WYC 124 – College track athletes – Dr. Charles Infurna talks the Mundanity of Excellence

Dr. Charles Infurna has 10 years of coaching experience at the Division III level, he has had the great pleasure and privilege to have coached and mentored two Division III National Champion Weight Throwers, 10 All-Americans, multiple ECAC champions, and numerous SUNYAC and Empire 8 Conference Champions in the Hammer, Weight Throw, Discus, and Shot-Put. He writes a blog at forzathletics.com  Before completing his dissertation he wrote a lot about programming, workouts, overviews of meets, and even included some vlogs.  Since finishing his doctorate, he has focused more on how environment and support systems play roles in athlete successes.

Website and blog: forzathletics.com

Podcast: soundcloud.com/charles-infurna

Facebook: /forzathletics/

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‘You never know who is going to walk through the door’

First role model

  • Charles’ first coaching opportunity was when he was 22 years old. He didn’t really know what to do – so he reached out to a head coach at a local university (who happened to be a 4x Olympian) and asked if he could come watch a practice and hang out with his coaching staff for a day, which the coach willingly did

Cringe Moment

  • The players Charles was coaching talked to him and addressed concerns that he didn’t seem like he was as engaged – a very healthy sign that the players were comfortable enough to be honest with him

Teaching skills

  • Start with the basics like body awareness.
  • Don’t try to fix everything at once. Focus on one thing at a time. It’s like a puzzle – put together one piece at a time.

Long Term Athlete Development

  • Some of Charles’ best college athletes did not play that sport in high school

Peak performance

  • Kids often respond best to a coach that is calm and confident.
  • It’s usually best to not give coaching advice right before a competition – just pick up on the kid’s body language whether they need you to just be quiet, or tell a joke to lighten the mood.

Building Culture

  • You are always representing the program
  • Team building and trust activities are always great
  • Magnet awards – they recognize each other’s accomplishments on the bus ride home

Connecting with kids

  • Luis Rivera – Was given some bad information and was ineligible for the upcoming season. He could have easily quit and given up, but instead he worked hard and came back and went on to be one of the best track and field athletes in their college’s history. He had grit.

The one that got away

  • It wasn’t a tough loss – it was a team where Kate had let the culture get away from her

Best stolen/borrowed idea

  • ‘You never know who is going to walk through the door’ – One of Charles’ mentors would take in any athlete that was willing, and if they would put in the work, you never know which one could turn out to be a national champion.

Favorite Resources

Parting Advice

  • Be in the moment. Put your cell phone away. Enjoy it.

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