Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Amador Valley High School
1155 Santa Rita Road
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Saturday, January 9, 2016
  • Session I: 9am-12pm
  • Lunch: 12pm-1pm
  • Session II: 1pm-4pm
Roundtable Leaders
  • Chris Puppione – Clinic Co-Director
  • Head Coach, Cardinal Newman High School
  • Jason Oswalt – Clinic Co-Director
  • Head Coach, Amador Valley High School
Roundtable Features
  • Everyone is a clinician, everyone is a student.
  • Roundtable topics selected by attendees in advance via email.
  • All attendees receive “A Packet of Nuggets”—a compilation of coaching gems from each attending coach.
  • Attendees will also receive a collection of training programs submitted by the other coaches in attendance.
  • Cost for the roundtable discussion is FREE.
  • Event is open to the first 30 coaches to register. 
Contact Chris Puppione ( to register for the event, as well as to receive further information. This event is for HIGH SCHOOL COACHES ONLY.

Please contact Chris ASAP as spots will fill up fast. Some of the best coaches in California will be at this Roundtable. Don't miss out.

November 29, 2015

Dear Coaches,
Now that cross country season is almost in the books and the track and field season looms on the not-so-distant horizon, we would like to invite you to join us for a clinic unlike any other in the state of California.

On January 9, 2016, we will be hosting The NorCal Distance Coaches Collaborative Roundtable in Pleasanton, CA at Amador Valley High School. The event is scheduled to kick-off at 9am and will be attended by many of the finest coaches from our part of the state. This clinic is unique in format and concept.

Many of us have attended clinics over the years, and although we have been lucky enough to hear some great speakers, the part most of us look forward to is the aftermath—sitting around with your peers, swapping stories, discussing training ideas, asking questions, all while enjoying some good food and drink.

We have decided to get rid of the lectures and ditch the conventional while getting straight to the good stuff—some high-energy shop talk with some of our sport’s finest coaches in a relaxed environment full of friends and soon-to-be friends.  At this event, the attendees will choose the topics. Whether you want to rehash the last cross country season or talk about the track season ahead, you tell us and we will put it on the agenda.

Limited to the first 30 coaches to sign-up via email, this roundtable discussion is completely based on the contributions of all attendees. 

Here is how it works:

Coaches are asked to email Chris Puppione ( to sign-up for the event.  

Upon receipt of your email, Chris will ask you to submit the following for the clinic by Sunday, December 27, 2015:
  • Topics and ideas you would like to discuss or gain knowledge about at the clinic (training, recruiting, nutrition, state of the sport, etc.)
    • This is an absolute necessity, as these suggestions will function as our agenda for the day. This is Part I of your entrance fee.
  • A 1-3 page installment (or “nugget of knowledge”) describing something you do with your athletes that you feel is key to your program’s success (i.e. a particular workout, coaching philosophy, mental training, etc.)
    • All coaches are expected to contribute with this—consider it as Part II of your entrance fee!
    • These “nuggets” will be compiled and all attendees will receive the full collection of notes at the clinic in both print and digital formats.
  • A copy of your training plan and notes from the past cross country season or the upcoming track season.
    • This is Part III of your entrance fee, and coaches are to submit these so that they may be shared with other attendees for review, critique, and to foster discussion of training methods.
    • These training programs will be sent out to all attendees in digital format, and you are asked to print them out prior to the roundtable and make notes on them for discussion purposes.
    • By submitting your training ideas or plans in advance, you can have your season’s training discussed by some of our sport’s greatest coaches, so don’t miss out on this opportunity.
  • All submitted information must be sent in either MS Word or MS Excel docs so that they can be easily formatted for compilation.  

A running tally of coaches who commit to attending the roundtable will be maintained on Albert’s website ( so everyone can prepare any specific questions that they may have for their fellow coaches.  

Prior to the event, Chris and Jason will release a schedule that will outline the topics for the day so that each coach attending may come prepared to participate and contribute.  

THERE ARE NO LECTURERS AT THIS EVENT. We are not presenting a seminar—this is an opportunity to expand the discussion and for everyone to be a student and a teacher.  

Attending coaches are encouraged to bring any information they wish to discuss or share to the event. We will have overhead projectors, LCD projectors, as well as AV equipment—bring it all.  

Also, we would like all coaches in attendance to bring their laptop computers with them, as we will be using internet connections to access information during discussion periods. Please be sure to have your flash drive or memory stick with you so you can steal/borrow info from other coaches.  

