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June 28, 2022

Positivity is the Only Place To Be w/Jeremy Kauffman

Positivity is the Only Place To Be w/Jeremy Kauffman

#46.  This episode features an uncommon leader who exudes positivity. Jeremy Kauffman is a social studies teacher at Deerfield High School (IL) and head track as well as head cross-country coach at Lake Zurich High School (IL).

In this episode, we cover a multitude of conversations in the world of coaching and education, such as coaching boys versus girls sports, coaching middle school versus high school, and coaching his own children, which he has done over the past several years.

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Transcript

Luke:

This is episode 46 of The "I" in Win podcast

Jeremy:

They know that it's going to be positive. They know that their coaches are always going to be positive. My coaching staff is never using a loud voice or a negative tone.

Luke:

hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of The "I" in Win, featuring uncommon leaders. And today we have a great one. Jeremy Kauffman, social studies teacher at Deerfield high school and head track and head cross-country coach at lake Zurich high school. We're going to cover a multitude of conversations in the world of coaching and education, such as coaching boys versus girls sports, sports. Excuse me, middle school versus high school. What's it like to coach your own kids, which she has experienced doing. And what do you do for punishment when your sport is all about running? Because that's all what most coaches do for punishing their athletes. But coach, obviously I've known him for a couple of years. Really appreciate you hopping on with us.

Jeremy:

Thanks for having me.

Luke:

So let's talk about what I brought up originally. This idea of coaching boys versus girls, because it is different. I have. Son and daughter, they're both athletes. They have different mentalities. I've taught girls in the classroom. I've never coached them. I have to assume there's a lot of similarities, but there are some differences as well. So let's start with the similarities of coaching boys and girls that you have.

Jeremy:

Well, both. I mean, since we're talking about teenagers, both genders or both groups really engage in culture at a high level, if you allow them. Right. I think with, with boys, we talk about the brotherhood and they have a unique intimacy about them. And we tend to think that, you know, the female athletes tend to have this natural intimacy, right. Because they're highly. People. I mean the female adolescent brain is way more verbal. It's way more socially connected, but boys have that too. And they express that in different ways. And so I think that similarity is. They're starving for those connections. They're starving for those real connections. I always saw, I would say, do we have real motivation or fake motivation? Do we have real culture or made up culture? And, um, it's gotta be organic and it's gotta be about those relationships. So at Deerfield, with the Deerfield distance crew and cross country and the track team, very strong culture there when I left. Brought some of those ideas and philosophies that, that I've learned from so many different coaches and clinics and books and trials and errors to Lake Zurich. And, it was interesting to see just how quickly, those systems worked really well and just developing those relationships.

Luke:

What do you mean by real cold?

Jeremy:

Um, I think when you talk about culture, you have language, right? There's the, one-liners the phrases that you say you have symbolism, right? You have t-shirts and logos and stickers and, and your, messaging that you use. When you have a phrase, let's say in girls' track, we say beef for us. And we talk about being for us in the classroom on social media. At practice, every decision we make is about us. And so we try to once or twice a week have a, we call log sessions or these short little team experiences. They can be games. They can be conversations where we're talking about. What it means to give yourself through the program, as in you don't become, we don't become you. You become us and not these, you know, pain is temporary and pride is forever. You know, these, these slogans, I always thought that kind of ring hollow, if there's nothing underneath them, which means they have to be discussed weekly. There has to be team experiences outside of training. That aluminate, that, that reinforced, that, that teach that. Kids know whether you're for real or not. Right. They know when they walk in the classroom, if this teacher really knows, I teach AP psych is he really know AP psychology is really no history. It is he for us. And once the kids realized we were for them and we do what's best for kids and everything that we do, and the way that we set up practice, the way that we treat them, the way we work, we put in behind the scenes to celebrate them that I think becomes real culture. If that makes sense.

Luke:

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, talk about the similarities of boys versus girls. Basically what I'm hearing is if it's a real culture, you're going to get them to buy in and buying quickly. Everyone wants to be a part of something that is real and authentic. Let's talk about the differences. where did the differences lie in coaching these girls versus boys in the same sport? Cause you've coached both in track and across.

