Coaching Characteristics


Spend some time at a track meet and see if you don’t notice the samecharacteristics of these event coaches. Makes you wonder if coachesfind an event based on their personality or vice versa. Heregeneralization and stereotypes.

Distance Coaches
These ones are the easiest to pin down. Roll into theoffice with a big cup of coffee. Read and other sitesfor an hour. Stress about recent workouts just recently completed bythe team. Go for a run. Stress some more about recently completedpractice. Usually have a meticulously kept office. Spend time on thephone with other coaches talking about other teams in the region orconference. Comes up with predicted scores of conference meets, withoutever having run against another team. They score it like this… if teamA ran against team B and we ran against team B, then we would score ‘x’against A. Never happy with the strength training coach for their team.The word power might as well be Russian to these coaches. Metric fieldevent distances just confuse the hell out of these folks. Technicaltalk includes things like “strength” to explain long runs, “spring” toexplain jumping high, and “heave” to explain the shot put.

Office attire- Running shorts or running pants and dri fit tops.
Meet attire- Running shorts and a polo shirt.

Throws Coaches
Roll into office with a big cup of coffee also. Have avideo camera with tripod in front and center. TV and VCR front and centerto review. Lunch is big part of the day. Spend time offering advice inthe area of strength training to other coaches.Usually try to help distance coach with their run training programs,because these folks think they are well versed in training and thatdistance coaches don’t know what they are doing having their athletesrun so much. These are the coaches at track meets, who mug theirathletes before they even have left the ring and give them 10 differentthings they did wrong, 10 more to think about. They also are the onesemulating the event right outside the ring. Typically seen with twohands in front of the body doing turns while telling the athlete whatthey need to do. A typical post-practice comment to others on staffrevolves around someone PR’ing in practice. At meets, something aboutso and so PR’ing in warm-ups or having a HUGE PR, but it was a foul.They never quite grasp the concept of doing it in a meet, and notfouling.

Meet attire- A t-shirt of some sort, maybe a “Field and Track” shirt,showing their disdain for those that disrespect that field eventscarry. Usually sweat pants or those nice runningshorts. If the tempgets above 35, they’ve got shorts on. Also, carrying a foldup chair,backpack full of food, and very roughed up metric conversion book.

PV Coach
This group has its own cult, a very scary cult. Has anendless list of drills and exercises for the pole vault. Always lookingfor new ones. Get in big debates with other PV coaches over techniqueand minute details, such as where the right hand should be in relationto the right shoulder at exactly 3 milliseconds after the pole isplanted, but before it hits the back of the box. These folks think thatanyone who is A) fast or B) tall, can be a great vaulter. These coaches can bedivided into two groups, those that coach the vault as an A) jumpingevent or B) a gymnastic event. The more gymnastic eventcoaches, the more the apparatuses and toys they want and need for theirendless drills. Hard to find at meets, because they will watch thevault until it is well past over, even if they have no one in thecompetition. Much like throws coaches, talk about practice pr’s,usually over bungee cords. Again a group that never grasps the conceptthat it only counts in competition.

Recruiting- They swear every kid who is not that good, could be goodand they want big money for them.
Meet attire- Flip flops and a big sombrero hat

Sprints Coaches
Wired people. Fast talkers who roll into the officelater then most. Can talk an athlete to death to get them to believe inwhatever it is they are saying. Favoritetwo words are get out and drive. Stand in the middle of the trackyelling split times atthe top of their voice. Mug their athletes from start of warm up to thetime the athlete hits the track. Lifting technique and on trackexercises never look great, but they get the athletes to the startline. Lots and lots of pacing before event. During the event, lots ofanimation, leaning sideways to see race from different angles.Generally like to assume the pose of folding their arms across theirchest, gripping a stopwatch as they strain to get relay splits.

Meet attire- Varies, could be wind breaker jacket if any weather below85 degrees, slick sunglasses.

Jump Coaches
The nerdier group of trackand field. They are the scientists of track and field. Have lots ofbooks on the book shelf on biomechanics and such. They spend hourswriting up detailed training plans, reading new research, and talkingto the folks in the labs on campus. Usually competing with the throwscoaches for most time spent at the track for practice. Favorite lineis, it’s all about the approach’. Always moving people forward or backduring competitions. Will mention the HUGE foul that occurred in themeet like the fishermanwho talks about the big fish that got away. Don’t have a video cameraand claim they don’t need one. Always watching the board and want toknow where the athlete was in relation to the board. A quieter group atmeets and during competition. When talking with an athlete from thestands across the runway, they can be seen standing with one leg on theground, one leg up a 90 degree angle and their chest up. Then showinghow the 90 degree leg should cycle, or the torso should be up or somecombination of the two. If high jump coaching, torso is more arched andthey attempt to lean one way or another. Also carry roughed-upconversion books.

Meet attire- Blue jeans.

Todd Lane

Todd Lane

Assistant Track Coach at LSU
Lane joined the LSU coaching staff after spending one season at the University of Miami, where he was voted the top women's jumps and combined events assistant in the East Region by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in 2007.