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Subject: "How do I convince a black kid to run distance events?" Previous topic | Next topic
Walleye
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13731 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 03:39 PM

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"How do I convince a black kid to run distance events?"


          

To be clear, I'm used to kids who want to sprint who aren't any good at it. That's pretty much the state of 80% of freshmen and sophomores who run track. The problem here is that our sprint crew is mediocre enough that he actually is capable of helping them and, further, that he's been way more candid about identifying distance running as "for white kids" than most of my runners.

This is a rising junior, who finished last cross country season (his first, played football his freshman year but his parents squashed that) as our #3 runner. He plays basketball in the winter, though my understanding is that he's a coin toss to make varsity this year. He ran outdoor track last spring, and in spite of his success during cross country, I ended up spending all season trying to have an open mind to his desire to be a sprinter.

He's not a sprinter. Watching him, you'd be able to tell this instantly. He's not explosive at all, but keeps a nice, efficient stride going pretty much interminably. He also has an instinctual sense of pacing that's extremely hard to teach, and has a blood-in-the-water sense for when people in front of him start to tire. Empirically, he topped out in the 24.high/54.mid range for 200/400 but ran 2:06.xx for us in the 800m without doing *any* distance work since the fall. I actually don't think he's even an 800m runner at the end of the day, but that was the compromise we agreed on this season.

As I've said, he's been pretty clear that he's not interested in the events for white kids. Part of me thinks this will just pass. Cross country races in our area are 90% white and that hasn't stopped him from being competitive and engaged. But I think he's got a chance to be a special miler/2-miler in track, like in the 4:15/9:20 range if he actually commits to the distance events.

I've learned over the last year that one of the worst mistakes a coach can make is wanting it more than the kids. So, I'm not going to push too hard. And I'm also really uncomfortable making arguments based on future promises like "if you run the mile, DI schools will start throwing money at you." Distance running is hard and boring succeeding at that level will take way more than just saying "yes, I'd like to do this."

But I'm a much better judge of talent than I am at actually coaching that talent, so I'm pretty sure I'm right about this. Anybody got any insight on this? I'm not really sure how useful it'd be for his white, middle-aged coach to engage his central argument - even if it's untrue at both the high-school and college level in the United States.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
idk that you can "convince" any kid to do distance events
Jul 14th 2017
1
Yeah, it's a reliably tough sell to all of them
Jul 14th 2017
2
But distance is for white kids
Jul 14th 2017
3
I mean, you're not wrong
Jul 14th 2017
4
You said he hoops. Tell him that the 8 is for basketball players.
Jul 14th 2017
5
      Hey, that was fun - and exactly how I treat the event
Jul 14th 2017
6
           You still in Nashville? What school?
Jul 14th 2017
8
                Nope, back in DC area now
Jul 14th 2017
9
This is so weird.
Jul 19th 2017
37
First off, this is the best post this board has seen in a while.
Jul 14th 2017
7
RE: First off, this is the best post this board has seen in a while.
Jul 14th 2017
10
Bring him around the team and encourage him
Jul 14th 2017
11
Give him a copy of Charley Pride's autobiography.
Jul 14th 2017
12
I mean, it's basically him and now Darius Rucker right?
Jul 14th 2017
13
Dobie Gray too, though he crossed over into pop a lot.
Jul 15th 2017
19
The thing is though, if he's not elite, he'll still hit a ceiling and no...
Jul 14th 2017
14
      I think he can be an elite miler, but he'd have to start *soon*
Jul 17th 2017
23
Jordan's.
Jul 14th 2017
15
see if the basketball coach advises it?
Jul 15th 2017
16
Honestly, the best advice in here.
Jul 15th 2017
20
Yeah, basketball coach will help
Jul 15th 2017
21
My coach convinced me to run the 800.
Jul 15th 2017
17
RE: My coach convinced me to run the 800.
Jul 17th 2017
24
There's such a huge dichotomy between the 400 and 800.
Jul 15th 2017
18
Ah, we have a slightly different background
Jul 17th 2017
26
It is a hard sell but I try getting him to run the 8 seriously...
Jul 17th 2017
22
show him video of Abebe Bikila and Mamo Wolde
Jul 17th 2017
25
This was my "how do I convince ANY kid to play goalie" this past spring
Jul 17th 2017
27
I got nutted in pre-game and it crippled me for a couple hours
Jul 17th 2017
28
He's going to cross country camp!
Jul 18th 2017
29
Congrats!
Jul 18th 2017
30
๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ cc is much more fun than laps
Jul 18th 2017
31
That wasn't my experience, but you're definitely not alone
Jul 19th 2017
32
      We talking practice or the race?
Jul 19th 2017
34
      The race, I think
Jul 19th 2017
41
      On the track, THA VIEW NEVAH CHANGES (c)Duthty Rhodes
Jul 19th 2017
36
      "rare" in this case means "slightly off"
Jul 19th 2017
42
           Jersey raced 400 IH in the 90s.
Jul 20th 2017
45
      I ran CC, I never ran track.
Jul 19th 2017
40
           Yeah, this is another thing I have to work on
Jul 19th 2017
43
Out of curiosity.
Jul 19th 2017
33
They decided on their own, it seems
Jul 19th 2017
35
      In my eyes
Jul 19th 2017
38
           I wanted a volume of opinions, and yours is more direct anyhow
Jul 19th 2017
39
Great news! I hope he ends up with a good group!
Jul 19th 2017
44

BrooklynWHAT
Member since Jun 15th 2007
72361 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 03:50 PM

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1. "idk that you can "convince" any kid to do distance events"
In response to Reply # 0
Fri Jul-14-17 03:51 PM by BrooklynWHAT

  

          

its a sport that takes a very special mindset. i knew anything longer than a 400 wasnt for me the first time i ran an 800 (sidenote: ultimately track altogether wasn't for me. the objective didn't trigger my interests) and no amount of convincing attempts wouldve ever gotten me to think otherwise

but if you feel the whole "white kid" thing is his hangup and not the mindset i'd do some research on great black/african distance runners. maybe assign that to him as a personal project or something if you think it'd trigger his interest.

and try to maybe find him some black mentors in the local CC/distance running event/competition community. itd definitely help to see more similar faces and a path already ran that he can follow.

