolysis), there is a fork in the road. When there is adequate oxygen to meet the muscle’s needs, the final product of glycolysis—pyruvate—is converted into an important metabolic intermediate that enters the Krebs cycle
Carbohydrates are a runner’s best friend. They are so important that ingesting them during prolonged exercise can even delay fatigue. for oxidation. This irreversible conversion of pyruvate inside your athletes’ muscles’ mitochondria is a decisive reaction in metabolism since it commits the carbohydrates broken down through glycolysis to be oxidized by the Krebs cycle. However, when there is not adequate oxygen to meet the muscle’s needs, pyruvate is converted into lactate. An associated consequence of this latter fate is the accumulation of metabolites and the development of acidosis, causing your athletes’ muscles to fatigue and them to slow down. The more aerobically developed your athletes are, by focusing on increasing their mileage and doing LT runs, the more they’ll steer pyruvate toward the Krebs cycle and away from lactate production at a given pace. That’s a good thing, because the amount of energy your athletes
get from pyruvate entering the Krebs cycle is 19 times greater than what they get from pyruvate being converted into lactate. While pyruvate will always be converted into lactate given a fast enough speed, the goal of training is to increase the speed at which that occurs.
LESSON 5: CARBOHYDRATES ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. The many proponents of diets like Atkins and South Beach would have the public believe that carbohydrates are some kind of poison. Don’t listen to them. Carbohydrates are a runner’s best friend. Carbohydrates are stored in your athletes’ skeletal muscles and liver as glycogen, and are also found as sugar (glucose) in their blood. When your athletes run, their bodies use a combination of blood glucose and glycogen as fuel to regenerate the high-energy chemical compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through a process called glycolysis. Endurance performance is strongly influenced by the amount of pre-exercise muscle glycogen, with intense endurance exercise decreasing muscle glycogen content. Carbohydrates are so important that ingesting them during prolonged exercise can even delay fatigue. With the well-documented decrease in muscle glycogen content that accompanies endurance exercise, an empty-refill cycle becomes evident. Since your athletes’ muscles prefer carbohydrates as fuel, a metabolic priority of recovering muscle is to replenish muscle glycogen stores. And the more their glycogen tank is emptied, the greater it’s refilled. Empty a full glass, and you get a refilled larger glass in its place. Much like college fraternity parties. Glycogen synthesis is controlled by the hormone insulin and the availability and uptake of glucose from the circulation. Insulin, which is secreted from the pancreas, is the primary signal for glycogen synthesis. Through its effect on proteins that transport glucose, insulin draws glucose from the blood into muscle cells. Glucose is then used to make new glycogen, which is simply a branched chain of glucose molecules. The higher the blood insulin concentration and the greater the availability of glucose, the
faster glycogen is synthesized and stored. So, how do you increase your athletes’ insulin concentrations and make glucose available? Have them consume carbohydrates. Research has shown that the synthesis of glycogen between training sessions occurs most rapidly if carbohydrates are consumed immediately after exercise. Indeed, delaying carbohydrate ingestion for just two hours after a workout significantly reduces the rate at which muscle glycogen is resynthesized and stored. To maximize the rate of glycogen synthesis, tell your athletes to consume 0.7 gram of simple carbohydrates (preferably glucose) per pound of body weight within 30 minutes after they run and every two hours for four to six hours. It would be even better if they can eat or drink more often, since research has shown that a more frequent ingestion of smaller amounts of carbohydrates has an even greater effect on glycogen synthesis, as it better maintains blood glucose and insulin levels. Despite the many highly advertised commercial sports drinks, any drink that contains a large amount of glucose is great for recovery. For example, my research published in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2006 showed that chocolate milk is just as or better than other recovery drinks after exhausting exercise. While some studies have found that consuming carbohydrates and protein together also speeds muscle glycogen storage, others have not found this to be the case. The total amount of calories consumed seems to be more important for recovery than the carbohydrate-protein mix. To help your athletes get the most from their training and racing, learn these lessons. Not only will they be rewarded with higher levels of fitness and new personal records, you’ll make a complex sport a little simpler. Dr. Jason R. Karp is a nationally-recognized speaker, writer, and exercise physiologist who coaches multiple levels of athletes through his company, RunCoachJason.com. He holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology and is director and coach of REVO2LT Running Team.
