By Hunter Bower, Owner // GeauxPreps.com
With the 2020 Cross Country season right around the corner, we wanted to chat with a few coaches from around the state and get their perspective on the upcoming season, dealing with the challenges of CoVID-19, their passions and more!
Today, we are joined by Patrick F. Taylor head coach, Brad Womack.
1. How do you prepare yourself to enter a new season? Do you change any coaching tactics?
When we finish our season, I always look at how we finished in our parish, district and the state meet. From there I try to figure out what worked and what needs improvement. I then try to develop a plan for our summer program that addresses those needs and it flows into our regular season plan.
It rarely is the same program as the year before. We won the state championship in 2013, I tried to use the same program the next year, but it didn’t work. I just didn’t have the same horses as the year before. So, I learned, I need to tailor the program to the kids’ needs.
2. What are some goals you have for yourself, as well as goals you have for each team?
My individual goals each year is to learn something new that I can implement into the program to make the team better.
As a team the goal is always to win the Jefferson Parish Public School meet and district. My hope is for us to finish in the top 5 teams at state. Do we always achieve that, no? But that is always the goal.
3. What are your thoughts on COVID-19 and the pandemic we are facing?
Covid-19 has been a struggle so far. We are required to maintain social distancing at practice, temperature checks and limited numbers. I am concerned about the upcoming season. I am hearing rumors of staggered or wave starts for meets. I’m not too sure how that would work out. Would your wave be based on times, or schools or classifications? Who knows, I will just prepare the kids for a normal season and hope for the best.
4. What’s your favorite thing about coaching?
My favorite thing about coaching is the process. I like when a new kid or a group of kids come in raw and they buy into what I’m trying to teach them. They go from a kid who doesn’t know their potential and they go on to meet that potential and more. It’s a great feeling seeing their face when they hit a PR. And it keeps me feeling young.
5. Who has influenced you most when it comes to the way you approach coaching?
I’m originally from Lafayette and my favorite coach I had growing up was my middle school coach, Dan Bouillion. He was open with us and we could talk to him. He had a way about him that was firm but fair and we knew he cared about us. That’s how I want my athletes and students to feel about me.
I also try to read as much as I can about coaches from all sports. I try to pull a few things here and there that I feel are good concepts and methods to use with the kids to help them be better athletes and people.
6. What are the strengths of the current roster, and also some areas where you need improvement?
The youth of our team is one of its strengths, but it may also be considered a weakness by some. I like young hungry kids. They are very open and receptive to coaching. On our girls team, we have always had issues with our numbers. We had a few meets where we didn’t have enough girls to score as a team. So, I’m trying to get those numbers up. A lot of people think cross country is a physically demanding sport but it’s more mental than anything. It’s not easy to run in the summer or fall Louisiana heat. When your legs and lungs are burning during a run, it’s your mind telling you to keep pushing. It takes a lot of mental strength to continue to come out day after day and put in the miles to be better. It’s like anything in life. You get out what you put in.