Ten Pledges for Cross-Country/Track Coaches
We are fortunate that some of our local media actively tracks down the results of our sports but it is incumbent upon each coach to read and heed each one of these pledges. They actually apply to any sport to some degree.
KEEPING TRACK - Ten Pledges for Cross-Country/Track Coaches:Submitted by ROeditor on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 16:42.
Date: 12/21/2008 - 15:40
(By Rod O’Donnell )
1. I pledge to call my local newspaper with meet results, regardless of how my team finished. If results are not reported in the next edition, I will follow up with a phone all to the sports editor. This will be continued until the results are published. Note: On September 13,, there were three meets held in Northeastern Ohio involving every school that sponsors cross-country. 8,399 high school runners were participating in these meets. Coverage in the major papers was poor to non-existent.
2. I will run at least one home meet each fall. Cross-country is rapidly becoming the only sport in our high schools that never competes in front of the home fans. A 2-mile race in a dual meet will fulfill this pledge. This distance will not affect the Saturday race and can be used as a work-out early in the week. Note: we combine our dual meet with a junior high meet. This year was so well attended, that parking spaces were hard to find at our meet site.
3. I will not split my team, send them to two different meets, run only my “B” runners, not keep a team score or run an abbreviated schedule. Note: if you question this pledge, ask our collegiate coaching brothers what these practices have done to the sport at that level. The sport of cross-county is becoming extinct or a non-factor at many universities. High school athletes train to compete, and high school runners train to race. They don’t train to train. Additionally, placing all of your emphasis on the State Meet is not good for your team if things do not work out as planned.
4. I will constantly defend my sport when absurd perceptions arise. Note: a football coach recently told me that cross-country runners are not “real athletes.” My reply, after calming down - “I guess linemen aren’t athletes because they can’t throw the ball very well.”
5. I will do something every day to make my sport better. That may mean just talking to someone and educating him or her about the sport of cross-country. Note: When I recently told a group of our teachers how many runners competed on Sept. 13, they were astounded. That fact helped them understand that our sport is important to MANY people.
6. I pledge to constantly better educate myself in order to become a better coach. Note: after nearly 40 years of coaching, I continually absorb anything I can to improve my coaching,
7. I will read at least one article about track and cross-country each week. Note: An endless number of sources exist, thanks to technology, books, and magazines.
8. At the end of each season I will evaluate my program and record what adjustments must be made to improve the following year.
9. I will help younger coaches by encouraging them and sharing ideas. Note: They need to know what obstacles they may be facing and how to overcome them. We need enthusiastic young men and women to join and stay in our professions.
10. I will always remind my athletes to “enjoy the journey of the season.” If the entire focus of the year is placed on the “Championship,” and then unforeseen events occur, your athletes may not have a positive experience, with the result being negative thoughts about the next fall. The journey should be exciting every week, not just the last Saturday of the season.
Yours in track and cross-country,