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acoachâ€™sleadership LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES AND ATTRIBUTES OF SUCCESSFUL TRACK AND FIELD COACHES
By Brian Zuleger M.S. 42
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NORTH CENTR AL COLLEGE PHOTO
mong track and field coaches, leadership ability is recognized as an important and integral skill that is necessary for successful individual and team performance. Numerous books, for example, have been written by coaches of all sports who have described their formulas for success in great detail. Yet there are many programs and coaches at all levels that could benefit from learning not only what it takes to be a successful leader, but how to do it. McGuire and Vernacchia (2010) define leadership as the product of integrity, communication, understanding of human behavior, and knowledge of sport. Effective leadership involves knowledge, technical expertise, communication skills, ingenuity, and charisma (Shrock, 2009). In an effort to learn more about the leadership philosophies, styles and strategies of track and field coaches, interviews were conducted with 10 (seven male and three female) successful NCAA Division I head track and field coaches. The coaches who agreed to participate in these interviews averaged 28.9 years of track and field coaching experience and developed, on average, 78.1 NCAA Division I All-Americans and 147.6 Academic All-Americans (team GPAs ranged from 2.913.4) throughout their coaching careers. Four of the coaches were Olympic team staff members, and six coaches had been members of international track and field teams (i.e. World Championship, etc.). Eight of the coaches developed conference champion teams with two of the coaches having won 24 and 28 conference titles respectively. Two of the coaches had won NCAA Division I national team championships and four of the coaches had been named NCAA Division I national head coach of year. Interviews were qualitatively analyzed and presented in this article to create a holistic overview of successful leadership characteristics and styles, as well as coaching development and considerations. The emergent leadership themes presented in this article reflect the components and characteristics of the successful leadership perspectives, philosophies and practices of the interviewed coaches.
COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL LEADERSHIP STYLES ATHLETE-CENTERED LEADERSHIP The findings from the coachesâ€™ comments illustrate the importance of attending to the athleteâ€™s personal welfare and align with the sport science research regarding leadership styles (Carter & Bloom, 2009; Giacobbi, Whitney, Roper, & Butryn, 2002; Vallee &
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Bloom 2005). All of the coaches’ responses in this study highlighted the importance of employing an athlete-centered coaching philosophy. Athlete-centered leadership was the main theme that emerged from the coaches’ responses referring to establishing supportive and effective coach-athlete relationships. One coach had this to say regarding utilizing an athlete-centered approach to coaching his teams: “My intention as a coach is to have your life be better because we met. Now I know my intention is we are supposed to have a good track team and I know my intention is we are supposed to beat our rival, I get it. But at the end of the day, if I’ve got all the trophies for beating our rival and in the end a bunch of kids that are crappy people in life, have I done anything of any significance? I don’t think so. If I never beat our rival…and I have people that go out into life, whole, happy, proud, contributing to a better society, succeeding in life then we make communities better. That’s the trophy case.” In a recent interview for NCAA Champion Magazine, the highly successful track and field coach Pat Henry of Texas A&M (31 NCAA Division I indoor & outdoor national titles) had this to say when asked what the secret to success is. “If I was going to put a philosophy to it, we coach individuals, and great individuals make a great team” (Johnson, 2011, p. 35).
The successful coaches interviewed in this study knew and understood the importance of promoting athlete investment in the leadership process as a component of a successful leadership style. One coach’s statement pointed to the importance of developing “ownership” among team members as a result of employing athlete investment strategies: “My philosophy is that if you can teach and coach proper principles and allow the athletes and coaches to govern themselves in how they accomplish that. Then you will be much more successful because they will have investment in what you are doing and as a result will want to succeed more.” Coaches also discussed the importance of athlete investment in the process of facilitating team cohesion by allowing athletes to select and direct team-building activities that were designed to “bring the team together.” The coaches clearly identified a need to remain in the background while team members were allowed to focus on personal growth and development, particularly once the team’s mission had been established.
TRUST The coaches interviewed for this study truly lived by and
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were aware of the importance of establishing a trusting coach-athlete relationship. One of the statements by a coach provides a good example of what many of the coaches expressed in similar ways: “If you can’t have integrity, you can’t be honest, you can’t be trustworthy, your athletes will pick up on that faster than you know and they will not run through the wall for you, they won’t believe you and that creates a lot of problems.”
TEAM ENVIRONMENT In an effort to foster quality competitive efforts and performances, coaches identified the importance of creating an environment for championship performance by estab-
lishing quality lifestyle, training and performance standards for their teams. The coaches’ established standards for their teams that were very simple, clearly outlined and revolved around treating people with respect, being academically focused and having a desire to be your best as an individual. The coaches also mentioned that as leaders they serve as role models for their staff and student-athletes by making efforts to instill a commitment to personal responsibility among team members in all aspects of their lives. The importance of serving as a model of emotional control and stability for their athletes was critical to their leadership and coaching success. An example of this is provided as one coach stated that: “You have to provide an environment where they feel the importance of being on that roster, that it is important that you have the opportunity to represent, you have pride, you have the opportunity to be something other than average here.”
