PDA

View Full Version : anybody ever coached middle school cross country or track?


Yael Grauer
07-26-2007, 04:11 PM
Say you have one hour a day, four days a week, for an 8-week season...

Actually this might be best to do over e-mail if anybody has.

Allen Yeh
07-26-2007, 04:19 PM
I think Ron coaches track?

Danny John
07-26-2007, 08:55 PM
I have. And so has my brother, Gary. How can I help?

Either email me a number or we can talk here...

dj84123@yahoo.com

Remember, though, I quit posting at another site when a certain person called me out for not going through Track and Field Certification. I have to let you know:

I'm not certified to coach track. Of course, no coach I EVER had was certified.

So, if I make mistakes, you can blame it on my lack of certification(s).

Even if you don't listen to my advice, please try to keep the program fun and balanced...

Yael Grauer
07-26-2007, 09:19 PM
Wow, thanks!!

Mike ODonnell
07-27-2007, 05:04 AM
Never coached but I imagine getting a folding chair with cup holder, cooler, fan, umbrella and megaphone with preprogrammed messages like "Run", "Keep Running", "Suck it up", "Do you see me crying because my ice melted in my drink?", "Another lap ladies"(works for boys teams too), etc....are all important pieces of equipment.....read that in Ron's book of coaching somewhere. Also you probably want to setup in the long jump sand pit....for the bare feet to rest in.

Robb Wolf
07-27-2007, 06:37 AM
The main problem I had with the Track portion of Track & Field...and oddly enough Cross Country...was the damndable running. Eh.

Dan-
A high dollar cert anointed by the Murray Institute of Lifelong Fitness (MILF) would be HEYUGE.

Chris Rice
07-27-2007, 07:58 AM
I've coached the throws for two years now and will defer to Dan - simply because I use a lot of his stuff as a part of my coaching. Please don't take this discussion to private emails - I'm sure many of us can and would enjoy learning from it. Organizing practice time and keeping things moving is a challenge as well as the programs themselves. And if anyone has any ideas how to keep troubled kids eligible - I'll all ears.

Gary John
07-27-2007, 08:07 AM
Middle school is easier than high school, just keep it fun. I have tons of experience in every event. 99% of coaches are ex-runners, or still runners.
There are field events, lots of them. My point, the longest distance in middle school is the 1600. Half the school will want to fun the 50-75 sprint and long jump. The PE coaches will give you the fat kids to throw the discus and shot.

So, if you are interested, give me a PM here.

Also, the more you read on the 'net, the less you will actually know. And, the "certified" track and field coaches I know, come to me for advice. Got offered a junior college throws coach job recently. And I don't know nothing.

Yael Grauer
07-27-2007, 05:33 PM
Thanks, guys! Chris: I will summarize the main points of any offlist conversations; however there are some specific things I'd like to not post publically... plus I want to talk to Dan on the phone. :)

Gary, I'll PM you.

Chris Rice
07-28-2007, 12:36 PM
Thanks, guys! Chris: I will summarize the main points of any offlist conversations; however there are some specific things I'd like to not post publically... plus I want to talk to Dan on the phone. :)

Gary, I'll PM you.

Feel free to PM me with any info you care to share. Thanks

Yael Grauer
07-28-2007, 12:46 PM
I'll post it once it's summarized. Dan gave me a bunch of homework and things to start with.

Yael Grauer
07-30-2007, 10:17 PM
Sorry I haven't updated this. One of the things both Dan and Gary told me to do was to get information on how many kids, whether it's girls or boys or both, what the dates look like, what events there are, how long there are intramurals and how long the competitions are, what resources for helpers I can get, etc.

Since we're working with a brand new principal and assistant principal, it's hard to get info because they don't know. I told them I was definitely interested in cross country and track, but I'm not sure if anybody else is also interested or how those decisions are made so I'm just going to sit tight. It's so weird--one day they are begging everyone to coach sports, the next day they don't even know what is open... but everyone is so swamped trying to get things ready for August 7th.

Dan's homework for me was to read The Charley Francis Training System section on sprint mechanics, as well as a free e-book on his site called The Contrarian Approach to the Discus Throw.

Gary recommended doing 800m warmups before talking to anyone :) and making everyone do 50 pushups if they mouth off, especially the boys, especially if they can't do them. And he's into Australian pursuit.

Dan recommended relays for most of the training with 8-10 minutes per activity, with everyone doing each activity--farmer's walk is a good one. Everyone should do throwing, jumping, sprinting...

He told me to find two or three helpers and to look for a British site called "sprint mechanics" and to focus on 3-5 drills for each activity (sprint, long jump, shot put).

