What follows are two excerpts from John’s full interview, available to Season 2 members, of HSRC. You can listen here or on the Run Faster Podcast. The transcription of the interview is below.
Jay Johnson: Can you give me two or three things you do in your program that you think you would see in all successful cross country and track programs. Could be from a coaching standpoint, or from a team standpoint, like “here’s what our team is doing or what I personally do as a coach.” It could be something like – the importance of consistency in training. We’ve had other coaches say hey you really need to get kids you know out for our sport that that if you’ve got 20 kids on your team versus 80 kids and your team you’re going to have a much better shot of being successful if you’ve got 80.
John O’Malley: Yeah. It’s really cool hearing those answers and the question didn’t even occur to me until ask if it’s just a coaching question or team questions and I have I’ve asked it in that way. So that’s really clear that you segmented it that way.
I think some things that we do that is simply learning from other programs and getting exposure to other great programs. I think first of all every great program has a plan. The plan can work differently but there’s plans in place and there’s organization well before you your first moment of action, your first practice and I think great coaches do that. I think great programs have had that kind of a plan that doesn’t mean necessarily if they stick to it 100 percent and I think that would be counterproductive if it did.
But there is a plan in place and there is a plan in place for racing and training and mental/psychological training and things like that and cultural things with your program and how you’re going to develop the program. So I think there’s there’s a lot of planning involved in any great program. The best coaches I’ve seen are the ones who are constantly learning and have constant dialogue whether it’s with their own staff, if they have a staff, or other coaches around them and are just perpetually learning and really work hard.
You know I think sometimes people forget that to build a program, to build great runners and to be a great coach you really have to work hard. It’s not like you get to a certain level and then that’s just going to perpetuate itself. You’ve got to work hard all the time. I think that the best programs have a balance of of having accountability and being tough and rigorous and challenging and also have the human factor. You know the fact that they’re teenagers and they’re developing and growing and they often come to us as freshmen will know no background in running or very little background or running or something like that. And we balance that with you know those things and what it means to be a part of a team and what it means to grow from freshman year to senior year and as a person. And those those elements are clearly a part of a great program. [Read more…]