STUDENT-ATHLETE CONSIDERATIONS Coaches identified that, as leaders, they are responsible for teaching and providing opportunities for the athletes to learn and practice sound leadership behaviors that include leading a balanced student-athlete lifestyle. Coaches emphasized the importance of the personal responsibility/accountability relationship that enables student-athletes to become independent and reliable persons. Goal-setting was identified by coaches as an important way of helping student-athletes achieve this end, as well as, training and competitive success. Coaches discussed the need to ensure that goals were clear, identifiable and relevant to the individual studentathlete in relation to academics, athletics and lifestyle factors. Coaches discussed a need to utilize team captains and leaders in order to create a positive team climate that stresses mentorship, particularly between veteran and new team members. Team captains and leaders were viewed as instrumental in conveying teams’ philosophies and missions to all team members. Athlete-driven team leadership was viewed as an effective way to engage student-athletes in determining the direction of a track and field program. Academic achievement, as much or more than athletic achievement, was a priority for all of the coaches interviewed. This perspective, in turn, influenced many of the leadership and coaching decisions coaches made regarding the student-athlete focus of their programs. The coaches highlighted the need for the coach to be involved and engaged as a leader in the academic development of team members. Athletics and academics can-
not be separated and coaches recognized that academic and athletic performance can affect each other in both positive and negative ways. In reference to the importance of academic achievement, Pat Henry stated: “Sports are, for most of our athletes, an avenue to their education. Athletics is a short period in your life, and your academics last your entire life. We talk about it every single day” (Johnson, 2011, p. 35).
PROCESS ORIENTATION Several coaches identified that in order to be successful as a leader the team members have to be engaged and enjoy the process of being a team member (practice, competition, and everything that goes into being a student-athlete). The coaches in this study spend time in relationship-building activities and interactions with their athletes in order to “get to know them” by demonstrating their care and concern for team members. Coaches indicated that the process of being on a team should be fun and create an exciting atmosphere that motivates student-athletes to work hard to achieve both team and individual goals. One coach stated that: “They spend a lot of time at practice; you spend a lot of time with them. It’s got to be fun, it has to be challenging it has to be stimulating and like I said you really have to pick and choose the times where you really want to dig down. It just can’t be every day. I kind of try to make it fun and try to understand what makes the athletes tick. What cues motivate them, what cues help them get to where they want to get to?”
RECRUITING Coaches discussed the need to recruit athletes who are “the right fit for their programs.” One example of a coach’s response on this topic was: “The environment is so critical. We really want them to feel good about the people they are around. So in the recruiting process we are trying to identify kids that we feel and kids who they feel that this is the right environment for them. They are not just coming because we are offering them more money than someone else. They are not coming because of all these other people who have performed well athletically or whatever, they are coming because it’s the right fit for them. Every decision we make everything we do hinges on those principles.”
CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL LEADERS Mark Guthrie, former University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse head coach (22 team national titles) and current University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant coach, (one additional team national title) is one of the most successful college track and field coaches in the history of the
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sport. In his book Coaching Track and Field Successfully Guthrie highlights the following principles on which to base leadership: “Be yourself, have confidence, have composure, be an example, have defined coaching objectives, establish rules, build and nurture relationships with athletes, be organized, involve assistant coaches, help athletes manage their goals and stress, and focus on the big picture” (Guthrie, 2003, p. 6).
COMMUNICATION The coaches in this study related the importance of communicating effectively with team members. They focused on the need to provide athletes with the appropriate information and feedback in a timely manner. An emphasis was placed on the need for communication to be clear, concise and direct so as to avoid any confusion and conflict. Coaches also highlighted a need for communication to be based on respect in order for it to be effective and receptive to all involved. In order to be effective communicators, head coaches were receptive to feedback from both their athletes and assistant coaches.
ADAPTABILITY A number of coaches in this study also recognized that track and field is a very diverse sport in terms of personalities, mentalities, and events, as well as, physical, cultural, and behavioral characteristics. For these reasons coaches must employ an adaptive leadership and coaching style in order to be effective. One coach described adaptability as such: “Where in our sport it’s different, a distance runner is way different than a sprinter, light years different. You have to deal with that differently as a leader. When you’re addressing the whole team you have to be aware of that and when I am communicating to a thrower versus a distance runner, how I talk to them is completely different and what motivates them and so it is a very unique sport in that way, that you have to tailor that…So if you are going to be a good coach you really have to be able to change it on the move, non-stop, especially within track cause you know there are not enough coaches and you have coaches coaching so many different events, in a matter of five minutes you are dealing with three or four different personalities and it’s just a very unique situation.”
PASSION AND LIFESTYLE BALANCE Coaches related that their passion to coach was driven by a desire to “positively impact” others and to “bring out the best” in their athletes. One coach commented on his passion as such: “Because I loved kids, I loved coaching. I discovered that that was what I loved about coaching, it wasn’t high
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jump, or 1-3-1’s or 2-1-2’s, it was the kids, the player, the athlete.” In light of the coach-athlete commitment that their profession demands, some coaches expressed the need for balance in their lives, particularly with regard to their relationships with family and friends. Coaches frequently mentioned the difficulty of time management in dealing with a large number of individuals and trying to honor their commitment to each person. The coaches discussed the importance of their families and the support they provided them in pursuing their careers and their passion for helping others through coaching track and field. The coaches also mentioned the difficulty of balancing their commitments of time and energy and they often struggled to find a healthy way to be an effective leader while also finding time for self care. One coach put balance in this perspective: “I think there is a line because people might be overly committed and ineffective, but I think there has to be a time where you know it’s still a job, for me there is a gray area between where it’s my life and my job. Being committed means, I am committed to this, but I am also committed to taking care of myself so I can stay committed to this. I think a lot of people burn out and get beat up from this because they don’t keep that line there, they don’t take vacations, they don’t go home at 6 o’clock, they don’t take Sunday off.”