Sign-in on January 9th will begin at 8:30am with the roundtable beginning promptly at 9am. We will section the day into topics picked by our attendees.  

We will break for lunch at noon, and then reconvene for further discussion starting at 1pm. The roundtable ends at 4pm.  

While this is an open discussion, Chris and Jason will serve as leaders for the event. These coaches will act as guides for the discussion, keeping the roundtable focused while moving the group through the agenda and moderating input from all coaches. They will offer their insights as well, but they are not clinicians or panelists.  

On the day of the event, all attending coaches will receive the following:
  • “A Packet of Nuggets”—a compilation of coaching gems from all attendees
  • A collection of all attendees training programs
  • Great conversation with amazing colleagues  

It is our belief that this collaborative roundtable will be of great benefit for all coaches—rookies and veterans alike. Please join us for this amazing event by emailing your registration to Chris Puppione (

Be a part of the excitement—be a part of the conversation. Join us January 9, 2016 at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, CA for The 8th Annual NorCal Distance Coaches’ Collaborative Roundtable.

Yours in running,
Chris Puppione
Jason Oswalt

List of Attendees
  1. Chris Puppione  Cardinal Newman High School
  2. Jason Oswalt  Amador Valley High School
  3. Albert Caruana Crystal Springs Uplands School
  4. Pat McCrystle  Bellarmine College Preparatory
  5. Peter Brewer Northgate High School
  6. Dave Frank Central Catholic (Portland, OR)
  7. Gus Ibarra North Monterey County
  8. Ruth Seabrook Northgate
  9. Walt Lange Jesuit
  10. Jeff Gardiner Lick-Wilmerding
  11. Francisco Cornejo Palma
  12. Josh Small Valley Christian SJ
  13. Tim Hunter San Ramon Valley
  14. Tony Fong St. Joseph Notre Dame
  15. Chris Williams Dublin
  16. Andy Lindquist Campolindo
  17. Andrew Lowe Berkeley
  18. Eric Morford Liberty
  19. Andrew Hutchinson Crystal Springs Uplands School
  20. Vince Sturgis Benecia
  21. Sean Cameron Kohles Skyline
  22. Doug Chase Scotts Valley
  23. Jeanine Holmlund Piedmont
  24. John Hotchkiss Mission San Jose
  25. Jen Derego Heritage
  26. Pierre Chan Mercy Burlingame
  27. Tim Wallen Novato
  28. Kevin Ostenberg Del Oro
  29. Preston Hamilton
  30. Craig Lee


Anonymous said...

FRANKIE? oh my god!!!

Anonymous said...


I'm stopping at the Dutch Goose before I get there.


First year coach said...

I didn't make the cut but have a question for some of the other coaches out there. How do you get your kids to run in the off season? I'm thinking December & January but even summer too. I gave a plan, had a meeting, meet informally but I just can't get kids to run 5-6 days a week. I obviously have failed to inspire them and am feeling like I am not cut out for this. We had a good season but they could be really good if they just ran every day. Ideas?

Albert Caruana said...

You just have to get a few kids to buy in and start with them. You might not get everybody on board as a first year coach but with time and dedication, things will change.

John Hotchkiss said...

It helps to have student leaders and successful alumni at the extra practices. It becomes part of the culture and part of the expectation for being on the team. The coaches can also be good role models and advocates for staying in shape for 12 months every year for the course of life. I agree with Albert that it takes time.

Andrew said...

Time and patience. But also connect with the kids. Kids/people aren't going to want to spend time somewhere where they don't feel enjoyment as well as a sense of accomplishment. On the other hand, if they enjoy it, they will come more and stick around and bring friends. You and their teammates provide that. Don't just placate to their every want or skip all the hard workouts in order to sacrifice for that "enjoyment." That is fake and won't last. Get to know your kids some and let them get to know you some!

It's just like why any meaningful personal relationship lasts. You enjoy the other person and trust each other. This all takes time.

Andrew said...

Also, people drop, @First Year Coach. Get your materials ready in case a spot opens up. Or for next year! It's a great thing to attend and I'm lucky to be able to go again.

Anonymous said...

I've been coaching for 25 years. While we have great attendance in season but getting them to run in December is tough. Off season training is tough, most programs get 10% in the off season, maybe 25-30% for the really good teams.

