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Weekly Bulletin #1 - Week of 8/31/09

posted Aug 29, 2009, 4:58 PM by PMS Coach   [ updated Aug 29, 2009, 5:01 PM ]
Dear Piedmont Middle School Parent of Cross Country Runners:
 
I wanted to welcome you and your child to our cross country program.  Thank you for signing up your child to participate.  My name is Len Goldman and I am the head coach.  The PMS cross country program is off and running as this week marked our first practices and the program's 4th year.  I would like to welcome you to my weekly bulletin that will be used to communicate news of the team and keep you informed.  Please share this bulletin with your child.  This first bulletin will be a rather lengthy, so please read it in its entirety, future ones will be shorter. 
 
Please note that we have created a website for your convenience and to facilitate communications, I will refer to it quite a bit in the weeks ahead.  The address is:
www.pmscc.com   Please bookmark it.
Browse through the website and note we have a calendar section and a document with "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ).  I suggest you especially look at the "FAQ" section, as it may answer many of the questions you have.  The website will be updated as quickly as we can and will have the most current information. 
 
Our schedule of practices is right after school from 3:15 p.m. to 4:45 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  Your child can come as often as they want, but it is required that they attend a minimum of once a week.  Our first meet is tentatively scheduled for Monday, September 21 at Prospect Sierra School in El Cerrito.  Also, we are planning on hosting a meet on Thursday, October 1 at Temescal Park in Oakland.  There will be more information on these meets in future bulletins.  The complete schedule of meets has not yet been finalized, but should be by next week.  Parents drive the kids to the meets and provide snacks, we depend on your support so that every child who wants to run in the meets has transportation. The Booster Club is seeking several parents who can serve as "Team Parents" to help coordinate the drivers and snack providers.  Please respond to this e-mail if you are willing to be a Team Parent.
 
To briefly re-cap our first week of the season, it was hot!    30+ kids showed up for each practice.  Because of the heat, we took it easy running wise and tried to find shade where possible.  Please make sure your child brings a water bottle to practice.  We do take frequent water breaks during practice.  I also recommend that they apply sunscreen and wear a hat or visor.  Each practice will follow a similar format with a warm-up jog, group exercises, an endurance run of about 1 mile, form drills, and an obstacle course exercise with agility ladders and hurdles (6 and 12 inch), and time permitting an active game.  This past week, one day for a treat we had popsicles and on another day I gave the kids "Otter Pops."  If your child is allergic to any foods, please let me know.  Thanks to a donation from Attune Bars, we will be giving the kids an energy bar after some practices.   Please be sure your child knows where to go or where to meet you after practice ends at 4:45.
 
The most important piece of equipment for your child is a pair of running shoes.  So if you have not bought them yet, I encourage you to do so and to go to a specialty running store where they can fit your child with the correct shoe.  Also, running shoes should be replaced about every 4 to 6 months, depending on use and your child's growth.  Please note, regular running shoes are fine, you do not need to buy trail or cross country shoes. Transports running store on College Ave. is offering a 10% discount on shoes to PMS runners, just let them know you are a PMS runner.
 
The emphasis the first few weeks of practice is on building endurance.  We will be running at a comfortably hard pace in most of the training, with some brief walk breaks, and each week the intensity will increase a bit.  Our total daily mileage, and this is broken up into several segments, is about two miles. Our endurance runs will be on campus and into Piedmont Park, but we will also be running into the neighborhood, like over to Crocker Park, Hampton Field, Dracena Park, Coaches Field, etc.  Some of the running incorporates hills and stairs, since the courses where we will be racing will have these features.  Some of the training will involve faster running on the track, but it will be geared to each child's ability level.  I also like to incorporate active type games into practice.  
 
While we have a fair number of runners on the team so far, we could use a few more kids, especially girls, so please help us spread the word.  If you know anyone who might be interested, just have them come to our practices to check out what we do, no obligation.  Registration for the program will be accepted until late-September. 
 
I have asked the kids to complete, with your assistance, a brief questionnaire.  (See Attached.)  I would like it returned as soon as possible and as part of our Mileage Award Program the kids will get one bonus mile for returning it by September 10.  The Mileage Award Program is a way to reward and incent the kids for coming to practice, participating in meets, and exhibiting helpful behavior and sportsmanship.  I am attaching a description of the program and our website will have an updated listing of the miles accumulated for each child.  In addition, your child can earn extra credit by running on the weekend and submitting a form providing documentation.  This form can be completed on-line and the link is:
Please note, so that they don't overdue it, just one run on the weekend of one or two miles.  If your child can only attend one cross country practice a week due to participation in another sport, i.e., soccer, flag football, hockey, etc., please let me know so I can factor this into the miles they earn.   
 
Just to remind you and your child, next week is our first full week of practices and on our usual schedule of Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  We will be having a welcome pizza party to celebrate the start of the season and it will probably be one of the practice days during the week of September 14.  More to follow on that in the next bulletin. 
 
We are lucky to have an outstanding group of coaches.  I encourage you to read the short bio of each coach that is on our website: http://www.pmscc.com/coaches
The plan is to have at least 3 coaches at each practice, parents are welcome to observe practice to see what we do.  We are looking forward to this season and coaching your child.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
 
Len Goldman
510-339-2430
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