Silver Lining Playbook


I just left the theater with my wife and it got me thinking about how we need try to look for the silver lining. Recently across the United States had been hit by multiple massive snow storms. Some of the worst of these storms were in Missouri where I coach. Of course our winter had been mild with little action until the start of spring sports. Now in our first week of outdoor track we have only been able to get on the track twice in six sessions. Other schools have not been as lucky as they have over a foot and half of snow still remaining on the track. As many coaches I have planned out each and every workout for a number of event groups. This has allowed me a lot of freedom to know what I want to do every day and pay more attention to the details the athletes need from me. In addition this planning speeds up the time between transitions in the workout from unit to unit. Another advantage of this extensive planning is it allows me to spend more time figuring out how we can get things done if weather, school, schedules, or any other outside problems get in the way. Well snow and temperature have been a MAJOR problem. The first day we take our athletes through USATF testing. We had to do these tests indoors without an indoor facility. In addition all other springs sports were having their first practice and our basketball teams were in the playoffs. Things were crowed and space quickly became an issue. The coaches knew this ahead of time and we told the athletes to be flexible to allow us to get what we wanted to get done for that first practice. Earlier in the day I went out to our shed to get a half a dozen tape measures, meter wheel, and other supplies for our tests. At the end of the day we were able to get 120 athletes tested in 2.5 hours through the standing long jump, standing five hops, standing 30meter dash, flying 30 meter dash, and overhead med ball toss twice!!! Lots of data, done inside, and the kids were moving the whole time.

Day to day planning is great but more importantly you should have a plan A, B, and C if it is needed. These potential changes can be made easier once you have the optional workouts in place. Then look at your weekly schedule and rearrange the training sessions if they fit better on different days based on what your weatherman’s forecast is for that upcoming week. For example, if you have special endurance on Monday but weather calls for snow and you only have a 70 meter hallway you should switch the Monday’s workouts with a day where you had acceleration or max V work which can be done in a hallway of that length. In our program we do acceleration/max V on Thursday usually after an active recovery day. Now, if you are stuck indoors for more than one day in a row DO NOT pound the concrete, carpet or, tile! Its way too much pounding on an athlete’s legs and you will break them. If you have a cardio room you can put them on the bikes. You can simulate a number of the same workouts on the bikes that you can on the track. Now many of you might be saying “I have more athletes then bikes!” One solution if you have a limited number of cardio machines is to divide them into three different groups. At Parkway Central we also have this problem and did the following: group one was on the bike for 30second burst with a load of 20(which is hard but the athletes can it at a quick tempo move it for 30seconds). Group two is doing core for 30seconds. The third group is off to start. Each group rotates through each station. This creates a minute of work and a minute off. Usually, I would use this workout to replace our tempo day if we needed a workout that has value and must be done indoors.

Another option a coach has in their arsenal is to use film to enhance their indoor workouts. Today we were stuck indoors so we did reaction training and simulated start mechanics. After we completed that session the athletes went to my room where I showed them starts from the finals in the 100 meter Dash in 08, 09, 11, and 12. After I then showed them film on the 4x100s from 08 and 12. We finished today’s session with working on taking the baton correctly proper hand position and reacting to their partners commands. Allow your planning to be flexible and if you do you might find the Silver Lining in a crazy snowy day.

Ryan Banta

Ryan Banta

Ryan is a successful high school coach. His athletes have achieved 76 school records, 2 top four finishes at the state championships, 3 district championships, 107 state semi-finalist (sectionals), 63 state qualifiers, 2 state records (3200 and 4x800), 14 national ranked events, 34 all state performances, 8 state champions, 7 runner up performances, and 2 Gatorade athletes of the year. Ryan is a USATF level II coach in the sprints, hurdles, relays, and endurance and recently earned a USTFCCCA track and field technical coaching certification.
Ryan Banta


Dad, Husband, Teacher, and Coach. Author of the Sprinter's Compendium @ Contributor to and
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Ryan Banta