In honor of May being National Running Month, I have a couple of running related blog posts planned. I promise you’ll enjoy them, whether you enjoy running or not!
After about a month, I’ve concluded that coaching track is way different and way more serious than cross country. Actually, I figured that out the first night, but it takes awhile to process.
We have over 150 kids signed up for track. Not all 150 are there at any time, as they all miss practices occasionally. Most of the high school kids run for their high schools and won’t practice with the club until later in May. Plus I coach distance- running a 1500m or 3000m race just isn’t for everyone, so we coach fewer kids anyway.
The head coaches are pretty hardcore, but you have to be tough to keep order when you have that many kids running around (literally). Most of the kids are ages 6-12, so you have a pretty wide age range, attention span, and maturity level, especially when you factor in that we have a few high school kids at club practices and more will practice when high school track ends.
One of the rules that our club president has is that the kids have to say ma’am and sir to us coaches. Believe me- he corrects the kids when they don’t. Even though I’m from the South (and ironically, I’m not sure if he is or not), I’ve never said ma’am and sir that much. My parents didn’t push it with me, and I likely won’t force it on my future kids.
However, it’s a form of respect and good manners, especially in southern culture. Although my parents taught me those values, the kids we coach all have different upbringings, so we have to emphasize it for those who don’t get it at home.
Our kids are pretty
scared of their head coaches obedient. During the first week of the season, I lined them up on the starting line to run a few laps for practice. Of course, I told them to make sure their toes are behind the line, no false starts, all that good stuff. Then, I tried to pump them up- you know, so they run faster.
Enthusiastically, I stood there and yelled… “Are we ready?!”
The kids nodded and looked around.
“I SAID…. ARE WE READY!?!?!”
Note to self: Make sure kids know that sometimes, a nice, loud, YEAH! is perfectly acceptable AND respectful :).
Our kids had their first meet of the season Saturday. All but one beat his or her 1500 time trial from earlier that week. We held an awards ceremony after Monday night’s practice, and I handed out ribbons to four of our distance kids who placed.
Respect is earned, and so were those ribbons- those kids work hard every night they come to practice but also work hard in school, home, and life in general. I’m super proud of their success and know the best is yet to come for them, both on and off the track.
More track tales…