A Quarantine Coaching Clinic

Whether you credit philosopher Sir Francis Bacon or the animated shorts from Schoolhouse Rock!, there's no doubting that "Knowledge is power."

Looking to make the most of the extended downtime in track and field coaching (and learning) and competing as the world tries to slow the spread of COVID-19, Upper Saint Clair coach Doug Petrick hopes to spread knowledge throughout the coaching community tonight with another in his growing resume of coaching clinics, podcasts and the like.

The physics teacher and XC and track coach has brought together four respected and successful high school distance coaches for this free Zoom event as they will share their XC training philosophy from the end of outdoor track through summer.

"It's very inspiring, it's fulfilling (and) it's easy, like with Twitter, now Zoom and podcasts," Petrick said of being part of the knowledge-sharing process among coaches. "There are lots of great minds in the sport locally and in other states. I'll go to these clinics and have these coaches I've never met and they are sharing everything.

"There are like no secrets. They want to improve the sport, and they want other coaches to get better. That kind of blew my mind the first time I went to an out-of-state clinic, that these coaches, who have been so successful going to NXN and had kids go on to college and do really well, had no qualms about talking very candidly, being transparent about what they do."

He added that the contacts he has accumulated have allowed him to compile "a really cool network to reach out to to ask" coaching questions and get answers.

Tonight's coaching knowledge-share event will feature Scott Bliss from Champlain Valley Union in Vermont, Dennis Barker from Nova Classical Academy in Minnesota, and Jeff Purdom of Plainfield Central and Paul Vandersteen of Neuqua Valley, both in Illinois. Each coach is scheduled to present for 15 minutes, with a 15-minute Q&A session to bring things to a close.

Those interested in being a part of the free session should direct message Petrick on Twitter at @DougPetrick1 or e-mail him at dpetrick76@gmail.com.

The coach and timing operator for TSTCA and other meets noted that events like these are helping but not completely filling the track void created by the current pandemic. The pause in normal everyday activities that COVID-19 has caused also resulted in Petrick changing this year's USC XC TF Coaches Clinic on June 26 to an online event.

Details for this event also are available on Twitter at @ClinicUSCXCTF.