<--- Big Baller World Order

  

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Walleye
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13731 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 04:12 PM

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2. "Yeah, it's a reliably tough sell to all of them"
In response to Reply # 1


          

>its a sport that takes a very special mindset. i knew
>anything longer than a 400 wasnt for me the first time i ran
>an 800 (sidenote: ultimately track altogether wasn't for me.
>the objective didn't trigger my interests) and no amount of
>convincing attempts wouldve ever gotten me to think otherwise

This is pretty common, which means I gain most of my runners through attrition - they take a few years to realize their not made for other sports or even other track events and either find their way to the distances or out of the sport altogether. I cannot tell a lie: it's extremely difficult work even to be average and it's also pretty boring.

>but if you feel the whole "white kid" thing is his hangup and
>not the mindset i'd do some research on great black/african
>distance runners. maybe assign that to him as a personal
>project or something if you think it'd trigger his interest.

Right. I'm obliged to take him at his word because he says that's his hangup. But honestly it seems way more likely that it's a variety of reasons which include the fact that, almost exclusively at our school and other local ones, black kids run sprint events. I think, regrettably, assigning any of these goofs actual research will go over poorly - but I was thinking of making them stick around after a pre-season practice to watch some of the World Championships in August. His view here is objectively false, and maybe seeing Isaiah Harris or Justyn Knight make a run in the 800 or the 5000 will knock down his most explicit point.

>and try to maybe find him some black mentors in the local
>CC/distance running event/competition community. itd
>definitely help to see more similar faces and a path already
>ran that he can follow.

This... thanks for this. As soon as I read it I thought of two people who might be kind of helpful here. And neither one in an overly didactic way - an alum who ran 800m at an Ivy League school and a guy who's competing professionally whose track club has come by to do clinics for our distance group.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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MEAT
Member since Feb 08th 2008
14319 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 04:16 PM

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3. "But distance is for white kids"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

And this is coming from a person that ran distance for a few years. Your training partners will be white or foreign. And god forbid you try to train distance solo as a black person, running through the wrong parts or places is just asking for shit. Add that on to the comaraderie of competition and white distance runners from my experience were some of the biggest assholes I ever ran against.

-------
โ€œThere are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves. People are not, for example, terribly anxious to be equal (equal, after all, to what and to whom?) but they love the idea of being superior.โ€
โ€• James Baldwin

  

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Walleye
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13731 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 04:25 PM

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4. "I mean, you're not wrong"
In response to Reply # 3


          

>And this is coming from a person that ran distance for a few
>years. Your training partners will be white or foreign. And
>god forbid you try to train distance solo as a black person,
>running through the wrong parts or places is just asking for
>shit. Add that on to the comaraderie of competition and white
>distance runners from my experience were some of the biggest
>assholes I ever ran against.

Hell, on this team simply not being Irish is pretty foreign. But we could compromise on 800m meters and that's a fair amount more diverse in our area.

Besides, the alternative is remaining a 200/400 guy who is just "meh" but good enough to fill out a relay here and there for our team. If he can put up with universally white training partners during cross country, then I'm hoping at some point ambition can take over. The idea being that being good at a sport is much more fun than being bad at a sport.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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MEAT
Member since Feb 08th 2008
14319 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 04:43 PM

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5. "You said he hoops. Tell him that the 8 is for basketball players. "
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

Long strides close to full speed, with a huge push at the end. The first 150 is tip off, the next 100 is the first quarter, the next 50 is the coach telling you what's going on, the next 100 is the second quarter trying to bring it close to single digits, the next 100 is your internal half time speech, the next 100 is the third quarter and the last 200 is the 4th, all heart.

-------
โ€œThere are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves. People are not, for example, terribly anxious to be equal (equal, after all, to what and to whom?) but they love the idea of being superior.โ€
โ€• James Baldwin

  

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Walleye
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Fri Jul-14-17 04:48 PM

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6. "Hey, that was fun - and exactly how I treat the event"
In response to Reply # 5


          

>the next 100 is your internal half time
>speech, the next 100 is the third quarter and the last 200 is
>the 4th, all heart.

This is an extremely lovable analogy. Thanks for this.

I assume I'll end up happy if he just assents to being an 800m runner. The feeling of having usable-to-good 800m runners who I'd love to see take the mile seriously is something I've gotten used to over the years.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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DonVito
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Fri Jul-14-17 04:54 PM

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8. "You still in Nashville? What school?"
In response to Reply # 6


  

          

Sounds like father Ryan from the Irish comments maybe

  

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Walleye
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Fri Jul-14-17 05:02 PM

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9. "Nope, back in DC area now"
In response to Reply # 8


          

From what I remember of Fr. Ryan's reputation though, the comparison is apt. Though my school is Jesuit and I'm not sure that Fr. Ryan is. Irishers *love* sending their kids to Jesuit schools. I've had two kids named "Seamus" on the team at the same point, relay teams made up entirely of Patricks, etc.

