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Ed Winczowski
10-12-2012, 09:01 AM
I wanted to move this concept over here ot this board from the Trials and Tribulations thread and hopefully receive some ongoing feedback as I am sincerely interested in what other people are doing to both maximize their time and potential as coaches and create amazing value in being on the cross country team at their school. I've had my hands tied in ways that other coaches may not, but things could be changing so this could be the right time for me to ask.

Peter Brewer
10-14-2012, 10:14 PM
Well, I have a team policy handbook which states that the athlete commits to all workouts and all competitions. So if the attendence gets spotty, and the excuses pile up, then I reserve the option to remove the kid from the roster.

BUT . . . with pay to play in force (well, strongly urged pay to play) if the family has ponied up the $300 or so to be on the team, then it gets stickier. I have to be far more upfront with expectations, as harsh as they may seem at the start of the season.

THEN . . . this hampers all the happy propaganda I put out to recruit in the first place.

Behavior issues and attitude problems -- warnings, week-long suspensions, one-on-ones . . . these work in large part to address the prevailing situation. But every once in a while a runner, or a small group of runners, get defiant or oppositional or snooty or cliquish or in some way create a very negative climate on the team. Tell your AD, and then dismiss the kids and wait for the flack.

Peter Brewer
Northgate High

Ed Winczowski
10-15-2012, 11:36 AM
Well, I have a team policy handbook which states that the athlete commits to all workouts and all competitions. So if the attendence gets spotty, and the excuses pile up, then I reserve the option to remove the kid from the roster.

BUT . . . with pay to play in force (well, strongly urged pay to play) if the family has ponied up the $300 or so to be on the team, then it gets stickier. I have to be far more upfront with expectations, as harsh as they may seem at the start of the season.

THEN . . . this hampers all the happy propaganda I put out to recruit in the first place.

Behavior issues and attitude problems -- warnings, week-long suspensions, one-on-ones . . . these work in large part to address the prevailing situation. But every once in a while a runner, or a small group of runners, get defiant or oppositional or snooty or cliquish or in some way create a very negative climate on the team. Tell your AD, and then dismiss the kids and wait for the flack.

Peter Brewer
Northgate High

Yeah, this is life as I know it and thought it is really time to simply life. I'm talking about cutting kids before the season even starts to put more energy where it should be and not with those that do not share the same goals as the majority of the team. In some cases, it's not a bad idea to not have the parents of those not as commtted around either. So I'm hoping to hear what people have done before the parents even write the check out.

Keith Chann
10-17-2012, 09:42 AM
So I'm hoping to hear what people have done before the parents even write the check out.

Wait, your parents write checks to pay for stuff?!! I need to relocate.

Rex Hall
10-17-2012, 10:32 AM
We have always had a cut policy here. It starts with 2 Time trials. Freshman must run 23:45 and Sophs. and up 23:30 We ASK each family to donate about $100.00 to the program and collect about 85%. We sell uniforms,sweats,etc. (loaner uniforms are available) After that cuts are only made for extreme discipline issues or season ending injuries. I usually loose 1 or 2 kids a season (usually Newbies) to injuries because I don't have a big enough staff to monitor them during workouts. I offer refunds to the parents on a pro-rated basis but have only had to do that once. I never thought I would have to run my team like a business and some times question my own sanity in remaining!!!!

Rex Hall
Dana Hills Girls XC

Torres BHDP
10-17-2012, 01:09 PM
Thanks to everyone continuing this thread. This has become a most important issue for me...

I'm still interested in people's ideas about how many athletes a single coach can effectively train (ideal coach to athlete ratio). I understand it differs by program due to a multitude of variables, but how many do you keep with you by level? ***uming you break your teams up into groups and each coach takes a group...

Ed Winczowski
10-17-2012, 01:31 PM
Wait, your parents write checks to pay for stuff?!! I need to relocate.

Yeah, but writing a check by parents seems to create a divide that rules do not have to be as closely followed since they ponied up some cash. In my current situation, attendance is the one that is most often ignored. At the end of the season I am putting out a letter to parents and athletes about the new policy and what will be expected to make the team. I'm getting it signed by our AD, AP of athletics, and district AD. That way there will be no surprises and the ones whom tend to put off or ignore summer training have been warned.

