We have a very large team this year. It will be logistically challenging. Coach Don started the program around 2004 and had 14 kids. I took over in 2012 and we used to have 25-30 kids. This year we have ~70 runners.
Growth is great for providing opportunities for kids to enjoy this amazing sport, but it creates logistical difficulties for me when we grow so fast.
To deal with these challenges, parent help/support is an absolute must. Without it, we can’t offer a quality program to your kids. I take a very ‘tailored’ approach to coaching, but I can only do this if I know I have parent help with practices/meets, etc.
We need your support or we’ll have to start drastically cutting enrollment to the program. We need LOTS of parents to help at practices. So if you can run, please come out and run with us. We need the most help with our youngest runner group (gremlins) and our second group, which has a wide range of runners who are 5:40 milers to 10 minute milers, so they get very spread out. I’ll cover this again at the end because it’s pretty important.
You registered for NPTC online, but you need to turn in a birth certificate to us if you do not have one on file in our system. If you do give me a copy, make sure it’s not the original. We keep these and turn them over to the conference.
You will need to fill out paperwork for the conference (I e-mailed these out to everyone last night). ALL ATHLETES MUST HAVE A SIGNED RELEASE FORM BEFORE THEY CAN PRACTICE. You will also need to fill out the conference registration form. I know it’s a hassle, but the athlete has to have their own form and can’t use the NPTC forms. Athletes actually need to sign where it says athlete signature.
With such a large team, we will not be able to respond to e-mails or texts right before practice.
We will do our best to send information out via e-mail in a timely fashion. We will also post updates to the website. So please check e-mail and website for info.
I will send a general schedule for the season, but it most certainly will have changes throughout the season as we tailor or workouts to what we need. I will send them via e-mail and always included the date on the file. Delete old files.
If in doubt, I’ll put the most recent practice schedule on the website and you can check it there.
Work ethic and pride in what you do.
Self-discipline – learn when it’s appropriate to goof around and when it’s not.
Take pride in personal accomplishments
Please let me do the coaching and keep ‘parent coach talk’ from happening at home
The first thing kids do when mom and dad start telling them what to do is tune it out. Once they start tuning you out at home about listening to running, the next thing is they’ll start tuning me out.
Running really should be fun for them; always having a parent coach in their ear is a quick way to make it not fun.
Please do not have them do any ‘extra’ running at home; I have a very specific plan to training and deviating from it (by adding more) makes the plan less effective. More does not always equal better. I know parents have good intentions, but having your kids do any running outside of my program undoes a lot of the physiological benefits that my program provides. You will actually be inhibiting their potential if you have them do extra running.
Keep in mind there is no correlation between how good a runner is at a young age and how good they are in high school/college. Some will excel early and not later, some won’t excel early but will later. It’s very individually specific. So although we all want our kids to do really well, remember that these are not the glory days where they will have their most successful running. Be supportive and the rest will take care of itself in the long term.
We are a very good team in terms of our competitive ability, but the reason we are good is because we don’t try to be good. I emphasize running form and work ethic (things that the kids have control over) and the byproduct of that is that the places/times (things we can’t control) take care of themselves. Please keep this philosophy throughout the season! Once kids focus on places/times, they don’t run as well.
Coaching goals and objectives
To see continued running improvement throughout the season in each athlete
To make sure all kids are running with decent running mechanics
Stay injury-free; quality over quantity
To emphasize camaraderie—distance runners are a close-knit group, and the kids all make some really great friendships along the way.
Expectations of athletes
I expect kids to 1) work hard, 2) have self-discipline, and 3) work toward personal accomplishments.
I expect exemplary sportsmanship.
One rule I have: no one is allowed to talk about themselves, but they can (and are encouraged to) talk about their teammates.
If I or another coach is talking, all athletes must be listening.
Structure of practices
I have a goal for each and every workout for the entire season. I pre-plan these goals now, but I adjust as the season goes along.
