Early Start to the Season

Tartan78

Active member
It seems like the outdoor track season is starting early this year. Most of the winter sports have only just started their post-season. What is the rationale behind this?
 

JAVMAN83

Active member
You must've missed the memo. Starting with 2020, OHSAA new rules have the season starting 2 weeks earlier. Rationale is that it allows for more training prior to the start of the outdoor season. Better conditioning, better safety.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
You must've missed the memo. Starting with 2020, OHSAA new rules have the season starting 2 weeks earlier. Rationale is that it allows for more training prior to the start of the outdoor season. Better conditioning, better safety.
And more inconvenience for many smaller schools who are more reliant on kids who play multiple sports, not to mention the coaches who are involved in a winter sport.

I know at Tartan's school, the head track coach is also the head boys basketball coach. The boys basketball team doesn't play its first tournament game until Saturday. If they win, they don't play again for another week. At my school, the throws coach is also the wrestling coach. The sectional tournament is this weekend. If any kids advance to districts, we're without a throws coach for at least 1 more week.
 

SOTT

Active member
And more inconvenience for many smaller schools who are more reliant on kids who play multiple sports, not to mention the coaches who are involved in a winter sport.

I know at Tartan's school, the head track coach is also the head boys basketball coach. The boys basketball team doesn't play its first tournament game until Saturday. If they win, they don't play again for another week. At my school, the throws coach is also the wrestling coach. The sectional tournament is this weekend. If any kids advance to districts, we're without a throws coach for at least 1 more week.
I think the argument about the availability of the coaches is a much better one than the availability of the kids. The winter sports seasons are what they always were, so in terms of an inconvenience in that regard, it really is no different. The winter sport kids will start practicing when they always do. The earlier start date just allows for a better opportunity for the non-winter sport kids to get out there earlier and get fit, work on skills, etc. Sure, the weather won't be perfect for that, but it still increases the likelihood that you'll get some extra days of valuable practice.

Now, for those small schools who are waiting on coaches...yeah, that's a big PITA for sure.
 
And more inconvenience for many smaller schools who are more reliant on kids who play multiple sports, not to mention the coaches who are involved in a winter sport.

I know at Tartan's school, the head track coach is also the head boys basketball coach. The boys basketball team doesn't play its first tournament game until Saturday. If they win, they don't play again for another week. At my school, the throws coach is also the wrestling coach. The sectional tournament is this weekend. If any kids advance to districts, we're without a throws coach for at least 1 more week.
So......an assistant coach if available takes the team members available through basic conditioning and weight training for two weeks and when the head coach and other assistant is available, they start with a team with two weeks of conditioning under their belt. If there is no assiatant to serve in this role or the head coach is too narcissistic to throw a bone in the way of a gift card or some sort of thank you to the working assistant, then the school track team is where they have always been, starting two weeks later than now. There is nothing to say a program "has' to start two weeks earlier.
 

JAVMAN83

Active member
And more inconvenience for many smaller schools who are more reliant on kids who play multiple sports, not to mention the coaches who are involved in a winter sport.

I know at Tartan's school, the head track coach is also the head boys basketball coach. The boys basketball team doesn't play its first tournament game until Saturday. If they win, they don't play again for another week. At my school, the throws coach is also the wrestling coach. The sectional tournament is this weekend. If any kids advance to districts, we're without a throws coach for at least 1 more week.
Schools I coached at always had numerous athletes that were doing one thing or another, whether it be select soccer, overlapping sport seasons, or school-related functions that always interfered with training. No big deal.
 
Instead of 4 weeks training in crappy weather before the first race it is now 5, a tough sell as always, now a bit less appealing for the dual meet kids who are done the first of May
 

Tartan78

Active member
And more inconvenience for many smaller schools who are more reliant on kids who play multiple sports, not to mention the coaches who are involved in a winter sport.

I know at Tartan's school, the head track coach is also the head boys basketball coach. The boys basketball team doesn't play its first tournament game until Saturday. If they win, they don't play again for another week. At my school, the throws coach is also the wrestling coach. The sectional tournament is this weekend. If any kids advance to districts, we're without a throws coach for at least 1 more week.
And if athletes make it to the wrestling state tournament, they will not start practice until 3/23 (due to week off between seasons) as the wrestling post season is a week later this year.
 

JAVMAN83

Active member
Instead of 4 weeks training in crappy weather before the first race it is now 5, a tough sell as always, now a bit less appealing for the dual meet kids who are done the first of May
Not sure where you got 4 weeks in the previous configuration. Going back to my HS days and before, it was required to have 15 school days of training before the first competition. Hence, 3 weeks, not 4.
 

CC Track Fan

Active member
Instead of 4 weeks training in crappy weather before the first race it is now 5, a tough sell as always, now a bit less appealing for the dual meet kids who are done the first of May
Some validity to this point.

