Interview: With New PA Head Coach Jerry Craft of the A1 Track Club
A1 Track Club is gearing up for their very first season as a New and Proud Member of the Pacific Association. In the midst of a their seasonal Spring training, Head Coach and Founder Jerry Craft allowed us to a pay the team a visit as he prepares his student-athletes for the 2010 Track Season.
1. What does exactly does A1 stand for and what’s the meaning behind it?
A1 is the acronym for “AudienceOfOne” we’re a small club with the primary focus on relationships. Everyone wants to know that they are the main focus of attention. A1 is just that, I have nine athletes, but I have a special bond with each one. The connecting rings exemplify the connection between each athlete and myself. We’re working toward a common goal of not just being an exceptional athlete, but an athletic role model both on and off the track.
2. Not many people get a chance to experience what goes on behind the scenes as a Head track & field coach. With a New Team, a New Year and a New Approach, has the pressure of managing a new team eased at all?
The pressure to perform always sits in the back of ones mind, but like with the kids developing as athletes, I continue to develop as a better coach learning, evaluating and growing in the sports I love so much.
3. Now entering your First season as the head coach at A1, what do you expect out of your team this year?
All I expect out of my athletes is to continue to develop nothing more. If they trust in the process, not just listen to what I say, but buy in to it, and respond to it. If they do that we will be successful.
4. With Training in full swing for most of the teams across the association, what is your basic training philosophy approaching mid-season as you prepare your team to compete against some of the Associations best?
At this point in the season it’s about execution of the things we’ve worked hard on at practice. Right now our theme is to understand the actions required and doing the things necessary to execute them consistently. Correct repetitive action brings about positive results.
5. They say there’s no “I” in TEAM. But how important is it to encourage and focus on personal development.
Each athlete understands they are a part of one body working toward a common goal and that’s to continue to develop. It’s equally important that each athlete maintain their own individuality, which makes them who they are.
6. looking at a your student-athletes, what do you look for the most besides their performances on the track?
I desire my athletes to be respectful, encouraging to others, to have a positive demeanor and countenance about themselves. I view A1 as a small corporation and they are direct representation of the company.
7. Who are some of your student-athletes who have shown early signs of success heading into the season?
Each one of my athletes continues to impress me with their work ethic and attitudes toward training. We’ve only competed in one meet, but I’ll say this, “in the upcoming meets A1 will not just show up, but we will show out”.
8. It’s said “Good things come to those who wait” How important is patience when development young athletes?
Patience is the key to success. As coach we make mistakes in training, but one must have the patience when we make a mistake, learn from it, correct it, and be a better coach from it.
9. When it’s time to head home and step away from the oval, how does Coach Craft like to spend his free time?
I’m a husband, a father of 4 children, Minister at my church, High School sprint coach, so you can imagine I say quite busy. I study, I evaluate, and I talk shop with others more experienced than me. As close friend and track coach once said to me, “I don’t sleep”.
10. For anyone out there who wishes to one day start their own Team, what is the best piece of advice that you can give them?
Inspiration starts within, a passion and desire to do something with the gift given to each of us. Each one of us are pregnant with dreams and at any given time with the right timing and support you can give birth to something that can prove to be the standard in which everyone else measure themselves by.