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  • College Burnout

    In another thread, it was suggested that certain college coaches take shortcuts and "burnout" their runners. Those runners then struggle after college to even achieve their college status and times. I am mainly referring to distance runners here.

    Are there coaches who seem to do the opposite? Such as bring along their runners along gradually that they can continue to build upon after college. Honestly I am having a hard time thinking of a coach or program that has produced consistent post collegiate performers. Is it even possible to compete in the top ranks of the NCAA and not train runners at their physical limits?

    I have purposefully omitted names, thread topics etc, because I would like some honest opinions. I would prefer no bashing, but examples might help.
    In the sun with a popsicle, everthing is possible

  • #2
    Bill Bowerman had many athletes that excelled long after graduating from U. or Oregon. Too many to even name.

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    • #3
      I sincerely believe it has much more to do with the individual athlete than the college coach/program. Some runners from the same programs thrive during and after, and some don't.

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      • #4
        Bowerman is a good example, but can we find a more recent example?

        To some extent I agree Marlow, that it is the athlete who determines his destiny. On Flotrack, Jack Daniels talks about 4 principles of success : ability, motivation, opportunity, and coaching. He puts coaching as the lowest determining factor. However, a highly competitive college program may provide better motivation and opportunity than a pro runner may have. Pro Groups have improved this some.

        My own experience was having a different coach each of my 4 years of college. I learned from all of them and by the 4th year, I was ignoring the coach because I realized he was not working for me. Most people have more consistency than that and therefore less experience (not necessarily a bad thing). They also usually have faith that their coach is doing the right things for them. Others on my team were run into the ground because they did not know to listen to their bodies, not just what the coach said. We lost some good runners that way. This was more of an example of NOT reaching potential.

        What about those who excelled in college then excelled at the pro level too, such as Bob Kennedy. I can't think of any other Sam Bell / Indiana athletes who did similar.

        I was thinking Michigan / Warhurst might be a good example (Sully, Brannen, Willis, others?).
        In the sun with a popsicle, everthing is possible

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Run DMC
          Honestly I am having a hard time thinking of a coach or program that has produced consistent post collegiate performers.
          Ray Treacy

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          • #6
            Yeah, a college coach should really worry about the runner's future after college..I mean, to hell with him having to keep his job by making sure these athletes run well for him while they are under scholarship...What were these coaches thinking???

            :roll:

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            • #7
              i think the problem you have in trying to look for coaches who have produced quality runners after college is that many of the athletes leave their college coach and go somewhere else. if this is the case you are going to have a hard time trying to compare coaches and there abilities to coach after the collegiate level.

              it would be interesting to see how many top 3-5 athletes in the NCAA in each event that turn professional actually stay with their college coach and what I mean by stay is more than one year.

              many college athletes stay for the first year and don't do / perform as well as they did in college for many reasons and they instantly blame the coach and leave. these factors can be atributed to many things, one not being in school and having that structure to keep you from screwing around, the european schedule and traveling is much more demanding than colliegate running...there are many factors.

              overall the point is it's hard to think of coaches that have created produced good athletes after college that they coached while in college, maybe what we should be looking at is the athlete and how poorly they did after they left there coach, could this be a better indication of how good a coach is????? just my thoughts.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Run DMC

                ...
                What about those who excelled in college then excelled at the pro level too, such as Bob Kennedy. I can't think of any other Sam Bell / Indiana athletes who did similar.
                ...
                I believe Jim Spivey ran for Sam Bell. Others (among distance runners) I can think of who ran for IU with Bell, and had some post-collegiate success (not at the level of Spivey and Kennedy, but still, they did something) were Terry Brahm and Mark Deady. Whether these or any athletes approached their potential is part of the topic of this discussion, I guess.

                I always have had great respect for Sam Bell. That said, even with Bell, we're still talking about a coach who is now pretty much two decades out of the collegiate ranks.

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                • #9
                  It does not matter to me if the athletes stuck with the college coach, just whether they continued to improve after college. Kennedy and Spivey both got new coaches later, but continued to develop.

                  Maybe part of the problem in the US is that distance running is just too hard and not rewarding enough. Here it is a whole lot easier and more financially rewarding to go get a regular job.

                  Maybe the gap from NCAA All American to World Class is just too big and only the super standouts can bridge the gap. Most flounder for a while then give up. Based on the posts here I would say that there is no coach, program or formula that makes this any more or less possible.

                  As for burnout, is it real? Or is it just not moving to the next level for reasons of talent or other?
                  In the sun with a popsicle, everthing is possible

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                  • #10
                    Mark Wetmore at Colorado and other places has had good post collegiate runners. The Gouchers, Ritz, Torres, other Torres, Barringer still there and improving.

                    I think he was at Dartmouth with Kempainen too. Might be mistaken on that one, though.

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                    • #11
                      Burnout is not the only issue involved. Consider e.g.
                      unnecessary injuries, mispriorisations on technique
                      and physique, athletes being tuned for the wrong distance,
                      and a number of other issue where a poor or short-sighted
                      trainer can at least hamper an athletes career.

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                      • #12
                        Vin Lananna was Kempainen's coach at Dartmouth.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by justblaze1011
                          Yeah, a college coach should really worry about the runner's future after college..I mean, to hell with him having to keep his job by making sure these athletes run well for him while they are under scholarship...What were these coaches thinking???

                          :roll:
                          A coach who gets a reputation for burning out athletes and making them useless after college is going to have a harder time recruiting the best athletes in the long run, compared to the coaches whose former athletes have moved up to post-college success on the track.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sprintblox
                            A coach who gets a reputation for burning out athletes and making them useless after college is going to have a harder time recruiting the best athletes in the long run, compared to the coaches whose former athletes have moved up to post-college success on the track.
                            Don't give 17 and 18 yr. olds too much credit for doing their research, or even thinking 4-5 yrs. down the road. Show a kid a couple national championship trophies and tell them they don't have to pay for shoes anymore and the Foreigner Effect kicks in ... STARS IN HIS EYES!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by K.I.R.
                              Originally posted by sprintblox
                              A coach who gets a reputation for burning out athletes and making them useless after college is going to have a harder time recruiting the best athletes in the long run, compared to the coaches whose former athletes have moved up to post-college success on the track.
                              Don't give 17 and 18 yr. olds too much credit for doing their research, or even thinking 4-5 yrs. down the road. Show a kid a couple national championship trophies and tell them they don't have to pay for shoes anymore and the Foreigner Effect kicks in ... STARS IN HIS EYES!
                              The high schoolers being recruited might not be directly thinking of 5+ years down the road, but the coach who has Olympians with lasting careers on his resume has a recruiting advantage. For example, Clyde Hart can more easily attract top 400m runners to Baylor because of Michael Johnson's enormous post-college success.

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