COACHING DEVELOPMENT Coaches’ comments illustrated the pursuit of knowledge and expertise in the area of coaching through multiple factors, such as mentoring, parental influence, experiences throughout their career, establishing a knowledge base and the need for continuing education. Coaches’ career paths varied but followed a progression through the different levels of coaching on the way to becoming a head coach. The majority of the coaches were high school track and field coaches; several were graduate assistant coaches at universities, others undergraduate student intern coaches and all of them were assistant coaches before becoming a head coach. Personal characteristics exhibited by the coaches in this study were characterized by a desire to continue to grow as a coach by learning, a continual evolvement and maturation through experience, and a constant evaluation of their own development. Many coaches learned the elements of effective coaching through a combination of apprenticeships or mentoring opportunities, formal education in physical education and kinesiology, networking with other high level coaches, and sport science and coaching education programs. The importance of mentoring was identified as a key component in the coach development process by the
KIRBY LEE PHOTO
A COACH’S LEADERSHIP
ally sensitive. Four coaches (two male and two female) indicated that women tend to react in many different situations by expressing their feelings through crying. Three coaches (one female) also commented that women tend to be tougher in that they can typically handle more volume in training and are more willing to do extra work. In regards to men, both male and female coaches stated that men are less receptive to feedback and are less sensitive in how they respond to feedback. “In many cases with a man, you can chew him out and an hour later you can go over and put your arm around him and move on and forward and I have noticed women it does not quite work that way, it’s not quite that clean and simple. You have to be a little more diplomatic,” said one male coach. “In general guys question things a lot more than women do. Women are more likely to just do what the coach says and see what happens and if it is not successful, they might ask why. Men are like what is this for? Why are we doing this? They really want to know,” said one female coach.
MIKE CORN PHOTO
TEAM AND SOCIAL COHESION
majority of coaches. One coach summarized it: “I think it is important, because that is why I am sitting here, because I had great mentors. It’s not about the technical stuff, it’s more about how to interact with the athletes and how to lead them and get them to believe in themselves.”
The majority of the coaches commented that team cohesion improves performance. One coach stated that “I tell our team repeatedly, especially as we are approaching a major championship scoring meet like conference, that you gain a lot of energy from your teammates.” This quote exemplified a common theme among the coaches – social cohesion, or developing healthy and supportive relationships between team members, was an important positive factor in improving team performance. Another aspect of the team cohesion and performance relationship that was identified by the coaches was staff cohesion. One coach mentioned that “As a staff we are that team and then our team looks to us and that is what I always say, we have to be a team and have to be united as a coaching staff.”
INTEGRITY COACHING CONSIDERATIONS GENDER DIFFERENCES Gender differences within coaching is a topic that is often overlooked and less discussed but is one that does exist and is important to consider as a coach. The majority of coaches interviewed for this study recognized that gender differences among track and field athletes do exist. Specifically, coaches mentioned that women are more sensitive emotionally; while these comments mainly came from male coaches, one female coached shared this viewpoint as well. The other two female coaches acknowledged that both men and women were emotion-
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All of the coaches stated that integrity was an important aspect of being a leader and most of them stated that one could not be a leader without integrity. One coach said this, “I think it’s really critical. Fortunately in our program we have had a lot of success, but we have always done it the right way.” Coaches identified the ability to be honest and honorable, demonstrating good character, and treating people with respect as crucial to the success of a leader. When coaches were questioned about the current climate of collegiate track and field, about half of the coaches recognized that ethical issues, dilemmas and
challenges exist. Specifically, six of the 10 coaches mentioned that recruiting is an area with integrity issues. “I do see integrity issues – not a lot, but I do. I think recruiting requires integrity, recognizing the fact that someone’s athletes are theirs, that they are not yours and you’re not trying to persuade them to try to come or transfer, that is an integrity issue and that all starts when those 17- or 18-year-olds decided what they were going to do. They based it all on what they thought was best for them. And that is what they should do. You put your best foot forward and if somebody’s situation, if another school’s situation is better, that’s where they are going to go because it fits them better.”