Keith Chann
10-18-2012, 10:24 AM
I have a contract for cross country as well as a parent expectation letter that I have unabashedly stolen from Doug Soles at Great Oak and Brad Peters at King. The contract outlines many concerns that come up, including attendance, and the parent letter informs the parents of their role and expectations and responsibilities.
That being said, if i am coaching next year, I am going to institute a strict attendance policy. If you miss 8 practices from the time school starts, your season is over. I feel that this is more than generous and allows for Dr. appointments and even a few days for club soccer.
At Rubidoux we do not have a problem with too many athletes. I get my share of the social joggers, primarily on the girl's side, and have just accepted this because they do put forth effort, compete in races and generally contribute positively to the team atmosphere. If they were detracting from the team feel I would have to make a different decision I guess. We typically have around 40 people on the team, last year we spiked up to 50 and this year we have about 40. Personally, I feel that I am OK with around 50. If it gets more than that, I don't have the personal contact that I want. We only have me and one assistant for coaches so managing a bigger team is difficult on long runs away from campus.

George Ramos
10-19-2012, 07:40 AM
Regarding cuts and attendance: our team size hovers between 55 and 70 consistently in the last decade. We don't cut, but we do have the athletes who only are on the team to meet their P.E. requirement. I make it hard for these kids to pull the rest of the team down through some relatively firm rules: 1) every practice and race is required to attend; however ... 2) kids may miss them if they ask to miss; they cannot tell me they're not showing up ... 3) and failure to show up to one practice or race without asking a coach merits a one-race suspension; I dismiss kids from the team for a second violation. I'm not totally mean, though. If a kid asks, we let them miss for almost any reason under the sun ... as long as they ask.

Regarding working with large numbers (some who might not be fully on board), we do not break the team into separate groups to run (although different groups have different mileage, number of repeats, etc.). For the majority of days, the varsity and JV do the same workouts on the same days, just at different intensities and volumes. However, we are blessed to have three coaches this year (sometimes four). On a distance run, everyone on the team starts the workout going in the same direction. One coach runs at the front, one coach runs at the back, and one floats in between. During repeats or intervals, two coaches will run with the athletes and one will write down times (every kid has a watch and keeps track of his own interval time and rest). We're also lucky to have a trainer, who "supervises" our injured kids daily on the elliptical machine or our two stationary bikes (kids have to wait patiently for an open machine). While we are blessed with personnel and resources, teaching the kids what we want and how to take care of business in combination with holding their feet to the fire helps a lot.

Best of luck everyone!

xcbreak
10-21-2012, 03:06 PM
We also do not cut, but have been kicking the idea around. We do have a policy that if a student misses 3 unexcused practices they can be released from the squad. I also will lower a student a full letter grade for missing a race. When this happens many kids decide to quit instead. I have also hired another coach to work with athletes (boys) that run over 20 minutes. If they are trying hard they can work up to the "A" group. I also use this for athletes that decide to cut runs, if they are caught they go to group B. This has really helped me to focus on the kids that want to get better and are not there only for P.E. credit.

OC Old School
11-04-2012, 10:40 AM
At Fullerton, we topped 100 combined this year, and while I was initially happy about it, now... not so much.

100 kids is great, if 100 kids want to run. But 100 kids don't want to run.

We don't cut on ability, only effort. I'm happier for the 200 pound ex-football guy who works hard every day, and finally breaks 28:00, than the lazy 17:00 runner.

My problem is the 10-20 kids who aren't into it. My policy is, basically, you get one season to show me you level of commitment. If I rarely see you on the trails when we run, and you rarely show up for meets, you're done. Go enjoy your soccer season, and don't come back.

For those runners, if I don't see them regularly in summer the next year, then they're just out. I'm not as strict with that policy as I should be - but at least keeps the lazy returners from returning.

With 100 kids, the lazy and unmotivated will find a way to skip workouts (esp. with just me and one other coach). If I sweated that every day, I wouldn't have much time to coach those who want to get faster. They know the situation once quarter grades come out. I used to be prone to loud, red-faced shouting, but have found that to be a lot of wasted breath on unmotivated slackers. Plus, who enjoys yelling at kids ("Get off my lawn!")?

My favorite excuse from a lazy kid:

Me: Why'd you come out for a sport if you didn't want to practice and compete in this sport?
Kid: I thought there would be less running in XC than in PE.
Me: Huh? Say that again... I thought you said, "I thought there would be less running in XC than in PE."
Kid: Yeah. I thought this would be easier than PE.
Me: *facepalm* What is it about the words "cross country running" and "3 mile races" that made you think that?
Kid: I dunno.


Joe Gobar
FUHS XC/Track

RichEde
11-04-2012, 03:11 PM
...some times question my own sanity in remaining!!!!


You're a cross-country coach and there's a QUESTION about your sanity? :confused: