McLean Youth Track and Field provides Northern Virginia kids (ages 5 through middle school) with opportunities to learn about, compete in and develop a love for track and field.

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Friday, October 12

Here we are again, on a sunny (but windy!) Friday, looking forward to another MYTF Sunday Meet!  This week, due to the as-yet-unfinished track painting at FCHS, **we will be at LANGLEY HIGH SCHOOL** (again)  Details below, but first, a few reminders:

 
- Please remember to bring plenty of WATER!  We have been informed that due to some construction issues at Langley, the water supply will likely be cut off, so that fountain at the concession building that so many of us used last time may not be available.  And, ONLY water is permitted inside the fence on the turf field (NO Gatorade, juice, soda, *or parent coffee*), so please be sure you're well equipped with water for the day!
 
- Please also note that the stadium and especially the stands at Langley are often windier and chillier than the "regular" air elsewhere, so plan accordingly.  Light layers that are easily removed or added are recommended this weekend now that the temperatures have dropped a bit.
 
 
- Results for last week's Cross-Country Meet have been posted to our website.  Remember that we do not provide ribbons for XC as the runners receive special awards as they complete each XC race, but ribbons not yet picked up for the 9/16 and 9/30 Track & Field Meets will still be available in the Admin area.  
 
- Track & Field Meets need LOTS of volunteers to staff each area - timers' table, starting line, field events - so please step up to help when we ask for volunteers, especially if you haven't had the privilege yet this season.  It's not hard, it's a great way to pass the time since you're there anyway, and without you, we can't do all the great stuff your kids like to do!
 
PLEASE stay tuned to RainedOut alerts today for practice updates.  While the weather is much improved today, the facility may still not be usable due to the previous rains and saturated field conditions.  We will likely not be able to make that call until this afternoon, so please watch for a RainedOut alert in the event that we need to cancel.
 
Sunday's plan
 
1:00 pm - 5-8-year-olds report for warmups
3:00 pm - 9-14-year-olds report for warmups
 
This week's events will be the 100M, 800M, 200M, and 1600M, in that order, for the 5-8s.  The 9-14s get the special treat this week (weather-permitting) of trying the hurdles in lieu of the 100M races (the other races will be the same as the 5-8 slate).  IF, however, the stadium proves too windy to keep the hurdles up (they are, after all, lightweight and designed to fall easily if a runner hits them while jumping), we will conduct a standard 100M dash instead.
 
A quick thank you to all of our many volunteers who help make each week's practices and each weekend's Meets possible, and a special shoutout to Jessica Riley and Megan Pickard for staffing the Admin table last week (and Coach Mike for hauling all the gear) in Mickey's absence.  Teamwork makes the dream work!
 
See you all soon!
The MYTF Team

 

*******

Thursday, October 11

MYTF Families,

Yesterday at one of the practices, an incident occurred that raises a larger issue we want to address.  The incident involved a child kicking dirt and gravel at another, who in turn picked up and threw dirt and gravel back.  Fortunately, neither child appears to have been injured, but the escalation to throwing gravel at someone's face was highly concerning as it very easily could have resulted in a serious injury.
 
MYTF works hard to be a positive, fun experience for all of its participants, and it is imperative that it is also a safe experience for everyone.  In order for us to maintain that environment though, we need everyone's help and cooperation.  One of the (many) reasons we require parent attendance at all MYTF events is that there are simply too many children at practices and Meets for the number of coaches available.  While coaches do issue basic reminders - and have specifically asked the kids not to kick or throw the dirt and gravel found on most parts of the track - they can't reasonably watch every child, every minute, while also trying to run the practices (or Meets); that's why we have you there. 
 
Parents:  Please remind your children that just like in school, they are required to behave appropriately at Track practice, which includes listening to their coaches, respecting their teammates, keeping their hands to themselves, and yes, not kicking or throwing dirt, gravel, grass, or anything other than Shot Puts and TurboJavs (which of course should never be thrown at anyone!).  Just as importantly though, please help us keep an eye on your kids.  Since you (or your designated adult) are there at practice anyway, please assist us by watching your children, especially when they're standing in line (which is when most incidents seem to occur), and if you notice them doing something they shouldn't be, say something to them.  No coach will mind you intervening if it keeps kids safe, keeps an incident from occurring or escalating, or generally helps keep the practices flowing smoothly.  And please understand that while kicking dirt may not seem all that dangerous when one kids does it, these things very quickly escalate and go from accidental to purposeful in a flash, so it's important to help us stop it at the source before it becomes an issue.  This goes not only for dirt-kicking, but for teasing, roughhousing, and other behavior that distracts one or more kids from the practice tasks they should be doing, and creates the risk that someone could get hurt.
 
Thank you for your help keeping MYTF a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone!
The MYTF Team

*******

Sunday, October 7

As we (and most sports programs that use unlighted fields) usually do this time of year, we're going to adjust our practice sessions to account for the waning daylight that makes the 6:00 practices a wee tad too challenging.  Beginning with this Tuesday's (10/9) practices, each session will now be 45 minutes long rather than a full 60, so that both groups can get in a (reasonably) full session before it's too dark to see the track.  So:

Tuesday & Thursdays:  
- 5-8s:  5:00 - 5:45
- 9-14s:  5:45 - 6:30
 
Wednesdays & Fridays:
- 9-14s:  5:00 - 5:45
- 5-8s:  5:45 - 6:30
 
(6:00 Coaches:  if any of you are unable to make the earlier time, please notify Coach Adam ASAP.)
 
Thank you for your understanding, and we'll see you soon!
The MYTF Team
 

*******

Thursday, October 4

Happy Soon-to-be-the-Weekend, y'all!

 
Life is never dull here in Youthsportsland, so we have several updates and reminders for this coming Sunday's Cross-Country Meet atFalls Church HS beginning at 2:00 pm, as well as some important other announcements:
 
- This Sunday's Meet will be our second (and hopefully considerably less wet) Cross-Country Meet.  We will be at Falls Church High School again this weekend, since the absence of track lines* poses no real threat to a Cross-Country event.  
 
- ALL RUNNERS REPORT AT ***2:00 pm*** for XC, as we will run the events in order - 1K, 2K, 3K, and 4K - following warmups.  
 
- Any age may participate in any race.  
 
- We may run two heats of the 1K or even 2K race if we have more participants than we can reasonably keep track of in a single heat, but there are NO guarantees, and in any case, each races goes VERY quickly, so PLEASE plan to arrive as on-time as possible so you don't miss the race you want to run!
 
- We will still need lots of parent volunteers to serve as "field marshals" around the XC path (which goes outside and around the stadium and rear fields - all of which can be seen from the top of the stadium stands).  Since we do not do field events at XC Meets, we should have plenty of folks available!  :)
 
- *Speaking of missing lines on the track:  as those of you who joined us for last Sunday's Track & Field Meet may have noticed, FCHS' beautiful new track has been installed, but it has not, as of yet, been painted.  That poses a *wee* bit of a challenge to those of us doing youth track and field programs, as we find it hard enough to keep our young runners straight WITH track lines!  As such, we needed to make a new plan for our October 14th Track & Field Meet, since we've been informed the painting isn't due to occur until October 15th.  SO:
 
Our Meet on October 14th will (again) be at Langley High School, with the 5-8s at 1:00 pm and the 9-14s at 3:00 pm (as originally planned).  We're sorry to keep moving around on you, but this has definitely not been our season, facility-wise.  
 
- We also want to give a shout-out to the AWESOME staff at Neighborhood & Community Services (NCS) in the Fairfax County government who made this switch possible on short notice!  **resounding applause**
 
- Results from last week's Track & Field Meet have been posted to our Results page, and the appropriate ribbon labels will be available at this week's Meet (and all future Meets this season).
 
- While we do not officially sponsor MYTF runners in any events other than our own and the USATF Junior Olympics, we do try to update you when we are provided with details for events that may be of interest around town.  On the "Other Meets/Clubs (non-MYTF)" page of our website, we will post links or info for other PVA (the Potomac Valley Association, our chapter of USATF) events, and especially this time of year, local 5K and 10K events that might be of interest.  Coming up shortly is the "Taste of Annandale 5K Race" on Saturday, October 13th at 9:30 am - see the MYTF website for details.
 
- And finally, since it's now October (and more than a few people have asked):  nope, nobody has stepped forward yet to assume the Director's position once Mickey retires.  PLEASE reach out to us if you are considering this role, even if you only want to be a co-Director and don't have a "co-" in mind, so that we might be able to match you with other interested parties.  We'd hate to see MYTF have to miss a Spring season!
 
As always, please remember to bring plenty of WATER for this Sunday's event, and we look forward to seeing everyone then!
The MYTF Team

*******

Friday, September 28

Happy Friday, MYTF!

We are looking forward to Sunday's Meet more than ever because it is actually (currently) forecast to be *sunny* and (largely) rain-free!  YAAAAAAAAAY!!!  Speaking of rainlessness, we are planning to hold practices today, even if we have to be a little creative about the field usage since it is quite waterlogged at this point.  Please be sure to wear shoes that can get wet or muddy, help remind your kids to avoid the mud spots so we don't tear up the field, and do a happy dance if we are actually able to get in a full practice! 
 
A few key reminders before we reveal Sunday's plan:
 
1.  Please remember to BRING YOUR RACE BIBS.  We do have a few spares, but we can't replace everybodys' every week, so please remember to bring the ones you've already been issued. If you haven't picked them up yet, no worries, we'll have them for you in the Admin area.
 
2.  Please remember to BRING PLENTY OF WATER.  Falls Church HS does NOT have a water fountain like Langley did, so there is no refilling once you get there!  If it is indeed a sunny, 70+ degree day, kids will drink a LOT of water, so please make sure you come prepared.
 
3.  On the subject of water, please remember that ONLY WATER IS ALLOWED ON THE TURF FIELD.  No Gatorade, juice, coffee, or other non-water fluids (or foods) are permitted on the turf field.
 
4.  Kids are offered up to four race events and three field events, but that does not mean that every child must do every event!  We encourage the field events, both because they help fill the time and because they're great exposure to a different aspect of the sport, but we do not require participation in those or any race event.  Our goal is for kids to learn to enjoy the sport, and they won't enjoy it if they feel forced to run a race they don't want to run.  We are completely flexible about their level of participation, and we encourage parents to take a similar approach.
 
5.  And, while we do offer the field events, when weather is nice and turnout is high, the lines can be long.  It is perfectly acceptable for kids to return to the stands and sit with parents in between race events.  But please do not let kids play under the bleachers (which is neither safe nor permitted), nor will we allow them to run around the field (which adds to the chaos already in progress).  Enjoy a restful water break in the stands or along the fence, and just keep an ear out for the calls for the next race, and enjoy the quality family time!
 
And as always, ribbons from the first Track & Field Meet on 9/16 will be available in the Admin area, and results have been posted online to our website on the Results page.  (XC Meet participants receive special awards for XC races, so we do not do ribbons for XC, but XC results are included on the main Results spreadsheet.)
 
As for Sunday:
 
Remember that we divide our Track & Field Meets into two age divisions, just like practices.  So:
  • 1:00 pm - 5-8-year-olds report
  • 3:00 pm - 9-14-year-olds report
And again, please remember that we are now back at FALLS CHURCH HIGH SCHOOL, just off the Beltway and Route 50 East!  This is our permanent home for the rest of the season (we hope).  
 
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT FCHS:  If you are in the 1:00 half of the Meet, PLEEEEEEEASE leave extra time when arriving for finding parking!  There is a church that meets at FCHS, and it typically does not let out until about 1:30.  That means the stadium lot is usually pretty full when we arrive, and it may require going to the front of the school, or along the road toward the Rec Center in order to find parking.
  • This week's Meet will feature the 100M, 400M, 1600M (mile), and then the 800M time-permitting.  We managed to get all four events last time even with a high turnout, but we always make the caveat that the fourth event is always conditional based on participation level and time.
  • We expect to be able to do all three field events, but with so much rain, we are never entirely sure if the Long Jump pit will be in good enough condition, so our fingers are crossed.
  • Please remember that we need LOTS of parent volunteers to operate a Track & Field Meet, so listen for that call after we dispatch the kids for warmups.  We will need timers, field judges, and "cat-herders," our affectionate term for the folks who help keep the kids on track (see what we did there?).  We usually need 15-20 volunteers in addition to our coaches, so please plan to pass the time you have to be there anyway by helping us keep the ship sailing!
We are REALLY looking forward to a lovely Sunday at the track, so we hope to see you all then!
The MYTF Team

********

Tuesday, September 25

Yep, *more* rain.  MORE!  As those of you who were at Sunday's XC Meet know, Cooper was completely saturated already, so after two more days of this, we are fairly confident in making the early call here.  We just can't safely use the field, and we're not quite desperate enough yet to resort to an all-laps-around-the-path practice session (although that is a possibility later this week if we can't get a break in the weather!).  So, today's practices are canceled, with our fingers crossed that Mother Nature's mood improves REALLY SOON.

 
A few other notes, while we have your attention:
 
1.  Congratulations and kudos to the brave souls who ventured out in Sunday's downpours to run in our first Fall 2018 Cross-Country Meet!  It was, in a word, wet.  But, that was harder on spectators than runners, and we had a lot of joyful puddle-splashing by our young runners who made the most of the day.  We had 73 total runners across all four events - that's quite a turnout for a chilly, soggy day!  *cue enthusiastic applause*
 
2.  If you(r child) ran the first 1K race on Sunday:  in all the rush to get started before we were all too soaked to stand, we completely forgot to pass out medals for the first heat!  We did find most of you, but if you managed to leave before we caught up with you with a medal, please let us know at a future Meet, or by emailing us here so we can get one to you.  EVERY runner earns an award at XC Meets!
 
3.  Results for both Meets held so far (9/16 Track & Field and 9/23 Cross-Country) are posted to our website on the Results page, by bib number so that no identifying information is published online.  We updated the 9/16 results previously posted with the missing 8-year-old boys' Turbojav results, as well as a few other minor corrections.  
 
4.  Ribbons for the 9/16 Meet will be available at every remaining Meet; if you had a 2nd or 3rd place ribbon and weren't able to pick them up this week because of our ribbon shortage, your labels should still be on the sheet for you to pick up at any remaining Meet.  (Please note:  because we do medals and other special awards at XC Meets, we do not provide ribbons for XC, but all results are included on the results sheet on the web.)
 
5.  Finally, a reminder that this coming Sunday, we expect to return to our regularly-scheduled programming, with a Track & Field Meet at FALLS CHURCH HIGH SCHOOL, beginning with the 5-8-year-olds at 1:00 pm and the 9-14s following at 3:00 pm.
 
Thank you all for your incredible patience, understanding, and unfailing enthusiasm through all this dreary weather!
The MYTF Team

 

******

Sunday, September 23rd

 

Yes, we know it's raining.  And yes, we know it's Cooper, and we usually don't use Cooper in the rain or wet field conditions.  BUT, Coach Adam has come up with a plan that should keep us off the field and entirely on asphalt, so we're going to give it a go  If we get there to set up and find it's just not tenable, or if conditions significantly worsen over the morning, we will update everyone by RainedOut, but as of right now, light rain is a runnable condition.  Details below:

 
- We opted to go ahead because we do have the path & parking lot to run on, and all things considered, this may not be the worst weather we'll face this season.  Since this is only Meet 3 (and we already had to cancel 1!), we want to try to go forward if at all possible.
 
- As with any MYTF event, you are under NO obligation to attend if you are not comfortable in this weather!  We get it, but we know some of you really do like to run in this weather, so we'll be there to make it possible. 
 
- In order to stay off all grass surfaces, we will be using the first row of parking spaces along the tennis courts, so we'll be short a few parking spaces in the back lot.  We're guessing turnout will be lower than usual and this will be fine, but just be aware that you may need to park in front of the school and walk back if we actually get a good crowd.
 
- DO dress for the weather!  It is both wet and chilly, so long-sleeved, lightweight shirts or light jackets will help keep runners warm without overheating when they run.  Hats with bills (i.e., baseball caps) are also recommended for runners today as they help keep rain out of the eyes while running.
 
- We have used Cooper several times for XC, but today's weather-driven route change will be new to us, so please bear with us.  We may have to be slightly off the exact 1K mark for our races, but we're taking the "better something than nothing" approach today!
 
We hope we will see a good turnout at 10:00 am (remember, everyone reports together today!), and that we'll get a good Meet in. We thank you in advance for your patience and persistence!  
The MYTF Team
 

*******

Friday, September 21st

 

Happy Friday, everyone!

 
Well, we eked out most of a practice week, but it look like the rain may find us again on Sunday.  We are just going to have to keep a close eye on conditions as forecasts change and the actual amount and duration of rainfall will determine our ability to go forward on Sunday.  Track Meets are easy to run in the rain; XC Meets are a bit more challenging, especially because we do not stay exclusively on a track, and too much rain can quickly become problematic mud, especially on already saturated grounds.  In any case, please make sure you're signed up for RainedOut alerts (which we're sure you all are by now) for up-to-the-minute updates on Sunday.
 
Assuming all goes according to plan...
 
