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Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

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  • #31
    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

    Something must have jaded you -- I'm assuming your college coach. The vast majority of coaches I know work long hours for average money and deflect praise to their athletes.

    I guess I just don't understand what the perceived inequalities are. How were you getting screwed? I know for a fact that monetarily, I received far more from my university than I gave it.

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    • #32
      Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

      RUN DMC mentions the notion of doubling or tripling as the concept of intense race simulation training.

      Hard training and racing need to be in moderation, with concern for recovery.

      There's a contradictory nature in IMPROVING an athlete to reach FULL ability versus the UNIVERSITY maxing out on the athletes ability to ACQUIRE better placings more frequently.

      There should be a HARMONY of INTERESTS, improve an athlete, yet give the athlete a COMPETITIVE environment to compete....

      The idea of a TEAM winning is a dominant feature of our culture, some times good and sometimes not so good.

      The elite 5 to 10% are there to win and compete.

      The others are doing their events, if NOT for the joy of the sport, but possibly for the scholarship.

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      • #33
        Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

        I was a scholarship guy, coming in from o/s. I loved my track, loved to race, had shoes sent from nike that added to the program coffers. Got my own tee shirt. When all was said and done, I got free college, trained no less or more than I would have done on my own. Met my wife.
        There is zero money in college T & F. Its not an exploitation thing in track. If it wasn't a high profile olympic sport, it would go the way of wrestling. If you want to take the exploitation route, I'd suggest football or basketball, certainly not track.
        One of the best meets I ever competed in was the Stanford Relays and I was on the track when James Lofton and Dedi Cooper (sp) banged away at each other all day in a dual meet, finishing off with an outstanding mile relay anchor. Best head to head I ever saw.
        A criticism I have of USA college track is that it takes grade A beef, and turns it into top quality hamburger. Careers are short, expectations are high, coaches are average, results are p poor considering the talent that they start with.
        Still , I had the option to pay my own way through and don't regret a day. On the downside I blew my achilles and my knees out, but I found a good woman. I'd do it all over again.

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        • #34
          Re: Let's pay our athletes

          Obviously I agree with those saying free school in exchange for running was a great deal. If you feel so screwed, you could have gone to a DIII school, gotten whatever aid was available (and if you were poor, there is plenty of need based aid) worked part time, taken out loans, struggled, saved, and if you were at one of the programs with a good coach, developed as an athlete, scholar, and a person. If you think that sounds like a good deal, what can I say? No one makes people take scholarships. When I coached DIII, I hated it when kids would say "I really want to come to your school, but XXX U. is giving me a $1000 scholarship (!) so I am going there.
          If athletes want to get paid, let them get paid (how much? minimum wage?), but they would then have to pay for all of those other expenses - room, board, tuition, books, travel, uniforms, laundry, etc. - If you total all of that up, they do get what, an average of about $25,000.00 per year? No, that is just school cost- lets up that to $30 to $35k a year. Sound like a bad deal? Ask any of the DIII athletes. Alot of them would not trade it- I would not have, knowing what I know now.

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          • #35
            Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

            Paladium-

            You're comments are on the money. The program is fine for those who DON'T wish to compete at a higher level past college. However, it doesn't work well for the development of long-term potential because short-term needs are required for the schools "success". Unfortunately this is at the expense of the athlete's long-term development but thats the price they must pay for an eduation.

            A friend of mine back in h.s. was Kinney (now FL) nat. xc champ in early 80's. national leader in the 16/32 in track. Went to a D1 school in So. Cal ran great as a frosh (3:43, sub 14, sub 29) and frequently doubled. By his junior year he didn't want anything more to do with the sport. This was a kid with phenomenal potential who was beaten into the ground too early for the good of the school. I saw him a couple of years ago. He now has a little girl who he doesn't want to ever step on a track. With all of his success he is still bitter about the ultimate experience.

            This is not an isolated story. I had another friend who was JUCO state champ in cal. as a soph. Also ran under 14 and under 29 then ended up on the side lines upon his transfer as a junior. Never ran nearly as well again.

            The system, of which the coaches are part, is not meant to produce world class distance talent and it hasn't for many years. Sprints are a bit different. Only one-two seasons instead of three, more down, time less pounding etc.

            Often the smaller schools, d2, naia may provide a more nurturing experience as there is less pressure to excel as frequently. Unfortunately they usually don't get the top talent out of hs.

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            • #36
              Re: Let's pay our athletes

              This is the kind of coach I wouldn't let within 10 miles of my kid. Rather than fix the problem, take the lazy way out, stick with the status quo. Too hard to think out of the box. Blame the kid for wanting too much. Coaches get paid by shoe companies to get their kids to advertise their brand, Colleges put up new buildings but when kids ask for crumbs off the table, they shout, " don't be crybaby— you got a scholarship".

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              • #37
                interesting...

                that reading string of posts I've noticed the ex-athletes (even those who disagree) are more understanding of my position while the non-athletes tend to take a more arrogant, hard-hearted, conservative approach. Just an observation.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

                  >They compete indoors because it's a season with a conference championship for
                  >which the university is paying money.

                  So the school is going to fire the coach because he/she is interested in the athlete's long term development?

                  Run your sprinters and field people indoors, that's fine enough.

                  A coach's #1 priority in coaching should be to keep his/her athletes helathy.

                  #2 should be to keep them in the sport.

                  I hear so many guys say, "We've gotta win the <fill in the blank> relay at Penn." Or what? You're career is over? Don't sacrifice long term development for short-term gains.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

                    A friend of mine back in h.s. was Kinney (now FL) nat. xc champ in
                    >early 80's. national leader in the 16/32 in track. Went to a D1 school in So.
                    >Cal ran great as a frosh (3:43, sub 14, sub 29) and frequently doubled. By his
                    >junior year he didn't want anything more to do with the sport. This was a kid
                    >with phenomenal potential . . .

