10 Reasons to Join the Track Team

Relay Baton

By Tony Holler

Baseball is huge in our area.  It seems that every red-blooded boy plays baseball by the age of five.  Travel teams and clubs are everywhere.  Kids wear big league uniforms before they learn to chew tobacco.  Seems like every travel team gets invited to some mythical “national championship”.  Quasi-coaches promote baseball as a ticket to a free college education despite the fact that no one ever gets a full ride in baseball.  The maximum number of scholarships at NCAA schools is 11.7 and those are typically split into halves and quarters.  But that doesn’t matter.  Most of our baseball kids are one-sport athletes.  50 freshmen tryout for baseball at Plainfield North and only half will make the team.  Only a handful will start as seniors.  No one will win a full scholarship.  I feel sorry for kids who have wasted their youth chasing a myth.  I like baseball but I don’t like specialization.

Coordinated athletes, especially if they have some size, play basketball as soon as they can make a shot.  Almost all basketball players are now specialists.  Despite the fact that high school basketball is hard to watch (too many three’s, too much dribbling, and a non-stop wrestling match in the paint), kids continue to drink the AAU Kool Aid.  They dream of the NBA.  Back in the day, basketball players were outstanding track athletes.  Now they dribble all spring.  I can’t get the 10th man on our varsity basketball team to consider track.  As they used to say back in the 70’s, they’ve all been “brainwashed”.  I like basketball but I don’t like specialization.

Every son of a football dad is wearing eye black and a helmet sometime during their elementary years.  Football may not last another 50 years, but it’s almost a religion in our time.  Right or wrong, many families plan their lives around college football and the NFL.  In the last ten years, profiteers have learned to prey on high school football players.  Ex-jocks call themselves personal trainers and make ridiculous promises.  Parents line-up to pay whatever the fee.  Ex-quarterbacks offer year-round training for future Peyton Mannings.  Other entrepreneurs have started “7 on 7 leagues” to capitalize on the football craze.  The more the cost, the more beneficial these businesses are perceived.

Everyone seems to agree that “you get what you pay for”.  High school sports are relatively inexpensive.  High school coaches are not highly paid.  Parent’s are eager to pay some washed-up wide receiver $40 an hour to work with their kid.  Personal trainers will have these kids pulling sleds, running with parachutes, and over-speed training with bungee cords.  Despite attempts at making football a full-time obsession, it’s not.  Football, unlike baseball and basketball, has an off-season.  Illinois football teams suit up for 25 practices during June and July, but there is no spring football.  Our football players practice from June through November.  Track season starts in January and ends in May.  Perfect.

Almost every fast kid not playing basketball or baseball at Plainfield North joins the track team.  However, recruiting is an every day job.  I spend most of my time recruiting late-blooming kids (not good enough to star in youth sports), poor kids (too poor to afford youth sports), and football players.

Quintin Hoosman

Quintin Hoosman gained over 2400 yards in his 10 football games this  year (32 touchdowns). Quintin anchored my state-qualifying 4×2 team last year.  All four relay team members return in 2015.  Quintin holds our school record in the 30-meter block start (FAT) = 3.95 … At 190 pounds, his speed stats are equal to those of Kapri Bibbs of the Denver Broncos.  Quintin has scored 32 touchdowns in 10 games but he does not have a D1 offer.

Every year, I attempt to recruit our best football players to the sport of track & field.  Track does not sell itself.  This article will focus on how I recruit athletes to the Plainfield North track program.  Some of the things we do will not be universal.  Hopefully this article gives track coaches some tools to promote your sport.  Hopefully this article will help athletes and their parents to develop a balanced approach to athletic participation.  The only adults promoting specialization are jackasses who benefit from specialization.  All true educators promote balance.  John O’Sullivan recently wrote an article that should be required reading for every parent, The Race to Nowhere in Sports.

With that being said, let me tell you about Plainfield North.

