Track: Schedule Your Track & Field Unit in the Winter, Not the Spring

Track: Schedule Your Track & Field Unit in the Winter, Not the Spring

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

Most physical educators conduct their track and field unit in the Spring, assuming that it's better to practice running, jumping and throwing in the outdoors.

However, there are advantages to scheduling track and field in the dead of winter, indoors.
Talent Identification Advantages

Gord Zubyck, a former physical educator and track coach in New Liskeard, Ontario, typically conducted his track and field unit shortly after the Christmas break. At the time, his Northern Ontario school would be shivering in -20 degree Celsius temperatures.

His reasoning was that an indoor unit allowed him to identify talented students long before the varsity track season actually began. He could then recruit these students and provide enough training to make a difference in inter-school competitions. Waiting until the weather was nice enough to run the unit outdoors would force him to  recruit only a few weeks before school meets begin—not enough time for training to have a beneficial effect.

Skill Teaching Advantages
There are also advantages to practicing skills indoors. Most throwing events can be practiced inside using a net. Because less time is spent chasing implements, more practice attempts could take place.

Jumps and the pole vault were practiced into jump pits, with the emphasis on the critical areas of runup and takeoff.  Sprint and hurdles starts were practiced in the gym, with the width of the gym allowing more students to practice simultaneously than on a six or eight-lane track.

Reference: Dick Moss (Editor), from a conversation with Gord Zubyck, a physical educator and track & field coach at Timiskaming District Secondary School in New Liskeard, Ontario, Canada.

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