Somehow, I still feel weirdly paranoid talking about the school online - so if I'm being cagey, it's not for a good reason but still an intractable one.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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TheAlbionist
Member since Jul 04th 2011
3287 posts
Wed Jul-19-17 10:43 AM

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37. "This is so weird."
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

I can see it from an American perspective because sprinting is held on such a pedestal, but it was the polar opposite where/when I grew up... in the unevolved 80s any white kid in the UK who could run over 1500m was asked if they were a refugee saved from the Ethiopian famine.

Distance running idols are surely still largely Kenyan and Ethiopian?

If someone had occasionally told 13 year old me he could've been bumping into women that look like Tirunesh Dibaba at meets I would've stuck with the shit a hell of a lot longer.

_______________________________

))<>((
forever.

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
80343 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 04:51 PM

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7. "First off, this is the best post this board has seen in a while."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I can't wait to see how it somehow gets ruined or thrown off track.

>But I
>think he's got a chance to be a special miler/2-miler in
>track, like in the 4:15/9:20 range if he actually commits to
>the distance events.

I don't think it'd be overstepping your role to inform him this in conjunction with the possibility that he might be D1 scholarship good. If he's a blood-in-the-water kid in races, and he's interested in getting to college/alleviating family financial burden, he probably needs to hear this from *someone.* I know firsthand from working with a lot of kids with D1 potential in California that the degree to which the schools will relax strict academic standards for an athlete they want is *astonishing.* Astonishing enough that, if he has collegiate aspirations, hearing he could potentially do D1 might be enough for him to see the big picture and motivate him to pound through the hardness, the whiteness, the boredom, etc.

Worst-case scenario, he hears that he has D1 potential and decides, "Nah, still not my thing." In which case, cool, you've done your part and subsequently respected his wishes. Best-case scenario, it opens his eyes to some real future possibilities that maybe he simply didn't understand upon first consideration. "Big picture" stuff *is* notoriously difficult for high school kids to picture (IIRC, there's a study that says people under 18 literally can't grasp the concept of time in terms of longevity, their brains simply aren't wired yet to do so).

>I've learned over the last year that one of the worst mistakes
>a coach can make is wanting it more than the kids. So, I'm not
>going to push too hard. And I'm also really uncomfortable
>making arguments based on future promises like "if you run the
>mile, DI schools will start throwing money at you." Distance
>running is hard and boring succeeding at that level will take
>way more than just saying "yes, I'd like to do this."

You downplayed your coaching ability below, but this tells me you're a hell of a coach, because you're absolutely right re: the coach wanting it more than the kid. Referencing once again my D1 kids, I have kids who are all about their sport, and I have kids just riding it out for the money-- and the latter group is *fucking miserable.* I've had swimmers and water polo players all tell me, "... yeah, if it were up to me, I wouldn't play anymore." Because swimming is really hard and boring and generally fucking sucks.

Just this morning, I had a student who's a brilliant classical pianist-- he's played Carnegie Hall, other impressive venues, etc. His GPA isn't great, but his dad is pushing him to go to all of these top-tier schools with big music programs, because they'll overlook his below-average-for-the-school GPA to get him into the music schools... but he told me in private that he's not sure he wants to study music in college. He likes playing, but he just isn't into working on it *like that.* He just happens to be naturally brilliant. And he doesn't really know how to tell his dad, because that would knock down his tier of university considerably, and the dad is crazily invested in getting the kid's music noticed. Just a shitty, shitty situation.

I think you can find a way to level with him and give him an honest appraisal of his potential without pushing the issue. If he knows fully what good judges of talent know he's capable of, and he *still* chooses to want to do something else... then as you said, it'd be doing the kid wrong to hold a gun to his head and say "I KNOW BEST." Even if you do know best.

I've made this mistake before btw. I got a kid with an absolute shit GPA into a prestigious acting conservatory. Full ride scholarship. Worked my balls off. Delivered all paperwork, wrote all recs, talked endlessly to people at the school. Got him in. 1.4 GPA in HS, then in a prestigious conservatory. I was so goddamn proud. Then, the kid dropped out five months in. Didn't want to be a professional actor anymore. Just "wasn't feeling it." I took it INSANELY PERSONALLY (privately, of course), but then I realized, as you alluded to, I'd cast myself in the role of "student savior" when ultimately his choices are his own to make. Personal investment can never trump letting a kid make his own choices, even if the kid ultimately makes mistakes. I think as long as you've done your part in fully informing him where his maximum potential lies (and the above advice of having another outside influence who's traveled the same path as him to add credibility to your argument is strong, imo), that's what you can do. That's what a good coach does. The bad coach is the one who screams and stomps his feet when the kid isn't interested.

tl;dr: you're doing the right thing, support the decision he makes once you feel he's been sufficiently informed by you and others

Hungry Hippos: The Movie. Now available to read: http://www.russellhainline.com.

  

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Walleye
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13731 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 05:16 PM

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10. "RE: First off, this is the best post this board has seen in a while."
In response to Reply # 7
Fri Jul-14-17 05:23 PM by Walleye

          

>I can't wait to see how it somehow gets ruined or thrown off
>track.

Yeah, I've written like four versions of this over the past few days, with varying degrees of background about my crazy school, and then deleted them with the expectation that it will just go south. But the variety of life experiences of people on this board never fails to surprise me, so I may as well just ask in good faith and let people chime in.

>I don't think it'd be overstepping your role to inform him
>this in conjunction with the possibility that he might be D1
>scholarship good. If he's a blood-in-the-water kid in races,
>and he's interested in getting to college/alleviating family
>financial burden, he probably needs to hear this from
>*someone.* I know firsthand from working with a lot of kids
>with D1 potential in California that the degree to which the
>schools will relax strict academic standards for an athlete
>they want is *astonishing.* Astonishing enough that, if he has
>collegiate aspirations, hearing he could potentially do D1
>might be enough for him to see the big picture and motivate
>him to pound through the hardness, the whiteness, the boredom,
>etc.