We will have our first Cross-Country Meet on Sunday, 9/23, at 10:00 am at Cooper Middle School.  The timing and location are due to facility issues (FCHS is in use by another program, and Cooper is in use after 12:30), so we're making the best of it.  Fortunately, we've run many XC Meets at Cooper before, so we know how it will work and that it's a good option for us, if not an ideal time.
 
Details about our XC Meets are below, but first, a few important (additional) reminders (besides the ones we gave you on Tuesday):
  • As always, bring plenty of water.  Even in the rain you'll still need water, and there is NO refill source at Cooper, as you well know from practices.
  • Please - NO pets!  This is an FCPS rule, and Cooper is an FCPS facility.
  • Please bring your race bibs!  It's how we know who belongs on the course, and who's who for tracking results.
  • Speaking of results, we will have ribbons available for all of last week's events.  Ribbons are self-serve (but we will have someone on site to help), and will also be available at each subsequent Meet if you can't make it this Sunday.  We will also have results posted on our website (click the "Results" tab on the lefthand menu), hopefully later today (but definitely by this time tomorrow).  All results on the web are by bib number only so that there is no identifying information available to the public.
  • We will still need PLENTY of volunteers even though it's not a Track & Field event!  We need "field marshals" to help us line the XC course, especially during the 1K (which usually has the greatest number of youngest runners).
  • PARENTS:  please remind your kids that rules at MYTF are similar to general school rules:  keep hands to yourself, wait your turn in line, etc.  If you have an especially young 5- or 6-year-old who may need a little extra help, please plan to join us as a volunteer "cat-herder" (help at the start line this week, help with field events and going between events at Track & Field Meets, etc.) so you can help acclimate your child to the Meet environment.
Now, on to the plan for Sunday:
- We will begin promptly at 10:00 am, and the Meet will last no more than 2½ hours, which is actually typical, but in this case especially because we have to vacate the field by 12:30 for the next sport that will be using it!
 
- We will hold a 1K, 2K, 3K, and 4K race – in that order – and runners may choose which event(s) they wish to run.  PLEASE NOTE:  at MYTF, kids never have to participate in any event; everything should be up to them as we want them to enjoy their MYTF experience and come back each week!  With XC, we typically recommend ONE race for newcomers and/or younger kids; more experienced runners may opt for multiple races.
 
- Please make sure to be on time because we (typically) do not run in heats for these races, which means ALL athletes interested in running the 1K will start together immediately after warmups*.  (*We may do two heats of the 1K depending on how many runners want to participate; if we do multiple heats, it will be by age, beginning with the YOUNGEST runners.)  The same will be true for each subsequent race, which will start as soon as the previous one finishes.  So, if your child arrives at 10:30 and we've already started the 1K race, they will have missed that opportunity (although they certainly can run one of the longer-distance races).  
 
- In terms of which race your child should run:  per USATF guidelines and especially for first-timers, we recommend (but do not require) that our youngest runners (5-7) run the 1K; middle age groups (8-10) can run a 2K or 3K; and the older kids (11+) can try the 4K. HOWEVER, these are not mandatory distances; if your child feels they are better suited to or more comfortable running either a shorter or longer distance, then please encourage them to do so!  Races will be called by distance, not by age.  
 
- For kids who aren't sure about trying Cross-Country, try putting it in track terms for them:  the 1K is 1000 Meters - that's equivalent to 2 1/2 laps around the track.  If you can run two laps (which is the 800M race we did last week), you can do a 1K!  And if you do, there's a special reward waiting at the finish line...
- And finally, you are absolutely welcome to leave when your child is done running his or her event(s), but if you have time, we highly encourage you to stick around and cheer for the other runners.  The 4Kers especially tend to have a small crowd remaining, so it's always nice to have some extra voices to bring them to the finish line!
We will do a quick recap of this on Sunday before we get started, and you'll have a chance to ask any additional questions then, so we look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday at 10:00 am!
The MYTF Team 

 

*************

Tuesday, September 18th

 

And another week of practices starts off with (*drumroll please*) - MORE RAIN!  Thanks, Florence!  *sigh*  So, yes, practices are canceled for today, and we are just going to have to take each day this week as it comes with regard to field conditions, so please stay tuned.

 
We are grateful to Florence in one respect though:  she was kind enough to linger out of the area until we got all of our Meet in on Sunday!  We had an INCREDIBLE first day showing (our rough estimate is about 100 kids in each of the two age divisions!), and were able to get in all four race events as well as three field events for both age groups.  Yay, good weather! 
 
We have a few program notes from Sunday, and we'll do some more reminders on before the next Meet, which (ALERT: IMPORTANT INFO -->) will be our first Cross-Country Meet on Sunday, 9/23, and (again due to a facility issue) will be at Cooper MS (where our practices are) at 10:00 am for ALL runners.  We know that's not ideal, but hopefully everything will return to "normal" after this week.
  • Please remember that there is a "No Pets" rule in effect at all FCPS properties.  It is not our rule, but we are obligated to abide by it as part of our permit, and there are Area Supervisors for the County that do rotate among facilities, so we want to make sure we are not in violation of any major rules.  Please understand we actually love dogs (and cats, and ferrets, and parakeets...), but that you must leave Fido and Fluffy at home when attending MYTF events (both Meets and practices).
  • Those cool race bibs we handed out are your child's ticket to future Meets, so please remember to bring them every Sunday(they are not needed at practices).  Yes, we do have some spares, but we can't replace ALL of them every week, so please help us by bringing the one we already gave you whenever possible.  A good option is often to keep them in the car so they're all ready come Sunday.
  • Speaking of bibs, if you didn't figure it out on Sunday, your child's bib is associated with his or her age as of the FIRST day of our season, which was August 28th, our first day of practice.  We have birthdays almost every day throughout the season well over 60 kids), so we do NOT update bibs as birthdays occur; your child will keep the same bib all season.  BUT, we did have a few bibs that were misaligned because of birthdays entered in the registration system incorrectly or other snafus, so if your child's bib starts with a number that is radically different than their age, please let us know ASAP so we can get that remedied before the next Meet.
  • Yes, we had a HUGE turnout and NO that does not happen every week, so if you are concerned about the long lines we had at the field events, please know that actually isn't typical.  But, when the weather is nice (and hasn't been for awhile so EVERYBODY wants to get out of the house...) it can be a busy day at MYTF!  We do everything we can to keep it moving, but please know that we usually have more manageable crowds.  We also want to remind you that kids are absolutely allowed to come sit in the stands with you if the lines are too long or they just need a break between events, especially when it's super-hot.
More to come on Friday.  In the meantime, let's home for dryer weather and at least a few practice-able days this week!
The MYTF Team

 

*************

Friday, September 14th

 

Happy Friday, MYTF!

 

Well, what an...*interesting* start to the season we've had!  (*cue eyeroll*)  We've actually been fortunate with weather here at MYTF for several years, so I guess we were due.  Fortunately, Sunday's current forecast shows "cloudy with occasional light rain," so that's a totally do-able situation!  With our fingers crossed that this will work, we have laid out a plan for Sunday below.  We think this is the best way to proceed under the circumstances, and we are confident that with your help, everybody will have a good (if damp) first Sunday Meet at LANGLEY HIGH SCHOOL!

Although we didn't get to have our Orientation Meet last week, we are going to plunge right into the regular season with a full Track & Field Meet this week - with a few caveats.  We still need to get everyone checked in and bibs distributed, we have a few brief kickoff announcements, and we know new folks want an idea how the day will work.  So, we will *start* as if we're doing an Orientation Meet, then go from there.  As such, we may run a bit slower than usual, so we are going to shift our timing a bit, and want to make clear that the fourth race event will only occur time-permitting.  There will also be three field events available, assuming all the facilities have sufficiently dried and are usable.  So:

Children 5 to 8 report between 12:30 and 1:00 PM

Children 9 and up report between 2:45 and 3:15 PM

Meet details are below, but first, an important reminder:  WATER: Even though we've all had enough "water" lately and it seems counterintuitive that we'd need to hydrate in such extreme humidity, PLEASE remember to bring PLENTY of water, because it's still necessary when you're running around all afternoon!  We recommend a reusable water bottle filled with water, for EVERYbody who attends.  We do NOT have access to water sources at Langley (or Falls Church, just FYI) and also ONLY water is allowed on the field (i.e., no Gatorade, juice, soda, coffee, etc.).  So, volunteers, please be sure to bring water too, because your Starbuckses aren't allowed on the turf either!  :)  

Now, on to the plan for Sunday:

We will start with getting everyone checked in and bibbed up, then have a BRIEF chat in the stands before we get started.  Warm-ups on the field at approximately 1:15 for children 5 through 8, and around 3:30 for the older kids, but times are always approximate and based on what actually transpires on any given Sunday.  PLEASE plan to arrive within the "arrival window" listed above so that we can get everyone equipped and launch on time.  (We know some folks have other activities and will have to come and go as schedules allow - that's fine, we just don't want everyone showing up at 1:15 for warmups and then find out they have to get bibs first, etc.)  After warm-ups, we'll break into age-specific groups to begin either running or field events. Running events are age-group based, but field events are "cafeteria" style, meaning that whenever an athlete is not running, he or she is free to report to any field event and can come and go as needed to get jumps/throws in. 