To me this adding these two extra weeks is s advantage for the schools in the southern part of the state their weather during the extra two will typically much better. Try having track practice this week in northern Ohio.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
Instead of 4 weeks training in crappy weather before the first race it is now 5, a tough sell as always, now a bit less appealing for the dual meet kids who are done the first of May
Weather has been my school's greatest obstacle to getting kids out for the sport and keeping them out. The periods of bad weather overshadow any great weather that might come later in the season. In the minds of the kids and their parents, 1 meet with bad weather erases all memory of any number of meets where the weather was 75 and sunny. We lost more than a handful of kids during the 1st week of last year when we had very cold weather. Those are kids who we saw at practice at the beginning of the week but were gone by the beginning of the 2nd week. It's difficult to say if this year's earlier start cost us any kids right off the bat, i.e. how many didn't bother to sign up due to the earlier start. However, after the 1st 2 days of practice (we cancelled on Wed), it would seem that we're well on our way to having our smallest girls team ever. We only had 1 senior on the entire team last year and only 1 senior the year before that, yet the numbers continue to decrease. Our boys team numbers also don't seem particularly robust even if any winter athletes who are still in action are included. Unlike the girls though, they are competing against 3 other spring sports for athletes (baseball which is big at my school, tennis which is seeing a minor resurgence, and lacrosse). The future for the boys will be extra interesting. In addition to any issues with the earlier start, my school is approaching the point where the freshman boys are the ones when our feeder system started a lacrosse program at their grade grade and added a year each year as they moved through the system. Prior to that, track was the only spring sport available to kids in the feeder schools, so we now have a batch of boys coming through the school for whom track has never been on their radar. Aside from kids who quit due to issues with head and neck injuries, lacrosse seems to have a fairly high retention rate at our school.

Getting back to the weather and this early start thing, I'll be happy if we're able to get the HJ and PV mats out of storage before these 2 extra weeks are up even if we can't practice those events. The mats take up most of the space in the storage garage, but it's been too wet to get them out so far.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
Some validity to this point.

To me this adding these two extra weeks is s advantage for the schools in the southern part of the state their weather during the extra two will typically much better. Try having track practice this week in northern Ohio.
One benefit from the extra 2 weeks is it makes it more palatable to cancel practice on a day when the weather is sketchy as opposed to feeling like you can't afford to give up a day of practice. In discussing whether or not to cancel on a cold day or a chilly day with a driving rain (like yesterday was at the time we had to make a decision and get it on the PA system), we're generally asking each other, "how many kids might we lose today by practicing in this weather?" We're not so worried about injuries as we are worried about kids saying "this is miserable, I quit."
 
Back to a previous statement, when the vote was taken on whether or not to move the season start date up 2 weeks, the only region to fail the vote was NE Ohio, go figure.
 

jktrack

Member
We were greeted by 3 inches of snow this morning making it impossible to do anything outside, so we improvise like always. I think track coaches are the best at improvising more than any other sport. Give me a hallway and some steps and we have a viable practice. Time to make some chicken salad out of ......
 

CC Track Fan

Active member
Give me a hallway and some steps and we have a viable practice. Time to make some chicken salad out of ......
Do that more than once a week it will turn into "give me legs injuries." The hallway floors are even more unforgiving that the gym floor.

I know of at least one school that choose to just wait until next monday to have their first practice.
 

ENA2

Member
We will not start "outdoor" track practice until the first Monday in March. Now, we did start volunteer practice this week and most the non-winter sport athletes came a couple days. The only advantage for us may have been it gave a couple kids a few more days to get their paperwork in.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
Do that more than once a week it will turn into "give me legs injuries." The hallway floors are even more unforgiving that the gym floor.

I know of at least one school that choose to just wait until next monday to have their first practice.
My feet and shins hurt like heck after a day on my feet in the building, and I have long since taken to wearing the style of dress shoes that have more of a soft athletic shoe sole. Hallways and staircases have become an absolute last resort for me. After having the kids run some hallways and steps a handful of years ago in bad weather (the older 1/2 of our building offers a staircase going from the basement to the 4th floor), I found 15 minutes to be the max that they could tolerate. After that experience, I will look to go outside as long as people are properly dressed for the weather. If they're not properly dressed, I'm likely better off sending them home and having them try to get something in on their own versus subjecting them to a round of zig-zagging the hallways and staircases in the school building.

At the end of the day, we all use what we have.
 

Spartan1969

New member
I love this. We start at the same time as baseball. Can't tell you how many times the baseball team has snagged a track runner because they started sooner. With us starting at the same time, I have a level playing field when it comes to recruiting athletes in the building. It has already helped us this season with several athletes. We kept it light this week. Hoping to see this pay dividends at the end of the season. On another note the indoor state meet should be interesting. With the new rules, this indoor meet will see some kids who never ran indoor. The seasons overlap by a full week. I have a feeling we will see some of these individuals on relays in Geneva for the State meet. Hope they move the State meet up for Indoor by a week next year to stop the overlap and fix that problem. Individual events won't be affected, but Relays absolutely will.
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
I will admit that there are a lot of challenges to starting two weeks early. Weather has not been as bad as it could have been. As a coaching staff, I think the challenges of not having facilities at consistent times/ days etc.. and trying to work with kids that have other commitments like the school musical and winter sports that are still going on, has forced us to plan better. I am a fly by the seat of my pants type, and I took the time to write out my entire plan through the District meet with plans for being in doors or outdoors depending on weather. It's stressful, but I just pick from one of my alternate plans. My work schedule is a mess and the two extra weeks puts a big strain on my regular job since I'm not a teacher or self employed. I think we are much better prepared than I thought we would be. Especially with the large number of kids we have and limited facilities. Sprinters are easing into things even more than usual and distance kids are at it harder than usual. My personal life is much more stressful, but the coaching part is not bad for the time I'm at practice. I've had a few kids I was going to give extra time to after basketball and wrestling that showed up early anyway. There are still a few wrestlers that I have to make decisions on, but the kids are handling it well. We always have an issue with the school musical and even though it's just as much a hassle if not more than usual, the extra two weeks allows us not to worry about it too much.
 
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