DyeStat IL: Views of Club Running - February 20, 2013

Published by Mike Newman
Feb 20th 2013, 5:37pm | 1782 views
Multi-time state champion Aaliyah Brown of Lincoln-Way East is an example of how club running has benefitted her. (Photo Credit: Dwayne Antoine-Pierre)

Dwayne Antoine-Pierre is the Girls' Hurdles Coach for Lincoln-Way East High School. During the off season, he is part of the coaching staff of the Illinois Elite Track Club that includes star sprinter Aaliyah Brown. Antoine-Pierre took some time to express his views on how club running helps the athlete get ready for the track season.

As both a club coach and school track coach, my experience has been extremely positive. Although, there are high school coaches that don't understand that viewpoint, as they feel club track will "peak" their athletes too early or it's just another advantage to take money from a family.


Typically, those coaches aren't educated enough on the sport, nor have experience with advanced training methods to keep an athlete injury free, fresh and explosive for a 16 week season.


From a high school coaching perspective and more often than we'd like to accept, we will receive an athlete who has done absolutely nothing - from the end of their previous high school season to the start of the following high school season. Most often, this leaves coaches in a "blind spot" or a "ground-up" training process versus a blended method; therefore, training doesn't go as planned or they have to re-teach so much, that before you know it, the season is over. Also, some athletes and parents have a pre-conceived notion that if their child is already talented, they don't need to work out or work harder. The end result typically leads to not achieving expected goals, thus causing frustration between what should be a three-fold partnership - parent, athlete and coach.


As a traditional track season starts in October/November, club teams do try to stay as close to that as possible. Practice facility issues would probably be the most common deterrent in club coaches starting their training season in alignment with the traditional start of a track season. In most cases, adding this base and level of training prepares an athlete for the demands of their upcoming high school season, working with different coaching styles and personalities, and over a short period of time, builds a team concept mentality.


Currently, I cannot see the difference between club track and other sports - basketball, football, volleyball and soccer, to name a few. Each one of those sports has a traveling/club team and more often than not, the coach from those teams are coaches at their respective schools; or at least have a relationship with the respective school to some degree. The sport of Track and Field, in many cases, is still viewed upon as a liability rather than an asset. Let's ask ourselves a many football and soccer players have benefitted as a result of track?


If more high school coaches adopted the philosophy of a partnership rather than view club track as adversaries, it may teach an athlete proper technique, yield better community support, and possibly yield more Personal Records, Regional, Sectional, Conference and State titles than we'd imagine.

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