This is good reinforcement, and it's definitely the hope. There's a pretty small amount of scholarships that DI schools have to give out for track (I think it's 12.5) and relatively few schools are even permitted by their administration to use that full amount. But we've had a few good-but-not-scholarship-level students get the exact bump in admissions that you're describing here, and that's no small reward. One of my first years, I had a kid getting stone-walled by a bunch of Ivy League schools who then dropped a great 800m time and all of a sudden coaches opened up to him and admission was a breeze.

>Worst-case scenario, he hears that he has D1 potential and
>decides, "Nah, still not my thing." In which case, cool,
>you've done your part and subsequently respected his wishes.
>Best-case scenario, it opens his eyes to some real future
>possibilities that maybe he simply didn't understand upon
>first consideration. "Big picture" stuff *is* notoriously
>difficult for high school kids to picture (IIRC, there's a
>study that says people under 18 literally can't grasp the
>concept of time in terms of longevity, their brains simply
>aren't wired yet to do so).

Oof. This is helpful. I am obviously really cautious not to overstep, but the result has been a lot of policies (by me, for me - not external ones) that mean kids don't feel a ton of pressure from me but are MAYBE not being pushed quite hard enough.

>You downplayed your coaching ability below, but this tells me
>you're a hell of a coach, because you're absolutely right re:
>the coach wanting it more than the kid. Referencing once again
>my D1 kids, I have kids who are all about their sport, and I
>have kids just riding it out for the money-- and the latter
>group is *fucking miserable.* I've had swimmers and water polo
>players all tell me, "... yeah, if it were up to me, I
>wouldn't play anymore." Because swimming is really hard and
>boring and generally fucking sucks.

Thanks! I had to learn it the hard way though. I spent all last year battling with other coaches over the event allotment for an extremely all-around talented kid on our team, and then realized around April that I was contributing (hopefully minimally, but any amount is too much) to making this already-a-tough-sell sport kind of a bummer for him. Backed off, which meant he was done running any distance events, but he'll be around to help during cross country and he seems to be really enjoying himself just being good and running.

It would bum me out entirely to hear kids describe their sport as a grinding obligation like that - though it would be worse if they felt that way and were hiding it. Blargh.

>Just this morning, I had a student who's a brilliant classical
>pianist-- he's played Carnegie Hall, other impressive venues,
>etc. His GPA isn't great, but his dad is pushing him to go to
>all of these top-tier schools with big music programs, because
>they'll overlook his below-average-for-the-school GPA to get
>him into the music schools... but he told me in private that
>he's not sure he wants to study music in college. He likes
>playing, but he just isn't into working on it *like that.* He
>just happens to be naturally brilliant. And he doesn't really
>know how to tell his dad, because that would knock down his
>tier of university considerably, and the dad is crazily
>invested in getting the kid's music noticed. Just a shitty,
>shitty situation.

Fuck. That's tough. Good luck? I have nothing for that.

>I think you can find a way to level with him and give him an
>honest appraisal of his potential without pushing the issue.
>If he knows fully what good judges of talent know he's capable
>of, and he *still* chooses to want to do something else...
>then as you said, it'd be doing the kid wrong to hold a gun to
>his head and say "I KNOW BEST." Even if you do know best.
>
>I've made this mistake before btw. I got a kid with an
>absolute shit GPA into a prestigious acting conservatory. Full
>ride scholarship. Worked my balls off. Delivered all
>paperwork, wrote all recs, talked endlessly to people at the
>school. Got him in. 1.4 GPA in HS, then in a prestigious
>conservatory. I was so goddamn proud. Then, the kid dropped
>out five months in. Didn't want to be a professional actor
>anymore. Just "wasn't feeling it." I took it INSANELY
>PERSONALLY (privately, of course), but then I realized, as you
>alluded to, I'd cast myself in the role of "student savior"
>when ultimately his choices are his own to make. Personal
>investment can never trump letting a kid make his own choices,
>even if the kid ultimately makes mistakes. I think as long as
>you've done your part in fully informing him where his maximum
>potential lies (and the above advice of having another outside
>influence who's traveled the same path as him to add
>credibility to your argument is strong, imo), that's what you
>can do. That's what a good coach does. The bad coach is the
>one who screams and stomps his feet when the kid isn't
>interested.

Yep, which means you've exposed the nasty little dilemma at the root of this: the traits that make you really, really good at caring about these kids (which you clearly are) are the same things that will lay down a ton of little traps that use your commitment to make you feel like shit.

Edited to add: The one nice thing my coaching situation offers, which makes this job pretty lucky is that all of these kids are probably going to be fine. The school is goofy as hell, but it's extremely good at both preparing kids to be admitted to good schools but, further, to actually succeed academically there. Track can be a useful way for some of that to happen, but if I find the right frame of mind to approach it - the job can potentially be pretty low stakes for me. Kids find me and want to run fast, and I try to help them run fast.

But until I'm perfectly zen about it, any amount of wasted potential, even if it's just potential on the track without any larger meaning or consequences, is going to bug me.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Kira
Member since Nov 14th 2004
27103 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 06:05 PM

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11. "Bring him around the team and encourage him"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Have them invite him to events when they hang out and come to practice. A lot of kids at that age want two things:

Somewhere to belong
Someone or some people that believe in them

There are so many different paths in life that kids can't take out of fear, lack of resources, lack of environment to sustain them, and or lack of opportunity. Just be somewhat consistent but not too pushy and gradually bring the young man into the fold.

