What’s in Your Tool Box?

Posted by Latif Thomas

By Dave Cusano

I pose this question to every coach everywhere.

We can all understand training philosophy, training theory, physiology, biomechanics and motor learning. We can purchase DVDs, go to conferences and even get certified.


tool boxDo we know what’s in our very own tool box?

What, exactly, is your tool box?

It’s the training tools you have in your possession. What you own, what you can build.

What do you have in your tool box that helps (or hinders) your ability to develop your athletes?

Do you have hills or stadiums? Do you have a weight room? Are you training in a basketball gym or high school hallways? Do you even own blocks? Bullet belts? Is your facility over booked?

Wait. I’m sorry. Maybe I moved too soon. Do you even have a track?

While we are all working so hard to develop our athletes to their highest level, as well as develop ourselves as teachers and coaches, we need to take a long look at what’s in our own tool box!

We may not all have the weather on our side or state of the art facilities, but recognition of what we have or don’t have is imperative. Once recognized, then and only then can we begin being innovative. We can bring our programs to greater heights by knowing which tools we do have and what which ones we don’t. Identification of these tools will aid in building our athletes to their highest potential.

Here are some examples of how you can stock your tool box, even if you aren’t blessed with a multimillion dollar facility and football team sized budget:

No weights?

Take sand from your jump pits, put it in a plastic bag and then put the bags into a backpack.

Now you have weight vests.

Take gallon containers and fill them with sand or water.

Now you have dumbbells.

Can’t afford sleds?

Drill a hole through an old tire and loop some rope through it.

Now you can do resisted runs.

No acceleration ladder?

Get some sidewalk chalk and draw progressions on the track or on the concrete.

Geographical location should also be a tool. Are you in Maine or Wisconsin and its April and there is still snow on the ground? Or are you in Florida or Louisiana and its April and 88 degrees?

Are you bundled up doing 4x100m exchanges or trying not to overheat? Are you in a mountainous area or a place that’s extremely flat?

Are you taking advantage of all the things your geographical location and physical environment afford you?

When developing your training inventory you must also think about your facilities, equipment, and geographical location. Thinking outside of the box to use nature or even house hold items to specifically aid in your athletes’ advancement is absolutely necessary to ensure we are giving are maximum effort.

So we should all ask ourselves if we are using all of the tools in our tool box? And if not, how much time are we leaving on the track? How many inches are we leaving in the field?

More for Coaches: Athlete and Group Management . . . What’s Important in Coaching

Have questions about how to build a bigger tool box? Please post them below.

Latif Thomas - Latif Thomas owns and operates Complete Track and Field and serves as the Co-Director of the Complete Track and Field Clinic at Harvard University, the largest track and field clinic in the United States. A popular speaker and presenter at some of the largest coaching clinics across the country, Latif has true passion for the sport and it definitely shows. Over the past 19 years, he has coached more combined League, Division, All-State, and New England Champions in sprints, hurdles, and jumps than he can count. Follow @latif_thomas on Twitter.

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