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Joined: Jan 2009
Why is there so much animosity toward club track here in N.C.? I have coached with an organization that has a 30 year history and I have found that many high school coaches work feverishly to "steer" athletes away from participating in these club track programs. I have heard every carfully placed rumor or myth about runner burnout or lack of coaching at the club teams. Ironically, these same coaches are quick to welcome experienced athletes from the clubs into their high school programs. These athletes often contribute to team championships right away. I find it particularly disturbing when some coaches attempt to "steer" these athletes during the "off-season". Kids should not feel pressured either way, especially during the "off-season". Please share your comments.
Joined: Sep 2008
@belzoni1 I assume by "club track", you mean AAU/USTAF. My son was been helped immensely, especially as a long distance runner, by being part of a club team for years. This was true especially at the younger ages. He started at age 8 and there was no school running available until middle school and even then the longest event was the 1600. He has been less involved now that he is in HS, if only to have a little bit of down time between the school Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor track seasons, but I would still highly recommend it to those who have the time, again especially at the younger ages. We were VERY happy with both the quality and character of the coaching, his teammates and the events. He went to 6 different AAU Jr. Olympic events and all in all it was a fantastic experience for him and us.
Joined: Aug 2006
Some of the best coaches come from club teams. example: Dave Simpson (Track Eastern Carolina)
Joined: Nov 2006
I think the attitude toward club track depends a lot on the local quality and history of the club teams. Some areas have very high-quality clubs, which provide continuous training and often resources for attending meets that schools might not have. On the other hand, some clubs grow too large, or have too many coaches with too little actual training, and the quality isn't there. I've seen club coaches using discredited techniques that date from 20 or more years ago, when they ran track, instead of more modern techniques. Also, I think it depends heavily on the events in which the athlete competes. Personally, I don't mind at all when one of my athletes competes for a club team in the off-season. What I don't like is when an athlete tries do do both at the same time, sometimes because of pressure from the club coach. I don't think any athlete can train for two different teams during the same season without either getting hurt or slowing his/her improvement from lack of rest. I've had a few athletes who tried to go from my practices to club practices on the same day! I've also seen club coaches undermine the high school coach. I think it's a highly individual and local situation.
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