1 Sep. 2020

Tulsa-area schools are unreliable partners for youth sports

Tulsa-area schools are dismissing sports as loosely as they are dismissing their students.

Back-to-school didn’t even last into September for several Tulsa-area school districts. If the districts can’t figure out school, no one should count on them for school sports. Apparently, in the midst of all the politics, virtual-hybrid models, Zoom conference calls, sanitation protocols and who knows what else, school administrators didn’t think to plan for most obvious, predictable, inevitable event of the new school year: students testing positive for COVID-19. ...

24 Aug. 2020

Seen around Tulsa coaching sites: Systems! Buzzwords! Data! Gains!

Athletic performance is more than a number attached to a word.

If athletes all needed the same thing, this line of work would be very boring. Sadly, the industry would look much the same as “systems” and software swamp the differences that make athletes unique and coaching rewarding. What does it mean to be “faster” than you were before? Do you have greater acceleration, allowing you to reach the same maximum velocity in less time, therefore shaving off a few fractions of a second? ...

17 Aug. 2020

Heard around Tulsa tracks: 'Sprinters should hop in with the cross-country team'

Sprinting helps cross-country more than the other way around.

Normally, when a coach tells one of his players to play a different sport in the off-season, we are wholly in approval and more than a bit pleasantly surprised. Early- and over-specialization in youth sports is one of the most debilitating aspects of the American youth sport system, one that affects American sports at all ages and levels (particularly in track & field and distance running). Now we certainly understand the cross-country runners from the fall showing up as distance runners in the spring, although we wish they would do a contrasting sport during the winter or summer (in addition to taking a proper break). ...

14 Aug. 2020

Tulsa Public Schools athletes: Join us, no strings attached!

No good options for school and sports? Not a problem over here.

Tulsa Public Schools have linked student participation in fall sports to their least desirable option for remote learning. Don’t play their games - play our sports instead. Tulsa Public Schools may not know or care much about sports, but they at least know their game theory. Or maybe they’ve just learned a few things from watching The Sopranos. TPS is leveraging incentives (to be generous) or using strong arm tactics (to be more honest) to get students to sign up for their “virtual” learning option this fall. ...

7 Aug. 2020

Tulsa Athletics Club ready to be the sport 'pod' as schools go AWOL

Multisport clubs were pods before pods were a thing.

Embedding our athlete development system in our schools has never been ideal for the athletes. The coronavirus-induced shutdowns are creating even more ways for the system to fail our young sportspeople. Right as business publications like the Wall Street Journal are examining how the benefits and sustainability of remote work are much lower than thought at the beginning of the summer, school systems across the country - including Tulsa Public Schools - are pushing children and teenagers onto Zoom for the first few months of the school year. ...

29 Jul. 2020

Heard around a Tulsa track: 'Coach doesn't let us do dead lifts'

Of the three core lifts, dead lifts are the most defensible.

The core lifts - squats, dead lifts and bench press - hold their place for a reason. They are mulitjoint movements that integrate large muscle groups and supporting muscles in a coordinated pattern that mimics fundamental movements. They check a lot of boxes for coaches, including being easily defensible: not many peers, athletes or - in a school setting - parents are going to question these exercises showing up in a training plan. ...

11 Jul. 2020

What if there is no cross country in Tulsa this fall?

Runners will race in Tulsa. That we know for sure.

Short answer: You don’t need schools for cross country, and you certainly don’t need cross country to race. The Ivy League cancelled their fall sports this week as the Big 10 announced that they would only compete within their conference, apparently oblivious to the fact that there are many more non-Big 10 schools in close proximity to Big 10 schools. than their schools are to each other. We’ll have to double check Google Maps*, but we’re pretty sure University of Nebraska (Big 10) is much closer to Kansas State (Big 12) than it is to Rutgers (Big 10). ...

1 Jul. 2020

Heard around a Tulsa track: 'Why don't we do any normal stretching?'

Beneficial is better than normal

The second-worst thing about static stretching is that even young athletes think of it as “normal.” The worst thing about it is how detrimental it is to athletic performance, from an immediate degradation of an athlete’s ability to produce power to the short-, medium- and long-term effects of increasing muscle slack, disrupting the coordination between muscles working together towards a given movement, physically damaging the muscle tissue and severing the relationship between range of motion and the athlete’s ability to move through that range of motion. ...

30 Jun. 2020

Going around Tulsa tracks: More to running than just running

Can you be an athlete without athletics?

Too few runners are athletes, in large part because we rarely teach runners the full range of their “parent” sport, athletics. Unless you’re a multi athlete, there’s not much overlap between events at the competitive level. Sure, if you’re a triple jumper you can compete in the long jump, and both specialties of horizontal jumpers will hop into a few 100m races. Rotational shot putters, hammer throwers and discus throwers may have some overlap. ...