Plainfield North’s football team made the IHSA playoffs this year with a 6-3 record.  We are good but not great.   Our sophomores have won 18 straight (9-0 as freshmen & 9-0 as sophomores).  My freshmen went 9-0 for the 3rd consecutive year and our freshmen coaches are riding a 30-game winning streak.  The regular season ended with our combined three levels averaging 40.2 points per game.  Our school is less than 10 years old.  With an enrollment of 2130, we are the 69th biggest school in Illinois.  After nine years, our football program is 42-43 and 0-4 in the playoffs, but great things are on the horizon.  We have produced one NFL player, Kapri Bibbs, who is a running back with the Denver Broncos.

Kapri Bibbs

Kapri Bibbs gained 2646 yards and scored 38 TDs in his senior season at Plainfield North.  Even more amazing, those numbers were accomplished in only NINE games.  Kapri also ran track.  His speed numbers:  FAT 10-fly = 1.02 … FAT 30m block start = 4.03 … hand-held 40 = 4.35 … 100m dash = 11.04

Besides being the head freshmen coach, I serve as our speed coach in the winter and the head track coach in the spring.

Running is used as punishment in the ball-sports … “I’ll run your asses off !!!” … “On the line !!!”  … “Put the balls away, we’ll just run !!!” … “Take a lap !!!”.  Kids hate to run by the time they come to high school.  In bad track programs, kids will whine, “Do we have to run today?”.

Track & field is a tough sell.  A kid in our area is more likely to play lacrosse or hockey than compete for a youth track club.  To make matters worse, the track & field experience at our middle schools is less than optimal.  Here is the situation at our nearest middle school.  The other seven middle schools in our district are basically the same.

  • 250 kids (coed)
  • 7 coaches
  • 8 meets
  • no track facility;  just a parking lot and a grass field
  • the season ends with the “Paw Pac Meet” (8 Plainfield middle schools) and not the  IESA state track championship

The meets are nearly unmanageable.  Kids are told to sit in a group in the stands until it’s time for their event.  Imagine gray skies, 50 degrees, howling winds, and sitting on aluminum bleachers with a huge group of middle-schoolers.  Negative experiences are hard to overcome.

Track coaches everywhere face significant obstacles.  By sharing my challenges, I hope to help other coaches overcome theirs.  The only way my track program can excel is through promotion and recruitment.  We must work harder than the ball-sports.  We need to keep our athletes happy.  Happy athletes are the best recruiters.  The ball-sports don’t recruit athletes because they don’t have to.  Ball-sport kids have eager parents who have invested large amounts of time and money.   Most of those parents believe a college scholarship is the light at then end of the tunnel.

My track program does not solely focus on the varsity level.  We value freshmen & sophomores as much as we value juniors & seniors.  One of our previous athletic directors believed freshmen should play their football games on the practice field, not the game field.  He repeatedly told people, “No freshman ever won a scholarship”.  He didn’t last long.  Should we minimize the freshmen experience?  Why should athletics exist for the benefit of upperclassmen?  Should we focus on scholarships with a laser-like intensity?  Do we minimize freshmen academically while we glorify seniors?  Maybe I’m old school, but athletics should be a classroom, not a revenue-driven exercise in greed.  Every kid should have a good experience, not just the gifted.

 

TEN REASONS TO JOIN THE TRACK TEAM:

Increased Performance

YOU ARE NOT AS GOOD AS YOU THINK.  Sorry but this is the truth.  NCAA football scholarships go to freaky talent.  At Plainfield North we’ve only had a handful of NCAA Division-1 scholarship football players.  Scholarships are rare.  Despite the fact that major college football teams give 85 scholarships, less than 1 out every 100 high school football players will receive a free college education.  It may not be a good strategy to invest all of your time and effort in the pursuit of such a long-shot.  Financial advisers encourage investors to take a balanced approach.  Smart people never invest in the lottery.  College football players are freaky-big or freaky-fast, or both.  The size of your muscular-skeletal system is basically predetermined.  Track is the number one way to improve your speed.  Why not play a second sport?

