Is collegiate track failing athletes and fans?

Jesse Squire runs the Track and Field Superblog, and he had an excellent post this weekend concerning collegiate T&F. I like reading Squire's stuff, because he puts up some really good content; but where I think he really excels are with his opinions of the current management of our sport, especially at the collegiate level.

This may be a little too simplified, but Squire's position on college T&F is that there is a ton of wasted opportunity. Squire contends that the failure to market the sport adequately, and the inability of officials to create a championship system that the masses want to watch have a negative impact on the sport. Click the link below to read the blog article:


Squire contends, and I agree, that the main fault of NCAA track is that meets lack emphasis on competition between teams. That is, American fans are used to team competitions, and to be a valid sport in the minds of Americans the team rivalry must exist. The quote that stands out the most to me from the article is "collegiate track is boring in comparison to collegiate cross country, because of the lack of team orientation and the lack of meaningful regular-season competition". Wow! Ouch. No offense to cross country--I personally enjoy it--but it is not the most spectator friendly sport simply given the distance to be covered by the athletes. With track the event is fairly self-contained in the stadium. Track and Field should be cleaning up, yet (at least according to Squire) it is not.

Where does this effect the high school athletes and the coaches they work with? Well, I think T&F is observed by high school athletes as a dead-end college sport as there is little fan support, lack of future, and limited television coverage. I would like to think that more meaningful competitions would boost fan interest, and eventually greater interest from athletes. As it stands now, how can I dissuade an athlete that is good at two sports, but comparatively better at T&F; yet they decide to play their second sport in college because of their perceptions of likelihood of scholarship money, success, fun, competition, and notoriety? That is a tough task for sure, and one that I'm not sure I have the persuasive abilities to overcome.

Hopefully the NCAA is easier to influence on this matter than they are for a football playoff system...


Good news is flattering news for Coach Nack

Julia Costin, now of Adams State College fame
From sunny Alamosa, CO came the news recently (first person source) that Julia Costin at first threw a 10lb shot ~44ft. That is 1.2lbs more than a women's competition shot, and around 3ft further than her best throw in high school. Now that is improvement! The good news didn't stop there. Just last week I got a text from Julia saying she threw 46ft (I presume with a standard 8.8lb shot). Not everyone sees such improvement in 4 years of college, much less the first four weeks. The key is now to maintain the hard work, realize there will be setbacks, and be patient working through them. Good job Adams State for training throwers in the Fall (though many might not think it, I believe throwers benefit as much if not more than most T&F disciplines from year-round training), and of course great job Julia!

Julia said something that made all the hard work last year so worth while. She said "I work out six days a week. N they are similar to ur workouts." (text spelling Julia's). She is saying, or at least I hope she is implying that the all the workouts we did last Summer, Fall, and Winter prepared her for what she is now experiencing at college.

Paige Follett, now of Black Hills State University fame
I received a letter the other day from Black Hills State University (current residence of one Paige Follett) asking for my donation dollars. And because I like to give back to athletes that gave their efforts to me (also because I am still counting on the possibility that former athletes will have to support me in my old age) I will be sending my hard earned cash as gift to the Uni. This prompted me to text Paige, and in the volleying communications.She said "you would be so proud im the the only freshman girl that can lift alot of weights on our lifts" (text spelling pretty good on Paige's part. Punctuation is always a work in progress when texting thought). This message sounds similar to Julia's: last years work was great prep for what was in their unknown future.

Last year, with these girls (and a few other great Chap athletes) we worked on the slow strength lifts--squat, press, deadlift, etc--and olympic lifts--the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. Apparently now that learning is paying off. For the sake of honesty, the girls struggled with attendance at times, which was frustrating to them (a little) and to me (a lot). However, what I failed to realize at the time, and maybe they did realize was that we were building a base. They were learning the essentials. We were priming them for greater learning later. Together we grooved the correct movement patterns, which has probably helped precipitate the improvements and performances they are currently seeing. So, basically, I take joy from the compliments Julia and Paige have offered, but really the credit is all to them, their athletic abilities, and the coaches which I bet (and, dear God, hope) are more qualified to strengthen and condition athletes.

Thanks for the updates ladies. Thanks for reading readers. And CV athletes, thank you for being patient with my transition period in this new position before I get to training you directly.


Dear Anonymous Commenter;

Thank you for inquiring in your posted comment about my lack of posts in the month of September. I hope all my avid readers (ha!) will bare with me as I work out the kinks of my new position.

Here is my list of excuses for not posting recently

  • New job
  • Work on my Master's degree
  • A greater dedication to my own workouts (increase of 1-3 workouts /week, to 4-6 /week)
  • Football (yes, football. I started off just filming CV games, but all the while I was being asked to coach. I finally gave in and have become an apprentice to the CV's awesome D-line coach, Duke Schamel)
  • Fantasy football (anyone interested in economy of time should ignore Fantasy Football)
  • Lawn work, primarily apple trees (anyone interested in economy of time and having a nice yard should not invest in apple trees)
  • And with a great dose of honesty, the following of the blog just isn't there. I figure I reduced the amount of followers of this blog by significant margins when I left Chap. The CV followers aren't there right now because I have had little chance to "pimp" the blog.
At this point I will not pledge a greater commitment to posting, but I want to assure you I have not lost the knack for track. It is just temporarily on hold. I just hope you, Anonymous reader, will be patient enough.

And because I don't want to drown out good news about a couple of former athletes, or disappoint loyal fans I will create another post to deal with those.