SUMMARY Some common attributes of the coaches interviewed for this study were: an athlete-centered leadership philosophy; creating a positive and safe team environment; winning in a way that promotes the idea of self-improvement and personal excellence among team members; clear, concise and open communication; a passion for helping people improve and reach their goals; an academic team focus; trustworthiness; a process orientation; adaptability; and a high level of knowledge regarding track and field and the sport sciences. Integrity is a key leadership component and sport psychology research only further supports the philosophy presented by the coaches in this study, particularly as it relates to the importance of integrity in the leadership process (Hammermeister, 2010; Hammermeister, Burton, Pickering, Chase, Westre, & Baldwin, in press; Miller, Carpenter, Fink, & Baker, 2008; Rieke, Hammermeister & Chase, 2008; Vallee & Bloom, 2005). Coaches in this study identified the diverse nature and unique personalities of track and field athletes as a key factor in the leadership of their respective programs. The coaches discussed the need to be cognizant of these different personalities between event groups and also individuals. In order to be successful the head coach must be adaptable as a leader in order to best serve the variety of people he/she interacts with on a daily basis.
REFERENCES Carter, A. D., & Bloom, G. A. (2009). Coaching knowledge and success: Going beyond athletic experiences. Journal of Sport Behavior, 32, 419-437. Giacobbi Jr., P. R., Whitney, J., Roper, E. & Butryn, T. (2002). College coaches’ views about the development of successful athletes: A descriptive exploratory investigation. Journal of Sport Behavior, 25, 164-180. Guthrie, M. (2003). Coaching track and field successfully. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Hammermeister, J. J. (2010). Cornerstones of coaching:
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The building blocks of success for sport coaches and teams. Traverse City, MI: Cooper Publishing Group. 184. Hammermeister, J. J., Burton, D., Pickering, T., Chase, M., Westre, K., & Baldwin, N. (in press). Servant leadership in sport: A concept whose time has arrived. International Journal of Servant Leadership. Johnson, G. (2011). NCAA Champion: The family business is on track. Indianapolis, IN: National Collegiate Athletic Association. (ISSN # 1937-9064) McGuire, R., & Vernacchia, R. (2010). Sport leadership and team building. In R. Vernacchia, R. McGuire, & D. Cook, Coaching mental excellence: It does matter whether you win or lose (2nd ed.). Unpublished manuscript. Miller, L. M., Carpenter, C. L., Fink, J. S., & Baker, R. E. (2008). Benefits of altruistic leadership in intercollegiate athletics. Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 2, 51–68. Rieke, M., Hammermeister, J. J., & Chase, M. (2008). Servant leadership in sport: A new paradigm for effective coach behavior. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 3, 227-239. Shrock, D. L. (2009). An analysis of northern California community college co-ed track and `field athletes’ perceptions of their head coaches’ leadership styles as compared to the head coaches’ self-perceived leadership style. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, United States Sports Academy. Vallee, C. N., & Bloom, G. A. (2005). Building a successful university program: Key and common elements of expert coaches. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 17, 179-196. Zuleger, B. (2011). Leadership characteristics of successful NCAA Division I track and field head coaches. Unpublished master’s thesis, Western Washington University. Brian Zuleger, HFS, CSCS, received his Master’s degree in sport psychology from Western Washington University where he served as a volunteer assistant with the men’s and women’s track and field teams. He currently is a doctoral student in sport psychology and volunteer coach with the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams at the University of Missouri. Dr. Ralph Vernacchia is a Professor of Physical Education and Director of the Center for Performance Excellence at Western Washington University. He has served on numerous USA national team staffs, including both the World Championship and Olympic Games. He serves as the Psychology chair of the USATF Coaching Education Program.
USTFCCCA COACHES HALL PHIL ESTEN, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-LA CROSSE
PHOTO COURTESY OF UW -L ACROSSE
Phil Esten served as head coach of the men’s cross country program at UW-La Crosse for 28 years – a run that lasted from 1970 until his retiring after the 1998 season. Esten, the USTFCCCA NCAA Division III Co-Coach of the Year in 1996, led UW-La Crosse to a NCAA Division III cross country national title in the same year. The Eagles would also add national runner-up honors in either the NAIA or NCAA Division III eight times during Esten’s tenure. In all, Esten’s squads finished in the national top ten in 26 consecutive years and appeared in a national championship in 27 of his 28 cross country seasons.
UW-L won 20 WIAC cross country titles during Esten’s tenure and never finished lower than third in the league. In addition, Esten coached 28 runners to a total of 46 USTFCCCA AllAmerica honors. A 1965 graduate of UW-La Crosse, Esten was inducted into the UW-La Crosse Hall of Fame and the NAIA District 14 Hall of Fame in 1990. Additionally, Esten was inducted into the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches’ Association Hall in 1993. Phil Esten earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Northern Colorado.
KEENE FITZPATRICK, PRINCETON/YALE/MICHIGAN
PHOTO COURTESY OF PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
For over 40 years in the first half of the 20th century, Keene Fitzpatrick was arguably the leading figure in the world of intercollegiate athletic training, physical education, and its applications in track & field, football, rowing and several other sports. Fitzpatrick worked at Yale and Michigan, but served the longest tenure as head coach at Princeton, a 22-year run from 1911-1932. Fitzpatrick was Michigan’s first track & field coach, serving as their head man for over a decade. Within his first four years as coach, Fitzpatrick’s men would win six gold and nine total Olympic medals at the 1904 St. Louis Games. Overall, Michigan track and field athletes won 15 Olympic
medals, including seven golds, the squad held a 242-1 dual meet record and won three Big 10 titles with Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick tutored Olympians Archie Hahn, Ralph Rose, Ralph Craig, Charles Dvorak and Charles Schule among others. While at Princeton, the Tigers would claim four runner-up team honors and 15 individual crowns in the IC4A with Fitzpatrick at the helm. While at Yale, Fitzpatrick is also credited for conceiving a new pole-vaulting technique for its time that led to the setting of a world record. Fitzpatrick was also the first president of the Association of College Track Coaches of America, taking over as leader of the organization in 1918.