Athletes will be split into three groups each practice. They are not based strictly on age or ability or gender, but are a combination of things. Mostly it will depend on what I think the athlete needs the most. This means that sometimes friends will be in different groups, or some might have to do a workout that they don’t really like, but there is always a reason for doing what I’m doing. The exception is that because our team is so large this year, we are going to have the gremlins as their own group.
NO GROUP IS ANY BETTER/WORSE THAN THE OTHERS. They are just different workout focus for each group.
General practice structure:
Easy warm-up laps…here’s where I actually encourage the kids to chat and goof a little! The tendency is for kids to race the warm-up laps. By talking and chatting, they don’t have enough breath to race fast and they take it easier.
After warm-ups, we do dynamic stretches and our core work for the day.
Next is main workout set. This is where I want the goofing to stop and we get down to work.
After our main workout, we regroup and may do some strides—for those of you not familiar with strides, these are 40-50 yards where they work up to race pace. I always want the kids to get used to race pace on tired legs, so we’ll almost always do these at the end of practice.
Last, we might do some easy cool down running and we always end with light stretching.
Starts at 5:30pm promptly, should end around 6:45ish.
Please make sure and be on time when you pick up your athlete.
Posted to website.
Typical meet days
Meets will start somewhere between 8am and 9am, depending on the meet organizers and how organized they are.
Please arrive an hour before the schedule start time…this is the only time you and your athlete will be able to walk the entire course and see the exact layout.
Races start with the youngest kids first and the oldest kids last (unless specifically stated otherwise).
I know everyone is busy on Saturdays (and a couple of Sundays), but I encourage everyone to stick around as long as you can to help cheer on the older kids. And I encourage parents of older kids to arrive early to cheer on the younger kids. This is hard and these kids put out an amazing amount of effort. Hurting that much feels a lot better when you’ve got people out there supporting you. All the kids deserve that, not just your own.
Meet days can get kind of crazy for me and Don, especially when I have other responsibilities (like starting the races), so we need a dedicated group of age group coordinators (AGCs) to serve as assistant coaches on meet days. These AGCs will warm up age groups, cool them down, get their stickers/pins on them, etc. as needed. That will free up Don and me to do our responsibilities and spend more time coaching the athletes during their race.
I highly encourage parents to become involved in helping at practices.
We’re an extended family and you’ll get to know everyone really well. The only way this works is if you adopt the philosophy that you watch over every kid the same way you would your own kid.
My biggest priority is athlete safety. In XC, kids can get spread out over long distances, so the more parents we have the better.
If you’re a runner, come join us!
If you’re not a runner, come join us! Now’s a great time to start running.
We need parents help at the front, in the middle, and at the back…some of you parents may think you can’t contribute, but I guarantee that you can be in one of those 3 places: front, middle, or back.
The area we need the most help is usually with the younger kids, so we need heavy parent involvement with that age group.
All families will be required to volunteer some time at meets. We try to organize it so that you only have to spend a short time doing your job and that it won’t interfere with cheering on your own kids. It’s quite easy, you just have to be willing to step up.
We have very critical roles that many of our experienced parents fill. However, as their kids are aging up, some may be leaving us soon. We need some other parents to start learning these roles (some come with the benefit of a free registration...who wouldn't want a free ~$100? The following roles are critical to have parents learning for next year:
Volunteer coordinator - Chris Lyons is in charge, but we need someone to shadow/help her this year
Age group coordinators - these are assistant coaches who help with warmups and cool downs on meet days.
Registrar - Lisa Willard is in charge now, but this is her last year. This is a critical position. We need someone to learn the ropes from Lisa.
Brunch/picnic coordinator is Lisa Johnson. We need someone to be ready to take this over from her soon.
Jersey info: XC jersey is different than track (will have sizes to try on). Shorts from NPTC track can be worn for XC, or you can get more XC-specific shorts through the online store. Compression shorts are also available as many of the girls opt for these. Bottom line on choice of shorts: go with what you and your athlete are most comfortable with.
Please visit our online store to place your uniform order.