A coach plays a large role in not only an athlete’s sports career, but also for teaching work ethic and healthy habits that they’ll use throughout their lives. Whether you’re coaching distance runners, sprinters, field event participants or throwers, making it through track season takes endurance! This season, consider these tips for keeping athletes motivated and healthy all season long.
Training Takes Dedication
Drill this into your coaching strategy. If your athletes want to get better, faster or stronger in their events, they need to take the time to focus on training and free themselves of distractions while at practice, meets and conferences. Have your athletes keep their cell phones out of sight (maybe in the locker room) to avoid outside distractions while at practice. To help with focus, suggest having team members set aside 15 minutes of alone time for listening to motivational music before practices and meets.
Focus on Full Body Wellness (Mentally and Physically)
In a perfect world, all athletes will train, perform at their best capacity and never get an injury all season long. However, in reality, training and competing can be very demanding to an athlete’s body and mind. Be sure to stay apprised of any ailments or unusual behaviors of your athletes, and check in with them often. Be sure to inform your team members of access to school trainers and guidance counselors to encourage mental and physical peak performance.
Educate Athletes on Preventing and Treating Injuries
It can be difficult for athletes to take a step back and take care of their bodies, especially when they’re having an all-star track season. However, injuries can occur from not taking the proper preventive measures before, during and after training or performing. Consider these sports injuries tips from the National Health Service and share with your team:
- Protection: Protect past injuries by using support to help from further injury.
- Rest: Be sure to give your body a break from rigorous activity. This can help minor injuries heal and give your healthy muscles some time off from hard work.
- Ice: Be sure to apply an ice pack to current and past injuries. For current ailments, ice every two to three hours for 15-20 minutes at a time.
- Compression: Elastic bandages help keep swelling to a minimum by applying pressure to an injury.
- Elevation: Keeping an affected area raised above heart level can also help keep swelling down.
Work Hard, Play Hard
While practice makes perfect, don’t be afraid to treat your team and step away from a rigorous practice schedule with a fun team building activity. Whether you decide to do this once per week, bi-weekly or once per month, fun activities will help your track team to feel more connected to one another, in a sport that is often seen as an individual activity.
Lastly, don’t forget that your team’s surroundings can impact their attitudes. Keep them motivated with clean and spirited facilities. Consider sharing a unique statement on a motivational sign that athletes can focus on throughout the season.