The latest on who's looking good, position switches, and other tidbits.
Interview with Stan Edwards (part 1)
Stan has tutored Braylon, Darnell Hood, and Ernest Shazor in the art of increasing speed. Currently, Michigan junior commit Morgan Trent and 2003 walk-on Tyrone Jordan (Flushing) are taking advantage of his knowledge. Over the next couple of weeks we will be profiling Stan's club, his training philosophies, Morgan and Tyrone, plus a little more info on Braylon's development. We'll also be providing pictures. In part 1 we tackle how Stan got started and how kids get involved in the program.
How did you get started coaching track?
I was just being a parent. I put Braylon on a neighborhood track team because he wanted to join since his friends were. He appeared to be naturally fast when he was running up and down throughout the neighborhood. He was beating most of the kids around here his age. Once he started to compete, he did pretty well and beat most of the kids in his age group (9 year olds) from the entire area. In fact, he qualified for the Junior Olympics at Auburn University. All of that was really new to both of us. All I knew was that he was dusting all of the kids around here, so I thought that when he went to the National meet that he was going to wear those kids out as well! I was like most Dads are about there sons. Plus I was thinking that I had played some pro ball and none of the other dads had done that, so that was another advantage and I just knew Braylon was going to beat the crap out of them!
Tell me about the experience at the Junior Olympics.
It was a meet where you run everyday, starting on Monday and culminating in the championship on Saturday. Each day is another round and the top 2 or 3 in each heat advance until they reach the championship. We went down there Monday and Tuesday we were in the car coming back home! He got beaten so badly! It was to the point where he was looking back trying to figure out where everyone was…and they were so far ahead of him it was a shame. It was a rude awakening for both of us. I was shocked! I didn't know kids his age could run that fast. I had no point of reference.
After that experience we knew what we were up against. So, the next year we started a little earlier and he trained harder. He really did train A LOT harder. As a 10 year old he made it to the championship round in the bantam (10 and under) age bracket. He finished 8th in the 100m finals and 7th in the 200m finals, so he was a national finalist his second year running.
What age groups do you coach?
We have kids out there running around at 4 years old! For the most part, the age group ranges from 8 to 18.
Where are your practices held?
Really, anywhere we can. There are no indoor facilities in Detroit. There are only 4 indoor tracks in the area. We, however, utilize three of them. Those are at the University of Windsor, the University of Michigan, and Macomb County Community College. They have 6 lane indoor tracks that we can train properly on. A lot of teams practice at high schools, but I'm not a high school coach so I don't have access to a high school. I probably wouldn't do that anyway because those surfaces aren't good for the kids' ankles, shins, and knees.
Do you rely on those facilities donating time to you?
We have to pay to go in. The facilities are generally open to neighborhood joggers or walkers. We take up 2 or 3 lanes to train.
How are you funded?
In part we are funded by "Think Detroit." We also do fundraisers like raffle tickets and food sales. Think Detroit is a non profit organization in Detroit. They can be found at Think Detroit. They do a great job furthering their mission, which is reaching the kids in the community through technology and sports. Our total budget should be in excess of $30,000.
How would private donors get involved?
Well, Think Detroit handles all donations over a certain amount. They are a 501c3 organization so they would furnish a tax-exempt write off on the donation. The money goes towards equipment and (mostly) travel because almost all of our meets are out of state.
How do kids go about getting involved?
We've been so successful over the years that most people hear about us through word of mouth. There's always room for more kids, but we train awfully hard. Most kids aren't used to training at the level that we train. This is NOT recreation tack! If your kid isn't training at a level like they want to go to college to run track, we don't want them on the team. Everyone understands that not all of the runners on the team will be able to go to college to run track. But, they want to compete…and they want to compete HARD! I have some kids whose parents know that they'll never run in college. However, it's about commitment and that's all we ask of them. So, we don't turn anybody away. But, before any kid joins, I sit down and have a long talk with their parents about what their commitment level is and what they're looking for. If they just want a recreation track club where they can come every now and then and not really put out the level of effort it takes to get better, then shouldn't join my team. One thing I can guarantee is that those who stay with this club and are committed WILL get faster.
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