FACA Clinic: Steps Necessary to Become a Championship Coach


Championship coach at Great Oak (CA), Doug Soles, talked during day two of the FACA cross country clinic on all the steps that are necessary to become a championship coach. Here is what we took away from his talk. 

Have a Vision of What You Are Trying To Build

  • The vision starts with you, the coach. Build on your vision.
  • Ask yourself, what do you want your program to look like.
  • Share your vision. When people can see where you are going, they will get on board.

"When I started at Great Oak, I walked into the interview with the athletic director. The first thing I said was 'we are going to state.' We had one girl on the roster at the time. I saw the vision, they didn't." 

  • What are you willing to sacrifice to get to your vision? 
  • If you can get your key athletes to buy in, how they can they push the team forward? Have a leader on your team that others can model themselves after. 

Know Your Why

  • People buy why you do what you do.

Establish Your Culture

"At the end of every single year in May, the top 16 distance returners go over what we did well, what we didn't, what we can improve on for the next year. What this does is gives them power and control."

Principles of Sustainability

  • Excellence is an expectation
  • Give your athletes short term goals
    • "There is always something that our athletes are working towards, on the way to state. Who is going to camp? Who is going to a sweepstakes race?"
  • "Don't be afraid of mileage, you need to run."
    • Have your athletes build up in mileage over time and over their running career. It's easy to be scared of heavy mileage as a coach. If a proper progression is done, athletes will see a drastic improvement from implementing more miles into their weekly routine YOY. 
  • Develop depth to weather the storm.
  • Always have a destination that your team is trying to arrive at (big invitational > conference > district > region > state > nationals)

Process, Process, Process

  • "No matter what, it was less important for me to have an ego than to sacrifice our potential results."
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