The race events for this weekend will be the 100M, 200M, 800M, and, time-permitting, 1600M (mile), in that order.   There is no need to register for events; just be sure to listen for when your (child/ren’s) age group is called to the start line, and we also help with that around the field at the various events.  Field events will be started by age group, but can be revisited at any time between race events

Both for time and so kids don't overdo it, we recommend that each child choose no more than three race events, but they may participate in all field events.  Once you have completed your events for the day, you are free to go.  Technically, you're free to go any time you need to, but we do not run kids out of order with ages, so please understand that if you miss the start for your child's age for a particular race, we will not add them to a later heat.  There are lots of reasons for this, but chiefly, we would just never get done if we didn't enforce this rule. 
 

There will be a LOT of activity all going on at once, so:

  • It's important that the kids listen closely for their age group to be called to each event.  As a courtesy, we make every attempt to announce First Call, Second Call, and Final Call for each event.  We will have plenty of coaches and volunteers on the track and field to assist them at all times.  
  • If a child is not currently competing in a running or field event, he or she should be in the stands with parents and NOT on the infield.
  • In order to have the aforementioned volunteers available to help, we need you to volunteer!  We will need timers, field judges, and a variety of "cat-herders" available to help line kids up, shepherd them between events, and generally keep order.  NONE of these jobs requires previous experience, so please listen for the volunteer call, don one of our lovely neon yellow volunteer shirts (they get laundered each week, we promise!), and help make our Meet AWESOME.

As always, let us know if you have questions, please volunteer, and come ready to cheer!  We'll see you Sunday! (But keep your eye on RainedOut just in case...)

The MYTF Team

P.S.  A decision on practices today will be made closer to practice time (usually by about 3:00 pm).  We will send out the usual RainedOut text alert and a follow-up ONLY if practices are canceled.

 

************

Thursday, September 13th

 

Sorry for the multiple texts; there is a character limit per text, and it's ridiculously difficult to count on our phones.  Also, we appreciate your patience as we try to navigate the tricky business of ascertaining field stability amid all this wacky weather.

 
In short, none of us was available to personally check the field conditions today, so we rely on other local sports to help us triangulate the situation.  Unfortunately, some closed their grass fields while others opened theirs, so they were really no help at all!  Our closest "neighbors" in this business though are those that use Churchill ES and other close-to-Cooper facilities, and those are open as of 3:00 pm.  Thus, we have decided to try practicing today, with the following caveats:
  • If fields are generally good and practices can proceed, please be conscientious about any areas that may be particularly wet or muddy, and avoid them.  Coaches:  please avoid drills in those areas; parents:  please help us keep kids out of tempting puddles, mudslicks, and other areas that look terribly fun but could result in field damage long-term.
  • If fields seem fine at first glance but turn out to be too slick or are getting churned up by our regular activity levels, coaches have the discretion to either move all activities to the track, surrounding path, and/or parking lot (to the degree possible), OR cancel the practice if conditions are just not tenable.
  • As always, if conditions worsen - either with continued rain (it was "misting" last we checked) or actual storms, practices may be canceled up to or even after a practice has begun, so PLEASE keep an eye on the RainedOut alerts. We try to avoid that situation, but the safety of our kids is our first priority; the preservation of the facilities is our second (such that we can continue to be allowed to use them).  As long as those two things can be assured, we'll continue to hold our events.
Our fingers are crossed that today (and tomorrow!) will turn out to be perfectly practice-able after all, but we just have to roll with it.  
 
Thank you all for hanging in there!
The MYTF Team

 

**************

Tuesday, September 11th

 

Folks, this is going to be an interesting week.

 
While it is not actively raining at the moment, and the previously forecast thunderstorms seem to have largely dissipated for this afternoon, the grass fields throughout the County are still quite saturated from the better part of four straight days of rain.  We are responsible for the field conditions after our use of them, and so like other McLean area sports, we are considering the grass field we use "closed" to our usage today so as not to damage the fields.  Yes, there is still a track, but an hour of doing laps isn't really a practice anybody wants to have.
 
Unfortunately, the rest of the week may not be much better with Hurricane Florence bringing more water this way.  Her exact path and impact can't be predicted with any precision, but we expect it's likely that we'll see more cancellations on Thursday and Friday.  As a reminder, we already do NOT have practice tomorrow, Wednesday, 9/12, because of a school event at Cooper.
 
We know this is disappointing, but it is just a hazard of outdoor sports that use grass field areas, and many others are suffering the same fate this week.  Hopefully, we will still be able to hold our Meet on Sunday at Langley - if it is not actively pouring, we should be able to proceed, although the availability of the Long Jump and Shot Put will depend on the condition of the pits after so much rain.
 
If you can, hit your local sidewalks or backyards and do some short sprints, some light laps, and/or some fun games of tag with the neighborhood kids - anything to keep moving, running, building endurance, and getting your excitement up for our first Meet!
 
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and let's hope for a sunny Sunday!
The MYTF Team
 

**************

Sunday, September 9th

 

TODAY'S MEET IS CANCELED
 
Welp, it looks like it just isn't going to get any better, so by unanimous consent here at Headquarters, we are canceling today's Orientation Meet.  Standing/sitting/running in unrelenting rain with increasing winds for a few hours just isn't any way to start a season (especially when it's not still 90 degrees).  Plus, since we've already had more than a day's rain, it's likely our Long Jump and Shot Put areas are unusable, so we just needed to call it for today.
 
THE PLAN GOING FORWARD
 
This decision is not without longer-term implications of course, so we'll review the current plan for the remainder of the season, as well as some reminders for this week:
 
- Just like last week, there is a Cooper school event on Wednesday, September 12th, so we will NOT be able to have practices that day.
 
- Today's weather has been brought to you by the remnants of Hurricane Gordon from the Gulf.  Unfortunately, his sister Florence is making her way in from the Atlantic, so we may see this same weather (or worse) again later this week.  Last we checked, it could make East Coast landfall around Thursday, which could mean more canceled practices on Thursday and/or Friday.  And heaven forbid, another canceled Meet on Sunday (but we're *really* hoping she'll have moved on by then).  And unfortunately, with so much rain this weekend, it is entirely possible that the field at Cooper will not be usable on Tuesday (we are not allowed to use the facility if doing so would damage the field).  This is obviously not anybody's preferred start to the season, but there isn't much we can do other than hope for a dry, sunny Monday and Tuesday, and that Florence peters out at sea.  In any case, please keep your eyes on the RainedOut alerts this week for up-to-the-minute updates.
 
- As of right now (i.e., we can't know what next Sunday will hold til we get closer to it), the plan is that we will just move on in our schedule and proceed with our first regular Track & Field Meet next Sunday at LANGLEY.  We will, however, modify the schedule just a smidge to allow for check-in and bib distribution, followed by a brief season intro before warmups.  We will ask the 5-8s to arrive between 12:30 and 1:00 pm for check-in; we'll do our intro at 1:00; and we'll start warmups by 1:15.  9-14s should arrive between 2:45 and 3:15 to check in, with our intro at 3:15, and warmups starting by 3:30 We'll repeat all of this later, but wanted to give everyone a sense of the current thinking.  For new families:  PLEASE know that although we won't be doing an Orientation Meet, per se, we promise your kids will have no trouble blending right in, and our coaches will be providing a little extra assistance, especially at field events, to help everyone adjust.
 
- IF next Sunday gets Florenced out, we will provide an updated plan accordingly, but we are, as always, remaining optimistic.
 
Please don't hesitate to hit us up with any questions or concerns, and we hope you can all at least enjoy the day off to do whatever it is you'll do on a rainy Sunday with no Track Meet to attend. See you soon - we hope!
The MYTF Team
 

***************

Saturday, September 8th

 

For those of you following the weather forecast as closely as we are:

 
MYTF's policy is that we do run Meets in rain.  Generally though, that means *light* rain - in other words, if it's raining but not pouring, or raining off and on, we will conduct a Meet.  That gets a little trickier though if the rain is heavy, doesn't really let up, or is accompanied by strong winds, all of which are possible tomorrow afternoon.  Those conditions are especially tricky at at the Orientation Meet where we have stuff to distribute and a short intro to do before we get underway, and always a little unpleasant for everyone having run, coach, or even spectate in those conditions.
 
