Coaching indoor track and field is a bit different than outdoor season. But it’s just as fun and I’m so glad indoor track season is officially underway!
I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. It seems like yesterday when I was exhausted beyond belief, in way over my head at practices and meets, and counting down the days until track season was over and I had my life back once again. But here we are at the start of another season and soon the craziness will begin again.
Truth be told, I missed track so much after it was over last season. So much more than I ever, ever imagined I would. I was definitely burning the candle at both ends. I was in my own high mileage training cycle while trying to maintain any semblance of weight training and teaching fitness classes, and I was with my team five days (sometimes six!) a week. In reality, I really was counting down the days.
But when it was over… I just felt… empty. I missed my team, the chaos that somehow turned into a daily schedule, and the grind of being on the track day after day.
There was a lot to learn last season. And learn I did. Which brings us to here and now.
I spent hours in the off season planning, learning, and studying, trying to come up with the best plan for my athletes. But of course nothing ever goes as planned. In true Coach Rachel fashion, I went in with one plan for the day and ended up going to practice with a few different workout options to use for the first day of indoor track.
Coaching Indoor Track and Field
Indoor Track Season
Indoor track, for my team at least, is much different than outdoor. Yes, we can get the basics and conditioning going. But as a jumps team, we are much more limited in what we can do during indoor track. For example, we can’t do long jump into sand because we don’t have an indoor long jump pit. Same with the high jump. We have a mat but no indoor standards or bungee, and truth be told, the mat isn’t really trustworthy for high velocity jumping. So we do what we can. General strength training, some basic form drills, and as the season really gets underway, plyometrics.
Planning Only Goes So Far
The first day of practice is always a hot mess. The first day of indoor track season is spent getting reacquainted with the kids, checking out the equipment in the weight room, and getting back into team dynamics. Luckily it’s a much smaller group than outdoor. The first day of outdoor… well, that’s just a different hot mess on its own. I’ll tell you about that when it happens.
In any event, our first practice went well. My heart almost exploded when I arrived at the school. It was fantastic to see my fellow coaches. But aside from the coaches, it was amazing to see my kids. I got so many hugs and it was so much fun. I really could not have asked for a better first day. So much positivity!
In terms of the workout that we did — I tried to keep it easy. I didn’t want to program too hard of a workout because I wasn’t sure what the kids had been up to in terms of physical fitness, lifting, or running.
As suspected, they hadn’t lifted or run in… *crickets*… who knows how long. I was glad I didn’t program a tough workout! No lifting, no bodyweight anything, no running… nada. I explained to them that we were keeping it easy and to expect some soreness in 24-48 hours. Some of them went a little harder than I had hoped but that’s what happens when you work with a bunch of high schoolers.
The workout consisted of some general strength exercises. Things like Romanian deadlifts, squats, medicine ball crunches. Then we did one jump-specific move — the step up with overhead press + knee drive. And when all that was done, we finished with a prehab move — the standing star. Because glutes.
We finished the workout with a 2-minute plank and some stretching.
During the stretch, we briefly discussed basic nutrition and how to refuel our muscles after a workout. I was also sure to mention our overall game plan and how they will be farther ahead in conditioning than their outdoor-season-only counterparts. A lot of the athletes I’ll get in outdoor season are participating in winter sports, though, so hopefully their fitness levels will already be where they need to be by the time I get them.
A Great First Day
Overall, it was a great first day of indoor track. It was a little discombobulated and frenzied, but that was totally expected. The second and subsequent days will be better. I’ll have a more defined, goal-oriented workout going forward for each practice. All in all, I’m pleased with the first day and it gave me a chance to gauge the current fitness levels of my athletes.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would love coaching track as much as I do. It’s a totally chaotic existence but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Cheers to a fabulous season!
Have you ever coached high school athletics?
Give me some ideas! What are three or four simple exercises you do to maintain your strength?
Link up with Coach Debbie and me for the Running Coaches’ Corner linkup!