Friday, January 29, 2016

Ask me anything...

Feel free to post your question in the comment section below. You can also ask questions that can be answered by frequent visitors to this site.

53 comments:

Sleepless in the CCS said...

Albert, as a father of a distance runner with a lot of potential, how should I talk with my son about goals in a way that does not put undue pressure on him to succeed, and does not interfere with what his coach is telling him? I want to be supportive and encouraging so he can live up to his potential, but I don't want to push him too much so he burns out or quits the sport.

Albert Caruana said...

Thank you for your question.

I think goal setting should be left to your son and his coach. The best thing you can do for your son as a parent is to be there supporting him during successes and failures. Another thing that will also be helpful is this video that I posted on my twitter account that talks about what types of discussions you can have with your son when it comes to their participation in said sport.
http://devzone.positivecoach.org/resource/video/telling-kids-theyre-talented-harms-them

Anonymous said...

Here's one,

When comparing the talent level between NorCal to the SoCal, do you think the pool of athletes is the primary difference attributing to SoCal's success or is it training programs or some other factor?

Anonymous said...

Granted it was a short video and I may have missed much of the context, but I could not relate to the Dr's comments.

Albert Caruana said...

I think the sheer numbers in Southern California are a factor but that is not the sole reason. There are a lot of very competitive coaches who have the LA84 Foundation clinics to further their coaching education. I think the coaches have more training time with their athletes. Some have classes which enable them to have multiple practices during each day. The other factor in cross country which has been brought up multiple times is that the Southern Section schools (and San Diego Section) race against smaller schools in their respective divisions at the state meet which is a distinctive advantage for them.

Albert Caruana said...

As she said, focus on the process when speaking with your child and not the outcome or their perceived talent.

Anonymous said...

Can you get an interview with the coach of Greenfield?
It's a very small school that did pretty well at CCS according to Hank's site.

4th D4 Girls & 16th/70.
3rd D4 Boys & 13th/72.

I'm not affiliated with them. It just smells like a good story.

Thank you,
WCAL Parent

Doug Soles said...

Albert,

I think one of the best things that parents can do is help their child find their "why" in running. Why do they want to participate in the sport? Why do they want to be successful at it? Help your child figure out what they want to do in the sport. Guide them, discuss with them, but don't demand of them. Ask them their goals and support them in their attempt to reach them.

Best of luck,

Coach Soles

Albert Caruana said...

Thanks a lot Doug. Another good point.

Anonymous said...

Hey Albert, long-time user of the site and I'm really appreciative for everything you do for it.

Often enough the comment sections here can degenerate from a discussion forum into jab sat Bellarmine or can turn into a Southern Section v. the world debate. But my question is what some of your most memorable discussions that you've hosted on this site, and maybe one of the funniest?

Like I said, I've been using the site for some time and am interested to hear what your experience has been as the owner. Thank you so much for putting your time and effort into this site, there are surely more here that appreciate what you do than people that will say it.

Murr said...

I would like to know if you recommend a private coach as a supplement to a HS coach. Since not all HS coaches are accessible or approachable (they have lots of kids to look after), it seems to me that a private running coach who can review workload and set season goals is a great tool. In my experience, it can also keep parents from being too hands-on since they get better feedback for what is going on with their kid from the private coach. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Private Coach, my guess is 99% of High School coaches would say NO WAY! They can POISON a program!

Anonymous said...

Can we ask other coaches questions too?

Anonymous said...

Aren't a ton of the elite kids already working with private/club coaches exclusively or in some capacity?

Albert Caruana said...

In regards to private coaches, I would think your high school coach is going to be your best option at first unless he or she can work with the private coach in the best interest of that athlete.

Albert Caruana said...

Absolutely on asking other coaches questions.

In regards to most memorable discussions, that is a tough one. The site has been around for almost 10 years and it's very difficult to narrow it down to a few discussions. I would say the interviews have been my favorite with lots of helpful advice from athletes and coaches alike.

mike said...

Back on the topic of goal setting, here is the chapter on goal setting from the book Sport Psychology for Coaches by a couple of sport psychologists. It's easy to read and talks about the benefits, how-to's and related research.

Mike
xcstats.com

Anonymous said...

We have our first comment removal of the new system. Let me guess - private schools are bad for kids, public schools recruit, everyone cheats, kids who wear uniforms in the winter should be suspended for a year, coaches who talk with kids between state and Feb 1 are killing the sport,......

Albert Caruana said...

Not at all. That said it was removed by author who just reposted.

Anonymous said...

Too bad. I miss those topics!

GHPADD said...