  

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Buck
Member since Feb 15th 2005
14759 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 06:56 PM

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12. "Give him a copy of Charley Pride's autobiography."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

https://www.amazon.com/Pride-Charley-Story/dp/0688126383/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500076148&sr=1-2&keywords=charley+pride

Tell him, "this sumbitch played COUNTRY music, won four Grammys, sold tens of millions of records, and has a house the size of Delaware. You can't run distance? The fuck you can't."

That's one way to go, anyway.

  

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Walleye
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Fri Jul-14-17 07:34 PM

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13. "I mean, it's basically him and now Darius Rucker right?"
In response to Reply # 12


          

That autobiography title might be a bit cute though.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Buck
Member since Feb 15th 2005
14759 posts
Sat Jul-15-17 01:41 PM

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19. "Dobie Gray too, though he crossed over into pop a lot."
In response to Reply # 13


  

          

  

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MEAT
Member since Feb 08th 2008
14319 posts
Fri Jul-14-17 08:11 PM

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14. "The thing is though, if he's not elite, he'll still hit a ceiling and no..."
In response to Reply # 12


  

          

Like at least when you're average at something and in your element you can have fun. Like pick up ball.

I ran a single 1500 in hs, I had been an average at best 400 runner and a pretty good 800 runner. So I tried my hand at the 1500 in a meet just to get a medal 4:30.82 at the age of 15 and having never run that race. After that I got a lot of push to go up. But I stuck with the 800. I did CC for two years after that. But that was just to stay in running shape. I had fun doing the 8, I was interested in it and it was a challenge. But I just wouldn't have had any fun doing the 1500. The practice, the grind, the elbows, the role models (Pre Pre Pre) ... distance culture is just not really diverse.

I think walleye is doing well with finding compromise. The 8, is becoming a bit more cooler than it used to be. The dude out of Texas A&M really opened some eyes. And as long as the 400 keeps becoming the elite of the elite, you'll get more diversity in the 800.

-------
โ€œThere are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves. People are not, for example, terribly anxious to be equal (equal, after all, to what and to whom?) but they love the idea of being superior.โ€
โ€• James Baldwin

  

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Walleye
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Mon Jul-17-17 10:37 AM

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23. "I think he can be an elite miler, but he'd have to start *soon*"
In response to Reply # 14


          

and I don't think that's likely. The distance mono-culture you're describing is real, and the only alternative that our school seems to cultivate is for kids who are good at track (distance events included) and more or less indifferent to the sport as a whole. My actual #1 miler right now (4:35ish) could make the jump to garnering some college interest, but he'd rather spend the summer swimming and playing pickup basketball.

We've had some really self-assured kids who are into the sport without feeling the need to fully buy into the distance identity, but that's a personality thing that I don't have the ability to grow. So, his options are buy into the comically white distance sub-culture, pursue it aggressively but passionlessly (which is extremely difficult for anybody, let alone a kid at an age where carving out a distinctive identity is a full-time project) or the third way:

>I think walleye is doing well with finding compromise. The 8,
>is becoming a bit more cooler than it used to be. The dude out
>of Texas A&M really opened some eyes. And as long as the 400
>keeps becoming the elite of the elite, you'll get more
>diversity in the 800.

So, I'm not sure he'll have the speed for even an elite 800m, though if he grows up a bit physically that may change my outlook. But I think he can get into the 1:53-1:54 range and that since pursuing that would get him some substantial 400m duty as well (particularly on our really shallow team) and let him look at the much more diverse field of 400/800m talent (2/3 of the United States' 800m team being sent to WC's this year are black and are more the 400/800 mold than the 800/1500m) as a workable niche.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Hitokiri
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Fri Jul-14-17 09:37 PM

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15. "Jordan's."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

aka bribe.

--
"You can't beat white people. You can only knock them out."

"There is only one god and his name is death. And there is only one thing we say to death: not today."

  

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Rjcc
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Sat Jul-15-17 01:21 AM

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16. "see if the basketball coach advises it?"
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we had a few basketball players every year just getting their endurance up.


www.engadgethd.com - the other stuff i'm looking at

  

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bignick
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Sat Jul-15-17 06:47 PM

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20. "Honestly, the best advice in here. "
In response to Reply # 16


  

          

  

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Walleye
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Sat Jul-15-17 06:57 PM

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21. "Yeah, basketball coach will help"
In response to Reply # 16


          

We've had a pretty good track record getting basketball players to come out for track, though AAU commitments tend to thin out their availability. It's a good idea, but I have a weird concern with it:

I've actually had coaches of sports with high cut rates (and basketball cuts the highest percentage at our school) try to feel out which kids are good at track so they can sleep a bit easier giving them the axe. A couple years ago, one actually tried to get me to push a kid even harder on track so that he wouldn't have to bother cutting him. It's such a weird dynamic, but I'm actually incredibly nervous about costing any kid a spot on a team he actually enjoys.

If he makes the varsity team, though, I'm definitely doing this. Good call. Just have the coach lean on him for distance events something that will help him next year.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Castro
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Sat Jul-15-17 02:32 AM

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17. "My coach convinced me to run the 800."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I ran track for one year, and I had played basketball, so I wasn't exactly starting from scratch, but my coach was also my psychology teacher, so he played up the 'building your internal discipline to match your physical discipline' angle to convince me to try it. First meet I was great as a 'rabbit' during the first half of the race and then I finished dead last, LOL. I ended up running the 200, but I ran the 800 in practice to build for the 200. So in short, play it up as a strength thing, because in my mind, that is the hardest race. Anything beyond 800, you are running different, but 800 is really the threshold between sprinting and distance...

------------------
One Hundred.