Intervention

SPEED KILLS.  The most important football skill is speed.  Like it or not, speed may be the key to getting recruited and the key to getting drafted.  It is simplistic and fundamentally wrong to believe in weight gain as your ticket to the big-time.  Yes, NCAA football players are big, but they not artificially big.  300-pound linemen are 6’5″, not 6’2″.   230-pound running backs are first and foremost FAST.  Big and slow running backs went extinct 40 years ago.  #Speedkills.  If you want to improve your marketability, you should join the track team.  Don’t be an idiot who hires a personal trainer two weeks before a football combine.  Anyone who values the weight room more than sprint training probably has thick ankles and suffers from speed envy.  Slow guys love the weight room.

Even big guys need to be fast.  The top three tackles of the NFL Draft were taken in the first round at picks #2, #6, and #11.  All three were huge and super fast in the 40 yard dash. #2 pick, Greg Robinson of Auburn was the 2nd fastest offensive tackle in the draft, running 4.92 despite being 6’5″ and weighing and incredible 332 pounds.  #6 pick overall was Jake Matthews from Texas AM.  Despite being 6’5″, 308, Jake ran 5.07 in the 40.  The speed-star of the offensive tackles was Taylor Lewan of Michigan. Taylor Lewan was drafted #11 by the Titans.  When you watch the 6’7″, 309-pound OT run the 40 in 4.87, you can understand what made him a first-rounder.  Lewan was the FASTEST offensive lineman in the draft despite his enormous size.

The top guard picked in the draft (the only offensive guard picked in the first two rounds, #33 pick) was Xavier Su’a-Filo of UCLA. 6’4″ and 307 pounds, Su’a-Filo ran the 2nd fastest time of all offensive guards,  5.04.

The top center in the draft (the only center taken in the first two rounds, #43 pick) was Weston Richburg of Colorado State, the FASTEST center in the draft.  At 6’3″, 298, Weston ran 5.10.  The New York Giants wanted the fastest center available.

Group Training

WHAT YOU MEASURE YOU IMPROVE.  We measure everything.  We use Freelap to measure fly 10-meter sprints.  We time 40-yard dashes.  We time 30-meter block starts.  Our focus is on explosion, acceleration, and max speed.  We time lactate workouts.  All data is recorded, ranked, and published.  Graphs are used to show improvement.  And that’s just practice.  Track meets pit the best against the best.  When you run a 10.65 100-meter dash, every coach in America knows you are legit fast.  The whole world knows you have the athleticism to play at Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, etc.   You are what you do.  If you lift weights, you become a weight lifter.  If you focus on weight gain, you get fat.  If you sprint, you become a sprinter.  It’s your choice.  See an article I wrote last year, “Inertia and Data-Driven Speed Training“.

Individual Training

YOU WON’T SIT THE BENCH IN TRACK.   I love kids that play in the marching band, but football players are usually better athletes.  You are strong, fast, and tough.  There is a place for you on our team.   If you are not good in track, you probably aren’t as good as you think your are in football.  Join the team and get faster.  We have 18 events.  Almost all of our meets have a fresh-soph and a varsity division.  Your participation is guaranteed.  I will find a spot for you.  Unlike the ball-sports, track teams are not breeding grounds for jealousy and pettiness.  Your spot on the team will be based on measured performance, not based on the opinion of your coach.  Every kid that’s ever sat the bench in a ball-sport has secretly hoped that a teammate would screw up.  In track, we cheer for everyone, even our opponents.  Track is not a zero-sum game.  Your success is not based on your opponent’s failure.

Remote Coaching

TRACK IS NOT A “TIME ROBBER”.  Ball-sports block out the sun.  The time expectations are immense.  Some teams practice three or four hours.  Some teams require weight lifting before school.  Most teams require 25 days of practice in the summer.  Do you like selling cards or cookie dough door to door?  My track practice will begin at 2:35 and you will be on your way home at 3:25.  If you want to stay and lift weights, great.  If not, OK.  If you want to stay and work on hurdles, great.  If not, OK.  You can vacation in Florida over spring break because we don’t schedule practices on non-school days.  We don’t have a summer track program.  If you want to come to Speed Camp, great.  If not, OK.  Our fund-raiser is the Fast Cat 5K and 10K, so you will not sell door to door.  Track will not block out the sun.  You will go home every day with gas left in your tank.  Enjoy the spring.

