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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Preteens and Teens › WWYD!?!??!? Looking for advice and direction from Athlete Moms, Moms of Athletes and Running MOMs!
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WWYD!?!??!? Looking for advice and direction from Athlete Moms, Moms of Athletes and Running...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

( I will X post this in the fitness forum)


ETA  - Just finished reading all of this and it sounds like I am mostly venting and trying to work this out myself...  Thanks for hanging in if you get through all of this!


I am looking to get advice concerning my son who is an athlete.  My problem is the amount of work he does and his health.  I have always been fearful to be one of those moms who directs from the sidelines.  KWIM?  I have always kept my head and let the Coach do his job.


My gut is to listen to my son and let him trust his body, but he really has this Coach on a pedestal.


Here are some stats:


Ds will be 17 in 2 weeks.  He has been running since he was 11 (in middle school  - cross country).

He is 5 ft 10 and about 108-110 lbs.   He looks like a runner.

Just at the beginning of this cross country season (fall of 2010) something just clicked and he has been running elite times and is ranked top ten for cross country in the state.  We are getting letters from colleges and he is only a junior.


Coach is an extreme runner.  Runs 100k's.  Runs 24 hours.... Serious guy. 


So the deal is that after cross country season (November) I and my son's doctor wanted him to take off winter track and rest.  The idea was for him to go into Spring track really rested and break some records etc.   Coach didn't want him to, obviously he wants to make it to the State meet with my son.  My son decided not to run winter track then changed his mind after a series of texts from Coach.  Coach will text ds first thing in the morning and continue all day.  My son worships this guy.   I really like the guy too.  He respects the kids and never yells or cusses at them.   The one thing he doesn't show respect for is when the kids are injured and need a day.  He pretty much tells them to shake it off.  For example..... in Sept my son ran a 16:03 5K.   He ended up with severe soreness in his calves for running on his toes.  The day after the meet (no recovery day) Coach has ds run 10 miles at a 7 minute mile pace.  My son missed 2 days of practice after this.  OH!  And you should have heard Coach when ds told him he had to miss practice....they guy emailed me to confirm it!  He didn't believe the kid who willingly comes out every day and pushes himself to crazy extremes??!?!??


So how do I approach this guy?  Would you say anything?  I don't want the reputation of being that mom. 


But my son is working so hard.  And I'm just so scared that he is asking too much of his body.  I do buy Boost/Ensure for him just as a precaution.  He is very serious about running...he doesn't eat refined sugar during the season and stopped drinking all soft drinks.


He had a track meet a week or so ago and was supposed to run the 1600 and 3200 (mile and 2 mile).  He ran the mile and broke the school record.  Then about 30 or 40 minutes later ran the 2 mile.  We had talked earlier and he made the decision not to kill himself in both events.  But his Coach was upset that he didn't run harder during the 2 mile.  Every time he lapped Coach - Coach was fussing at him.  DS shook it off, but he came home sick on his stomach later that night and had diarreha all evening.    I feel good that ds kept up with what he originally intended to do.  But would you as a parent, step in a demand that the Coach NOT run your kid in two events?  Events that are that strenous I mean?


UGH - I am so conflicted.  We have still got to get through Spring Track, and the Cross Country his senior year and then two more seasons of track. 


So?  Piss Coach off and alienate him? 

post #2 of 9

I am guessing from your avatar that you too are a runner? If not feel free to correct me. But if you are, I would approach the coach as a fellow athlete and explain your concerns and why you have them. I don't think I would be as worried about two events in one day as I would be about this coach asking the students to shake off injuries and keep pushing themselves. It's that sort of thing that can end up ruining someones career as a runner. If the body doesn't have time to rest and heal the risk of serious, irreversible damage increases exponentially.

post #3 of 9

Personally, I'm suspicious of anyone who tries to push a kid to extremes. My kids aren't at that level in sports but my oldest is at a professional level in theatre. We've come across some really intense individuals who wanted to push her voice to uncomfortable levels for example. This could damage her vocal chords for life. We immediately put distance between DD and those people.


Certainly, there are quality instructors that can recognise a gift or talent and hold your child to high expectations. I even get that quality coaches do push kids outside their comfort level for growth. However, they aren't supposed to text your child several times a day convincing him to do something he chose not to (totally innapropriate to me.) They aren't supposed to ignore injuries nor totally disreguard a doctor reccomendation. It sounds to me that this guy is sacrificing your son's longterm success for immediate glory. It doesn't mean he's a "bad" guy. Maybe he's just lost in the excitement and/or not used to working with this caliber of talent. Still, I would certainly put my foot down about running while injured. I'd ask him to respect your DS's choices. If he decided to only run the one event, that is all he should have run. If he chose not to do Winter, he shouldn't be doing it.If colleges are looking at him, you want to keep him fit and healthy, some high profile wins certainly. You don't want him injured or burnt out before he even gets there.




post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for your responses!  I was reading over my original post and I want to apologize...it is so disjointed and scattered.  I appreciate you guys hanging in there.


