Track Coaches Conference and Clinic
Be it indoor or the outdoor, track and field season is fast approaching. For coaches, that means one thing - training plans! That is also one of those itsy bitsy tiny little things that Track & Field coaches lose sleep over. Training plans. And yea, it's not a small thing by any means. It's one of the hardest pieces of being a Track & Field coach that we have to master. And mastering it should absolutely be our top most priority when it comes to coaching.
Ok, you all figured this out by now. Mastering that piece of coaching is practically impossible. It's a moving target for a coach, for a high school coach, that target never moves in a straight line either. We have athletes that come for 3 months, or maybe a few more, or even the 10-month athlete. We might get lucky and have the chance to train someone on a regular basis, even for two years, three or maybe longer. So... do you have a training plan that covers all that? Is it perfect?
Those of you that know me pretty well, know that I am a huge Star Trek fan. There's a piece of Star Trek lore that reminds me of this part of being a track coach. It's called the Kobayashi Maru. If you don't know what it is, I'll tell you. If you're a track coach, you'll immediately see the correlation. The Kobayashi Maru is a test that Star Fleet Cadets must go through for their training to be a Captain. Without getting in all the details, the Star Fleet cadet is put into a position that no matter what their decision is for that situation, there is no chance of winning, escaping or even surviving. It's meant as a test of one's character and how you manage an insurmountable scenario gracefully.
Do you get the connection? First day of track season training and there's eighty athletes coming out to join the team. So you are ready to give out the first workout for your distance group. Oh, change that. Let's do the sprinter group, since you know that out of the 80 that come out, 70 will say they are sprinters! So, you have seventy athletes you are about to train for the season. One of them happens to be one of the best soccer prospect in the state. Another a volleyball player that can probably leap higher than superman's tallest building. Then there's that one that struggles to get in one lap. Or the one that could be the World Ambassador for the sport but you wonder how they don't fall flat on their face when they start running. There's the one that can run almost as fast as the fastest one on the team. So, everybody has to be the best by the end of the season. Oh, and I won't mention that one other variable.... Parents (ok, sorry folks, but I couldn't help myself). Anyways, you get the picture. You're in a Kobayashi Maru scenario right now. But just like in the Star Trek series shows, you will figure out a way to win by the end of the season (and let's hope it's not by cheating either, haha!!).
That's why you research the sport and try and learn as much as you can. Maybe you took the USATF Level 1 course (um... you should) and maybe you've had the opportunity to attend some clinics over the years. As a track and field coach, that's exactly what you do. Every single athlete that takes their first step on the track represents a learning experience for you as a coach. First lesson - there's more to being a coach than saying GO!
I'm saying all this because for the past couple of years, the annual Track & Field Coaches of TN Conference and Clinic has presented an opportunity for learning more about the sport. The first year had a pretty decent turnout and it was great to see so many coaches wanting to learn. Last year, the first session - just the keynote - they were packing in as many chairs as possible to get seating for everyone that showed up for the clinic! I saw coaches there that I thought knew everything there was to know about the sport, coaches that were just starting in the field, officials, school coaches, club coaches, private coaches... all there to learn more about the sport they love. All there because they absolutely know that you just can't learn enough about the sport. All there because you might just find that one thing that could help that one single athlete excel at the sport. All there because we all know that anything we can do to help our athletes get better, is worth the effort tenfold!
This coming January 17 and 18 will be the third annual conference and clinic. Coach Vince Anderson will give the keynote address and that will be followed by the VS Athletics Coaches Social at the Hilton Garden Inn City Park in Brentwood. Instruction in all event areas, vendor exhibits, learn by doing sessions, coaches social and lunch is part of your registration fee (which by the way is a very reasonable $85 and the 4th coach from the same school is free).
Coach Gary Kinder and a small group of volunteers and sponsors are what makes this event happen for the third year in a row. But the real and truly best part of this event is the number of Coaches that attend this event each year, the growing number! This proves that Coaches of Track & Field in the state of Tennessee are taking this sport more seriously each and every year. This proves that coaches in this state are doing everything to get training plans in place to make our athletes excel in the sport. So... AD's, Principals, Boosters, even Parents... you should do everything you can to get your Track & Field coaches sent to this event. Let's continue to make Track & Field in Tennessee the serious sport that it is!
In the coming weeks, more information about the who when's and where's of the clinic will be available. To register and keep up with the news, visit Kindersports online at
See you on the track... and at the Clinic in January!