( I will X post this in the teens 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?
Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby.
ds20, dd19, ds17
Well, that's a tough situation to be in. I feel like the coach is a little too hard on him. I mean, it's not professional level, you know? This is high school, and I'm afraid that if the coach continues like this, your son will be burnt out by the time college rolls around.
Then again, my son is only 8 and we have not yet made it to that level, so maybe someone else who has BTDT has a more experienced answer?
Just thought of something else. If your dr is advising rest, then that's what your son needs to do. He won't be running at all if he gets hurt.
What is the coach's track record with previous athletes of your son's caliber? Do they continue on in college and do well? Or do they burn out and get injured? If he's the type of coach who gets results, then I'd say trust him and see how well your son can do. If he's the type of coach who goes too far then reassess which seasons are important for your DS to focus on. FTR junior year is the most important year for sports if your son is wanting to continue on in college. That's when college coaches recruit. I was a non scholarship division III college swimmer and I always wished I had a coach in high school who had pushed me harder. I always did well for my area, but I always wonder how much better I would have been if I'd been pushed by a coach like your son has. Is your son's doctor a sports med doc or a pediatrition? Sports med docs are more specialized in what to expect and know when too much is too much vs. asking an elite athlete to do what is needed. Most docs aren't trained in sports/nutrition and to ask their opinion doesn't often mean much unless they have sought out the extra training on their own.
(One state swim meet in high school my very laid back coach told me to back off on my weaker event to focus on my stronger event and I think it backfired and I did poorly in both events. It was the first time I purposely backed off on an event and it was the one of the only times I choked at a big meet. My college coach had a different style of coaching and he expected a lot out of me and I was able to push myself at bigger meets and I got results that I never thought I would get! A good coach can make all the difference in the world for pushing a good athlete to reach full potential.)
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.
This Coach has no experience with an athlete of my son's degree. As a matter of fact, I am struggling right now with the college process. No direction is coming from the Coach.
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 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.
To answer another question - my son has a doctor who runs and a separate sports physician who works with local athletes in the area (think NFL football) and also participated in the Iron Man and the Tour de France. This guy is a serious athlete in his own right.
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.
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......
Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby.
ds20, dd19, ds17
My wife showed me your post, and I wanted to offer some advice. I have been a former competive runner and am currently a soccer coach. I have seen a lot of injuries do to excessive strenous wear that has been caused by overworked bodies. Each of my players run up to ten miles per practice and are required to run even on their days off. However, I am extra cautious about injuries. I expect each of my players to inform me if they have any injuries, so that I do not push them past what they are capable of doing. I do believe that as a coach it is often necessary to motivate and push the athletes farther than they think that they can go, but there is a definite line that needs to be maintained. If a doctor is advocating a period of rest, then I would highly suggest that your son follow it.
The longer that a body goes without a period of rest the greater the likelihood of a career ending injury, before it even gets started. I doubt that your son's coach realizes the potential harm that could befall your son. I am not saying that he will get an injury, just that he could. I am starting to see injuries occuring in high school that were once only reserved for college. Many programs today are over pushing their athletes in order to gain recognition, but they often ignore the consequences of those actions. If he is serious about the scholarships then he needs to rest, which does not mean that he stops training. He should change his training, maybe add variety, but take the pressure of competition off for a short time in order to let his body regain strength. If he does there is a good chance that his times may be even better in the spring.