Bell doesn't have 200 guys training in summer. Maybe 40-50 and probably 10-15 run every day.

Anonymous said...

What are the rules for winter and summer training/coaching? I thought the rules were put in place to make sure that coaches can't force kids to run all year long. Do coaches "penalize" kids that do not do the extra work? Or is a kid who does not do the work penalizing himself by not getting better?

Anonymous said...

No one is penalized for not running in the off season. As you say their "penalty" is mediocrity, which is acceptable for 99% of the populous. You want to be good? Start by running every day. Like I said, 99% don't.

pmccrystle said...

@5:12: It takes time! Like others here have already typed, it takes time to create a culture wherein your students choose to train in the offseason. Don't give up!! A couple of things that I have found that help: encourage alums to come back and train; have students log their miles on an on-line site--I use XCStats--to encourage accountability; run with them!!!; organize runs in different, cool places, eg during the Winter run on the beach at Rio del Mar on the super minus low tide days, or up Black Mountain when it snows up there, etc.; maybe organize regional runs of multiple teams like Gus Ybarra does in the summer down in the Salinas area--having your students around other runners with good training habits will rub off!! Good luck and good health...May the Force be with you all at Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand the rules on winter and summer running. What are the limits on coach contact and required/"suggested" training in the offseason? Surely the sections or CIF has limits lest the distance kids would be running year round with no break.

Anonymous said...

There are no binding CIF State rules regarding practice. Each section is its own entity & determines their own start dates.

Here is a summary of the CCS bylaws regarding the off season:

In CCS there is no governance during summer (except for football). XC start date in 2016 is Aug 5. Two weeks prior to the start date is a "dead period." No camps or skill development is allowed, only conditioning (running only, no drills, etc).

Track & Field can not practice until the start date (Feb 2 in 2016). As stated above, you may meet for skill development twice per week in small groups (4 max) for one hour.

You may condition year round. For example: a hurdler may workout and train 6 days a week in the offseason. But that hurdler can only practice hurdles (the skill) twice a week for a maximum one hour per training session.

No double days are allowed, ever. The only exception is that weight lifting is not considered a "practice" and is allowed as a second session.

A "class" does not count as practice. (i.e. if you have an XC class it does not count as a second session.)

Out of season conditioning is strictly optional. Athletes may not be cut or have their role on the team be effected by their attendance, or lack of in any way. For example, a kid doesn't run a step in the off season, you can't cut him for not attending optional conditioning.

There is no limit on coaches contact or suggested training (coach hands out a training schedule). Many of the rules in place are in the interest in the student athletes but also with flexibility due to the current sports culture. In other words if the coach can't provide training (optional) the motivated sports families will go to private coaches.

Any questions please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Great summary! Now, do coaches actually follow the one stated rule about cutting a kid for not doing the "optional" training? If the kid comes in to XC season outside the top 10, does he get a chance to move up or is he relegated to JV as a punishment? Finally, do any of these rules apply to freshmen coming in to a school before the official start of XC season?

Anonymous said...

If you are outside of top 10 aren't you JV anyways? I have never seen a team with a clear top 5 runner not run them varsity. Often 6/7 guys are judgement calls. If you know a top runner who was forced to JV I'd like to hear it.

Same rules apply for freshman.

pmccrystle said...

Same rules apply for freshmen...except in the WCAL. Ours is the only League in the State that I have yet to discover that does not allow incoming 9th graders to train with the team--conditioning or otherwise--until a League established date, which is usually the first day that classes meet for freshmen. It is a ridiculous rule, and one which, in my opinion, no administrator in the League can ably defend or explain!

Anonymous said...

I have not heard of a kid being punished, but I am wondering if they are motivated to run in the offseason by getting better or by the threat of coach being angry or being relegated to JV if they are on the bubble (7,8,9). What the heck is wrong with the WCAL? Why would a league disadvantage itself like that. There are freshmen that can compete, even in the WCAL, if they get the chance to come into the season in fighting shape.

Albert Caruana said...

The WCAL rule regarding 9th graders is due to other sports like football and basketball. I am sure an administrator (and perhaps committee) did it to protect freshmen but the end result is definitely a negative one for kids who may be experiencing cross country for the first time.

Anonymous said...

That's why administrators should administrate and leave the coaching, and the rules to the coaches.

WCAL Insider said...

WCAL rules are intended for two purposes:

1) The "evil administrators" feel strongly that the summer before high school is one that should be free of pressures of high school sports requirements.