  

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Walleye
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Mon Jul-17-17 10:54 AM

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24. "RE: My coach convinced me to run the 800."
In response to Reply # 17


          

>I ran track for one year, and I had played basketball, so I
>wasn't exactly starting from scratch, but my coach was also my
>psychology teacher, so he played up the 'building your
>internal discipline to match your physical discipline' angle
>to convince me to try it. First meet I was great as a 'rabbit'
> during the first half of the race and then I finished dead
>last, LOL.

This is an absolutely brutal assignment that I have definitely given to 400m runners before. It was awful, and I regret nothing.

>I ended up running the 200, but I ran the 800 in
>practice to build for the 200. So in short, play it up as a
>strength thing, because in my mind, that is the hardest race.
> Anything beyond 800, you are running different, but 800 is
>really the threshold between sprinting and distance...

This would work really well, as our sprinters seem terminally un-prepared for even the strength necessary for 200m. Honestly, a lot of my initial post would have been unnecessary if our current sprint coaches were more interested in successfully building endurance for their own group.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Mignight Maruder
Member since Nov 30th 2003
7275 posts
Sat Jul-15-17 08:38 AM

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18. "There's such a huge dichotomy between the 400 and 800. "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

At my high school, the 400 has and seemingly always will be the most coveted event. The coaches are obsessed with it. My freshman year our 4X4 team finished top 3 in the state with a sub 3:20 and most of the subsequent teams were state qualifiers too. The girls team has produced some really good 400 runners too. My school has never had a problem with convincing kids to commit to the 400.

There's so much emphasis on this event though and imo, very little attention given to the 800. I always felt like the 1600/3200 runners always had their separate regime as they were mostly cross-country runners. Middle distance 800 runners though? They were on the own island it seemed.

There was a very, very good runner I graduated with who went on to run at Cornell. He was mostly a sprinter, but would run the 800 when it came to the post-season. He ran about a 1:55 and I believe placed at the state level. I can't imagine how fast he would have been if he had fully trained for the 800.

As far as your original post, I'm struggling for any good answers. I've worked in education as a teacher/counselor for the past decade plus and can tell you that every kid is unique and is motivated in different ways. I'm sure you already know that, but I don't want you beating yourself up searching for the perfect sales pitch.

The kid I referenced above was motivated by the idea that the 800 gave him the best opportunity to compete for a state medal. With that said, he still mainly trained for the 400.

It's really hard to get inside the mind of a high schooler. I know just myself, I really had an irrational way of viewing things. I'll forever hold guilt for allowing one bad injury and confrontation with a coach stop me from continuing to play baseball in high school. I was too hard-headed to play the sport I excelled at most. I 100% committed myself to football only - which I experienced a lot of success in. However, I really wish I would have approached things differently and committed myself to basketball and baseball more. I ran track btw - but was just a marginal contributor.

  

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Walleye
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Mon Jul-17-17 12:45 PM

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26. "Ah, we have a slightly different background"
In response to Reply # 18


          

>At my high school, the 400 has and seemingly always will be
>the most coveted event. The coaches are obsessed with it. My
>freshman year our 4X4 team finished top 3 in the state with a
>sub 3:20 and most of the subsequent teams were state
>qualifiers too. The girls team has produced some really good
>400 runners too. My school has never had a problem with
>convincing kids to commit to the 400.

We have a strong individual history with the 400m, led primarily by an alum who is a volunteer coach and our school record holder in the event. His record is strong (sub-47) but we've actually never put together a team that's run under 3:20. That's primarily a depth issue, because we've definitely had the runners to do it but they're usually burdened with 2+ other events by the time the 4x400m rolls around.

The 4x800m has a similar appeal to our distance crowd, as we've put together some very strong (via Penn and New Balance performances) teams there, but the pull hasn't spread to the sprinters at all.

My hope is to build up a tradition where this kind of legacy takes care of itself, with a little custodianship from coaches. That sounds a lot like what you're describing at your school.

>There's so much emphasis on this event though and imo, very
>little attention given to the 800. I always felt like the
>1600/3200 runners always had their separate regime as they
>were mostly cross-country runners. Middle distance 800 runners
>though? They were on the own island it seemed.

Yeah, it's a lot clearer in college where the presence of 5K/10K guys effectively excludes 800m runners from the distance group with the exception of the occasional crossover workout. High school is different, though, unless you have a big enough team - which we don't. 800m runners pretty much have to be either/or at our school and the answer is pretty much always "distance" for us.

>There was a very, very good runner I graduated with who went
>on to run at Cornell. He was mostly a sprinter, but would run
>the 800 when it came to the post-season. He ran about a 1:55
>and I believe placed at the state level. I can't imagine how
>fast he would have been if he had fully trained for the 800.

Some 800m guys really seem to benefit by working one side of the road or the other for awhile. A lot of our event-group lines are dependent on the very mutable off-season habits of high schoolers. The kid in question in the OP and another sprinter who I'd love to focus on the 800m (but who has more potential at 200/400 than his teammate) are both on the cross country team. In a hypothetical world where they both do the summer running that we recommend (35-50 mpw) and work through cross country, I'd actually be in favor of them training as sprinters and living off of that base all the way through May. But the base has to be there for 800m, in my view.

>As far as your original post, I'm struggling for any good
>answers. I've worked in education as a teacher/counselor for
>the past decade plus and can tell you that every kid is unique
>and is motivated in different ways. I'm sure you already know
>that, but I don't want you beating yourself up searching for
>the perfect sales pitch.

Yep. I wouldn't have brought this one here if it weren't for his explicit appeal to an implicit racial divide in the track distances. I don't actually think that's the sum of his reasoning, particularly when the far easier answer is that training for and racing the 800m is a pretty unpleasant way to spend one's time.