KEN FOREMAN, SEATTLE PACIFIC
PHOTO COURTESY OF SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
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Ken Foreman is considered by Seattle Pacific as the founding father of their athletics department and served three terms as the school’s track coach, the last of which stretched from 1985 to 2000. While with the Falcons for 37 years, he coached 159 All-American athletes and had 26 collegiate individual champions. Foreman also founded the Falcon Track Club in 1955 and served as the squad’s coach until 1999. Foreman founded the SportsWest Track Club, which he directed from 1977-1998. Foreman’s Falcon TC squad captured the AAU cross country title in 1972, and he is well known for coaching USTFCCCA Hall of Famer Doris Brown Heritage who was a five-time World Cross Country Champion in the late 60s and early 70s.
He coached Olympians Kelly Blair-LaBounty, Lorna Griffin, Pam Spencer and Sherron Walker. Foremancoached athletes won 14 AAU titles (outdoor, indoor, cross country) and one AIAW title. Foreman was named the U.S. women’s head coach for the 1980 Olympic Games, and served as the Team USA head coach at the 1983 World Outdoor Championships. He was the U.S. World Cross Country Team coach in 1967, 1970 and 1973, served as the AAU women’s long-distance running chair from 1968-1974 and was the recipient of the AAU/USATF Joseph Robichaux Women’s Track & Field Award 1978. Ken Foreman was inducted into USA Track & Field’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
OF FAME CLASS OF 2011 CRAIG POOLE, BYU Poole was at the helm of BYU women’s track team for 30 years from 1980 until his retirement in 2010. During his tenure, Poole’s teams were among the most consistent nationally-prominent programs in the sport. Under his guidance, the Cougar track team recorded an almost perfect record on conference and regional levels. Since 1983, his teams won eight HCAC crowns, 17 of 18 WAC titles, nine of 10 MWC indoor titles, and seven of eight MWC outdoor titles. A Poole-led BYU team never finished outside the top three at a conference track & field meet. A total of 14 of his athletes were crowned national champions 18 times and the 2009 team claimed a third place finish at the NCAA championships. Eighty-one of Poole’s athletes earned a total of 165 USTFCCCA All-American honors.
Poole was honored as the MWC Coach of the Year seven times, including the 2009 season, and WAC Coach of the Year ten times. In 2004, Poole was the head coach for the U.S. at the World University Games in Beijing, China. He served on the coaching staff for the West Team at the 1989 Olympic Festival, as head coach for the U.S. National Team vs. Great Britain in 1990, and for the American World Indoor Championships Team in 1993. Poole was named to the 2004 U.S. Olympic coaching staff, traveling to the games in Athens, Greece. He coached the American athletes in the heptathlon, long jump and triple jump. In 1993, he was the head women’s USA Coach at the World Championships in Toronto, Canada.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BYU
LAVERNE SWEAT, NORFOLK STATE/HAMPTON LaVerne Sweat was an integral piece of Norfolk State’s Athletics Department for nearly 20 years where she served as the head women’s track and field coach from 1988 to 2005. Between cross country and track & field, her teams won a total 18 CIAA championships in an eight-year span from 1988-96. The Spartans earned four runner-up finishes at the NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships during her tenure. Under Sweat’s guidance, the Spartans won two more conference titles after moving up to NCAA’s Division I, capturing the 2000 MEAC indoor championship and 2001 outdoor championship. In addition, Norfolk State earned five runner up finishes in the MEAC. Sweat, a Norfolk, Va., native, was the first female president of the CIAA in the 1980s. Among her accomplishments in track and field was being selected as an assistant coach for the U.S.
Olympic team for the 2000 Sydney Games. Additionally, she was selected as head coach of the U.S. team at the World University Games in Bucharest, Romania, in 1981, and for the Junior Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1993. Sweat was also the head coach at Hampton University from 1978 to 1988. While coaching at Hampton and Norfolk State, Sweat earned the CIAA Track and Field Coach of the Year nine times. She was the NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1981 while at Hampton and PHOTO COURTESY OF NORFOLK STATE UNIVERSITY was voted NCAA Division II Coach of the Decade in 1991.