2) They do not want coach's having any contact with incoming freshman before the first day of school. I'm sure you can understand why with the accusations toward WCAL schools on this board. Imagine what it's like for high profile sports.

Not sure what is to complain about. Doubtful any freshman at Bellarmine will make varsity. If they do doubtful two weeks of practice will make a difference. If they're that good they're running on their own.

Anonymous said...

"Leave the rules to the Coaches"

Um, Coaches are idiots when it comes to the rules. That's why the administrators are there. It's their job to keep them in check.

Albert Caruana said...

The official practices will begin August 5th this coming summer so it's more than just two weeks. I understand why the rule may be in effect in WCAL but from a cross country perspective, it's not in the best interest of those kids. That is just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Why does WCAL feel the need to protect freshmen XC runners when no other league has a similar rule and there is no evidence that any freshman anywhere in the CCS has suffered because of it?

Anonymous said...

That Bell freshman squad usually runs pretty well for having no direction as incoming freshman.

Anonymous said...

There are 8-10 teams in the WCAL. Just because there is anecdotal evidence that the Bell kids do pretty well under the frosh rule does not mean that others are not negatively impacted or that the Bell kids would not have done better if allowed to do what every other league allows.

Anonymous said...

Bell & VC only WCAL school represented? Other teams have top secret info they scared to share? Lol. Maybe they could write a nugget on how to recruit and not get caught?

Joel Bernard said...

I always figured the Bell frosh kids did well because they'd line up 60+ for a race. Those kinds of numbers working together and pushing eachother every day tends to do good things. I'm lucky if I can get 5 boys to come out as frosh.

Anonymous said...

So double days are not allowed unless you have a cross country class, in which case double days are allowed?

Anonymous said...

Are double-days allowed for football, even in the WCAL? I remember practicing at least twice a day in the August heat - offense and defense in the AM, special teams and fitness in the PM.

Albert Caruana said...

You are allowed to do double days in cross country. In football, I believe you can have them 48 hours apart (I am not 100% sure on this one). They definitely have new rules to limit hitting in football.

Anonymous said...

No concussions in XC. Looks like 5 years from now every fast kid is going to be off the field and on the trails. Does that hurt or help the smaller schools?

Anonymous said...

You are allowed double days, just not on consecutive days.
practice time may not exceed 3 hours, 4 hours total for one day, 18 for the week.

Anonymous said...

You can only run so much. 18 hours per week is way more than anyone would possibly need. At an eight-minute pace, that would be about 135 miles per week. 18x60=1,080/8=135

Anonymous said...

Practice time may not exceed 3 hour practice. Not running time.

If practice starts at 2:30 has to end by 5:30. Fill it with weights or running or drills or stretching or whatever you like.

Get on a bus drive to trails, warm up, drills, run/workout, cool down, core, stretching, drive back. Easy to go over 3 hours.

On another note, amazing how the marching band and school plays can require kids to be there all day, even weekends but not sports.

Anonymous said...

What about open runs? We had winter conditioning beginning in December for any runner who wanted to participate from any school. A calendar was made where the runs were, the time, the length and kids from up to nine different schools would attend, usually with a coach from each but not always. The calendar would have three or four a week where everybody could get together if they wanted and others just on their own. They were not mandatory, not practices, but they were a lot of fun!

Anonymous said...

Sounds fair to me. I think rule wise over 50% have to be from other schools, which sounds like it does. But there is no way anyone would have a problem with this. Mitty volleyball and basketball run year round "clubs." This seems like a bunch of people just getting together to run, not one team looking for an advantage. (I have seen track teams in full practice with equipment already out there hosting "open track").

If you want to be sure & are from CCS that's a question for your AD & ultimately Steve Filios.

Anonymous said...

Where is this calendar. If near by my kid would love to be there!

Anonymous said...

@5:35 - I apologize, I was writing in the past tense as to an example of what we "had" done. I offered this as part of the discussion of what do other coaches do to encourage off season running. No uniforms were worn, no school represented, and I will tell you, friendships took place with kids from different schools that were unreal. This was in the NS and a few years back, though. Like I said, no one school put it on, and there were a variety of age groups from about 11 years old through college (the younger runners also sometimes had their coach there or a parent running), and I just offer the idea up in the spirit of the "collaborative roundtable," or a "nugget," for others to consider.

Popular Posts