Cardinal Classic, 3.3.16

posted Mar 4, 2016, 3:46 PM by Matthew Thomas   [ updated Mar 6, 2016, 6:14 AM ]

When Richard was in high school, he was a discouraged track and field athlete.


He was just average, and he was even less than average in other sports. Track and field was his least worst sport.


Richard was tall, so he high jumped.  And while he practiced hard, he was still just mediocre at his event.  He tells a story about someone betting him if he could jump over a simple stuffed leather chair.  “Not only did I lose the bet, I also broke my hand in the crash landing, “ he says.


High jumpers at the time in the early 1960s used a straddling technique to clear the bar.  Richard had done the same, and even tried the outdated scissors kick, with less than stellar results.


Then he tried something new.  Richard “Dick” Fosbury would develop what became known as the Fosbury Flop.  He would approach the bar, lower his hips, and jump backwards, shoulders first, over the bar.  It is essentially the technique used by most high jumpers today.


He continued to develop it.  In 1968, this average high jumper used his new technique to win the gold medal at the Mexico City Olympics.  Dick Fosbury took something that needed fixing, fixed it, and then had tremendous success.


On March 3, Minooka had some success of it own at the Cardinal Classic at North Central College.  Girls set indoor school records in the 1600-meter run and the 3200-meter run.  Both were exciting races against some of the top competition in the state.  The fact that each girl finished second in those respective races is a testament to their efforts.


Other efforts — valiant as they were — didn’t reap the same rewards.  As a team, Minooka finished 12 out of 16.  And there were plenty of things that — had they been done better — would have resulted in a higher team finish.


If handoffs in the 4x200-meter relay had been cleaner, those athletes would have placed four spots higher.


Not fouling on jumps in triple jump would have netted a top 3 finish in that event.


Failing to fall backward in long jump would have resulted in a top 4 finish.


Less-than efficient running form caused more than one girl to tighten up in a race too early.


If distance runners had moved 24 inches more off the rail, they would have positioned themselves better for a move down the finishing stretch.


This is not to say these were missed opportunities.  Rather, these are learning opportunities.   We approach the indoor season as a chance to learn from mistakes.  Each time we seen an indoor track is an opportunity to learn and improve.


Everything listed above is something that can be fixed.  No innovative technique is needed to do it.  Opportunities to learn presented themselves, and whether we have tremendous success in the future depends on how dedicated we are to fixing our mistakes.


Fosbury’s new approach resulted from an athlete wanting to get better.  


Sometimes it takes a flop to lift an athlete.

Go Indians.

– Coach Thomas
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