Mission Statement

To provide youth athletes with the opportunity to pursue the sport of track and field and provide them with all the tools to compete at a championship level.

 

Vision Statement

To provide opportunities for youth through track and field that transitions them into the consummate student/athlete at the collegiate level. Through our programs, we aim to develop world class athletes not just in talent, but also in character, strength, and intelligence. We strive for our athletes to be scholarship athletes on, and off the track.

Specifically, we noticed that many of these families/athletes come to our program and within one to two years have abandoned the sport totally; no longer participating on any level. Not youth, middle school, or high school track and field. So, we compiled a list of possible reasons.

 

The next approach we used was to tackle the reasons that we felt we had some level of control. The first was analyzing year over year retention. In our first full year of track and field (2012), we had a roster of 35 athletes. And with that roster, we produced a National Champion, a Runner-Up, and over a dozen national medalists! Not a bad start for a first year. With this, of course, we drew a lot of interest going into the next season. This was our best year of retention. In 2013, over 80% of our roster returned (28 of 35 athletes)! Of those 7 athletes, 6 have not participated in track and field since 2012! And with that, we added 32 athletes to our 2013 roster, for a total of 60 athletes.

 

Traditionally, we have had three to four coaches. Consistently, a head coach, an assistant coach, and a throws coach. Once or twice, we have had a couple of assistants in the hurdles area and sprints. But consistently, two to three coaches. So in 2013 we faced our biggest challenge in managing a roster that basically meant each coach would be responsible for managing 15-20 athletes on average. From the areas we feel we can control, this is the place where we think as an organization, we need to manage better and more effectively. When we have had our most success, each coach managed between 10-15 athletes. With our coaching staff, a roster of 30-35 athletes seemed to be perfect for what we wanted to do as a program.


As a result of our increased numbers, our retention dropped to 38% in 2014, and 29% in 2015. In 2016 when we actively began being selective about our roster numbers, our retention went back to almost 82%. We found that the coach-to-athlete ratio is important to retention in other teams across the country. In a conversation with a coach from Track Houston at the Junior Olympics in 2013, we found that for a team that has over 300 athletes, they have coaches for nearly each age group, and multiple practice locations. Each location seemed to have a staff of three to four coaches and 30-40 athletes per location. Locally, JackRabbit Track Clinic consistently has close to 100 or more athletes and from the outside looking in, always has 8-10 coaches. Looking back, this is an important component of growing a team.

 

But we found the most important component to managing retention is expectations. Expectations by the parents, the athlete, and their expectations of the team and organization. We found from our analysis that this is far and above the number one reason for athlete turnover in the sport. To be clear, parents come to AAU and USATF teams because maybe their kid “looks” fast on the street or in the park, and they want their kid to try track. Well, what most parents find is that track and field is not like watching it on television.