“You can have twenty years of coaching experience or you can have one year of coaching experience twenty times.”- Joe Vigil
I want to discuss something from the Iowa Track and Field clinic that I thought about traveling while home. At the end of the Threshold Running talk a coach stated that the Dainels Running Formula book was a great way to coach a team. I agree. There is no doubt that American Distance running would be well served if every HS distance coach had a copy of Jack Daniel’s Running Formula. The book takes complex training concepts and distills them down to into a framework for training large numbers of humans; it’s the best, most effective template to coach a high school team. (This article details how German Fernandez’s high school coach, Bruce Edwards, used Daniels methods in working with Fernandez Note: you can purchase the book here to help support this site.
BUT…it’s just a template and at some point in a coach’s career the coach will have to deviate from template based training to training that accounts for variability. Some scenarios where variability is needed.
- Maybe two of your top five play fall soccer.
- Maybe you have a shot at NXN as a team, yet the regional qualifying race is three weeks after the state meet and you don’t know how to both win state and qualify for NXN.
- Maybe you killer number one and number two runners but have a big gap to the rest of the team and no clear order between the rest of the varsity spots, three through seven.
“You can have twenty years of coaching experience or you can have one year of coaching experience twenty times.” I don’t know when Joe Vigil said that but I recently heard it from a Gary Winkler interview from the Canadian Coaching Centre podcast. The Daniels book is fantastic, but it’s best used when you’ve taken good notes on what has and has not worked, giving you the leverage to make effective changes in the training design the next year. Again, I think we all need to have a copy of Daniels and I have no doubt that a HS coach with thirty or more athletes will benefit greatly from calculating vDots and plugging the athletes into a workout, yet the reality remains that if you coach an athlete through their freshman, sophomore and junior years of high school via Daniels that athlete will need a slightly different stimulus to fully reach his or her potential as a senior. No doubt some will disagree with that last statement, saying that because the paces of the workouts and races are quickening each year, the athlete is getting a novel stimulus each year, which elicits an adaptation. True, but I my personal opinion is that the while cruise intervals are a great way to teach threshold training, a high school senior can and should do a progression run that has them finishing much faster than those cruise interval paces.
Bottom line is I think Daniels book is a must buy and I think that the longer you move through a coaching career the more you’ll deviate from the letter of that template, keeping the spirit of the template in the back your mind as you write training.
I’m not a high school coach and I can’t wait for the high school coaches in the readership to comment on this.
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