Albert:
Having been a High School Coach (Lincoln, Lincoln) a Private Coach (Buffalo Chips Youth Racing) and the parent of two very good high school runners, I have a little bit different take on the "Goal Setting". Although I agree that "Goal Setting" is best left to the athlete and the coach, as long as the athlete is under the age of 18, I believe that all goals set between the Coach and the athlete NEED to be communicated by the coach to the parent(s) so that the parent, who is legally responsible for all aspects of the child's life, has the knowledge first hand (and not through the child). It is the parent that knows the full medical, social and life history of the youth athlete and not the coach. As a coach, what I may assist in setting may directly oppose one or more parents. To keep the youth athlete focused, the coach also needs to include the parent so that all are on the same page and IF there is a contention between the Youth/Coach/Parent that the parent always has the ultimate say...at least until the age of 18. I know that there are pro's and con's to this...but legally, the parent is responsible and should be aware. (If anything just to reduce future liability). Just my thoughts so...three...two...one...open fire!!

Albert Caruana said...

George,
I agree with your point of communication between all those involved including athlete, coach and parents.

One reason I mentioned that the athlete and coach should come up with the goals is that it's possible a parent and child could come up with unrealistic goals that leave the athlete disappointed after not achieving said goals.

Anonymous said...

The coach/athlete/parent discussion is interesting. Parental involvement in most team sports is a nightmare. "My kid should be the starting QB, SS, PG, Goalie etc."

Running is somewhat different, since the individual's abilities are more apparent.

As it relates to training and goals, if the coach is knowledgeable, caring, and responsible, parental involvement will usually create problems.

I know of a case where the HS coach volunteered from the teaching staff with no running experience or training, but both parents of a talented kid had college running experience.... They worked it out.

Albert Caruana said...

In most cases, if you do a good job coaching, the parents will respect you and give you the space to coach their children. The cold hard facts are if they suspect that they can find a better option, some parents will take it upon themselves to do so.

Anonymous said...

Speaking for some of the parents, we are not always convinced that a one-size-fits-all approach will work for our kid. This is not a knock on HS coaches but can they really customize a workout that will benefit my kid when they have dozens of kids to look after? They just don't have the time. This is where the private coach "safety blanket" makes us feel better about getting involved.

Anonymous said...

If a parent pulls their child from the school team to run/play for a private coach that is their right. But then these same parents also feel it is their "right" for their child to still compete for the school? If your kid does not come to practice why should they get to race? Lots of good soccer players play for clubs and academies. You don't see any of them practice with their private coach than expect to play in the game. I am old school in the sense you earn the right to play. If you don't come to practice, you sit the bench. My parents never argued this but in today's sports world parents and athletes feel entitled.

Anonymous said...

The saying, " the cream raises to the top" is so true.....Even if I have a private coach, yes I could have gotten a little better but I was as good as my talent. Parents who do this are selfish and don't see the whole picture(nor do they care to) of high school sports. Don't think there are too many sports out there that like kids miss and still let them play. Parents feel entitled and think that their kid is the next "big thing" so we shouldn't deny them of anything they want.

Anonymous said...

No, not missing practice with the team but doing a custom program by their private coach on the school track. From a HS coach's perspective, is it helpful to have that kind of help from the outside?

Anonymous said...

Old school won't allow you to keep competitive with the programs where the majority of these kids are being funneled off to. You fall in line with the top talent, or they'll just go elsewhere. That's the only real choice I see. This way of thinking is rewarded in our sport. Individual approach to training is not frowned apron like in many other team sports. You are just going the extra mile, or getting the specialized training your kid needs because they could never get it with so many other kids to coach.

Albert Caruana said...

From my experience, the athletes that come from strong programs are coached by their high school coach. The athletes/parents that turn to private coaching are ones that feel like their our outliers on their team and that they need outside coaching help to reach their potential.

Anonymous said...

Well, if a runner is doing his high school work-out then going to private coach for " specialized: training then you increase your chances of getting hurt by over training. What Kind of specialized training is there in XC anyway that you need to go somewhere else. I agreed with Albert it seems to me its those runners who are more the middle of the pack and this is simply not good enough for the parent to be a middle of the pack runner. Those parents think that more is better( which is debatable ) so they spend their money but the returns for the most part and not very good in relationship to the cost.

Murr said...

I think what they are saying is the private coach gives workouts to a kid, that kid does the workout at school, during the normal HS practice, under the supervision of the HS coach. That sounds like the best of both worlds.

Anonymous said...

What individual athletes in the last 5 years have passed through the section that have really impressed you, either by their results or by the way they raced? And for fun don't include any of your own past athletes ;)

Truth Hurts said...

Read every interview on this website from every great coach and every great athlete. Do you know what you will see?
There's no secret workout. In fact there's many different routes to get to the same destination. Maybe HS coaches should charge the going rate of private coaches: $200 per month. Would that add validity to what they are doing? Maybe you don't have an involved coach organizing summer training or what not. But why pay for what you know. Run every day. Do a long run. A tempo run. An interval workout. Run in the hills some days, stay on the flat some days. That will get you 99% there. the only reason to pay is if you are mentally too weak to do the training on your own. In which case you're not making it anyways.

If you add up everything parents pay for private clubs and travel and just tuck that away you'll be much better off financially than chasing that scholarship.

Anonymous said...

