MILE STANDARD FOR FOOTBALL TRYOUTS
Ed Poirier, Coach
Dear Coach Ed,
I am a 40 year old PE teacher and football coach for a middle school. This is my first year teaching and coaching at the middle school level. I worked in private industry since I got out of college in 86 and last May I decided to go back to school and get my masters in PE. We have an accelerated program in Alabama that allows people like me, who have an undergraduate degree, to get a masters in education in approximately 26 graduate hours worth of classes and actually be employed while doing so. I was lucky enough to get hired. I have coached youth football for 6 years and I also played college football, and was a competitive drug free powerlifter. With my background, I of course did a lot of conditioning training. I have a good feel for what kind of times a college football player should be able to run a 220, 440, mile, etc... but I am at a bit of a loss to come up with times for 12 and 13 year olds.
We are going to have spring training in about a month and one of my requirement for the students to make the first cut is that students who weigh over 170 lbs must run at least a 10 minute mile and students under 170 lbs must run at least an 8 minute mile. Does this sound reasonable to you? I figured with a month to train on their own, these times should be easily attainable. Any insight you could give me would be appreciated.
My opinion is the 8 minute mile standard for under 170 is not fair. If every athlete on your team can run a 10 minute mile you will have the most highly conditioned football team I every heard of. A few years ago I had Don, a 12 year boy on my track team who could not run a mile in 10 minutes but was my best 12 year old 50 & 100 meter runner. He made the varsity high school football team as a freshman and is currently a top player in his Junior year. You know he still can't run a 10 minute mile. He is about 230lbs of fast twitch muscle fibers on a strong muscular body he built from working out in the weight room. Quick, powerful, can take a hit, and can give a better hit. Would it be fair to apply even the 10 minute mile standard to this kid? Putting arbitrary athletic standards on young athletes may cause a real gem to slip through the cracks.
I believe values such as dedication, commitment, desire, and sportsmanship should be considered over athletic standards at the high school and under age. I, like you coach, believe in the importance of sports and athletics in young people. I would hate to see you miss your gem of an athlete an the opportunity this athlete would get training under you, just because he runs only an 11 minute mile. Just something to think about Stuart.
Ed Poirier, "Coach Ed", recently was invited by the United States Olympic committee to attend a workshop and training seminar at the Olympic training center in California.