Coaching Cross Country Successfully by Joe Newton reviewed at

Coaching Cross Country Successfully (Coaching Successfully Series) by Joe Newton is a fantastic guide. It helped me develop many of the ideas and strategies that I use for my CC team. Joe Newton coached cross country at York High School in Illinois. His teams at York won 26 State CC Titles in his four decades of coaching there.

The book is a complete outline for an aspiring cross country coach. Newton breaks up the book into five sections on how to make a CC team a continuous success. A constant theme in the book is that Newton build a running community at York High School. From nicknaming every runner, to making sure he talked individually to every one at every practice, Newton build a running family.

Part one of the book explains how to develop your Coaching Foundation. This section talks about how to get runners to join the program, and how you can develop your coaching philosophy.

The second section focuses on preseason planning. It talks about how to get your runners running in the off season, and what practices you should plan in season. Newton makes sure every practice matters and he details the different activities the York team does each day.

Teaching techniques and tactics is the third part. Here Newton outlines running form, hill running strategies, and developing a race plan. One major thing I like about the book is Newton explains how his team races smart. They run at an even pace, not blasting off the start line. This allows them to dominate the other teams that waste too much energy at the start of the race.

Next up is coaching for competitions. The book talks about how to prepare for meets. The York team doesn't put much weight into the early season races. Their focus is always on the state meet. Newton makes sure his rather large team is always ready on race days by nominating team captains. He calls this his "secret weapon." He expects his captains to lead the stretching, warm-ups, and cool downs so he is free to roam the course during the races.

The final section is the coaching evaluation. After every season Newton suggests you analyze each runners performances during that season to see what worked and what didn't. Also, he recommends reevaluating your CC program every year.

Overall Coaching Cross Country Successfully (Coaching Successfully Series) is a great book for any cross country coach. Newton gets his runners to run a lot of miles. A real lot of miles! This is why they are so good. The one thing that I think all coaches can take away from this book though is how he develops a sense of community on his team. They all pull for each other and celebrate their successes.

- Reviewed by David Tiefenthaler

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