Technique

MIDDLE SCHOOL TRACK AIN’T TRACK.  If you “don’t like track”, you don’t know what you are talking about.  In middle school you did not practice on a track, you practiced on grass.  Here, we practice on a 180-meter indoor track and a 400-meter outdoor track.  In middle school you competed against other middle schools from Plainfield.  In high school, we compete against the best schools from all over the state of Illinois.  We run on the finest indoor tracks in the state: University of Illinois, Eastern Illinois University, and The Shirk Center at Illinois Wesleyan.  We make two southern trips, Belleville West & Edwardsville, both overnight.  We have only one coed meet.  You will be treated like men and expected to act like men.  We have 21 meets including the Top Times Meet (Indoor State) and the IHSA State Championship, a three-day, two-night trip.  The best state championship in Illinois is the IHSA Track & Field State Championship at Eastern Illinois University.  No Illinois state championship event draws a bigger crowd.

Track Team

Our team includes distance runners, jumpers, sprinters, and throwers; ages range from 14 to 19. Only in track can two guys like Patrick Willhalm and Nick Wolf become good friends.

Assessment

YOU CAN BE A VIP AS FRESHMEN.  YOU CAN BE A VIP AS A ROOKIE.  We have tryouts and keep between 75-85 athletes.  Our 2014 roster included 28 freshmen.  If you are a good football player, you will make the team.  Last year six freshmen won varsity letters.  Try doing that in one of the ball sports.  It’s not uncommon for freshmen to make the trip to state as a competitor or a relay alternate.  Last year, four freshmen made the three-day trip to state as relay alternates.  We keep freshmen records.  We give freshmen awards.  Freshmen practice with the varsity every day.  Unlike the ball-sports, freshmen are a part of the varsity program.  Our coaches will know your name.  You get the same attention as a senior.  Our upperclassmen are taught to be good “big brothers” to our freshmen; you are the future of our program.  Both of our over-night meets have fresh-soph relays, so our best freshmen will make the trip.  In the past five years, we’ve had three rookies become All-Staters.  Jayden Gerber quit baseball as a sophomore and ran lead-off on our All-State 4×1 in 2011.  Randy Gordon had never played on a sports team but came out for track his senior year (2011).  Gordon ran on All-State 4×2 and 4×4 teams.  Like Gordon, Evan Flagg joined the track team as a senior, thinking he would be a high jumper.  Instead, he anchored our 2012 All-State 4×4 team.

Freshman Relay

Our freshmen broke our school record in the Fr 4×1 (44.99). By the way, these two guys are outstanding running backs. The guy in front, Nico Capezio, long jumped 20’0, triple jumped 40’0, and high jumped 6’0, despite being 5’5″. #SpeedKills

Progress Measurement

YOU WILL BE A PART OF A TERRIFIC TRACK PROGRAM.  We have sharp uniforms with lightning bolts on our sleeves and a tribal tiger on our back.  We wear black.  Our schedule is as good as any team in the state.  Our website, pntrack.com, is loaded.  Pictures are taken at every meet and posted.  We have one of the most active twitter accounts in the state (@pntrack).  Our coaches are the best.  Coach John Singleton was a nationally ranked hurdler and has the longest dreads in the state.  Our distance guru, Coach Andy Derks was an IHSA State Champion in the 1600 (1998).  Derks ran the 2012 Chicago Marathon in 2:26.23, placing 53rd.  Our throws coach, Sean Carlson was an All-State linebacker in high school and coaches the linebackers for the Plainfield North varsity football team.  Our jumps coach, Dr. Brian Damhoff, is an A.R.T.-Certified Chiropractor and competed at Lewis University.  If you played freshmen football, you already know me.  We speed-trained last summer.  You know it’s fun.  You know my sprinters get fast.  #SpeedKills