Yes MD - I am a runner as well.   I like your suggestion of approaching Coach from that point of view.   He has actually asked me help coach the cross country team next year as an assistant coach so I know he respects my running opinion. 


So far I have been listening to my son and following his lead..... but listening to Coach fuss at ds during the 2 mile event was hard.  I think the thing I need to remember is that ds did not change his plan, even though Coach was irritated at him.  I think that is a good sign.   And....ds is my first born.  I do sort of worry about him more than I should. 


I do have a great resource in my ds's cross country coach from middle school.  She is a former olympic level athlete and has been giving me LOTS of advice.


I don't think my son will burn out. But that is something I need to pay attention to.  He is on fire for running and has mentioned a couple of times that he might want to run for a living.  It would be horrible if Coach turned him off.  So far though - ds thinks the guy is the bomb.   I do think the texting is a bit odd.  I excuse a lot of it though.  Maybe I shouldn't?  Writing it down and reading it back does make it seem strange.  Isn't it funny how things come into perspective when  you are able to step back from it.  Coach does text a lot.  A lot!   The reason I have been more okay with it is because he very shy and quiet.  It's almost like he is on the spectrum YKWIM?  He struggles in social situations.  It's obvious to everyone who knows him.  But then you get an email from him that is so warm and chatty.... so I tend to understand that the texting was an easier way for Coach to communciate with the team.  Does that explanation sound lame and like I'm making excuses?


So you think I should lay low like I've been doing and speak up when it comes to possible injuries?  That's a good plan.....?. 

post #5 of 9

I also think texting is the way kids communicate these days and Coach may simply be using their preferred mode to get his point across.


I would not interfere in how your son runs meets-that is the coach's job. Running two events actually isn't all that unusual-and is completely normal in elite events.


I do think you need to be your son's advocate when it comes to injuries-which it sounds like you know and are doing. I think even well meaning coaches can get caught up in it all and kind of forget that these aren't just athletes, they are kids as well.


I ran track as a kid (and have been a distance runner most of my adult life) and there really is a fine line between pushing yourself to achieve your best and injuring yourself. I know many adults who haven't learned this (myself included as I have tried running through plantar fasciitis twice) and it comes back to bite you on the butt. What could have been healed with a week's rest becomes a chronic condition that may never heal or require surgery.


Running clearly is your son's passion and it sounds like he is a sensible kid who recognizes his limits. It is totally appropriate for you to intercede on his behalf with his coach when it comes to being injured or burnt out.

post #6 of 9

If you are comfortable with the texting, that's fine. You know the situation best. It's just a line in our area that instructors/teachers don't cross. I guess I really don't see the need for him to be getting several texts a day from his coach. Outside of "practice has been changed to 3:30" I don't see why he'd need to talk to him outside of practice. I'm not suggesting anything creepy is happening only that this guy may be too invested in your son's atheletic career.

post #7 of 9

I think you you should consider setting some limits around the texting.  I frankly think that the coach is setting up a borderline situation for himself by repeatedly texting your ds.  It wouldn't fly here.  There's a power differential between adult/student, coach/athlete, and I think repeated texting, however unintentional, creates a misuse of that relationship.

post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by karne View Post

I think you you should consider setting some limits around the texting.  I frankly think that the coach is setting up a borderline situation for himself by repeatedly texting your ds.  It wouldn't fly here.  There's a power differential between adult/student, coach/athlete, and I think repeated texting, however unintentional, creates a misuse of that relationship.


I agree. It's one thing to text a kid to remind them of something, it is completely different badger a kid by texting. I'm not sure what's happening in your situation. If he were phoning on your house phone this often would he drive you crazy? Your son is a minor and a student, and even though he is a serious athletic, chunks of his day are meant to be spent focusing on other things. Setting appropriate boundaries is helpful not just to your kid now, but to other kids on the team and ultimately to the coach. You can do it nicely, but since you are a runner he respects, he would most likely take this better from you than from a non-runner parent.


If part of your concern with your son is recovery, then you might look into he and you doing some yoga together. Yoga is WONDERFUL for runners. Runners are tight so you need to let go of what you think poses should look like based on what non-runners look like in them, but going through a practice a couple of times a week helps your body recovery from what running does to it. I used to go to a yoga class with a marathon runner in it who went on and on about how doing yoga 2-3 times had transformed his post marathon recovery time.

post #9 of 9

ran across this post from a search for something totally else. Come and ask the dingo thread. Specifcally, I'd ask drjen: runner with a college aged son.

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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Preteens and Teens › WWYD!?!??!? Looking for advice and direction from Athlete Moms, Moms of Athletes and Running MOMs!