10 Reasons to Join the Track Team
Posted by Dean Holden at December 17th, 2014
by Tony Holler, 4 November 2014
Baseball is huge in our area. It seems that every red-blooded boy plays baseball by the age of five. Travel teams and clubs are everywhere. Kids wear big league uniforms before they learn to chew tobacco. Seems like every travel team gets invited to some mythical “national championship”. Quasi-coaches promote baseball as a ticket to a free college education despite the fact that no one ever gets a full ride in baseball. The maximum number of scholarships at NCAA schools is 11.7 and those are typically split into halves and quarters. But that doesn’t matter. Most of our baseball kids are one-sport athletes. 50 freshmen tryout for baseball at Plainfield North and only half will make the team. Only a handful will start as seniors. No one will win a full scholarship. I feel sorry for kids who have wasted their youth chasing a myth. I like baseball but I don’t like specialization.
Coordinated athletes, especially if they have some size, play basketball as soon as they can make a shot. Almost all basketball players are now specialists. Despite the fact that high school basketball is hard to watch (too many three’s, too much dribbling, and a non-stop wrestling match in the paint), kids continue to drink the AAU Kool Aid. They dream of the NBA. Back in the day, basketball players were outstanding track athletes. Now they dribble all spring. I can’t get the 10th man on our varsity basketball team to consider track. As they used to say back in the 70’s, they’ve all been “brainwashed”. I like basketball but I don’t like specialization.
Every son of a football dad is wearing eye black and a helmet sometime during their elementary years. Football may not last another 50 years, but it’s almost a religion in our time. Right or wrong, many families plan their lives around college football and the NFL. In the last ten years, profiteers have learned to prey on high school football players. Ex-jocks call themselves personal trainers and make ridiculous promises. Parents line-up to pay whatever the fee. Ex-quarterbacks offer year-round training for future Peyton Mannings. Other entrepreneurs have started “7 on 7 leagues” to capitalize on the football craze. The more the cost, the more beneficial these businesses are perceived.
Everyone seems to agree that “you get what you pay for”. High school sports are relatively inexpensive. High school coaches are not highly paid. Parent’s are eager to pay some washed-up wide receiver $40 an hour to work with their kid. Personal trainers will have these kids pulling sleds, running with parachutes, and over-speed training with bungee cords. Despite attempts at making football a full-time obsession, it’s not. Football, unlike baseball and basketball, has an off-season. Illinois football teams suit up for 25 practices during June and July, but there is no spring football. Our football players practice from June through November. Track season starts in January and ends in May. Perfect.
Almost every fast kid not playing basketball or baseball at Plainfield North joins the track team. However, recruiting is an every day job. I spend most of my time recruiting late-blooming kids (not good enough to star in youth sports), poor kids (too poor to afford youth sports), and football players.
Quintin Hoosman gained over 2400 yards in his 10 football games this year (32 touchdowns). Quintin anchored my state-qualifying 4×2 team last year. All four relay team members return in 2015. Quintin holds our school record in the 30-meter block start (FAT) = 3.95 … At 190 pounds, his speed stats are equal to those of Kapri Bibbs of the Denver Broncos. Quintin has scored 32 touchdowns in 10 games but he does not have a D1 offer.
Every year, I attempt to recruit our best football players to the sport of track & field. Track does not sell itself. This article will focus on how I recruit athletes to the Plainfield North track program. Some of the things we do will not be universal. Hopefully this article gives track coaches some tools to promote your sport. Hopefully this article will help athletes and their parents to develop a balanced approach to athletic participation. The only adults promoting specialization are jackasses who benefit from specialization. All true educators promote balance. John O’Sullivan recently wrote an article that should be required reading for every parent, The Race to Nowhere in Sports.
With that being said, let me tell you about Plainfield North…
Continue reading the rest of the article here, including the 10 Reasons to Join the Track Team!
Category: athleticism, coaching culture, communication, diversification, early specialization, education, evaluation, eye-hand coordination, financial cost of sport, Fitness / Training, fun, fundamental movement skills, growth & development, leadership, learning, metrics / measures, mindset, motivation, parents, passion, philosophy, physical literacy, practices, recruiting, scouting, specialization, sporting culture, sporting culture of madness, statistics, talent, talent ID, talent selection, transfer