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Monday, February 02, 2015

Seeding athletes

Interesting question in regards to entering athletes at Invitationals. This has been discussed before but please feel free to chime in the comment section below.
My junior athletes are competing in their first meet of the indoor season tomorrow. 

I seed my athletes, particularly in early season meets, realistically.

I've noticed that some other coaches are seeding their athletes very optimistically (presumably to get them in faster sections or heats). 

The upshot of this is that the fastest athletes aren't always in the fastest heats/sections.

Do you think it is an advantage for athletes to be in faster heats/sections even if they don't match up well with the competition?


Anonymous said...

I think a coach should alway be realistic with where an athlete is on a current performance mark. Being optimistic is nice but could hurt other athletes. I am a big believer in early season time trials so you have a better idea of truly which heat your athlete should be in. Early a season meets are hard to assess because some athletes don't put the work in they should have During off season and reat on their Lorels and get into faster heats than they deserve to be in at that time.

FineLine said...

Interesting topic. I once coached a boy who ran 5:14/10:57 as a freshman. He ended up #1 man in XC his Soph year and ran 16:08 at Woodward Park. Seeded him in first distance carnival his Soph track season at 4:50/10:10 and he ended up running 4:34/9:42, won his heats by 12+ seconds and had people booing him and saying we seeded him slow so he could win a stupid T-Shirt. I was being realistic, should I have been optimistic? Most dedicated runners have a big jump between seasons at some point. A lot of discussion to be had about this one.

Anonymous said...

Woodward park time should give you an estimate of what one is capable of for track. 16:07 for 5k XC course I probably would have seeded him at 9:35,4:30.

I actually have a similiar athlete this year 16:10 at state and that is what he is seeded at for first meet actually 9:34/4:29 I think it's reasonable

Anonymous said...

If you haven't actually run as fast as the time you enter for a meet, it is lying. Period. Doesn't matter how fast you "think" you could be.

Anonymous said...

I find it pathetic that anyone would boo an athlete at a track meet. As a coach, I am not aiming to please a crowd of boo-birds. I am focused on what is the goal for the athlete and my plan to achieve it. An early season invitational is a stepping stone. The final exam is at a league meet.

GHPADD said...

From having been an official at hundreds of high school and college meets my 2 cents worth are: each coach will have a different reason for how they try to seed their runners into heats. Get over it. Have your runner run their best, on that day, and understand that that the goal of every athlete out there is to run their best regardless of the competition in their particular heat. The truth is in the performance, not the expectation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous (6:56.) You seed them with their best time they have run, not an inflated speculation. It's a matter of integrity. That is why many meets require verifiable marks.

If they had an outstanding xc season, and you reasonably know they will improve dramatically, then run a time trial.

Albert Caruana said...

I am sure everybody agrees that the goal is to have all competitors in their right respective heat. What really aggravates coaches, athletes and perhaps even parents the most is when an athlete is put in a heat with an inflated mark which bumps a deserving athlete from the same heat.

I know I wrote about this before and if I can find it, I will post the link.

Anonymous said...

So here is my question athlete "A" on paper great time at state meet on paper 4:42, 10:23 . Yet running intervals 9 months later at 2 x 2 mile @ 10:00 min and mile repeats at 4:45 so what do you put? Paper times, repeat times or projected times based on fitness level?

Thoughts and critisism welcomed. Clearly the athlete will run faster than 4:45 and 10:00.

Coach Ozzie said...

In the early season, I think some speculation is okay, so long as everyone gets into the meet. For example, many teams who run at the Dan Gabor Invitational are running their first meet of the season and have runners who have never raced before. You have to speculate at that meet. We get that. We just ask that coaches make entries based on what the runner will actually run. Most do. Some don't. In meets that happen later however, when people have times on the board, and some people are denied entry, coaches should follow the entry guidelines. No matter what is happening at practice or what happened in cross country season, coaches should only enter times that the athletes have actually run.

Anonymous said...

Seems like meet directors should clarify the rules ahead of time. I know a high profile meet like Arcadia requires verified marks. Do local meets state the requirements when entering marks? e.g. is it okay if the time was run in an unofficial time trial? In a workout? etc.

Anonymous said...

Instructions for entries are clarified for every race I have my team compete at. Coaches need to follow directions. It's that simple.

I remember some drama on here last year when St. Francis put in fake times for Top 8. Their kids got close, even faster. But if you haven't run a qualifying time by April that's your bad. Don't lie and guess when the instructions are clear.

Some coaches are just arrogantand do whatever to get their kids in. Some coaches have integrity and class. Some don't.

Anonymous said...

10:02 AM says to run a time trial but how is that official? How can anyone verify what a coach says his kid ran in a time trial?

Anonymous said...

9:39 AM - take 11:18's example with a boy who runs 4:45 and 10:00 repeats. Three choices:

1 Enter last year's times (not provided but undoubtedly slower) and he will blow everybody away leading to the issue being discussed.

2 Guess. Or speculate as some say what it might be. Knock it down 10? 20? 25 seconds? Who knows? You might nail it or might not.

3 Run a time trial and get a more accurate time, though it will still be slower because no one runs as fast in a time trial as they do in a meet.

And this discussion obviously is for a first meet of the season scenario. Of the three options, a time trial would be most accurate, yet, true, not official.

If in doubt, email the meet director and ask! I have done this a number of times, and I have never been disappointed in their solution and NEVER entered an athlete in a heat where the entry time was too slow or fast.

Albert Caruana said...

I personally think that a coach has the freedom to guestimate the times of their athletes for the first few races, especially if they are new to the sport. My issue is with coaches overestimating times/marks for their athletes to ensure that they get into the Stanford, CCS Top 8 etc. meets. This usually results in deserving athletes not making the cut.

hank said...

CCS Top 8 have had Varsity marks verified for the last several years (at least 4 years) so although that might have been the case 5+ years ago, it hasn't been an issue lately. And of course, the Meet Director is allowed to enter any athlete they want to since it is "their" meet.


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