Data Collection

ATHLETES CHOOSE TO COMPETE.   Call me crazy but I think football players need to compete more than nine times a year.  What kind of athlete would choose to practice and train for 356 days and play only 9 times?  The 2014 Big Ten recruiting class included 305 athletes from 14 teams.  89% of 2014 Big Ten recruiting class played multiple sports.  100% of Iowa’s recruits played multiple sports.  In the 2014 NFL Draft, 222 of 256 players played more than one sport (87%) .  Four out of every ten players drafted in 2014 were 3-sport athletes in high school.  Only five of the 32 guys picked in the first round of the NFL draft were one-sport athletes.  Alec Holler, track & football coach at Edwardsville says, “If you aren’t good in track, you probably aren’t as good as you think you are in another sport; so my advice would be to run track and get more athletic.  You may think you are getting better with your personal trainer, but you’re not.  One thing you can’t duplicate is the intense competition of a true sport.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Call me old-school but one-sport athletes are part-timers.

Success

FACTS DON’T LIE.  The following comes from a terrific website, trackingfootball.com.  I spoke with one of the co-founders, Aaron Hunter, recently.   “Track performance in itself does not always tell us a guy can play football, however it does show inclinations on who does not have the ability to play.  Thus track performance is a great indicator of D1 athleticism.”  

  • Of all 2014 Big Ten football recruits, 59% ran track.  45% played basketball.  Only 8% played baseball.  73% of Minnesota’s recruits ran track.
  • 59% of the players in 2014 NFL Draft ran track.  49% played basketball.  Only 6% played baseball.
  • The top five quarterbacks in college football all have track backgrounds.  Athleticism Is Key
  • Most people consider Georgia’s Todd Gurley the top running back in the NCAA.  Is it due to toughness and strength?  Gurley ran the 100 meters in 10.70 and the 110 hurdles in 13.66.
  •  Sammy Watkins of the Buffalo Bills was the first receiver taken in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Was Watkins #1 because of his soft hands and precise routes?  Sammy Watkins is big (6’1″, 210) and fast.  Watkins was the Florida state champ in the 200 meters running 21.11.  Check this video from five years ago.
  • Justin Gilbert of the Cleveland Browns was the first cornerback taken in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Was Gilbert #1 because he had good football stats?  Justin Gilbert ran 10.47 in the 100 meters and 21.29 in the 200 meters.
  • The ESPN #1 ranked high school recruit of last year, Leonard Fournette, now plays for LSU.  Fournette was #1 because of his athleticism (size and track stats).  At 6’1″ 225, he ran 10.68 in 100, 21.57 in 200, 41.37 in 4×1, and 1:26.83 in 4×2.
  • The #1 ranked wide receiver in college football is Rashad Greene of Florida State.  Why?  At St. Thomas Aquinas H.S., Greene ran the 400 in 48.27 and ran on a 41.60 4×1 team.
  • Mike Singletary of the ’85 Bears was only 5’11” 230 pounds.  5’11” guys don’t get drafted unless they have something spectacular to offset their size.  How about 63’6″ in the shot put?  How about running the 4×1 despite being 230 pounds?  Some people still think it’s all about desire, dedication, courage, toughness, etc.
  • Last years #1 pick in the NFL was Jadeveon Clowney.  Clowney was a good football player but there is more to the story.  At South Pointe H.S., Clowney anchored a 4×1 team running 42.71.  Jadeveon Clowney was 6’6″ 247 as a high school senior.  By the way, Clowney played basketball too.
  • The 2014 Alabama recruiting class included two of the nation’s top hurdlers.  Marlon Humphrey (13.24) and Tony Brown (13.28).  They weren’t bad in the 100 either, 10.63 and 10.37.  Alabama also recruited six shot putters over 50 feet.
  • The 2014 Auburn recruiting class included three shot putters over 55 feet and three discus throwers over 150 feet.  Braden Smith threw 61’03 and 188’0.  Auburn also inked 3-sport athlete Roc Thomas who was a 5-star recruit.  Great running backs are great track athletes … 100 meters 10.94, long jump 21’7″, high jump 6’04”.
  • The 2014 Oregon recruiting class included three big-time sprinters, Justin Hollins 10.52, Tony James 10.52, and Charles Nelson 10.58.  Sprinters like these are worth their weight in gold.
  • The 2014 TCU recruiting class included six guys who ran on sub-42.00 4×1 teams (41.55, 41.10, 41.29, 41.24, 41.44, 41.24).  TCU is currently ranked #7 and leading the NCAA in points per game, 50.4.  TCU is scoring 25.3 points per game more than last year.  #SpeedKills
  • The 2014 Georgia recruiting class included three sub-10.70 sprinters.  Nick Chubb was one of them.

