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The Training Environment – The Forgotten Stimulus

The training environment, depending on the situation, lies on both ends of the spectrum of control and influence we as coaches have on a practice session. The real art is managing the environmental factors that are both active and passively affecting what is taking place and what is being produced during the session. What can you do to maximize or create positive influence of the training environment? Conversely, what can to you do to minimize or dismiss negative influence of the training environment? Before tackle these questions, there’s a couple things we need to actively, not passively, acknowledge. 1) All learning takes place in a physical environment with quantifiable and perceptible physical characteristics. Whether sitting and watching film in a small room, outside in 80…

3 Great Posts From 2015 Complete Track and Field Clinic Event Group Leaders

Over the past week or so, I’ve posted three articles/videos from 2015 Complete Track and Field Clinic Event Group Leaders, all of which I think: A) You’ll really like B) Are important tools for becoming a better coach and athlete Share them with others or save them to look at again later. But, certainly take the time to read, watch and comment/ask questions. Here they are in the order they were posted: 1. You Coach Some Half Fast Sprinters (from #ctfclinic Hurdles Group Leader, Marc Mangiacotti) Discover an easy way to determine if your athletes are giving less than 100% effort during speed development workouts, as well as a highly effective 4×100 meter relay drill you can use to teach violent, explosive and efficient sprint…

6 Ways to Build Stronger Relationships With your (Student) Athletes

Along the way to becoming a better coach and educator in track and field, I’ve come across (in both academia and in real life) six traits I hold to be true of quality coaches that build not only strong individuals in body, but in mind and spirit as well. In turn, the athletes will, in most cases, meet these approaches with a stronger investment back in you; the coach, the program, and in their own personal value and ability to contribute to the team and group.   1.   Acknowledge Them – This can take the form of simply a greeting or welcome at the beginning of practice and can go even further if coming back from an illness or injury. Taking the time to converse…

You Coach Some ‘Half Fast’ Sprinters

I saw the “Half Fast” commercial by Verizon the other day. The innuendo had me in stitches. As I thought about the phrase I realized that I have encountered some “half fast” athletes in my career. What is a half fast athlete? In short, one who simply does not put the pedal to the metal. And this applies whether you’re implementing a 100 meter training plan or 400 meter training plan. During my early years of coaching I learned that maximum velocity can only be executed with 100 percent effort—though it was evident that some of my athletes were not reaching their fastest running speed. I estimated that some athletes were giving between 90 and 98 percent instead of 100 percent effort. How did I…

On Sale This Week

Based on the pages I see people searching for on the site, there’s a good chance you’re on the hunt for more/better/newer track workouts and progressions. As I am here to serve, I’ve put some programs on sale that will address all of your needs on the oval, from the 100m to the 3200m. Here they are (all sale prices will be effective at check out.):   1. Tony Veney’s new ‘Complete Program Design for 300 & 400 Hurdles’ Simply put, USATF Master Coach Tony Veney shows you everything you want to know about developing top flight athletes in the high school 300 hurdles and 400 hurdles. Most coaches don’t do a particularly good job coaching these events so if you’re one of those coaches who…

Spring Track Workouts for Sprinters, Jumpers, & Hurdlers: Week 1 of 13

  I’ve already posted how I set up my annual plan for the track season. But I thought I’d share a Week 1 microcycle. This is my plan for the first week of practice. Will it go this way? Not likely. But since I know the physiological effect I’m looking to elicit for each session, I can easily come up with a Plan B or Plan C if (when) something doesn’t go  right. Keep in mind our first meet is exactly 14 days into the season, not that this fact in any way affects my planning. I anticipate the weather may not cooperate so I may not be able to stay outside all week. I anticipate some kids claiming they are ‘injured’ because the warm up…

Do this if you have too much snow or coach multiple event groups

I have two program recommendations for those of you who: A) have 3 feet of snow on your track B) coach kids competing in multiple event groups C) are responsible for planning training for multiple event groups D) all of the above Whether spring track is turning into an extension of winter track or you’re overwhelmed by the number of events and kids you have to coach, one fact remains the same:How to create an effective multi event training program regardless of your facility and staff limitations. The way I’ve been able to get the most success having lived through both of these situations for many years comes down to using a commonalities based approach to planning multievent training workouts. By combining similar skills, drills,…

2015 Complete Track and Field Clinic Registration Update

We’ve been getting an increased number of calls and emails about the 2015 Complete Track and Field Clinic to be held July 18 & 19 at Harvard University. I understand many of you are trying to plan your summers so I wanted to give you an update: We’re within a few days of opening ‘Early Bird’ Registration for all event groups. I’m hoping we’ll be open by the end of the week. I am still waiting to get the Hotel Reservation Link. I want to have that information for you so you can reserve your hotel room/s when you register for the clinic. But, this does give you time to let your athletes know they have a small window to register at a reduced cost….

Just Do It… Seriously

  I have always been a thinker. I overanalyze literally everything like it’s my job. In many respects, this is a trait that has served me well, especially academically and professionally. But athletically? Not always. During my four years at Wheaton I obsessed over details on the track. I thought out each individual move I was asked to make. I went beyond simple directions and critiques, often seeking out nuances and indiscriminate variances that were; I’m pretty sure, irrelevant to the actual task at hand. Nothing was ever an easy fix. I would get so hung up on trying to execute something perfectly, that 9 times out of 10, I stood in my own way and prevented myself from doing the very things I was…

‘Winter Training’ Themed Articles & Workouts

Last week, a blizzard dropped 24 inches of snow on us. On the way to practice this morning, I drove through whiteout conditions and it was so cold out, it hurt. And we’re supposed to get another foot of snow on Monday. Whether you’re stuck inside all winter with your sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers, and throwers or forced outside into dangerous conditions with your middle distance and distance runners, you probably have two fears/concerns: 1. Planning effective training that appropriately challenges the correct energy system/s based on your theme for the day/week/month, etc. 2. Avoiding overuse injuries like shin splints and other lower leg injuries. The #1 goal of training is injury prevention. The #2 goal of training is improved performance. I’ve been fortunate to only…

Blizzard of 2015: Video Playlist

Where I live, there’s a blizzard happening. I can’t tell you how excited I am to shovel the 24+ inches of snow that has fallen. By excited, I mean I will cry myself to sleep tonight. Regardless, I thought I’d share a video playlist from my YouTube Channel. And by ‘I thought’, I mean I stole the idea from another coach. (Thanks Coach Bartlett!) The list contains a video or two covering each event group. Also, if you decide to purchase the programs affiliated with some of the videos, you’ll get 20% off when you enter Complete Track and Field coupon code: BLIZZARD   SPRINTS   How to Get Set Up in the Blocks to Ensure an Explosive ‘Zero Step’ Every sprinter needs to improve…

3 Ways to Teach Rhythm in the Sprint Hurdles

Hurdling without rhythm is like trying to dance the tango with two left feet— indeed disastrous. Since the hurdle race has several different components to rhythm, athletes with high cadence typically make great hurdlers. A hurdler’s rhythmic stride pattern begins the moment they take their first step out of the blocks. In hurdle races, the acceleration phase may feel similar to that of sprinting but will look different. In the steps to hurdle 1 (H1), body angles make a shift into the upright position quicker allowing for hurdle clearance, and the rhythmic pattern feels like a slow to fast and big to small step motion.     Though the stride pattern may be similar in distance for each hurdler, the rhythm pertaining to pushes and…

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