Our first practice of the spring semester was scheduled for February 1st, 2021. Unfortunately it was scheduled for then. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are pushed back another week. We have access to the weight room and training facilities, but are just unable to throw. With the majority of our season happening in the spring, it isn’t that much of a loss. We will still be able to train specific exercises that transfer over to the throwing events.
I spoke about this group of throwers in a presentation I gave the other day to staff members I work with. We are trying to coordinate and launch a virtual social emotional learning sports coaching programming. Part of my presentation to staff involved sharing my previous experiences as a coach and what the current literature has to say about coach-athlete relationships.
My coaching philosophy has changed quite a bit since that first season at SUNY Fredonia. I’ve written about it before, so I won’t go into all the details again. If you’d like to read about those previous experiences you can click HERE.
When I transitioned to my position at Nazareth College in 2012-13, I took a much different approach than the one I implemented at Fredonia. Not that I didn’t try to develop positive relationships with my athletes at Fredonia, but a majority of the first group of kids I coached were my teammates. I didn’t take the time to get to know them more as people, and not just athletes.
I made a concerted effort to be open about my experiences at Fredonia. As the season moved along, I felt as though we grew closer as a group. It was just the four of us. Jess was in her second year of throwing, Luis had never thrown before, and Brandon had experience downstate. You can read more about those first couple of years by clicking HERE.
Transitioning back to Nazareth for the 2015-16 season was difficult at first. I was only able to attend half of the track meets because I was enrolled in my doctorate program at the same time. Our class schedule required us to attend every other week. Fortunately, the schedule worked out that I was able to attend our E8 conference championships and Nationals. I learned that communicating more effectively and efficiently was going to be imperative if we were going to have a successful season. This season helped me become a better coach for a couple of reasons. First, it required me to communicate more efficiently with my kids. Second, it allowed me to be more present in what was happening during practice and at meets. Third, but most important, I got to know my athletes on a more personal level. Once things started clicking, we started rolling and the team came closer together as a unit. They took really good care of each other at meets when I wasn’t able to attend due to class, they took turns writing in our throwing journal, and they kept me informed of what was happening at the meet via text message.
With my team this year at Alfred State, communication has become paramount. We’ve had a couple of virtual team meetings where Coach G. and I discussed the upcoming spring semester happenings and expectations. I text my throwers on a regular basis. We’ve only had a handful of practices. Getting the physical components of throwing down is important, but establishing solid coach-athlete relationships is critical!
Dr. Charles Infurna
Charles Infurna, Ed.D., is the owner and lead coach of Forza Athletics Track Club. Dr. Infurna has coached National Record Holders, National Champions, All-Americans, and Conference Champions at the Post-Collegiate, Collegiate, and High School level.