This tweet went viral last spring. Football coaches who don’t attend track meets just don’t get it.  Every track meet is a showcase of athleticism.  You think these guys might be able to play football?

Tracking Football has observed a track emphasis in the South.  In SEC football country, skill athletes are expected to run track.  When comparing the top schools of the Big 10 and SEC, the numbers look about the same with the exception of the average 100 meter dash time.  Any track coach understands that 11.15 makes 11.36 look slow.  Maybe the attention the SEC pays to track is making the difference.

Big 10

The PAI (Player Athletic Index) may revolutionize college football recruiting and NFL scouting.  The PAI is a trademarked formula that takes into account height, weight, and track stats.  Tracking Football is proving that track statistics are strong indicators of athleticism.  For example, Adrian Peterson is 6’2″ 217 and ran 10.33 in the 100 meters.  Peterson has a PAI of 5.0.  Bo Jackson was 6’1″ 227 and ran 10.44 in the 100 meters.  Bo also had a PAI of 5.0.  Kapri Bibbs of Plainfield North and the Denver Broncos has a respectable PAI of 3.5.   Kapri is a great football player but he’s not Adrian Peterson and he’s not Bo Jackson.

People working in Las Vegas are now paying attention to Tracking Football’s PAI.  Teams with a high Player Athletic Index seem to win games.

Enlightened football coaches have always known the symbiotic relationship between football and track.  The Player Athletic Index will eventually simplify college recruitment and NFL scouting.  Coaches will not have to rely on inaccurate 40 times at some one-day combine.  Track & field statistics will become the quantifier of explosiveness and speed.  If you are big, strong, and fast you will get noticed no matter where you play or who coaches you.

Should you spend your off-season gaining weight and improving your bench press?  Or should you join the track team?  The decision is yours.

Please share this article so others may benefit.

Tony Holler

Tony Holler

Tony Holler is a teacher and coach at Plainfield North High School. Holler has 35 years experience coaching football, basketball, and track. Holler is a member of Illinois Track & Field Hall of Fame and Co-director of Football-Track Activation Consortium along with Chris Korfist.
Tony Holler

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Comments

  1. Jamelle says

    Awesome and we’ll written article. I love data and supporting facts with true accounts of real life. All three of my girls have ran track and a little basketball. One thing is for sure if you can run correctly, it’s the foundation for a lot in life and sport too. If I have grandson s I’ll push this premise on my daughters.

  2. Jim aikens says

    Tony,
    Great article! As usual you did an excellent job of writing about the subject.
    I’m going to post it in my locker room.

  3. Mike Butler says

    Great article Tony. So many of your struggles sound so familiar! When you aren’t a member of the “Big Three” ( baseball, basketball, football) you are an underdog! Being a soccer coach is very similar. Our football coaches have ran off several great kickers because they wanted them to “specialize “. Yet, one of my son’s former soccer team mates is kicking for Ohio State as a freshman (Sean Nuernberger). Soccer players run an avg 7 miles in a game 3 times a week. My oldest son broke his femur and was airlifted from the playing field in Carlyle. And the soccer players for years have endured the “Grass Fairies”name calling in a “zero tolerance” “no bullying” academic setting! You’re a class act, Tony! Keep up the hard work!

