What’s Happening To High School Track?


I am frequently asked “what high school will Lauren attend ?? Most often I respond, I have my favorites for academics, I have no favorites as of yet for Athletics”.  I know it’s not what  most want to hear, but it is the best one I can come up with right know.  I say it all the time ,”We Just Want A “FIT” I guess we will know it when it comes….

So along comes this great article By Latif  Thomas of Complete track and field  “High School Sports are Dying” and it is very thought provoking….Take some time and check it out I have reprinted in part the article here.


Latif Thomas writes “An interesting point was brought up in the discussion section of my last article on 400m training. A suggestion was made that if you (as a parent) don’t have faith in your high school’s coaches, pull the athlete from the high school team and have them compete for better coaches in a more appropriate environment.

That made me start thinking about an idea that seems to be gaining traction. High School sports are dying. And here’s why…

Most high school athletic departments are amazingly antiquated and Socialist institutions. Their inability to see outside the confines of their own insulated world has them grasping tenuously to a losing belief system on how to both develop young athletes, as well as adapt to the many opportunities athletes have in addition to being on the high school team. These athletic departments don’t realize that their own inability and/or refusal to adapt stands as the source of their own destruction.

The youth sports landscape has changed and as evolution has taught us, we must adapt or we will die.

There is a growing trend here in America that has more and more athletes abandoning, or, at least, downplaying the importance of their high school sports team to compete for AAU and Club teams and get quality, individualized coaching from superior coaches outside the confines of their public school coaches.

Additionally, young athletes with great athletic potential are bypassing their hometown schools in favor of private schools with superior traditions for developing athletic success.

And lack of coaching education is to blame.

Let me give you an example:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I worked in a program where some kids’ wildly positive and successful experience on the track team caused them to give up other sports in order to train for track and field. Due to ignorance in the true sense of the term (to be uninformed or unaware) other coaches lobbed accusations of ‘recruiting’ and ‘stealing’ athletes.

No such thing ever occurred. The results did all the recruiting.

I was told (and this is a direct quote):  “Kids quitting the soccer team might be good for the track team, but it’s bad for the soccer team.”

What a fatally flawed and inherently Socialist line of logic. The ‘forced parity’ argument does not work in The Real World. At least not for long. Such a rule of governing stifles innovation and hard work. It is, in essence, a bailout for the mediocre.

Let me put this in business terms:

If the Soccer Coach does not provide a product/service (competitive program and individual improvement) that the consumer (athlete) wants to buy, it is the right of the consumer to purchase what they perceive to be a superior product/service, i.e the Track Coach. The Track Coach has the right to improve his/her team as long as no laws are being broken (as there must be regulations in the market). It is not the fault of the Track Coach that the Soccer Coach chooses not to invest in the resources (Coaching Education) that will allow it to continue to earn a competitive share of the market (athletes).

Following the basic principles of Free Market Capitalism (that we hold as fundamentally American as apple pie) the Soccer Coach has one of two choices:

1. Adapt to the situation by providing a better product/service (become a better coach thus providing a better experience through better individual and team results) and regain market share.

2. Die (complain about how unfair it all is because they don’t want to work as hard as the Track Coach or the Football Coach, etc.) and then go out of business.

Most athletic departments will simply bail out the soccer team by inventing regulations to limit the success of the Track Coach even though the Soccer Coach has access to the same opportunities.

Therefore, this hurts both the Soccer Coach and the Track Coach. Now you have a mediocre Soccer Team and a mediocre Track Team where if you simply allowed the Free Market to balance itself (again, not an unregulated Free Market, but it still must be Free) the Soccer Coach would be forced to invest (educate him/herself) in order to provide a better product/service.

In that instance, investments (education) by the Soccer Coach would yield better results forcing the Track Coach to invest (educate) more and competition would lead BOTH programs to greater profits (results in competition and fun for the kids).

This is what is called a ‘win-win’ situation.

But, of course, this isn’t what is happening. The Soccer Coach cries poverty or badmouths the Track Coach out of a stubborn, but psychologically predictable, refusal to acknowledge their own coaching incompetence. In response, the Athletic Department bails out the Soccer Coach.

What happens next is the point of this article.

The Track Coach (and you can substitute Track for Soccer, Football, Basketball, Lacrosse, etc.) says,

“Forget this. I’m taking my talents to South Beach.”

Now the best coaches in your public school leave the stifling public school and start/join the Club/AAU Team that actually supports concepts like ‘education’ and ‘winning’ and ‘success’ and ‘working as hard as you expect your athletes to work’.

(If your argument is that winning shouldn’t be a focus for teenagers then you haven’t spent much time with them because they’ll choose winning over a weekly pizza party ten times out of nine. Winning doesn’t mean ‘be the Champion or I’ll punch you in the face’. It means be the best you can be because you work hard as an athlete and I put you in the best position to succeed with safe, effective and contemporary coaching techniques.)

So now, in 2011 and beyond, parents and athletes have a larger range of choices. They can go to the public school that lives, coaches and competes in a bubble, doing the same crap they’ve always done and doing nothing in terms of athletic development other than just play soccer (because most HS sports teams don’t develop biomotor skill as a part of the program, they just play and scheme for soccer/basketball/football for 2 hours and then call it a day) OR they can join that progressive, cutting edge AAU/Club team/coach that competes against better competition, gets them better access to college scouting and develops them into better athletes which, of course, makes the whole experience exponentially more fun.

If you were an athlete, which would you choose? If you were the parent of a talented athlete, which would you choose?

When I was in high school, I was an extremely raw, but very talented sprinter. But I went to a Socialist high school and got absolutely no coaching. (I never did a dynamic warm up, a speed drill, a speed workout, lifted a weight, got a race plan…)

Back then (and I’m dating myself here) there was no such thing as the Internet, so I couldn’t go to a site like this to get information or invest in a program like Complete Speed Training 2 in order to train around the outdated training that is the norm at the developmental levels. (As I’ve said countless times, this doesn’t make them bad people. Some of them are wonderful people, just not effective coaches.)”

Read the entire post and the comments Here


  1. Elijah Davis says:

    That is true, i mean why does it seem like track is the least important sport in high school?

  2. Brandon Hodge says:

    I honestly like high school track. During the season there is relatively no competition but it is a great warm up for summer track and I believe it helps prepare for qualifying season.

  3. Luciana says:

    You are so on point with this article. I have tried time and time again to take my business into the school system if not for anything else but to educate coaches and athletes of the proper way to train for any sport they choose whether it is football, track, soccer, etc. What I find is coaches who are insulted because I have the “BALLS” to come into their place of employment and insinuate that they no nothing about conditioning their athletes, when in fact that is not my intention at all. What I propose is to “HELP” the coaches have a better more productive program by stepping in and providing them with more conditioned, knowledgeable athletes so they can coach the game. But as we all know people don’t like change and ignorance is bliss!!!

    Thanks for being a trackmom!!!


  1. [...] Thanks to Henry, CYP, Andrew,Bacon,Latif, Reddog  Tony,Damian and others for the great thought provoking responses in a very respectful way. Before you read this  might want to catch up here  Whats Happening To High School Track [...]

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