If there’s an association for cross-country coaches in your state, check to see if it offers a local coach training or certification program or online materials you can use; networking with other cross-country coaches can be a great source of insight and support.
• ACE offers two specialty certifications to enhance your competencies in coaching any sport — Sports Conditioning Specialist focuses on the foundations of improving athletic performance; Youth Fitness Specialist focuses on developing the skills and knowledge needed for designing safe and effective age-appropriate exercise programs.
• The National Federation of State High School Associations offers free articles covering all aspects of coaching youth sports.
• The Road Runners Club of America offers a Coaching Certification Program addressing basic exercise physiology, injury prevention, sports nutrition, sports psychology, developing training plans to meet a variety of running goals, and more.
• Check your library or favorite bookstore for books about coaching cross-country; choose one or more written by authors with good coaching experience and credentials.
There’s no single formula for high school cross-country success; you’ll need to adapt what you learn to the unique needs of your team. The body of knowledge around human performance is always changing and growing; so the most important thing is to be flexible in your approach, evaluate your wins and losses, and keep on learning.