Most impressive performance I've seen in the last 5 years from Nor Cal was at the 2013
State Meet. Miguel Vasquez of Andrew Hill runs a 4:08/1:52 double. No one ever talked about him. This kid was a beast.

Girls goes to Elena Bruckner in the throws. If you are talking running events the CCS girls dominating the mile for those 3-4 years was fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

I had the opportunity to have 2 private coaches work with my kids. Both are highly respected HS coaches in the area. We needed to hire them because their school did not have professional running coaches. We did what we had to do to make it work for my kids and I assume that everyone makes that calculation for themselves. If you are lucky enough to have great coaching at your school then paying for private training might not be necessary. However, the one-on-one training was very instrumental in making my kids more confident and competitive. I'm not sure what we would have done if the school had provided good coaching - it was sure nice having the focused attention.

Anonymous said...

Miguel was always a bit overshadowed by Estaphanos, another CCS all timer, in D1 XC. His senior season after Top 8 was nothing short of legendary.

Anonymous said...

My coach is not a "professional" running coach, but we had some really good teams. What about the work-outs the coach set up? just skip there practices and go to your private coach? Or double train and increase getting hurt by over training. It seems that to some parents no matter who the coach is , its just not good enough for there kids... My coach would tell us.............we are great coaches when we have great runners and I will get dumb really fast when I don't have great runners to some parents eyes...

Anonymous said...

I think Miguel being overshadowed was due to his avoiding massive competition schedules. He did not show his strength until the end of Track season. He went from 4:18pr to a 4:08 in a matter of 3 weeks. He was fun to watch because he understood racing tactics.

Albert Caruana said...

Personally, I think when you run for a high school, you should be coached by that school's team coach unless that coach and a private coach can work together in the best interest of said athlete.

Anonymous said...

Albert,

Do you know if the topic of rebalancing the number of league qualifiers for CCS came up at any of the CCS meetings last year?

Albert Caruana said...

Not at any of the cross country ones I attended. I am assuming you are asking about track?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I was referring to track.
There was lots of discussion here last year about some leagues sending 2, 6, 8 qualifiers to ccs trials.
I'm not looking to rehash the debate, but merely asking if it was looked at by the powers-that-be for track.

Albert Caruana said...

Yes I am remember the discussion. Changing the amount of qualifiers to the trials is a huge change and I don't see happening anytime soon. Unfortunately CCS used to have north and south meets that fed into the semifinals. They are equivalent to the area meets/class a meets in NCS. With those meets out of commission, you now have a much smaller pool advancing from each league.

I would love to see CCS add 2-3 divisional meets after all the league meets. You can have one meet with Divisions I-IIII schools and another meet with Divisions IV-V schools. Another option is Division I, II-III, IV and V. You get the picture. From there, the qualifiers can advance to the semi-finals giving more athletes an opportunity to compete in CCS.

Most sections in California now have divisional meets and would love to see CCS follow suit.

hank said...

The North/South meets were done away with after the 2001 season. Reason was over 80 no shows at North Meet alone (see unofficial CCS minutes below):

http://lynbrooksports.prepcaltrack.com/ATHLETICS/TRACK/2001/ccspost.htm

The following year they also added at-large standards, see 2002 pre-season minutes:

http://lynbrooksports.prepcaltrack.com/ATHLETICS/TRACK/2002/ccspre.htm

The at-large standards made it so those "competitive" athletes that might have a chance to be in the CCS Finals would be there.

Not enough Principals fought the issue and so it was passed.

hank

Anonymous said...

Great info Hank. Nothing like good historical factual information.

I don't know if adding another meet is the right thing. That's a lot of work and more chances for injury in an already long season. But there needs to be a way to tighten up the competition at the CCS Semis.

Last year:
M 800 1:54-2:12
W 800 2:12-2:30

M 1600 4:15-4:42
W 1600 4:56-5:46

M 3200 9:18-10:04
W 3200 10:40-12:49

Anonymous said...

Nothing to balk at with those marks. Those times deserve a post season. I think you just need to add a few more heats and ease the auto time to top 16.

Anonymous said...

@7:35 Yes, those are respectable times, but not all post-season worthy.

Considering there were some 8th graders that did better.
http://lynbrooksports.prepcaltrack.com/ATHLETICS/TRACK/2015/wvalvjhs.pdf

Since there is a big gap between the At-Large and the slower semi contenders, widening the at-large few clicks it would help and be the easiest change.

http://www.crosscountryexpress.com/2016/01/updated-2016-central-coast-section-at.html

Allowing FS/JV qualifiers to advance would also help.

Then the question is whether to add more heats at the semis.
More heats would mean more butts in the seats = more $$$$$$!

Anonymous said...

More heats means more time to recover between events.

Anonymous said...

They combined the 3200 heats 3 years ago because the meet was so long.

Albert Caruana said...

I don't believe the 3200m heats were combined because of the length of the meet. I believe that was to make qualifying more fair. That was quickly dispatched due to the sheer size of one combined race.

Anonymous said...

Do you think any CCS or NCS records will be broken this year?

Anonymous said...

Yes.

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