How to Pick a Great Sprint Coach

If you need speed and agility training (SAT) for lateral training, or sprint training for pure linear speed, a coach will help you focus on the goals to accomplish the results you want. They will help you hone your skills, get organized and keep you practicing so you can be successful. But are all coaches the same? No way! How can you tell the difference between a phenomenal coach and a mediocre one?

One of the main factures in looking for a good sprint coach is evaluating what type of experience they have. I have seen many an athlete—young and old, professional and amateur—come to me after spending years with the wrong coach. Sadly, the athlete wasted time and money undergoing the wrong type of training. That’s time lost they can’t get back. The wrong type of training can even be injurious. If you are considering hiring a sprint coach, take your time and talk to a few coaches before making your decision.

ADVICE: The one thing I say to the athletes I train is: “To gain speed, you have to practice speed!” Of course, this requires many factors involving the athlete and coach together. How can you become faster? Let’s start with the fundamentals of finding a good sprint/SAT coach.

  1. Homework: Parents/athletes, do your homework! You want someone who is certified and trained in your age group.
  2. Experience: A good sprint coach will have solid experience. He/she will recognize your level of ability and train you appropriately.
  3. Knowledge Base: A great sprint coach will have basic knowledge of multi-system training. This would consist of the: musculoskeletal system, energy system, neuromuscular system, neuroendocrine system and the proprioceptive system, all of which is part of the physiology aspect of training.
  4. Relationship: A good sprint coach will possess the ability to foster a good coach/athlete relationship.
  5. Goals: A good sprint coach will work with you to identify both short- and long-term strategic goals; and identify your goals upfront.
  6. Communication: A good sprint coach should articulate what you need to know in a clear fashion
    without screaming at you.
  7. Lead by example: A good sprint coach will be able to demonstrate the drills to ensure you learn how to perform properly.
  8. Nutrition: A good sprint coach has to understand your nutritional needs. They should be able to give you a nutritional program that fits your lifestyle and age requirements.
  9. Time: A good sprint coach will try to give everyone equal time and will make themselves accessible.
  10. Support: A good sprint coach will make the time to support you at your events.
  11. Coach Dixon has competed in and coached track for over 30 years, in the sprint events (60m-800m). He has coached many athletes—nationally ranked youth athletes, American Masters record holders and World Record holders, in events from the 60m to the 1500m. He is certified to coach elite youth and adult athletes for international-level competition via USA Track & Field (USATF).

    Coach Eric Dixon


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