The push for him to move up is going to be an ongoing conversation and not a silver bullet. But because I've literally never had a runner specifically say "nope - that event is for white kids" I wanted some tools for taking him at his word. You're right, of course, that whatever the right approach is - it'll be weirdly and carefully designed to the individual kid. And it might fail anyhow.

>It's really hard to get inside the mind of a high schooler. I
>know just myself, I really had an irrational way of viewing
>things. I'll forever hold guilt for allowing one bad injury
>and confrontation with a coach stop me from continuing to play
>baseball in high school. I was too hard-headed to play the
>sport I excelled at most. I 100% committed myself to football
>only - which I experienced a lot of success in. However, I
>really wish I would have approached things differently and
>committed myself to basketball and baseball more. I ran track
>btw - but was just a marginal contributor.

Yep. Our weird high school brains just aren't often enough put together for the simple logic of "you can be very, very good at this sport and therefore should maybe pursue it most seriously".

Now that I'm old and my body is increasingly creaky and useless, I'm SUPER smart about what I should have done when I was sixteen. Blargh.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Cornbread
Member since Jul 21st 2006
1067 posts
Mon Jul-17-17 10:23 AM

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22. "It is a hard sell but I try getting him to run the 8 seriously..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

The 800 is a chess match and it builds up your strength and endurance like nothing else. It will definitely improve his basketball endurance. The HS basketball coach used to force his players to run track for part of the year. Great conditioning.

Pitch to him that the 800 is a hardcore race that most 200 and 400m runners are afraid of and that long distance folks get squeamish over. When I was in high school, we had one of the top 4x800 squads in the country. It was nice to be feared.

*America's Favorite*

  

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Warren Coolidge
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Mon Jul-17-17 12:25 PM

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25. "show him video of Abebe Bikila and Mamo Wolde "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

how accomplished and heroic they were and how it's in his nature to conquer long distances...

particularly Abebe Bikila seeting Olympic records running through the streets of Rome in his bare feet...

  

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magilla vanilla
Member since Sep 13th 2002
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Mon Jul-17-17 01:51 PM

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27. "This was my "how do I convince ANY kid to play goalie" this past spring"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I ended up having six kids do it throughout the year.

The first guy graded out. Second guy took a shot to the head and then his mom said no more goalie. One of our captains filled in for the second half of that game. Next kid took one in the plums in a game and then another the following day's practice. Then we finally had a decent middle/attackman take over and save one game that he had to miss, fill in admirably.

---------------------------------
Photo zine(some images NSFW): http://bit.ly/USaSPhoto

"This (and every, actually) conversation needs more Chesterton and less Mike Francesa." - Walleye

  

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Ceej
Member since Feb 16th 2006
64530 posts
Mon Jul-17-17 01:55 PM

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28. "I got nutted in pre-game and it crippled me for a couple hours"
In response to Reply # 27


  

          

Few weeks later I took one right on my thigh and my entire quad was purple for a week

http://i.imgur.com/vPqCzVU.jpg

  

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Walleye
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Tue Jul-18-17 06:38 PM

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29. "He's going to cross country camp!"
In response to Reply # 0


          

His parents signed him up. I should have added as context that his parents are pretty big fans of both the team environment in cross country and the fact that he's already pretty good at it. Plus, I think his dad is a morning-before-work kind of runner and they do it together in the summer.

In any case, we are treating this as very good news.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
80343 posts
Tue Jul-18-17 07:15 PM

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30. "Congrats!"
In response to Reply # 29


  

          

Hungry Hippos: The Movie. Now available to read: http://www.russellhainline.com.

  

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abcdmetrius
Member since Oct 31st 2005
2176 posts
Tue Jul-18-17 09:07 PM

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31. "๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ cc is much more fun than laps"
In response to Reply # 29


  

          

-----

I really need to figure out my password.

  

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Walleye
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Wed Jul-19-17 08:29 AM

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32. "That wasn't my experience, but you're definitely not alone"
In response to Reply # 31


          

Nearly all of my kids say that too me too. It's been my biggest problem getting any of them to latch onto the 2-mile on the track (which is a different, way too boring for this forum, post).

I hated cross country, even though I ran it through college. I wasn't a very good distance runner, but I could fake it on a nice, smooth cross country course. On the track was perfect. Shorter distances, nice predictable laps.

This is apparently a very small minority view.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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abcdmetrius
Member since Oct 31st 2005
2176 posts
Wed Jul-19-17 09:10 AM

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34. "We talking practice or the race?"
In response to Reply # 32


  

          

-----

I really need to figure out my password.

  

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Walleye
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Wed Jul-19-17 05:14 PM

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41. "The race, I think"
In response to Reply # 34


          

I grew up in Maryland (I actually coach there too) and even though this isn't a particularly hilly state, there's a weird sadism that runs through course design here. The course for the state meet actually became a topic of concern for local coaches in the early 00's because they were worried that Maryland kids weren't getting recruited due to running so slowly at the state meet. I ran two minutes slower than my previous best XC race, and still passed kids on a hill 1/4 mile from the finish who were literally crying. Crying was a fair response.

In any case, college was nice. The upper midwest is pretty fast and smooth. I wasn't anywhere close to a good cross country runner, even by the adjusted standards of D3 in a "meh" program, but I loved a good race on a golf course. A few rolling hills so we could pretend we weren't on the track was just enough.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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magilla vanilla
Member since Sep 13th 2002
16746 posts
Wed Jul-19-17 09:53 AM

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36. "On the track, THA VIEW NEVAH CHANGES (c)Duthty Rhodes"
In response to Reply # 32


  

          

The 800 was the upper limit of what I was willing to do in High School. But I was the rare hurdler that preferred the IH to the Highs.

