|Dear Track & Field Families,
We are all set to begin our spring track & field season on Saturday, March 12, at 9:00am, at the Jack Curtis Stadium at Cooper River Park. All participants in both the beginner/casual/busy kid and advanced programs will begin that day. Our practices are 1 hour in length, and we begin moving at the announced start time. Please arrive to the first session 15-20 minutes early to check in. We will have name tags for the kids to wear during practice. After the first session, please arrive to practice 10 minutes early so your child can find and attach their name tag. If you show up at the start time your child child will miss the warmup.
Practice and Meet Schedule (we try very hard to stick to our planned dates, but please note the practice schedule can change):
- Saturday, March 12 to Saturday, April 2: Team-Wide Practice at 9:00am, Jack Curtis Stadium, Cooper River Park
- Mondays and Wednesdays, March 14 to May 11: Advanced Program Only Practice at 5:00pm, Cooper River Park (we will usually be at or near the stadium, but will also schedule some special sessions at other locations with plenty of advanced notice)
- Saturday, April 9: Meet at Washington Township HS, 8:00am
- Sunday, April 17 to Sunday, May 15: ***When no meet scheduled the same weekend*** Begin Sunday evening sessions: Team-Wide Practice at 5:00pm (Still waiting to see if we can use Rutgers-Camden, otherwise, Cooper River Park)
- Saturday, April 23: Meet at Camden HS (Camden Clock Chasers), Time TBD
- Saturday, April 30, Meet at Seneca HS (Seneca TC), Time TBD
- Saturday, May 7, Medford Mile, Shawnee HS (only 1-mile race), 2:15pm
- Saturday, May 14, Shawnee HS (Medford TC), 2:15pm ***We may have additional meets after May 14, but we would have no additional practice sessions after that date.***We may schedule special prep sessions for kids competing in AAU/USATF Junior Olympic competitions after May 14.
Communication: We use four different tools to make communication throughout the season as smooth as possible. If you have not done so yet, please: Download our Parent App and save to the home screen of your mobile device. The Parent App makes it easy to access all of the communication tools, club calendar, and coach contacts.Join our Remind Group, which we use for last-minute alerts and reminders. We use a different Remind group for each program we run, so make sure you join the Spring Track & Field group even if you have participated in a previous session. (Use the invite link above or enter code @9h89hc in the app).Subscribe to our Google Calendar. We will always update our schedule, including all practice session and meet, days, times and locations on this calendar. (Will be updated this week.) You may need to access it first on a computer, so that you can check the box to subscribe. It is not obvious how to do this in the Google mobile app. (Note that the calendar is not yet completely updated.)Subscribe to Email Updates in our Family Portal website. We will send email updates when it is not a last minute reminder or alert. You have been automatically added to our Spring Track & Field and Club-Wide Announcement lists, and you can change your subscriptions any time (add other programs). The Family Portal is where we re-post copies of all the email updates we send out, so that you can go back and find information easily.
Clothing/Equipment: No special clothing or equipment is necessary to participate. Comfortable sneakers and clothing that is appropriate for exercise is all that is needed. You can see a blog post on footwear on our website, but the general recommendation for kids is “less is more.” The more flexible the shoe, and the less bulky material in the sole of the shoe, the better. We will have another on-line gear store during the first week of practice, where you will be able to purchase an inexpensive uniform tank top, along with other fun items. A link to the store will be sent when it opens.
Safety and Safe Behavior: There are a lot of moving parts to track and field – we will be teaching the kids lots of complex movement, jumping over things, throwing things. Our primary focus is always on safety, but we really need parents to reinforce a primary rule of always keeping our hands to ourselves. We want the kids to have fun, but if they begin wrestling, hitting, swinging things at each other, etc, it can create an unsafe situation for everyone very quickly.
Practice General Rules:
- Always keep your hands to yourself.
- Focus on the coach when they are giving instructions.
- Always stay with your assigned group and coach during a given session (if you must leave a group for any reason, make sure you tell your assigned coach).
- Always inform a coach if you are feeling pain or think you are injured.
Meet General Rules:
- Always be respectful of officials and the other teams at meets; kids, coaches, parents.
- Keep all cheering positive. We never taunt or “trash talk” at meets.
- Mainly for parents: if you have any issues at meets, speak to one of our coaches. Please refrain from speaking directly to the meet hosts and allow us to handle any mistakes or issues that arise.
Our Approach and Philosophy: We believe that every kid deserves to experience expertly coached athletic training and competition, regardless of ability or financial means. We have also proven that we can work with kids of all abilities while also supporting very talented athletes. Our practice sessions are designed to introduce all of the kids to all of the events that make up the sport, and we will encourage each kid to participate in multiple events. This helps to develop healthy, strong bodies, and and is proven to support life-long health. Competition is part of every sport, and can cause anxiety. Our goal is to weave the meets into the program in a way that makes them fun-first, “glorified” practices. Track & Field is unique in that athletes compete against themselves as much as any opponent, and we will always emphasize personal development over beating other kids. We want kids to love the sport. If it turns out they have a special talent, that will emerge and grow if they are having fun, and there is plenty of time to focus on more serious training. The meets we attend are part of the South Jersey Track & Field Association, which was founded on the idea of providing less intense, age-appropriate, developmental competition.
Higher Level Competition: For kids who are personally motivated to compete at higher levels, we will attend either the District or Regional AAU Junior Olympic Qualifier meet in June, depending on which is offered, and in what location. If there is a District meet, then we have to begin there, and the top 6 finishers in each event qualify for the Regional meet. If there is no District meet, then we can begin at the Regional meet. The top 6 finishers at the Regional meet qualify for the National Championship. If a District meet is offered, then it is truly an “all-comers” meet, and kids of any ability are encouraged to participate. When there is no District meet, the competition at the Regional meet becomes more varied, but either way, do not be intimidated by the title “Junior Olympics.” Participation is the qualifier meets is more about interest than ability or expected results. Tentative Dates for AAU JO Qualifiers:Mid-Atlantic, District 8: June 17-19, Location TBDMid-Atlantic, Region 3: June 23-26, Landover, MDNational Championship: July 30-August 6, Greensboro, NC
Thanks, and see you soon!