Since they just switched the grade I'll be teaching (!!) I'm working on rewriting lesson plans, etc. before focusing on this...especially since I'm not even sure whether I'll be coaching or not! My fingers are crossed though and I will keep everyone posted. They told me that girl's cross country and both boy's and girl's track are open, but you never know with this school... they seem a bit scattered.

Other middle schools in the district usually have 2 weeks of intramurals, 5 weeks of intra district competition and one tournament week for cross country, and for track 3 weeks of intramurals, and everything else is the same. But it's a guessing game right now.

Yael Grauer
07-30-2007, 11:03 PM
Oh, and another thing Dan said which I thought was super interesting was that the best athletes in middle school will be the ones who hit puberty first-- so somebody could be struggling and struggling in middle school and still kick ass at the high school level. He was going to relate this to race but the school I am teaching at is overwhelmingly (like 96%) Hispanic so I'll be looking more at individuals.

Ron Nelson
07-31-2007, 08:52 AM
Yes, I coach cross country and voice opinions to my track coaches (things like, "Why do your throwers need to run so much for warm ups?" , or "Do sprinters really need to stretch the triceps?". . .I'm also the athletic director so I get away with being a smart ass). One, or two, things I've learned in the past 4 years of coaching cross country to junior high kids was summarized by Gary: make it fun. If you do long training runs more than once a week, the kids will drop like flies. At this age, the competition against others doesn't really keep them engaged. My school is about 60% Hispanic and soccer is running concurrently with CC. So, I made a deal with the soccer coaches that their players can do one training run with us a week and they get to go to the meets with us. In soccer, they get to skip the training runs twice since they are running with us.

Early on stress to the kids that beating a gifted opponent is not the objective; rather, it's to consistently improve your own time. This alone kept my team competitive throughout our season (which is strikingly similar to yours) and made it fun for the team. I also used a bunch of Crossfit workouts and modified them to 12-13 year olds. I used some stuff from Jeff Martin's Crossfit Kids newsletter, and I made my own stuff up. We had med ball relays, we did Fight Gone Bad (using jump ropes instead of C2's), we did sprint ladders, we did distance ladders, we ran for 2, 3, and 4 miles on LSD days, we did one brutal workout where the kids ran 800m then did squats, ran 800m then did push ups, ran 800m and did overhead squats, then ran another 800m (I think I got that one from Dan).

In all, we are limited in the weights department (hopefully we'll get our weight room next year) our I would do more waiter walks and farmer walks (although I did have them run a waiter walk relay using 4kg med balls and had them clean and throw a 4kg ball for 50m as a relay. . .they loved it). There's really a bunch more, but the bottom line is fun. The running part will come naturally.

Oh, my success story this year was the one kid who could not finish his first training run (1 1/2 miles) with us. By the end of the season, he participated in the open class run at our district tournament (for all without qualifying times), finished 2 meet races (2 mile distance), and beat his big sister and about 5 other kids at another race. CC is the single best sport for building a kid's confidence in my book.

Allen Yeh
08-01-2007, 04:40 AM
In all, we are limited in the weights department (hopefully we'll get our weight room next year) our I would do more waiter walks and farmer walks (although I did have them run a waiter walk relay using 4kg med balls and had them clean and throw a 4kg ball for 50m as a relay. . .they loved it). There's really a bunch more, but the bottom line is fun.



Just start your own business with these kids as your keg-movers and tell them it's GPP.

Poor HS kid: "But coach we were just working out Friday when we farmers walkred all these kegs into your house."

Ron: "Well now they are light enough that you can work keg tosses up and down my driveway."

Ron Nelson
08-01-2007, 09:00 AM
Or, as MOD suggested, shuttle runs back and forth to the ice chest for another beer, then to the snack bar for more nachos.

Either way, it's fun. . .for me at least.

Yael Grauer
08-09-2007, 09:40 PM
Quick update: Cross country is still open for fall, and I am probably going to do it depending on if they get another coach. I definitely want to work with girls' cc but not so sure about the boys. I told them I'd let them know tomorrow.

Ron Nelson
08-09-2007, 10:02 PM
You'd be surprised how responsive and supportive boys are in CC. They push others along and pull the ones who need it. In my experience, it's my favorite sport to coach.

That and extreme eating. I kid.

Yael Grauer
08-09-2007, 10:05 PM
I'm just having class management problems with my 8th grade boys. I have some of them for three periods a day and I'm not sure hanging out with them after school would help me build good relationships... and that's my primary motivation for wanting to coach.