BILL WEBB, TENNESSEE/CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE Bill Webb spent nearly 40 years in the collegiate track & field coaching ranks with 25 of those years as a head coach. Webb’s time as Tennessee’s head coach produced many of the program’s proudest moments, including two NCAA and four SEC team championships. He became the first coach in Vol history to win back-to-back NCAA titles after following up the 2001 NCAA outdoor crown with the 2002 NCAA indoor championship. In his 14 seasons as head coach, 18 UT athletes were crowned national champions in individual events, and 137 earned USTFCCCA All-America honors. As a nationally-renowned field event and multi-event instructor, Webb personally instructed 13 NCAA champions, 57 SEC champions and 82 NCAA Division I All-Americans. On the international stage, Tennessee’s presence at the Olympics and World Championships has never been greater than during the Webb era. Webb coached 36 Olympic Trials competitors since 1984. He personally instructed athletes at four Olympic Games and seven World Championships.
Webb became the first person to coach an NCAA and world champion decathlete in the same year, as Stephen Harris and Tom Pappas accomplished the feat in 2003. Pappas, under Webb’s direction, set the NCAA decathlon record at 8,463 and went on to post a top career score of 8,784, which ranks third on the all-time U.S. list. He coached 27 other athletes to scores of 7,250 or higher and five decathletes past the 8,000-point mark. Webb also coached Tom Petranoff to a javelin world record PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE and Bob Roggy to an American record. He was named USTFCCCA National Coach of the Year for the national championship seasons of 2001 outdoors and 2002 indoors. Webb also garnered SEC Coach of the Year three times (1996 indoor, 2001 outdoor and 2007 outdoor). NOVEMBER 2011
THE BOWERMAN JESSICA BEARD - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY Beard became the just the third female in NCAA Division I history, and first since 1999, to win both 400 national titles in the same year and run on both winning 4x400 relays at the NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor Championships. Beard, a four-time Big 12 indoor 400-meter champ, recorded the world’s fastest time over the 400-meter distance indoors with a 50.79 clocking to win the national crown. Outdoors, Beard clocked 51.10 for the NCAA win and split 49.13 for the Aggies as anchor of the NCAA-winning 4x400 relay. Following the collegiate season at the USA Championships, Beard placed fourth in the 400 meters, running a season’s best 51.06 to earn a spot on the U.S. team for the World Championships where she earned a gold medal as part of the 4 x 400 meter relay team.
KIMBERLYN DUNCAN – LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
Duncan swept the NCAA’s 200-meter titles in 2011 and, in both seasons, notched world-leading times. Duncan became the sixth woman in NCAA Division I history and the first since Auburn’s Kerron Stewart in 2007 to sweep 200-meter titles in the same season. Indoors, Duncan won the SEC title in 22.78 for the world’s best time of the season. Outdoors, Duncan was undefeated in the 200 meters and clocked a low-altitude all-time collegiate best (and the third-best overall) with a 22.24 run. Duncan was also the NCAA’s 100-meter runner-up and anchored the Lady Tigers to an NCAA title in the 4x100 (42.64).
TINA SUTEJ – UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
Sutej set new collegiate records in the pole vault both indoors and outdoors in 2011. Indoors, Sutej would reach a best of 14-10 3/4 (4.54m) to set the new alltime collegiate best in winning the SEC crown and she would later go on to win the NCAA title. Outdoors, Sutej again won the SEC league title with a collegiaterecord clearance of 15-1 1/2 (4.61m). Overall, Sutej collected 13 straight meet victories before finishing runner-up at the NCAA outdoor meet where she tied the championship-meet record with Oregon’s Melissa Gergel, who took the crown by virtue of fewer misses.
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FINALIST 2011 JESHUA ANDERSON, WASHINGTON STATE Anderson joined BYU’s Ralph Mann (1969-70-71) and Iowa State’s Danny Harris (198485-86) as the only three people to win three NCAA-championship titles in the 400-meter hurdles. Anderson took the 2011 NCAA title in 48.56, over a half-second ahead of the rest of the field. Anderson earned the season’s collegiate best and fifth-fastest all-time collegiate 400-hurdle time of 48.13 in winning a fourth-straight Pac-10 crown. Following the collegiate season at the USA Championships, Anderson unseated four-time champion Bershawn Jackson and reigning Olympic champion Angelo Taylor with a new personal best and American-leading time of 47.93. Anderson has also moved to No. 2 in the world in 2011 with the clocking, earning a spot in the World Championship in the process.
NGONI MAKUSHA, FLORIDA STATE Makusha won NCAA outdoor titles in the 100 meters and long jump, joining Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens, and Michigan’s DeHart Hubbard as only the fourth man in NCAA Division I history to claim such a double at a single championship. Makusha also claimed the NCAA long jump title during the indoor season, becoming the first person since 2006 to sweep the event’s two titles. The Seminole notched a third NCAA outdoor championship title as second-leg of 4x100-meter relay. In addition, Makusha clocked 9.97 to win the ACC outdoor 100-meter crown, and he also swept league titles in the long jump. Makusha’s run of 9.89 in the NCAA’s 100-meter final broke the 1996 collegiate and championship meet record of 9.92 set by UCLA’s Ato Bolden and is the Zimbabwean national record. In the long jump, Makusha’s NCAA-winning mark of 27'-6" (8.40m) is also a new Zimbabwean national record. Following the collegiate season, Makusha claimed a bronze medal at the World Championships in the long jump with a leap of 27'2" (8.29m).