So:
  • We are always optimistic, both because weather forecasts tend to change quickly around here, and because we definitely want to hold the Meet if it at all possible.
  • We are obsessively monitoring the forecast, and we will also be out at Langley well ahead of Meet time to gauge the actual conditions in person.
  • We will make any decision about changes as soon as humanly possible, but please bear with us as conditions tend to change and aren't always predictable very far in advance.  We will be operating from the default position of trying to hold the Meet, so we may not be able to make a decision until nearly game-time, or possibly even after we get started if conditions worsen once we're in progress.
  • While we certainly hope not, we may have to cancel, delay, or abbreviate tomorrow's Meet.  PLEEEEEEASE be sure you are signed up for RainedOut text alerts, because the ONLY way we can get word out quickly tomorrow once we're at the site is by RainedOut.  (Google group email is onerous from our phones and takes MUCH longer to generate.)  To enroll, text the word TURBOJAV to 84483.  You will *only* receive MYTF's alerts.
  • If we do have to cancel, please know that we didn't want to, but genuinely felt we had no choice given conditions.  We will assess the options for the remainder of the season (i.e., whether to skip Orientation, adjust the remaining Meets to accommodate it, etc.).  Please also understand that we do not typically conduct makeup events for a variety of reasons, but we hope that the low cost of the program helps ease the inconvenience of a missed Meet.
Now, go cross your fingers, do your anti-rain dances, or conduct whatever other rituals you think will help us get tomorrow's Meet in as planned!
The MYTF Team

 

*********

Wednesday, September 5th

 

Our triple-double backwards wishing-well hex dance worked!  Not only did we get word this afternoon on the fate of our September 16th Meet, it was GOOD NEWS:

 
The Sunday, September 16th Meet will be at LANGLEY HS, but at the REGULAR (afternoon) times:
 
1:00 - 5-8-year-olds report
3:00 - 9-14-year-olds report
 
Beginning (we hope) with the September 30th Meet (the 23rd will be at Cooper for XC), we should be back at Falls Church HS for the remainder of the season, but we will obviously update you if that changes.
 
Thanks for hangin' in there through all of this, and we look forward to seeing everyone THIS Sunday at Langley at 1:00 pm for the Orientation Meet!
The MYTF Team

 

************

Wednesday, September 5th

 

*Good afternoon again, MYTF Families!

 

First, a few important words & updates regarding Practices:

 

1.  We thank everyone for your patience yesterday.  We know that there was a heat advisory last week and we still had practice, so some of you were wondering what was different about yesterday.  Our best guess is that there were some issues with some sports practicing in last week's heat, and as a result, the County/FCPS over-corrected yesterday.  We should be fine to proceed with practices as scheduled from here on out, and our coaches know to keep things light with frequent water breaks if the heat index is particularly high. 

 

2.  On the subject of weather:  please do make sure that you are signed up for RainedOut alerts, and that you check for them any time the weather is questionable.  If it's rained all day, we sometimes have to cancel practice because we can't risk ruining the Cooper Field; if thunderstorms are spotted/heard or extremely likely, we cancel for those too.  Generally, Meets are only canceled for extreme weather - thunderstorms, hurricane-force winds, snow, etc. - we DO run Meets in rain!  But if there is ever a cancellation, we will alert you as soon as we can using RainedOut.  *Text TURBOJAV to 84483 to get all MYTF cancellations, postponements, and corrections ASAP!

 

3.  It's a good thing we had to look at the calendar to draft this message, because it turns out that hot weather or not, there are NO PRACTICES TOMORROW, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6TH because there is a school event at Cooper and we are not permitted to use the space as a result.  For those planning ahead, there are also NO PRACTICES NEXT WEDNESDAY, September 12th, for the same reason.

 
4.  We did get one new volunteer to help with Thursday 5-8s practices, but we still need at least one more, or will have to cancel that session beginning with next Thursday's practice... 

 

And now, about Sunday(s):

 

ORIENTATION & MEETS

Meets at MYTF are a little different than with other clubs, in that we are all "in-house" and do not compete against other clubs.  Our Meets do have a few special features though, like the opportunity for our athletes to earn ribbons and other awards, try some field events (most of which generally aren’t available at practices), and have a stadium full of parents, grandparents, neighbors, and coaches all cheering just for them.

 

First up, we’ll have our Orientation Meet, this coming Sunday, September 9th, at 1:00 pm at LANGLEY HIGH SCHOOL, due to incomplete construction at Falls Church HS.  PLEASE feel free to arrive as early as 12:30 pm to check in for the season - you will receive your child(ren)'s race bib and an MYTF tshirt.  We will plan to start warmups as close to 1:00 pm as possible.

 

The Orientation Meet is different from our other meets:  this week, the goal is just to introduce the athletes, volunteers, and parents to MYTF Track and Field Meet format, so rather than having a full slate of race events, it will combine explanation, drills, and some sample races.  If your child(ren) has(have) never done Track & Field before, they'll get all they need at the Orientation Meet, but please know that if you are not able to attend the Orientation Meet, everything will be fine.  We are very low-key at MYTF, and we always have plenty of awesome parent volunteers who step forward (hint, hint) to make sure everything goes smoothly and everybody gets where they need to be.

 

What you(r kids) need to bring on Sunday:

 

  • a full, reusable water bottle (there is NO water source for us at any of our facilities!) - and parents, PLEASE don't underestimate YOUR need for a water bottle!
  • comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing; and
  • shoes for running (but NOT track spikes!  We are prohibited from using spikes at the high school tracks, so please do not send your kids in spikes.  Sneakers are best, but absolutely no Crocs, sandals, flip-flops, boots, or wheelies.).
Sunscreen is also a plus this time of year - for all attendees - as there is very little shade at any of the stadiums we use!
 

What WE will provide:  

We will check everyone in at the "Admin" area just inside the stadium gate.  We ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation as we process everyone.  When you arrive, check in lines will be alphabetical by last name, so look for the appropriate signage. We'll provide:

 

  • A race bib (NOTE: The race bib you receive will be the same bib your child will wear at every Meet throughout the season. We do NOT update bibs for birthdays in season. Bibs are mandatory for meets, but do not need to be worn at practice.)
  • Safety pins for applying race bibs to the FRONTS of tshirts (or whatever outermost layer will be worn when racing);
  • An MYTF t-shirt, per the size you requested during registration (t-shirts are OPTIONAL to wear, at Orientation and all future Meets);
  • everything necessary to run a Meet (air horns, clipboards, timing devices, flags, TurboJavs, tape measures, etc.), plus a self-serve first aid kit, just in case.

THE REST OF THE SEASON

  • Subsequent Meets will be every Sunday afternoon* at Falls Church High School.**  After this week, you do not need to arrive early to check in, but if you've forgotten your bib or not yet picked yours up, you will need to stop by the Admin table to get equipped, so you might want to be a few minutes early.
  • *Except Sunday, September 23rdwhen, due to a facility conflict, we will be having our first Cross-Country Meet at Cooper Middle School (where we hold practices) beginning promptly at 10:00 am.  
  • ***Except next Sunday, September 16thwhen we have been informed we will likely have to be at Langley again.  Unfortunately, we do not have an answer about the time yet, but we are *expecting* that we will be moved to a morning time slot.  We will let everyone know as soon as the County confirms.
  • The exact reporting times (except for next week) for each age group are laid out on the schedules on our website, and on the Orientation newsletter, a link to which is posted on the front page of our website (we’ll also have hard copies of available at Meets, handy for hangin’ on the fridge).

Spectating:  

During Track meets, ONLY athletes, coaches, and volunteers are allowed inside the fence on the track and field.  We have a small army of coaches and volunteers assigned to help navigate and assist your children during the meet, and it creates total chaos if we have extra people along the track or on the field.  If a child is not actively participating in an event, they will be instructed to return to you or their guardian in the stands until their next event is called.  If you are not volunteering to help run the Meet - which means assisting all the children, not just your own - please remain outside the fence, and cheer loudly!

 

Volunteering

The second most important thing* to know about MYTF is that it is primarily ALL VOLUNTEER.  Those of you who have been with us in previous seasons have seen just how many adults it takes to run a Track & Field Meet, so please know that we are counting on EVERY family to contribute some time at the Meets.  NO experience is necessary, and there are several different types of jobs that need people – timers, field event measurers and result recorders, and “cat-herders,” our affectionate term for those who help control the chaos and maneuver kids around the field to the various events.  It will take roughly TWENTY adults in addition to our assistant coaches to make it work during each part of the Meet, so PLEASE plan to help when the Head Coach or Volunteer Coordinator ask for volunteers.  We need EVERYONE’S help to run this program successfully! 