---------------------------------
Photo zine(some images NSFW): http://bit.ly/USaSPhoto

"This (and every, actually) conversation needs more Chesterton and less Mike Francesa." - Walleye

  

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Walleye
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Wed Jul-19-17 05:16 PM

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42. ""rare" in this case means "slightly off""
In response to Reply # 36


          

>But I was the rare hurdler that preferred the IH
>to the Highs.

That's nuts to me. Intermediate hurdles is such a brutal race. And watching those same guys move up to 400m IM's in college (it seems like more states are racing at 400m now, but it was pretty rare in the late 90's) was hilarious. They looked just awful in the homestretch.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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magilla vanilla
Member since Sep 13th 2002
16746 posts
Thu Jul-20-17 08:52 AM

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45. "Jersey raced 400 IH in the 90s."
In response to Reply # 42


  

          

LOVED that race, because there was strategy. 110s, if my first hurdle was off, my whole race was fucked. 400 I could hang in lane 2 or even 1, see how I'm doing through the first 100, adjust through the middle 2, and bang the home stretch.

---------------------------------
Photo zine(some images NSFW): http://bit.ly/USaSPhoto

"This (and every, actually) conversation needs more Chesterton and less Mike Francesa." - Walleye

  

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Rjcc
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Wed Jul-19-17 05:05 PM

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40. "I ran CC, I never ran track."
In response to Reply # 32


  

          

track is wild boring, also you can get lapped in the distance events


www.engadgethd.com - the other stuff i'm looking at

  

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Walleye
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Wed Jul-19-17 05:19 PM

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43. "Yeah, this is another thing I have to work on"
In response to Reply # 40


          

The 3200m in our conference is extremely shallow, but I'm so sympathetic to my kids' "that's incredibly boring" argument (particularly during indoor, when you can get lapped and actually run an okay race) that we've done a terrible job developing 3200m runners.

I'm putting my foot down on that one this year. As a specialty, the mile is for kids I can actually imagine running under 4:30. I'll punt away entry slots at real meets if it means sticking to this. We're going to have two milers this season.

But you're not wrong. Longer events on the track are crazy boring.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Numba_33
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Wed Jul-19-17 08:44 AM

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33. "Out of curiosity."
In response to Reply # 29


  

          

Did you talk to the parents at all in the vein you did in the original thread or did they make that decision to sign for cross country on their own?

My apologies if you already answered that in another post, but I'm just skimming this thread right now.

"Sean sparks like John Starks, nah, Sean ball like John Wall" - Rest In Power Forever Sean Price.

  

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Walleye
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Wed Jul-19-17 09:29 AM

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35. "They decided on their own, it seems"
In response to Reply # 33


          

The only thing that we did, as a program, was forward an email advertising the camp. I think the other assistant who sent it added a plug, since it's run by some people we know at a rival school (rival to the kids - I like their coaching staff) but no personalized sell to them in particular.

The mother is supportive of her son, but is pretty wait-and-see when it comes to full enthusiasm for his extra-curricular interest. Which seems like a prudent choice with a sixteen year old son, but it means I'm just friendly with her without having any expectation that she'd take my advice on anything. The father is a bit more into it. But the last time I talked to him was at the very end of track season. The kid had a nice day, running as a substitute in our 4x800m and doing a good job in a winning relay. And so we talked about the push/pull all spring with the sprints and distances. And I mentioned I think he has a lot of potential in the longer track events, but never got into the wholly unhelpful specifics of "I think your son can run a 4:15ish mile, which would get him some D1 attention" because he's still so far away from actually doing that.

The dad is actually pretty receptive to his son getting a strong push on this. I think he knows he can be pretty good but also appreciates that it's something they can do together since he's kind of a fitness jogger. My guess is that he saw the email and thought it was a good opportunity to give his kid a pit of a kick in the ass on this sport he enjoys *while* he's doing it but doesn't really seem to regard as a serious pursuit.

Plus, my understanding is that if they've got the money, parents LOVE camp. Otherwise, you've just got your teenage son sitting around all summer. Nothing good ever came of that.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Numba_33
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Wed Jul-19-17 03:14 PM

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38. "In my eyes"
In response to Reply # 35


  

          

it makes the most sense to have a conversation with the student and the more supportive parent together and let them know your expectations. That way there isn't any room for disappointment for either party and you'll know sooner rather than later what level of interest and attention to invest in him. It doesn't make too much sense to me to keep your thoughts and insights completely hidden from them.

But that's just from me looking and judging the situation from afar.

Again, my apologies if anyone else gave you similar advice already and I'm wasting your time.

"Sean sparks like John Starks, nah, Sean ball like John Wall" - Rest In Power Forever Sean Price.

  

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Walleye
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Wed Jul-19-17 03:37 PM

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39. "I wanted a volume of opinions, and yours is more direct anyhow"
In response to Reply # 38


          

I would appreciate the insight even if it were redundant or I disagreed with it. But even luckier for me, it's not and I don't. Thanks for that.

>That way there isn't any room for
>disappointment for either party and you'll know sooner rather
>than later what level of interest and attention to invest in
>him. It doesn't make too much sense to me to keep your
>thoughts and insights completely hidden from them.

The open-ness in this approach is pretty appealing. As is the aim of certainty over his actual interest. I don't really like meetings or conversations with strangers that last longer than five minutes, but in the interest of one of my kids succeeding I'd be pleased to do it.

We have a "spike night" promotion with a local running store where we get a good rate on racing shoes and parents typically attend. At that point, I'll have had about two weeks to see how seriously he took his summer running. I'll make sure to get my adult-conversation voice up and get a word with his parents then.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Castro
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Wed Jul-19-17 07:41 PM

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44. "Great news! I hope he ends up with a good group!"
In response to Reply # 29


  

          

------------------
One Hundred.

  

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