Actual legal coaching for outdoor track begins Monday, March 4. Regardless of the weather, outdoor track season begins. I am encouraging all football players who do not play baseball or lacrosse, to go out for high school track. You have until Monday to make this choice. NO – I am not discouraging football players from playing baseball or lacrosse.
But first – I loved playing baseball, summer baseball, however. Playing in a colt league as a 16 year old, I had 14 straight hits, before flying to deep center field to end the streak. Loved baseball. Loved catching. Did not love the high school baseball coach. Too political. Threw the shot and discus in the spring. Never hit 50 feet in a meet. Over 49 feet a few times. Track in spring – baseball in summer.
But second – Coached two years of high school baseball. Great players. Track coach finished his practices 45 minutes before I did. After two years, I started coaching track. Loved working with sprinters and field event studs. Not a distance man.
I really enjoy watching a track meet. Any size. Any level.
Really believe that football players should run track. I have always considered track an individual sport. They do have relays, but for the most part, it is one athlete trying to compete one on one. Much like wrestling, “no excuses.” Individual against individual.
Some “why ideas” that I have pirated over the years about the importance of football players – running or throwing or jumping for a track program.
- Improve top end speed. Track develops speed and explosiveness. Sprints, jumping events and field events improve coordination, acceleration, and closing speed. Sprinting involves technique and track gives an athlete a chance to work a speed coach. This training improves burst, which is vital in football.
- Improve 40 time. I really question the actual value of a fast 40 time in relationship to football. But an improved 40 time at a football camp or at a combine, may catch a recruiters eye. Social media with the recruiting reporters use this as an attention-getter. Fast 40’s provide something to write about.
- Better off the line speed and acceleration. Developing solid starting skills helps build explosiveness for football, too. That can add inches to your vertical, help with quickness off the line. Also improves 5th gear time. You will reach top end speed sooner.
- Competition. Running track and working against other athletes is always a good way to improve in many areas. Running track track for 3 months in the spring keeps athletes involved in competitive events leading into football practices and regular season.
- Easier speed. Learning proper running form does more than simply make you faster. It helps you play faster while using less energy. Hopefully, this makes the fourth quarter a little better.
- Mental toughness. (A little like number 4). Track can improve mental toughness. Bring the baton down the straight away in front of the crowd on the fourth leg of a relay. The last 180 meter kick on the 400m. The last jump or throw in the finals to win or move up. The last chance, but do not foul. All of these require mental toughness, just like football.
- Focus. Always amazed at the start of the 100m or 110m hurdles. Always amazed at the start of the 4x100m or 4x200m. A false start and the race is over. A bad exchange and the race is over. A foul by a 1/8 inch in the long jump. Track teaches focus, much the same as football.
- Humor. Many competitive, athletic, and cute young ladies compete at a track meets.
I realize that the spring has some national football combines and camps where the recruiting reporters will be working on articles. Do not skip the complete track season, just to impress them or the Opening or Rivals or whomever. Most of these are done in April.The month of May is prime time for track.
Unless you are a top, high profiled, basketball only guy, give the AAU a rest. Make that program second to your becoming a top college football player. Track will improve your speed, more than AAU.
I have some very good friends who train athletes durning their off season. Some are speed trainers. But football players need the spring to run track. They will not lose speed, AND they will have a chance to compete. Actually they will do all of the above. 1-7 for sure and maybe 8.