 

*MYTF's CORNERSTONES:  

We said above that the second-most important thing to know about MYTF is that it is an ALL-volunteer operation; the first two things to know – because they are equally important – are 1) the cardinal rule about Parental Responsibility, and 2) that MYTF is a positive, developmental league.  So just in case you missed it in the previous emails… 

 

 ***Parents (or guardians) must, MUST, MUST remain at ALL practices AND Meets with their child(ren).***  

341 kids, about half at a time at any given event.

A responsible adult WITH transportation MUST be onsite for EVERY child who attends.  This policy is imperative and mandatory, and repeat offenses WILL result in your child(ren) being asked to leave the program.  

 

And:  MYTF is a developmental league, where we cheer for EVERYONE.  We are here to help the kids learn, and one of the biggest lessons is sportsmanship and respect for ourselves, our coaches, and our fellow athletes.  We absolutely encourage cheering for your own child, but please remember to also cheer for everyone else’s.  We absolutely do NOT permit cheering against anyone, ever.  We are not about beating the kid next to you or winning the race; we are about self-improvement, sportsmanship, and positivity.  We welcome everyone to MYTF, and we cheer loudest for the child who comes in last – because they’re the ones who need us the most!

 

FINALLY:  we are so excited!!  We can’t wait to see our returning families, and meet all the new ones.  Please feel free to ask questions of Head Coaches Adam and Mike, or our program's Director Mickey Skelton if you have any remaining questions.  We look forward to a GREAT season, and as always, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at   (or visit our website at www.mcleantrack.org) if you have any questions, concerns, or feedback.

 

Thanks, and see you on the Track!

The MYTF Team

 

************

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4th, 2018:

Good afternoon, MYTF Families!

Normally, this would be our pre-Orientation Meet email detailing this coming Sunday's events, but we have a number of critical updates to provide to everyone, so we're going to throw this extra email in today, and will provide the Meet info in a separate message tomorrow:
 
1.  There will be NO PRACTICES TODAY, Tuesday, September 4th, 2018. Due to a Heat Advisory with 100+ heat index, FCPS and Athletic Services are calling for the cancellation of ALL outdoor activities between 12:00 noon and 7:00 pm.  While we are technically not an FCPS activity, we are aware of other area sports programs that are cancelling their practices for today in line with FCPS' guidance, and we will do the same.  We will keep everyone posted about the rest of the week as it looks like a similar forecast for at least the next few days.  PLEASE be sure you are subscribed to "RainedOut" text alerts for practice (or Meet) cancellations.  Text the word "TURBOJAV" to 84483 to subscribe to *only* MYTF alerts.
 
2.  The Orientation Meet location has been MOVED to Langley High School.  For reasons entirely outside our control, we are not able to use Falls Church High School as planned this coming Sunday (September 9th). We are still on for a 1:00 pm start for ALL participants, but we will be doing it all at Langley.  
 
--> PLEASE NOTE:  We are also expecting to have to move our September 16th Meet to Langley, but that one may come with a time change.  We were hoping to have that finalized to be able to publish before now, but unfortunately, we are still waiting on confirmation of the space and time.  We understand that these changes have an impact on other things in your schedule, and we promise to let you know as soon as we do, but please know that there is absolutely nothing we can do but wait.  The County is working to ensure that we have a facility at all, and we will get that information out to you as soon as it becomes available.  Please stay tuned!
 
3.   The Thursday 5-8-year-olds (5:00 - 6:00 pm) practice is in jeopardy and may need to be canceled for the season!  Although we have a great and large group of folks who have stepped up to help with coaching this season, there is no one currently available to coach the 5:00 Thursday practice.  We need at least TWO coaches (ideally three) to lead this practice; if we cannot find any, we will have to drop the session.  If you are available and willing to coach, we will provide you with everything you need, including supplies and practice plans; experience is not required, just your commitment.  If you can fill this critical need, please let us know ASAP by emailing mcleanyouthtrack@gmail.com.
 
We certainly hope the remainder of the week brings better news, and we appreciate your understanding and assistance with these items!
The MYTF Team
 
*****
August 25, 2018
 
WELCOME, everyone, to McLean Youth Track & Field's Fall 2018 season!
 
As is now our habit, we're going to break up our "welcomes" into two major messages, since there's a lot to convey, and since there are effectively two "beginnings" of the season. Today's message gives the basic scope & what you need to know for PRACTICESwhich begin this week (August 28th)!  In a week or so, we'll lay out the Meet-specific information to get everyone ready to RUN on Sunday, September 9th, at our Orientation Meet.  
 
And because we know people like to have stuff for reference later (and because we work really hard on putting this together and want everyone to see it), we have a "newsletter" for you with all kinds of info in it!  That is available on our website (front page), and will be available in hard copy at practices this week and Meets for the remainder of the season or while supplies last.
 
But First...
You will hear us say repeatedly that MYTF is a (mostly*) all-volunteer organization.  While our Director and Head Coaches do now each receive a small stipend, they also have day jobs, and everything else is done by volunteers - all of whom are parents just like you (or teenagers needing community service hours!).  The program can only provide what we have sufficient volunteers to make possible.  To that end, 
  • WE STILL NEED A HEAD TIMER FOR THE OLDER AGE GROUP,
  • some helpers for our Admin tables at Meets beginning with the 2nd Meet on 9/16, and as always,
  • ad hoc help at practices and Meets. 
We do have someone who has volunteered to serve as a Head Timer for our younger kids, but we still need someone for the older group.  Please understand that if we do not find someone to fill that rolewe will not be able to time races or award ribbons.  It is completely do-able without any prior experience - our former Head Timer left a fantastic set of laminated instructions, and with a little practice, you can absolutely master it!  And if you have served as a timer before, you're eminently qualified, so please consider filling this critical role!  (And we are absolutely fine if two people want to share the job, as long as you work together to ensure coverage at every Meet.)  Please email us at   if you can volunteer for this (or any other) important role!
 
Schedule
Our schedule is now effectively "set," and it is available in two places on our website (www.mcleantrack.org) - in calendar form on the front page (you can scroll through the months), and in a "table" format on the "Schedule" page (see the lefthand menus to navigate there).  Both practice and Meet information can be found in both places.  Please remember that like most sports, changes are always possible, but we generally do not make major changes unless there's a really good reason, like a facility notice change from the County, or superbad weather, which we of course hope to not have.
 
As for practices:  we will kick on next TUESDAY, August 28th, at Cooper Middle School, beginning at 5:00 pm for ages 5 to 8, and 6:00 for ages 9 and up.  If you are not able to attend practice next week (or ever), PLEASE do not worry - we will see you at the Orientation Meet on Sunday, September 9th, at 1:00pm  at Falls Church High School, and no actual "training" is required prior.    Practices will continue throughout the week (weather-permitting, of course) and throughout the season on the following schedule:
 
5-8-year-olds Tuesdays & Thursdays - 5:00 - 6:00 pm, Wednesdays & Fridays - 6:00 - 7:00 pm
9-14 year-olds Tuesdays & Thursdays - 6:00 - 7:00 pm, Wednesdays & Fridays, 5:00 - 6:00 pm 
 

Our practice sessions have been designed with maximum flexibility and opportunity for families in mind, and are entirely optional.  Children may attend one, all, or no practices - it's entirely dependent on what works for them and for your family's schedule.  PLEASE NOTE:  Due to school events at Cooper, there will be NO practices on Thursday, September 6th, or Wednesday, September 12th. 
 
How it Works - What You Need to Know 
Now, while we here at MYTF are pretty chill and like to keep things flexible and flowing for everyone, we do have a few cardinal rules that we need to remind everyone of, right from the get-go:
 
1.  Parental Responsibility:  We will repeat this mantra every week:   ***Parents (or guardians) must, MUST, MUST remain at ALL practices AND Meets with their child(ren).***  Yes, we know you drop your kids off at soccer and baseball practice all the time, but Track is different.  We typically have only 2 to 4 coaches at any given practice session, but can potentially have well over 100 (ONE HUNDRED!!!) kids, at a single practice, especially the first week.  There is NO bandwidth for the few coaches to handle bathroom emergencies, injuries, or - as has happened more than once - a sudden change in weather that necessitates a mid-practice cancellation.  100 kids won’t fit in the coach’s car!   We have had nannies and grandparents with no car left onsite with the kids before - that does NOT help in a weather emergency!  A responsible adult WITH transportation MUST be onsite for EVERY child who attends - yes, even your older children who resent your presence, because they still can't drive themselves home.  Neighborhood carpools are welcome, as long as at least one adult remains onsite and each kid knows who their responsible adult is.  This policy is imperative and mandatory, and as we have had some issues with this in the past, repeat offenses WILL result in your child(ren) being asked to leave the program.  
 