  4. George Beinhorn says

    Old putz (72) fan of great coaching here. If I were 60 years younger I would certainly sign up to join your track team.

    If only for this: “We need to keep our athletes happy. Happy athletes are the best recruiters.” This exactly mirrors the coaching philosophies of Bill Aris, whose boys’ and girls’ XC teams won NXN Nationals this year, and Mike Scannell, coach of Grant Fisher who won Footlocker 2014. Both are focused on very efficient training. Aris spends 80 percent of his time not planning workouts but getting to know and motivate each runner; under Mike Scannell, Grant Fisher ran just 50 mpw max and did NO speedwork, while running a 4:02.3 mile and winning Footlocker. Scannell emphasizes what’s best for the individual runner – his boys go home smiling and never, ever burned-out.l

    Very interesting insights and stats on cross-sport athletes and success. It works that way in other sports, too. Increasingly, we’re seeing elite HS runners who come from dual-sport backgrounds in triathlon, swimming, etc. (e.g., Lukas Verzbicas who ran sub-4:00 in HS; Jorday Hasay, who swam competitively until, I believe, her junior HS year).

    I loved reading about this program. Also, the comment that football may be dead in 50 years. I wouldn’t mind at all – let’s replace it with a skills game that doesn’t cripple players for life, that involves every kid, and isn’t a sport played for 15-20 minutes over a 3-hour time frame as a fleeting break between advertisements. Have you ever watched flag football played at a very high level by NFL-caliber athletes? It’s a fantastic game.

    I played HS football and track for a coach who spent not one minute in the entire season giving us instructions on technique or making the slightest attempt to motivate us. Yes, it was unbelievable. Happy to read that the times have changed.

  5. Fernando Vera says

    Awesome article that demonstrates the usefulness of track & field towards other sports. Speed will only enhance your performance in any other sport. Well written!

  6. Tony Holler says

    Thanks to all of you who have commented on this article and shared it with others. This article has been many years in the making.

    I read every comment and appreciate the feedback.

    For those of you who like the football-track connection, make sure you check out https://www.freelapusa.com/13-things-that-confuse-slow-people/

    For those of you who coach, please read https://www.freelapusa.com/how-12-coaches-impacted-my-career/

    You may want to give me feedback on why this article, https://www.freelapusa.com/teaching-science-and-coaching-sprinters/ had only 21 shares. I really liked it and so did the 21 people who read it. Ha. Ironically, this was the article that preceded the record-setting “10 Reasons to Join the Track Team”. Crazy.

    Keep reading & let’s make Track & Field the sport is should be !!!

  7. Sue says

    I couldn’t agree more. When I went to high school, I was a 3 sport athlete. Softball had been my spring sport for junior high and the softball coach was recruiting me to continue on in the sport. The track coach also made it clear he would love to have me join their squad. What sold me on track was the great camaraderie that the track team had. I was taken under the wing of some great upper classmen. The encouragement of my team was unparalleled even when I was running faster times than they did. I then always looked forward to track season. It was a great season in which I got away from that petty jealousy that would occur in soccer and basketball season when an underclassman showed greater skills.
    I took these lessons to heart and learned to appreciate the talents of others and encourage them. In the end, no matter what the sport, we compete against ourselves to perform the best we can. I would never want to win any type of contest because my competitor had a lousy game, hurt herself, or just had an off day. To know I was able to perform better than my last time out as both an individual and a team is really what excites me when I play sports.

  8. Jimbo Warren says

    Not bad. Sad u are so negative. As one of those ‘washed up has beens’ I make my living helping kids get faster and open coaches eyes at the collegiate level. In this crazy competitive collegiate acceptance world, sometimes it’s not the money but the getting into the school that is the goal. But I am a huge fan of 2-3 sports and ran track & football through college and believe that each made me better at other. Maybe next article spend less time banging on guys like me and more cool stuff.

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