By Rod O’Donnell - Improving as a coach means constantly subscribing, reading, and staying abreast of the newest information in our favorite sports of cross-country and track and field. The ten articles that are listed this month have appeared in a variety of publications; reviewing them may outrage or entertain, but each one may inspire the reader to help our sport survive.
1. January 2011 – Track & Field News – Interview with Pat Henry, head coach at Texas A & M, who presents reasons that the public has lost interest in collegiate track and field and offers ways to revitalize the sport.
2. Milesplit.us/articles/5008 – Recruiting: Men’s Track and Field Scholarships – A great article about who actually receives track scholarships, the myth of the full scholarship and why this is true, and how recruited athletes should deal with this dilemma.
3. Coaching Management – 2010 Track & Field Edition – “Without Scholarships” interview with University of Cincinnati coach, Bill Schnier. Bill addresses how he is handling the decision at U. C. to phase our men’s track scholarships but still compete in the Big East.
4. “Expert Opinions” – Big Ten Network – The transcript of this program features an interview with new NCAA President, Dr. Mark Emmert. Throughout the program, Dr. Emmert continually speaks of the importance of doing what is right for the student-athlete, but when asked by the host about the trend to drop men’s collegiate programs, he states that the practice is probably not over. What about that “Doing what is right for the student-athlete” statement, Dr. Emmert?
5. The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - September 10, 2010, - Sports Editor Greg Jones – “Number of Prep Athletes Up.”
6. Harrier XC – Nov. 12, 2010 – “The Culture of Cachet “ – Mark Bloom
Mark gives his opinion of the book, Higher Education – Harker and Dreifus, and how it relates to choosing the right college. Bloom is an excellent writer and a great contributor to the sport.
7. “The Age of Innocence” by Jim Ferstle – Running Times – December 2008.
This is a look at the once great men’s track program that has vanished at Bowling Green. It is an excellent article that will break your heart. See suggested reading #4. Please read Ferstle’s article, Dr. Emmert.
8. “Mental Toughness for Coaches” – Juan Pablo Faver0 – www.sportleadership.com – Favero addresses the techniques that coaches can use to help develop this important trait.
9. “ABC’s of XC – A Brief Handbook for High School Runners and Their Parents,” Running Times – October 2010. A good guide for those involved in cross-country for the first time or veterans of the sport.
10. “What if They Gave a Track Meet and Nobody Came?” Track & Field News, May 1991 – A series of articles covering the problems that confront the sport. It is a timeless document that could have been written today. May of those problems still exist.
I hope that you take the time to read these articles. They are informative and well-written. Education is the key to success in any endeavor!
Yours in track,