2.  Children MUST practice in their own age group's session(s).  We used to be a bit more flexible on this issue, but have found that it is really a coaching challenge to mix age groups (we subdivide the major groupings as it is), so this is now a firm policy.  PLEASE respect that policy, bring your child(ren) only to the practice sessions assigned to their age group, and do not ask the coaches to make exceptions on site.  It is not fair to put them in that position, and we do not want to risk MYTF’s facility allocation by violating the County’s policy of practice rosters reflecting actual children attending simply because our awesome coaches are too polite to tell you no.  
 
3.  Similarly, please do not send non-registered siblings (or other children) onto the practice field.  It's a liability issue, and it's not fair to all the kids who registered properly and on time.  While our coaches will not always check* every child against the official roster, we ask that you please honor the registration process and allow only registered children to participate.  (We DO check at Meets.)
 
4.  As for what you need to bring, for practices every child should have:
- a full, reusable water bottle (there is no nearby water fountain, the school is not usually open to us, and we like to keep waste to a minimum); 
comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing - light layers that can be shed as needed are best for cooler days;
shoes for running - plain ol' well-fitting sneakers are perfect - but no Crocs, sandals, boots, wheelies, flip-flops, etc.
 
You may find that bugspray is helpful, especially for the later practices, but sunscreen is not usually necessary given the late hour for practices.  
 
5.  We have put in a request to have a port-a-potty onsite at Cooper, but due to vacation schedules, it may not happen in time for the first practices next week.  So, PLEASE plan accordingly, because the school is NOT open to us during practices!
 
6.  MYTF uses the RainedOut text alert service as a way to quickly notify parents about changes to practices or Meets.  We sometimes can't make the call on the practice field usability until late in the day (3:00 pm or so), and sometimes, weather moves in even later that necessitates cancellation of practice.  We want to be able to let you know as soon as we do that there’s been a change or cancellation, so PLEEEEASE sign up for this service.  Yes, we will also send email and post to our website whenever possible, but if we’re already at the site when the cancellation occurs, we can’t always get those options out quickly. To sign up for RainedOut, you simply need to text the word “TURBOJAV” to 84483 on your phone.  Please know that text/data rates may apply, based on your plan/carrier.  You can also go to RainedOut’s website (http://www.rainedout.com) to sign up, or to learn more about their service.   
 
7.  And last, but definitely not least:  please remember that MYTF is a developmental league.  We are focused on helping kids learn the sport of Track & Field - and, in this Fall season, also cross-country - and hopefully learn to love it.  What matters to us is that kids are getting out there, doing something physically active, and learning something they can literally continue to do their entire lives.  We don’t compete against each other; we work to improve our own performance each week.  We thoroughly endorse and employ the Positive Coaching Alliance methodology; we encourage and coach rather than critique; and we cheer loudest for the kid who comes in last.  We hope that all of our families will reinforce that philosophy at home, but we absolutely require it at all MYTF events - from all family members.  Please remember that practices sometimes look chaotic, and not all kids give their best effort every time, especially after a long school day.  That is okay, and we hope all parents will join us in taking a positive approach to their child(ren)'s participation in the sport.
 
With that, we'll look forward to seeing as many of you as possible over the course of next week's practices, and the rest of you around the big track on the 9th!
The MYTF Team
 

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August 14, 2018

FINALLY, we have a publish-able schedule!  This comes, of course, with the caveat that this is the final schedule we think.  We are always subject to greater forces where facility scheduling is concerned, but after internal discussions, consulting with all appropriate parties, and negotiating a few changes, we have a solid picture of what we expect this season to look like.

Full details are available on the Schedule page of our website, but in summary:
  • Meets will be held every Sunday from our Orientation Meet on Sunday, September 9th through our Family Fun Meet on October 27th  This will include October 7th, which is Columbus Day weekend.  We did this in the hopes of avoiding a conflict with Fall JO (which is usually the first weekend in November), and that gives us a buffer in case something goes wrong schedulewise somewhere else during the season.
  • We will have three Track & Field and three Cross-Country (XC) Meets (in other words, a typical Fall season for us), bookended by the Orientation and Family Fun Meets.
  • We will have two age divisions (5-8 and 9-14) for Track & Field Meets, however, we will NOT alternate start times for the age divisions for Track & Field as we have typically done in the past.  (We do not divide by age for XC Meets.)
  • MOST Meets will be at Falls Church High School; the one exception is the Meet on September 23rd, which will be at Cooper Middle School.
  • MOST Meets will be in the afternoon, again excepting the one on the 23rd, which out of necessity will be at 10:00 am.
    • Orientation and Family Fun will begin at **1:00 pm** for everyone.  
    • Track & Field Meets will be **1:00 pm starts** for the 5-8s and **3:00 pm** starts for the 9-14s.  
    • Cross-Country Meets (except the September 23rd event) will begin at **2:00** pm for everyone.  <--We're not trying to be confusing, but XC Meets require a bit more setup time, and are shorter, so we start later in our permit window.
  • And finally, practice options will be as previously announced: 5-8s at 5:00 pm on T-Th, 6:00 on W-F; 9-14s at 6:00 pm on T-Th, 5:00 pm on W-F.  Practices begin with the start of FCPS on Tuesday, August 28th.
We hope that helps everyone with their Fall planning, and WHEW, are we relieved to finally have that nailed down!
 
Also, before we let you go:  
  • We are still looking for a new Director for the program, effective with the end of the Fall season  A full job description is posted at the bottom of the News page of our website, and we are happy to provide more information by email, phone, or in-person discussion.  This is an ideal job for someone looking to ease back into the working world after an absence that needs flexibility and resume-building (but not necessarily a lot of income).  Please reach out to us at   to inquire.
  • We will also need a Head Timer for the 9-14-year-olds, and to help with timing XC Meets.  This is a critical role that MUST be filled in order for us to be able to provide your children with ribbons and results each week.  We will happily train you during the Orientation Meet (where we do not do timing except for training purposes); please let us know if you are willing and interested!
  • Those interested in assistant coaching are invited to join us either this Thursday, Aug. 16th, at 7:00 pm OR Monday, Aug. 20th at 7:00 pm in the McLean Community Center offsite building, in the Balducci's shopping center on Old Dominion Road in McLean (the MCC site is at the opposite end of the shopping center from Balducci's).  No experience is necessary - we just need commitment and enthusiasm, and we'll provide the rest!
Thank you all for your attention, and we look forward to seeing you in JUST. TWO. SHORT. WEEKS.  !!
The MYTF Team

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August 9, 2018

Good morning!

Just a quick message with a couple updates:
 
1.  We are still looking for assistant coaches for the Fall season - no experience is necessary!  In fact, we have two upcoming meetings (you choose one or the other) to talk about what's involved, and if we can swing it facility-wise, we're going to try to have a practice session just so new coaches can get a feel for how the practice hours goes.  If you are willing and able to commit an hour per week to helping lead a practice session, and/or are available to help with Meets each week, please join us on either Thursday, August 16 at 7:00 pm OR Monday, August 20th at 7:00 pm for about an hour or so.  We *think* the meetings will be at the McLean Community Center offsite building in the Balducci's shopping center off Old Dominion Drive, but we are finalizing those details and will get back to you.  (And just for the record, if you can't make either meeting, we're still happy to have you coach!  Just drop us a line...)
 
2.  We know everyone's wanting the schedule details so they can plan their Fall, but we are still negotiating for the space on the 23rd.  We *should* have that nailed down by week's end, and plan to have full schedule info out to everyone by Monday, if not sooner.  Thank you for your patience!  In the meantime, we do expect the practice schedule to be as follows, assuming we have enough coaches to lead all the practice sessions (hint, hint..):
 
Practices this year will be  at Cooper MS, on the following schedule:
Ages 5-8: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm; Wednesdays and Fridays - 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm.
Ages 9-14: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm; Wednesdays and Fridays - 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm.
 
Thanks and we'll be back at ya' soon with the full schedule!
The MYTF Team

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July 26, 2018

You'd think we'd have learned a long time ago about the dangers of sending emails before adequate caffeine intake, but no.  We missed a few things yesterday, so please retroactively edit yesterday's message accordingly:

CORRECTION:
Final Meet
We wrote "November 7th," but the Sunday is November 4th.  Anyone with a calendar could've probably figured that out, but we thought we'd issue the formal correction.
 
We'd also like to note that Nov. 4 is the last possible Meet; we may end the weekend before, 10/28 (and yes, that's the correct date for the Sunday!) IF we have a Columbus Day weekend Meet OR if we are not able to find an alternate location for the September 23rd Meet.  We're working on all of that as fast as we can, but unfortunately, it's not all up to us.
 
