Coaching Today

The Track Meet Plan – a Simplified Method

 

By Woody Barnett

The Track Meet Plan – a Simplified Method DBHosting a home track and field meet does not have to be an unpleasant task. If the meet is well- planned and key personnel are secured, running the meet can be a very rewarding experience. As with any successful endeavor, nothing can be left to chance. The following material provides information and strategies to help simplify the administration of hosting a track and field meet.

The administration of the meet is the responsibility of the Meet Director of the host school. The Meet Director shall perform the following duties:

  • Serve as the administrator and supervisor of the meet.
  • Be responsible for securing knowledgeable and competent meet officials and workers for all events.
  • Be certain that all officials and workers know and understand their assignments and duties.
  • Coordinate the promotional and planning activities of all aspects of the meet.
  • See to the needs of contestants, officials and spectators, and ensure all technical details of the meet have been done.
  • See that all events are seeded and heats and flights are assigned.

Pre-Meet Planning and Logistics  

  • Set the date of the meet.
  • Decide on a meet entry method, either online or hard copy entries.
  • Decide on meet entry fees.
  • Decide on a meet schedule.
  • Send out meet invitations and a coaches’ information sheet.
  • Send out promotional meet information to the media.
  • Order needed meet equipment, starting shells, hip numbers, crossbars, etc.
  • Decide on the type of meet awards and place order for awards.
  • Secure meet officials, the earlier the better.
  • Plan the method of handing out awards.
  • Plan a method of controlling traffic on the track and field event areas. If possible it is best to designate an entrance gate(s) and exit gate(s).
  • Designate areas for bus parking, meet check-in, the clerk of the course, award stand, meet center (announcer, scorer, timing system operator), implement weigh-in area.
  • Ready facility for meet.

Running the Meet  

It is very important to keep the meet rolling once the first running event starts. Some meets use a rolling event schedule and others use a specific start time for each running event. Defined below is a different premise that may be worth trying. The premise is basically a goal to keep the meet rolling. The key to this plan is making sure the announcer, clerk of the course, starter, automatic timing official and event timing official work in sync. This will take practice!

The Perfect Track Meet Premise: Each heat of an event will start exactly 90 seconds after the last finisher of the previous heat crosses the finish line. There will be three minutes between each event. An Event Timing Official will be assigned to keep the meet running at this pace! The three minutes between events will allow time for the announcer to announce the results of the event prior to the previous event. As an example, the 100/110 Meter Hurdle results will be announced after the conclusion of the 100-Meter Dash. The only exception to the above will be when hurdles are being placed on or taken off the track and the start of the relays.

The Event Timing Official will alert the Starter to initiate the starting process at the 70-second mark between heats of an event and at the 2 minute, 40 second mark between events. This will ensure that the races will be started every 90 seconds or three minutes. During the hurdles or relay events, the Event Timing Official will alert the Starter when the hurdles or exchange zones are ready. The Automatic Timing Operator must be ready to catch the start of each race. The Event Timing Official will use a white flag to alert the Starter as to when to initiate the start of the next race. RUNNING THE RACE WILL TAKE PRIORITY OVER READING THE RACE RESULTS. The Automatic Timing Operator may have to go back and read the results of a saved race at a later time.

Meet Officials and Duties  

Referee  

  • In charge of all activities during the competition.
  • Responsible for the conduct and supervision of all meet officials.
  • Responsible for receiving written protests.
  • Act upon any protests.
  • Rule on any race infractions and interpret the rules of the meet.
  • Consult with the Jury of Appeals when situations arise.

Announcer   

  • Keep runners, coaches and spectators updated as to the race schedule.
  • Give pre-event calls: First Call, Second Call & Third & Final Call.
  • Coordinate presentation of awards (medals to top three). Results of the event prior to the last event contested will be announced after each race.
  • Announce team scores after every three events scored (3, 6, 9, 12, 15) and prior to the start of each 1600-meter relay.
  • Alert Event Timing Official when relay exchange zones are ready.
  • Recognize all meet officials and workers during the meet (not all at one time).
  • Make any related public service announcements.

Clerk of the Course 

  • Position each competitor in their proper race (heat) and starting position (lane).
  • Distribute hip numbers for all races. Participants are to place competitor numbers on their left hip. Inform that these numbers must stay visible.
  • Remind runners that they MUST finish in their assigned lane.
  • Release the heat/competitors to the assistant clerk.
  • Check for uniform compliance

 Clerk of the Course Assistant #1  

  • Escort the heat/competitors to the first holding area located at the middle of the straightaway after they are released from the Clerk of the Course. Make sure competitors stay off the track.

Clerk of the Course Assistant #2  

  • Escort the heat/competitors located at the first holding area to the starting line holding area after the conclusion of each race. Make sure competitors stay off the track.

Meet Clerk  

  • Check teams in and hand out team packets.
  • Collect any entry fees that have not been collected. Write receipts upon request.

Start/Finish Line Chief #1 (responsible for lanes 1 – 4)

Start/Finish Line Chief #2 (responsible for lanes 5 – 8)                                         

  • Have heat/competitors located at the starting area holding area ready to step on the track at the conclusion of each race.
  • Position each competitor in their proper lane and appropriate starting line and/or starting position.
  • 800 Meter Relay
    • Position the third legs on the track in their proper lanes and explain the exchange zones.
    • Assist Inspector (Exchange Judge) with the second exchange.
     
