Although nothing is better than a warm spring evening at a track meet under the lights, I truly enjoy the atmosphere of indoor season. First of all, the weather is always perfect for an indoor meet. Yes, the air can be a bit dry, and the field house might be a bit dusty or stifling, but that’s about as bad as it gets for indoor conditions. When we head outside, the weather conditions are a roll of the dice: sunburn one day, and frostbite the next. And then there’s the wind. Nothing sinks the heart of a runner like a stiff headwind to battle against.
Now a days, many schools have nice indoor facilities for competitions, and it’s been great to see this facility progress over the past 15 years. We have come a long way from being excited to run on a 160m track to now complaining about any track less than 200m. Most also have great field event venues with 2 sand pits, 2 throwing rings, and pole vault runways where spikes can be worn. These provide athletes nearly the same accommodations they would have outdoors.
As a coach, I like the atmosphere and excitement an indoor meet brings. Since everything is confined to the field house, there is so much going on all over the place. The field house is just buzzing with energy. It’s much easier for me as a coach to make my way over to see as many events as possible. And things get loud! When ever there’s a close race that comes down to the wire, you can hear the crowd start to cheer the competitors on. This is especially true for the 4×4 when teams get together and cheer loudly to spur their runners onward.
Along with all these other positives, the indoor portion of the season is a great opportunity for athletes to get some consistent training and fine tune their techniques for outdoor season. Athletes also gain a great deal of valuable meet experience competing in indoor meets. Often great progress is made during the indoor season, and athletes can see significant gains in their performances. Measuring and recording performances are a perk of track and field. Athletes know where they started the season, and can monitor and chart their improvements. It takes a lot of hard work to see gains in the sport of track and field, and indoor meets are a great opportunity to show what they can do.
With all this in mind, I’m looking forward to the UEC indoor championship this weekend. The kids have already gained so much this season and are ready for the next step!