                    It seems to be quite apparent that he did not.

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                    • #40
                      Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

                      It takes a lot more than talent to be successful at track. I agree with the chap who said the number one goal should be to keep kids healthy, the number two to keep them in the sport. I am not sure that point two is possible, as there are a lot of interesting things to do, that only increase as kids get older. Keeping kids in track may not be the most effective way to prepare them for life. At the end of the day, its still just a sport. I enjoyed track for what I learned, both on and off, with all the lessons associated with success and failure. There are few sports that match for these lessons. The stop watch provides a clear view of your talent. Your ability to handle competition is your internal challenge. My old coach said that there are more world champions walking around the streets without knowledge of their ability. When you're 50, its all just memories. I am sorry for those who had bitter disappoinments with their sport, but if they allow it influence them going forward, then I would wonder if it truly was the sport causing grief in the first place.

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                      • #41
                        Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

                        "A coach's #1 priority in coaching should be to keep his/her athletes healthy. #2 should be to keep them in the sport."

                        The obvious problem is that #1 and #2 can easily be accomplished by taking the safe route and undertraining them. Keep everything 'fun' and pressure free.

                        I'm pretty sure that NOBODY thinks that is a great idea. The thrill of athletics is pushing yourself to the max to see what you've got. I've never regretted any of my various injuries, because I knew I was training hard. Risk nothing, gain nothing. That said, obviously you can't overdo it. Look at any Olympic champion track athlete and you'll see a training load that could break a normal person.

                        I suggest that the #1 goal of a coach is get the MOST out of his athlete that he can. It doesn't do any good for a coach to overtrain/race his athlete, because then he doesn't get anything in return. If a coach thinks an athlete could/should double and triple, then he should go for it. I regularly ran in 5 events per meet in HS (3 in college) and loved it. I would have run in more if they allowed me. I went out for track to COMPETE. Was I tired and sore after a meet? Absolutely. And it felt really good to know I had gone all out in everything I did. To be really good in track (not that I was), you are going to have to make many sacrifices, and one is to work beyond what you think your capabilities are. A good coach can push you beyond what you thought you could do (or maybe thought you wanted to do). 'Better to try and fail, than never to try at all.'

                        Bottom line: Push the envelope whenever you can. Pretty soon your comfort zone will encompass all your goals.

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                        • #42
                          Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

                          Amen!!

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                          • #43
                            Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

                            "The obvious problem is that #1 and
                            >#2 can easily be accomplished by taking the safe route and undertraining them.
                            >Keep everything 'fun' and pressure free. "

                            I don't believe I said that. I said keep them healthy and in the sport. If they're not healthy, they won;t run well and your goal of "getting everything out of them" will not be accomplished. Yes, push the envelope, but don't be stupid about it. Plan correctly.

                            If you keep getting them hurt they a.) won't run well and b.) will drop out of the sport. You can train smart and limit the extent to which you will be injured. There are always going to be little hot spots that need watching to avoid injury. You need to care less about "this season" and more about several years down the road when they have a chance at doing something. This is not to say you do not care at all about this season's goals, rather the health of the athlete is the #1 priority. Every year at league/conference meets I see athletes that look like they came out of Tales From the Crypt, on the track, racing, often doubling/tripling. It's ridiculous. And for what? Points? Oh, big shakes, you've got yourself a stress fracture and are risking permanent injury but you've got your points. That's why kids drop from this sport. 90% of the HS runners in this country don't run in college.

                            Never sacrifice the health of your athlete for anything. You can train them long, keep the intensity low and be mindful of their aches and pains and don't overrace them. By doing this, the athlete (mid/distance in this case) will run/race to the best of their ability.

                            There's no point in toeing the line when you're hurt. I know a lot of people say guts and blah blah blah, but you know what, it's not the Olympics and you need to care more about each and every individual athlete under your wing than being concerned with team points to make you look good.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

                              trackhead,

                              Your post addresses the need for a coach to keep his athletes injury-free. That is also what I said in my post. But . . . no coach can keep all his athletes injury-free, all the time. Nor can you achieve greatness without some element of risk. The risk, which I, as an athlete, and yes, I, as a coach, am willing to take is in PRUDENTLY pushing myself and my athletes to the edge as often and as consistently as I can. A good coach, which EVERY SINGLE COACH strives to be, must be in tune with the individual athlete's capabilites to handle stress. When he sees he needs to back off, he does. I have never, in my 40 (!) years of competing and coaching, met a coach who was willing to HURT his athlete for the greater glory of himself. I have, however, competed while injured for the sake of a possible team victory. When that situation arises with me as the coach, I simply explain the situation to the athlete, offer my advice (usually, but not ALWAYS, in defense of NOT competing), and let the athlete (and parents - I'm a HS coach) decide.

                              The 'fun' of track is competing while letting it all 'hang out,' not in watching others compete because I might 'burn out' if I did too many events.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Re: Do college coaches burn out our athletes?

                                > 90% of the HS runners in this country don't run
                                >in college.

                                Is that a substianted statistic?

                                And to go off on a bit of a tangent, how do the numbers compare for track versus other sports? Are more/less high school track athletes continuing the sport at college/university than, say, football or basketball?

                                For that matter, what about numbers who may not go out for the varsity, but continue to run on their own, maybe not as competitively, but hit the weekend 5 and 10kms? That nice isn't exactly covered by other sports.

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