Cross country


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Cross country

Postby Unsure » Mon Jun 09, 2003 3:37 am

I have just become the head coach of a women's cross country team at a small college where I was hired as the assistant basketball coach. My delima is I have lots of basketball experience but no experience in cross country. Does anyone out there have a suggestion for a book that is very informative and can be used as a guide for setting up a training schedule? I am looking for resources that will inform me accurately. I want to do a good job and give my cross country team my best effort. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Cross country

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 09, 2003 4:27 am

The Cross Country coaching manual from the AAF of LA.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ ... 25-5360838
Not a particularly complex book, but covers everything that a beginning coach should know. While it's targeted to high school coaches, it's really good for anyone at any level.
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Re: Cross country

Postby CoachKoby » Mon Jun 09, 2003 4:55 am

Try "The Competitive Runner's Training Book" by Bill Dellinger & Bill Freeman and Jack Daniel's "Daniel's Running Formula". They're both very easy to understand.
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Re: Cross country

Postby MJR » Mon Jun 09, 2003 5:41 am

Nothing personal, but this scenario is one of the big problems with our sport. Coaches w/o an iota of experience get a job coaching it so that the school can save a few bucks. This would never happen in reverse.
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Re: Cross country

Postby CoachKoby » Mon Jun 09, 2003 8:08 am

If you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all. Let's try and help this guy. We should be glad he wants to coach XC. We need to stick together. What would happen if you tried to coach basketball?
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Re: Cross country

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 09, 2003 8:42 am

Thanks for the support. It took a lot of courage to get on this site and ask for help. I figured going to "people in the know" was the best place to start.
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Re: Cross country

Postby tandfman » Mon Jun 09, 2003 9:02 am

MJR wrote:
>Nothing personal, but this scenario is one of the
big problems with our sport. Coaches w/o an iota
of experience get a job coaching it so that the
school can save a few bucks. This would never
happen in reverse.<

I have a slightly different take on this. The problem is that too often when this sort of thing happens, the coach makes no real effort to learn what is necessary to do a decent job. The guy who started this thread obviously is making that effort and is to be admired, not cited as a symptom of something terrible, because he is not.

By the way, Michael, this happens not only in coaching but also in teaching. Many schools, faced with a course that needs to be taught and nobody with experience to teach it, will prevail upon someone to teach out of his/her field. If the individual is a dedicated teacher who is willing to do the necessary preparation, the students don't necessarily suffer.

Let me add that this sort of thing happens in respectable colleges and graduate schools as well. These institutions do not always have the right content expert available to teach what must be taught. Using a professor who is versitile enough and willing to fill in is better than cancelling a class.

The bottom line is that the cross-country runners at our inquirer's high school will probably benefit from his service. Again, his situation does not represent a "big problem."
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Re: Cross country

Postby CoachKoby » Mon Jun 09, 2003 9:18 am

Great take! His college will benefit from his dedication.
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Re: Cross country

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 09, 2003 9:21 am

Amen to the positive responses to the coach. One additional possibility - find out from the AD if you can have one or more unpaid assistant coaches. If you can, try to locate a top female distance runner in the area to assist you. A female running under 18 minutes in a road 5k is probably doing high quality training now and can assist you in developing workouts, plus serve as a mentor to the runners. Just make sure it is clear that YOU are the coach.

I served as an assistant following graduation from college (unpaid) and enjoyed it tremendously. Talk to the local specialty running store owner as well (if you have one local). He/she will likely be of great assistance.

Don't be afraid to post "dumb" questions on this site - for every sarcastic remark you will get many genuine ones from posters much smarter than I willing/eager to help.
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Re: Cross country

Postby MJR » Mon Jun 09, 2003 9:29 am

I am not bashing this person, nor his attempt at learning. His interest and dedication are to be commended. What I said, if you read the words as they are written, is that this would never happen in another sport. Reverse his coaching positions to being the XC coach and you'd never see a school ask (or even permit) him to coach Hoops w/o experience. I hope he/she is successful, but it should never come to this. How many quality coaches on this board, or others, would kill to get a job at a University and will not have that opportunity now. Coaching a collegiate XC program is not a space filler job for a beginner, and no AD should allow it to be. It is a job for a qualified professional and should be employing someone who meets some level of standards for knowledge and experience. This is no place for on the job learning. That is what Grad Assistants are supposed to be doing.
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Re: Cross country

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 09, 2003 10:04 am

MJR - 3 points.

1. The coach wrote in looking for help. Your response did nothing to increase his/her knowledge or confidence.

2. Your point is well taken - but I'm working under the assumption that this coach is exceptional and will give our sport their best efforts. As far as coaching goes, an exceptional coach is an exceptional coach - technique can be taught, but athlete interaction/understanding cannot. Coach K, John Wooden, John Thompson, etc. would have all made great cross country coaches if place in a similar position - because they are all winners who can motivate.

3. If your local High School needed a baseball coach and couldn't fill the spot, would you do it? If so, would you fail or succeed? Why?
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Re: Cross country

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 09, 2003 10:15 am

>Nothing personal, but this scenario is one of the
>big problems with our sport. Coaches w/o an iota
>of experience get a job coaching it so that the
>school can save a few bucks. This would never
>happen in reverse.>

Exactly.
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Re: Cross country

Postby CoachKoby » Mon Jun 09, 2003 12:38 pm

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Would rather have a coach with little or no experience coaching me who cared about me and the sport and put forth 100% effort than someone who is/was a great runner who only went through the motions.
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Re: Cross country

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 09, 2003 6:35 pm

this situation has been occuring at my shcool for 3 years now. im only a fresh but this year and the past 3 years our xc coach has also beent he basketball coach. we went to regionals all 3 years but during the 2 week period in between districts and regionals bball tryouts and such were held. he never showed up to practice so we were just on our own. i resorted to my friend to train me. during the season he just said 'ok lets run 5 perimeters today' and stuff like that. not much of a coaching job.
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Re: Cross country

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 09, 2003 6:45 pm

That's too bad Athlete 72125. Sounds like your getting the short end of the stick. El Supremo thinks runner's like you tend to kick %$#@@ not BECAUSE of your coaching, but in spite of it. In your case I'd say you have every right to question a b-ball coach coaching track/XC. Imagine what you will accomplish when you get a better coach!!
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Re: Cross country

Postby Guest » Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:05 am

go ahead and get 'Daniel's Running Formula". Its got great workouts, threory, indivdualized training...
Summer workouts are key, if you have the chance one summer get the team to stay in town and train together. It will do wonders for them and the team.
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Re: Cross country

Postby Guest » Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:59 am

there are three books by 1956 olympic bronze medalist allan lawrence, who is still running age records in his late 50;s it covers all ability levels from the 14 minute 5k to 24 minutes 5k, his book the self coached runner the shorter distances, covers everything from the 100 meters to the 5 miles, another book covers the 10k to marathon. it is an excellent book on training. for runners of all abilities.
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