"Team Mom, Julie Weber"
Great systems make great running programs
Everyone knows that a
running coach must have a great understanding of running mechanics and
physiology to create great running programs. You can't skip this step. You have
to know the training phases of our sport inside and out to help each athlete
reach their God given potential. However, most programs just
focus on these two areas.
The problem is that
you can't stop there. You must have world-class support systems in place to
create a best practice running program (or any sport for that matter) as well.
Well thought out support systems help runners
reach their potential
Coaching well is just
as tough as any other profession. You must have excellent support systems and
processes in place to achieve great success. What are some of those support
systems in coaching?
In a successful high
school, club, collegiate, and even in some professional programs you need a great volunteer base to
succeed. At the high school level, dedicated parents carry much of the
administrative load so coaches can do what they do best, coach!
The best programs have parents (or other staff/volunteers) who help raise funds, set up team tents, plan food for race days, arrange transportation to meets, help organize retreats and meets, schedule hotels, and get their kids to practice on time.
Another example of a great support service is what we call a team mom (at the high school level). A team mom (or dad) who supports the social and emotional side of things and helps young people work through personal issues, team building issues, and offers a lending ear to just about any issue in life is worth their weight in gold.
Coaching in many ways is more about being a life coach than a running coach. I think this concept can be applied to any team.
Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer
A top rated physical
therapist and/or athletic trainer who is specifically trained in running
strategies is also important to team success. You can't have someone helping a
running team who does not understand the impact of running day in and day out.
Many athletic trainers don't have the time or background to really help runners. Find one who does and hire them. This same person can also serve as a core and conditioning expert as well as teaching the best biomechanics if they have the background.
A good coach
will recruit others who are specialists in a particular area to help the team.
A coach can't be an expert at everything. Leaders bring in others to share
their knowledge with the team.
You also need people to keep splits, stats, and help organize races. Having a formal project plan in place to implement races and other team tasks also goes a long way toward ensuring success.
Student-athletes on a high school team who want to run in college, need access to a well-developed academic and athletic scholarship search process as well.
The best programs have people who can help student-athletes obtain scholarships to compete at the next level.
All great teams focus
on the details just like a project manager who manages multi-millionaire dollar project contracts. Success lives in the details of everyday planning.
Look under the hood a few times a year
Like a quality-focused fortune 500 business, a great team must have a quality improvement process in place. Each year it is important to look at all of your systems and processes and find better ways of getting things done.
Checking your ego at the door is
the only way to get better. Looking honestly at your successes and failures is
how champions get even better.
Looking under the hood
each year is a must not a want. Fix the problem, don't fix the blame.
Yes, support systems
really are that important. You need others to help develop a great program and
to carry some of the load. No one ever achieves any level of greatness by
great people who support and are committed to a compelling team mission.
"Others" is the key word that opens the door to
champions and championships.
Pictured above: "Team
Mom" Julie Weber (my wife). She was given the name "team mom" by the
kids on a team I coached through the 2016 season. Our team we won eight state championships in seven
years during our tenure thanks to the efforts of a lot of people like Julie.
Copyright Larry Weber 2018