On the bottom of the team guidelines is our "ten commandments of track & field". Coach Laster and I came up with these a few years ago, and I think they are really important to what we are trying to accomplish every spring.
NO ONE OUT WORKS US
That was on display yesterday, when I had three senior boys decide to come out and hammer 6+ laps of sprint ladders after 10 km of race pace intervals. As they were walking off the track, they knew that Creek or Vista was not out there working that hard. That is outworking the competition. If you think the competition is working harder than you, change that.
DO YOUR JOB TO THE FULLEST EXTENT EVERY DAY
Every day, whether it is at practice or a competition, you need to carry out the role you have been given. If you need to stay in the lead pack, then do it. If you need to run 10 intervals, then do it. If you need to take an ice bath, then do it. Don't worry about tomorrow, just do your assigned job every day, one day at a time.
YOU RACE NOT FOR YOURSELF, BUT FOR YOUR TEAM
When you are out there training, don't think that you are training for yourself. You are training for your friends, for your teammates, for your school. When your legs are burning, and you feel like throwing up, think of how hard your teammates have trained. Think if what they are doing, and how you do not want to let them down. That inspiration can carry you to new heights in your training and racing.
HILLS ARE AN OPPORTUNITY, NOT AN OBSTACLE
Most people see hills as a difficult obstacle to be suffered through. But, if you are successful at hills, then you will be a stronger racer, not only physically, but mentally. If you can conquer 30 hills, the pain of an 800m race is greatly diminished. Hills bring you to another state of being, and the more you get there in practice, the easier it is to get there in a race.
MENTAL TOUGHNESS NEEDS TO BE PRACTICED OFTEN.
You are not born being mentally tough. (Look at toddlers, they cry for no reason at all!) Mental toughness needs to be worked on, by training in inclement weather, training beyond your perceived capabilities, or by practicing your positive mental imagery. Just like running fast, being mentally tough is something you need to work on every day. The more you work on it, the stronger it gets and the easier it is to call up.
YOU CANNOT DO ANY BETTER THAN YOUR BEST
This one is from Coach Monfre, and it holds true, especially in competition If you prepared to the best of your abilities, and your raced to the best of your abilities, than you should be happy with your performance. There is not need to be disappointed, not if you did everything to the best level you could have.
EVERYTHING WE DO IS WITH A SPECIFIC PURPOSE
We do not waste time, energy or practice on this team. Form drills are key to ingraining proper technique in your muscles. Recovery runs are important to let your body grow back stronger. Hills are crucial, to build physical and mental strength. Tempo runs teach your body to get rid of lactate efficiently Nothing we do at practice is a waste, they are all equally important, and must be treated as so.
RELAXATION, HYDRATION & NUTRITION ARE VERY IMPORTANT.
When you train hard, your muscles break down on the cellular level. Proper recovery allows your muscles to grow back stronger from the training breakdown. Proper training requires lots of water, good healthy foods, and plenty of sleep. Not just once a week, but every day, consistently, throughout the season.
YOU CANNOT CONTROL THE COMPETITION, BUT YOU CAN CONTROL THE PREPARATION
When you step on the starting line, you have no control over what your competitors have done. You can only worry about yourself, and if you prepared to the best of your abilities, every day of practice, then you have nothing to worry about. Do not concern yourself with other athletes energy and attitudes on the starting line; just focus on yourself and what you have done, and have confidence in that.
YOU HAVE BEEN HANDED A LEGACY, CARRY IT ON WITH PRIDE AND DIGNITY
Chaparral Track has been an elite team for a number of years now. We are invited to elite meets, we win state titles, we place in the top three in Colorado. This is because athletes before you had immense pride in what they were doing and carried themselves with the utmost dignity. It is now your turn to have that pride and that dignity. Not just at competitions, but at practices, in your classes, at home. You are an valuable member of the Wolverine Track team, that is an honor you must embrace.
Print these ten "rules" out. Post them on your bathroom mirror, or put them in your gym bag. Slap them in your locker, or tape them on your dashboard. If you wake up every day and try to follow these ten rules to the utmost every day, than your track season will be a raging success.