OMISSIONS:
Practices
The first day of practices will be on Tuesday, August 28th, the same day FCPS starts school for the year.  The final day will be determined by the final Meet of the season; we will practice until the Friday before the last Meet, so per above, that will either be Friday, November 2nd, or Friday, October 26th.
 
Coaching
We failed to mention the very important fact that just because you didn't sign up during registration doesn't mean you can't still coach!  We will need LOTS of help, especially with a fourth practice day added on Fridays.  We need a minimum of THREE coaches to lead each practice session (there are eight in all), and we also need lots of help at Meets, so if you are willing to help with coaching, please let us know!  We provide you with all the tools you need, and as our veteran coaches will tell you, it's not nearly as hard as it seems before you get started.
 
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We think that's it, but we reserve the right to discover other glaring errors as more people write in to point them out...  
 
The MYTF Team 

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July 25, 2018

Good morning, MYTF Fall 2018 Families!

We don't know about you, but summer seems to be flying by here at MYTF headquarters!  We couldn't believe it when we looked at the calendar this week and realized the first day of practice is just over FOUR weeks away!!
 
To that end, we have a few updates for everyone:
 
Schedule
We know everyone is anxious to start planning their Fall calendars, and we want to give you good, detailed information.  Unfortunately, we're waiting on one last confirmation of a facility before we can finalizing the Meet schedule, but here's what we do know:
 
Practices - We've added a FOURTH option!
This season, in the hopes of alleviating some of the "crowds" at other practices, we're adding a Friday practice option.  This allows us to hopefully spread a few folks out across an extra session, and also gives everyone equal chances at both an early and late practice time.  We want to emphasize that practices are encouraged but entirely optional (like all MYTF events!), so please do not feel you have to attend all four practice sessions!  They are simply available for you to choose from as your family's schedule allows.
 
All practices will be at Cooper MS this season, on the following schedule:
Ages 5-8:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm; Wednesdays and Fridays - 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm.
Ages 9-14:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm; Wednesdays and Fridays - 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm.
 
Meets
All Meets - with one possible exception - will be at Falls Church HS this season.  They will also all be on Sunday afternoons - again with one possible exception.  While we very much want to give everyone a final schedule, the as-yet-unconfirmed Meet could have implications for other dates in the season, so while we are working furiously to get that information finalized, please be patient and just pencil in MYTF every Sunday afternoon from September 9th through November 7th.
 
Sponsorships
Corporate sponsorships are a critical vehicle for MYTF to be able to offer all the awesome stuff we do, while keeping program costs low.  If you own, work for, or know of a local business that would be interested in sponsoring MYTF, please direct them to this flyer!  (We are happy to make hard copies available to those who would like them to hand out in person.)  We have options for t-shirt sponsorships, a coach shirt sponsorship, and advertising in our seasonal newsletter, which goes to everyone in our program, gets posted on our website, and is also used as marketing material throughout the area during and after the season.  Please consider sponsoring our incredible program!  UPDATE:  It's *never* too late to sponsor MYTF!  If you've missed the deadlines for the newsletter and tshirts, there are still options for sponsoring us this Fall, and we would LOVE to line up Spring sponsors early!
 
Coaching
If you volunteered to help coach practices and/or Meets this season, THANK YOU!  We are working to set up both a coaches' meeting (to talk about what is actually required of you, and how we will provide you with everything you need) and a coaches' "training" session for new coaches who would like to see what we do in action before you actually have to do it with a practice full of kids.  Keep your eyes on your email - the message will likely come directly from our Head Coaches (Adam Knudson and Mike Smith) rather than the main MYTF account.
 
Reminder:  New Director needed!
We'd like to say that the applications have been pouring in, but the reality is we are still looking for someone to step up and fill this important leadership role beginning with the Spring 2019 season.  It's imperative that we find someone as soon as possible so they can get up to speed and begin the planning process for Spring, which essentially starts as soon as the Fall 2018 season ends.  Please let us know if you or someone you know might be interested in taking on this important and fulfilling challenge!
 
Thank you for your attention - please resume all festive summer activities, and we'll see you in just over a month!
The MYTF Team
 

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Fall 2018 Season Welcome

Welcome to the Fall 2018 season of McLean Youth Track & Field!  It’s hard to think about Fall sports while we’re still enjoying the summer vacation, but the calendar says we have less than eight weeks to go, so we need to get some key info out for everyone’s planning purposes:

We’ll be one big family this Fall

Those of you who were with us this past Spring know that we used a two-Group system to accommodate everyone into our expanded program.  Our Fall registration was smaller though (which is typical), so we’re going back to a single program for this season – one set of practices in a single location, and one Meet each Sunday.  Exact details will be forthcoming as we are still confirming the facility space details with the County, but we’ll publish them as soon as we have them settled.  We do know the practice schedule is expected to be the same as previous seasons (see our "Schedule" page under "Practices" for the table of practice times by age group), and that our Meets will all be on Sunday afternoons.  

Big news - big opportunity:  new Director needed!

With a bit of sadness (and a bit of urgency), we announce the pending “retirement” of our current Director, Mickey Skelton.  This Fall season will be her fifth season as Director, and her last, as a variety of personal and family issues necessitate her stepping down.  After more than six years in the program as a parent, Administrator, and Director, Mickey is going to return to being “just a regular parent” in the stands on Sundays, and we wish her well as she moves to the next chapter in her story.

We will absolutely need someone (or two people!) to step up to fill the Director’s role beginning with the Spring season!  Ideally, we would love to identify a new Director (or co-Directors) early this Fall so that they can “shadow” the role during an active season.  If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact us at mcleanyouthtrack@gmail.com for more information.  The official job posting is also available below. 

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We will have more information for you as we get closer to the season, and all updates will be posted to the website, on the front page, News page, Schedule page, and/or calendar. We are looking forward to seeing everyone this Fall, and hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!

The MYTF Team

 

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JOB POSTING:  DIRECTOR (or Co-Directors!), McLean Youth Track & Field, for the Spring 2019 season (and beyond!), effective immediately

The leadership of MYTF is divided into two main roles:  Director and Head Coach(es).  While the Head Coach or Coaches are responsible for the season in terms of leading practices and Meets and the content of those events, the Director is responsible for the administration of the overarching program, including strategic planning, financial management, program development, outreach, communication, and policy.  The Director works in close coordination with the Head Coach(es), as well as an Advisory Board composed of current and former program parents and former Head Coaches, to set the program’s direction and manage its day-to-day operations.

Regular activities and tasks are numerous and varied; many can be delegated to volunteers, but those critical for the Director to personally oversee include:

  • Guiding the overall program direction, including long-term planning, expansion, fees, and coordination with McLean Youth Athletics (MYTF’s ownership body) and MYTF’s Board of Advisors;
  • Developing, managing, and reporting on the annual and seasonal budgets;
  • Maintaining a relationship with the County offices that govern facility scheduling, athletic policy, and philanthropy, as well as other programs and external entities as needed;
  • Working with the Head Coach(es) to ensure seasonal plans and event operation are consistent with program philosophy, and that policies – particularly those regarding the safety and security of the children in the program – are observed, and are also re-evaluated and revised as needed.

Additional tasks that may be performed by the Director or delegated include (but are not limited to) setting up, overseeing, and troubleshooting the seasonal Registration process; management of incoming email correspondence; weekly email communications to the participants throughout the season; ordering and management of supplies; ensuring all weekly Meet supplies get to and from Meets; administrative management at Meets, including distribution of ribbons, handling of supplies, support of Head Coaches, etc; weekly recording of Meet results and converting to ribbon labels; establishing sponsorship levels, soliciting and securing sponsors; and completing facilities requests through the County’s AFAR system, in coordination with County representatives.

There is considerable room for a Director to shape the role to his or her vision and skillset, but fundamental requirements would include:

  • Extensive organizational skills, capable of overseeing and coordinating the program and its daily activities from top-to-bottom; 
  • Relationship building and management, both within and outside the program; and
  • Basic financial management skills, including familiarity with Microsoft Excel, budgeting, and online banking.

A working knowledge of the sports of Track & Field and Cross-Country and/or of youth sports program management would be helpful but is by no means required.  This job primarily requires someone who can stay on top of myriad details; communicate clearly to the hundreds of families in the program as well as to prospective families, MYA, County representatives, sponsors, vendors, etc; and be available, particularly on Sundays for Meets, to help personally oversee events and ensure that operations are consistent with policy - and that policy is constantly evaluated and revised based on operational needs.

MYTF is a primarily volunteer-led organization, but the Director and Head Coach positions do now each receive a small stipend each season, subject to income taxes as a 1099 contractor role.  The current seasonal stipend for the Director role is $2000.