CHRISTIAN TAYLOR, FLORIDA Taylor was the winner of the NCAA’s outdoor triple jump title with an all-time, allconditions collegiate best mark of 58'-4" (17.80m). In the same competition, Taylor marked a wind-legal jump of 57'-1" (17.40m) in the fourth round to claim the season’s collegiate best mark. Taylor also finished second at the NCAA Championships indoors to Claye in the triple jump and qualified for both NCAA meets in the long jump. With Florida’s 4x100and 4x400-meter relay teams, Taylor qualified for the national finals in both events outdoors. At the Penn Relays, Florida’s 4x100 squad finished second in the Championship of America race. Following the collegiate season, Taylor won his first USA triple jump title with a windaided mark of 57'-4" (17.49m), earning him a spot at the World Championships. It was at the World Championships where Taylor shined the brightest, leaping to a gold medal with a world leading jump of 58'11"(17.96m).
WHAT IS A QUIET PERIOD? During a Quiet Period, a college coach may not have any in-person contact with a student or their parents off the college’s campus. The coach may not watch a student play or visit their high school during this period. A student and his/her parents may visit a college campus during this time. A coach may write or telephone a student or his/her parents during this time.
s part of our goal to help prospective student-athletes, coaches and families better understand NCAA initial eligibility rules and regulations, I thought I would take some time to talk about some of the NCAA’s initial eligibility recruiting regulations, and to provide some key terms that the NCAA uses when it comes to these regulations. Not only are NCAA coaches expected to follow these basic recruiting rules and regulations, but prospective student-athletes are as well.
WHAT IS A CONTACT? A contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face contact with a student or his/her parents off the college’s campus and says more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact with a student or his/her parents at the student’s high school or any location where the student is competing or practicing.
WHAT IS AN EVALUATION? An evaluation is an activity by a coach to evaluate a student’s academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting a student’s high school or watching him/her practice or compete. WHAT IS AN EVALUATION PERIOD? This is when a college coach may watch a student play or visit their high school, but cannot have any in-person conversations with the student or their parents off the college’s campus. The student and their parents can visit a college campus during this period. A coach may write and telephone a student or his/her parents during this time.
WHAT IS A CONTACT PERIOD? This is a timeframe where a college coach may have in-person contact with a student and/or his/her parents on or off the college’s campus. The coach may also watch a student play or visit his/her high school. Students and their parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone them during this period.
WHAT IS AN OFFICIAL VISIT? Any visit to a college campus by a student and his/her parents paid for by the college is considered an official visit. The college may pay all or some of the following expenses during an Official Visit: transportation to and from the college; room and meals (three per day) while visiting the college; and reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. Note that before a college may invite a student on an official visit, the student must provide the college with a copy of their high school transcript (Division I only) and ACT, SAT or PLAN score and register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
WHAT IS A DEAD PERIOD? A dead period is a
WHAT IS A PROSPECTIVE STUDENT-ATHLETE? A stu-
specified timeframe where a college coach may not have any in-person contact with a student or their parents on or off campus at any time. The coach may write and telephone a student and their parents during this time.
dent becomes a prospective student-athlete when: the student starts ninth-grade classes and; before the student’s ninthgrade year, a college gives the student, his/her relatives or friends any financial assistance or other benefits that the college does not provide to students generally.
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WHAT IS AN UNOFFICIAL VISIT? Any visits by a student and the student’s parents to a college campus paid for by the student and his/her parents. The only expense that a student may receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. A student may make as many unofficial visits as they like and may take those visits at any time. The only time a student cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period. WHAT IS A VERBAL COMMITMENT? This phrase is used to describe a college-bound student-athlete’s commitment to a school before he or she signs (or is able to sign) a National Letter of Intent. A collegebound student-athlete can announce a verbal commitment at any time. While verbal commitments have become very popular for both college-bound studentathletes and coaches, this “commitment” is not binding on either the collegebound student-athlete or the college or university. Only the signing of the National Letter of Intent accompanied by a financial aid agreement is binding on both parties. WHAT IS THE NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT (NLI)? The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a voluntary program administered by the NCAA Eligibility Center. By signing an NLI, the college-bound student-athlete agrees to attend the college or university for one academic year. In exchange, that institution must provide athletics financial aid for one academic year. Note: Restrictions are contained in the NLI itself. Read them carefully. These restrictions may affect a student’s eligibility. For questions about the NLI, visit the website at www.national-letter.org or call 317/223-0706.
FALL REMINDERS FOR THE NCAA ELIGIBILITY CENTER. Fall is the recommend time period for high school juniors to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. For additional information and resources about the NCAA Eligibility Center, please visit the website at www.eligibilitycenter.org.