Focus. Purpose. Chip. Beast mode. Those are the first words that come to mind when I think about this year's team. Our first two weeks have been full of dodging lightning, mud, and mini swamps, but we are managing to get our work done and having some fun in the process.
This summer has brought about some change as a result of looking at other programs and what they are doing well. Hinsdale Central has won the last two State Championships, and even though their success tenure is short, I think there are many things they are doing very well. And, I think their success will soon be long-term.
When I started this program 18 years ago, the first thing I did was attend Elmhurst York's practice. Coach Newton was very accommodating. He took me to his office, after a summer session, and handed me booklets. He offered lots of advice; advice I still hold dear to this day. I took what he did and implemented various training techniques and other organizational strategies. Some things worked for us, others did not. But, I am convinced we are a good program because of what we 'stole' from York and others. When assistant Coach Noah Lawrence, at Hinsdale Central, was not satisfied with their progress three years ago, he made it a point to visit with head coaches of successful programs. He was a man on a mission. He met with Coach Quick at Palatine. He watched and learned from Coach McCabe, the Hinsdale Central women's coach. He watched what Coach Danner did at Lyons. The list goes on. When I look at Hinsdale Central, I see the influence of York (his alma mater), us, Palatine, Lake Forest, and others. He picked us apart and Hinsdale Central made 'the leap' because of it. And, let me add one more thing. Their program is led by Jim Westphal, a man that has little ego. He understands that he is in charge, but he allows others to flourish under him. Their most valuable coach may be someone most have never heard of, Jim Kupres.
I thought to myself, why did I stop looking at what others are doing well? Maybe we got too comfortable with our success? So, I decided it was time to return the favor, and we implemented the Hinsdale Central 3200m time trials. So far, I like them because I feel they hold our guys more accountable. You can view the results under the link, Evidence of Improvement. We will do another one in mid July. We will see what happens, and maybe it will become a permanent systematic change for us. As I once read somewhere, 'systems learn'. We used to put all of our times out in the open. I stopped doing that for reasons I am not sure. We are going back to our 'old ways' and posting everything we do for all to see. We have nothing to hide.