  • 1600 Meter Relay
    • Position the second legs on the track in their proper lanes; explain the exchange zones and the break line at the end of the first curve.
    • Position the third and fourth legs on the track in their proper position for the 1600 meter relay.
     
  • Send athletes out of the infield at the conclusion of each race.

Starter  

  • Take a position appropriate for the type of race being run.
  • Initiate the starting process without delay when given the white flag by the Event Timing Official.
  • Be ready to recall a race if:
  • Blocks slip on a sprint race.
  • A runner falls due to contact with another runner in the first 100 meters of a race of 400 meters or longer.
  • If the automatic timing system fails to start.

Automatic Timing Operator  

  • Record the finish of each race.
  • Save and read the finish of each race.
  • Go back, open and read the finish of a race as situations arise.

Finish Recorder  

  • Sit next to the Automatic Timing Operator and record the times of each race.
  • Pass on the recorded results directly to the Results Computer Operator.

Results Computer Operator  

  • Enter results
  • Recheck entered results and score.
  • Print two copies of results/scores of each event.
  • Give one copy of results/scores to the announcer and place the other copy on a clipboard for the Results Steward.

Results Steward  

  • Secure results from Results Computer Operator
  • Post results on the results board in an orderly manner.

Event Timing Official  

  • Start stopwatch after the last runner of each race crosses the finish line.
  • Alert the starter with a white flag at the 1 minute, 10 second mark after each heat race of an event.
  • Alert the starter at the 2 minute, 40 second mark after the last race of an event.
  • Alert the starter when hurdles are on or off the track.
  • Alert the starter when relay exchanges are ready.

Block Chief  

  • Place block cart with blocks in the start area of each race.
  • Remove blocks as necessary from the track after the start of the race.
  • Assist athletes needing help in setting their blocks.

Hurdle Crew Chief  

  • Place and set hurdles for each hurdle race.
  • Assign hurdle crew hurdle assignments.
  • Signal Event Timing Official when hurdles have been properly set.
  • Reset hurdles and check alignment after each hurdle race.
  • Remove hurdles from the track immediately following hurdle races.

Hurdle Crew  

  • Assist with placing and setting hurdles for each hurdle race.
  • Reset hurdles and check alignment after each hurdle race.
  • Remove hurdles from the track immediately following hurdle races.

Custodian of Awards  

  • Arrange all awards before the start of the meet for ease of presentation.
  • Coordinate with the Announcer for the presentation of awards at the conclusion of each event.

 Exchange Judge #1, #2 & #3  

  • Report to your assigned exchange zone before the start of each relay.
  • Wave a yellow flag upon observing any exchange zone violations during a race.
  • Remain at your position until the race is over after observing a violation and then report the violation to the Referee.
  • Place relay teams on the track in the correct lanes and explain the exchange zones.
  • Exchange zone duties:

 The Track Meet Plan – a Simplified Method_Chart 

Implement Weigh-In Judge  

  • Weigh in and approve all throwing implements.
  • Mark all approved implements with a black or silver marker.
  • Impound all implements that do not meet weight or specifications. Place name of school on athletic tape and attach to impounded implements. Implements may be picked up at the conclusion of the field events.
  • Inform athletes that have implements impounded that there will be implements to use at each event area.

Field Event Judges (LJ, TJ, HJ, PV, Shot, Discus)  

  • Report to their respective event area 30 minutes prior to the start of their event.
  • Be certain the event area is prepared and ready for warm-ups.
  • Review event assignments with all workers.
  • Check in competitors early to allow plenty of time for warm-ups.
  • During the competition call the contestants “up”, “on deck” and “on hold.”
  • Announce measured distances twice in a LOUD and CLEAR voice.

Long/Triple Jump Measurer  

  • Measure each legal jump perpendicularly to the scratch line or its extension and from that point in the pit touched by the person or apparel of the jumper, which is nearest the scratch line or its extension.
  • Hold the tape in such a way that the readings will be at the takeoff board.

Shot/Discus Measurer  

  • Measure each legal throw from the nearest edge of the first mark made by the implement to the inside edge of the throwing circle (discus) or the inside edge of the stop board (shot) measured along an extended radius of the circle.
  • Hold the tape in such a way that the readings will be at the inside edge of the throwing circle or stop board.
  • Pull the tape through the middle of the throwing circle.
  • Stay alert to the ring and implements being thrown.
  • Watch for people crossing the throwing area.

Long/Triple Jump Pit Manager    

  • Make sure pit is ready for warm-ups.
  • Rake the pit after each jump.
  • Keep the pit level during entire competition. Do not allow sand to build up or become low in any areas.

Wind Gauge Operator  

  • Obtain wind recording sheets and list of events from meet manager.
  • Set up wind gauge device at designated area.
  • Read and record wind reading for selected events or races.
  • Turn in recording sheets to meet manager.

Some meets may require more officials while others may require less. Paying close attention to details before and during the meet can assure a successful meet for athletes, spectators, coaches and officials alike.


About the Author: Woody Barnett is track coach at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi.

 

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