Jeremy:

I have noticed that I was, a lot more directive with boys. Um, both of our practice and training programs are, are highly organized. We put a lot of time into them. They're technically sound they're theoretically sound, but with boys it's even true in the classroom and maybe teach an AP psych get helps me out a little bit with the sports psychology, but. Boys that has to be in the eyes, very directive, really immediate feedback. I say, if you give them some times an inch or get too loose, still take that real far. You know, like I always say, you know, uh, when I was in the Marine Corps or Joel instructors always used to tell me, Hey, we're here together, but you're not on my block. I'm not on your block. And there's that, that sort of coach athlete, but also friendships developed line or girls. It's interesting. you have to help them be more social. Our practices start with, this thing we call bear, wake up where they hug each other to get those good hormones go. And they do it a bunch of jumping jacks and smile and, and play at high five. And they go through their warm up and their warmup is just nonstop talking while they're doing the warmup. And we're very loose with how we get to. The the training or how we get to the, skill we're going to do. But what was interesting is they could all be in a line waiting to do a rep of a flight 10 and they're dancing to the music and kind of goofing around. And as soon as they hit that line, great rep I don't think we've had a bad practice in my five years at Lake Zurich, because I learned that very quickly. My first few weeks, if I tried to be as directive and structured like that versus more supportive. And guiding that worked much better for the girls and the boys. That was the big difference. The boys, I think, need that discipline and straightforward and really clear expectations girls too. But whenever I let my guys get hyper social practice became not really effective.

Luke:

I have to imagine with your Marine background, it had to be a little difficult at times to be loose at the beginning of things. Am I correct?

Jeremy:

Um, I've, I've learned, I mean, it's my 26 year. you've got to meet the kids where they want to meet you for sure. But, um, I know going into practices we're really organized and my coaches have their practice plan done that we're going to get what we need to get done, but we're also going to have a lot of fun doing it. And that's probably been my biggest growth piece. The last six, seven years, eight years is just being, being more open with that kind of thing. And it's been a lot more fun and rewarding for sure.

Luke:

Yeah. And I think that's something that I've evolved with as well. Just trying to put my OCD a little bit you know, shelve it a little bit and try to allow myself to have more fun and not obsess over so much. what do you think was that moment that kind of turns you where you came to realization of? I need to allow myself to have some more.

Jeremy:

It was when you go from 2015. And, my last meet coach in the Deerfield boys was at the state meet and Chris Douglas won the state championship. And, he actually is running in the world championships for Australia, which is really exciting with an opportunity to go to the Olympics, but really proud of that kid. But, um, walk off the track and the summer comes. Sign rain or like, Hey, we want to do track in middle school because they followed me around to the track meets and they had come to a bunch of summer training and their little date that was called the team, the guys, you know, and, you know, all those early summer morning mile practices them in their pajamas and the little bikes around deer field. And. they go the sixth, seventh grade, junior high positions open at lakes or south, or we're going to go. And so I put my application in, so I go from the state champion, building this program, and then I'm going to my first practice of where I have the sixth and seventh grade, junior high girls. And I'm their head coach. And it was the realization of this season is going to be so much just about. The love of track and field. These little kids just want to jump in the sand and run over a hurdle. And when the first practice, so that's teaching them long jump and they just made it into the sand. They would like jump up and down and run down the runway to there. And I never laughed so much in a season. More lollipops. it was, it was getting back to just the absolute, why we love sports and seeing the joy of these kids and like, man, this is, this is so fun. And, and to keep it that way, as I continued my journey through a Lake Zurich,

Luke:

Let's stick with that idea of coaching middle school kids. It's funny. whenever I see a elementary school teacher or middle school teacher, they always tell me how man, how could you ever handle high school? Cause I never could do that. And I'm thinking the same thing about what they're doing each and every day. Right. So how was that? Probably sobering experience at first coaching middle school kids, after all those years of coaching.

Jeremy:

absolute controlled chaos because there's so many of them, but what we did is we implemented stations and grouping, and they went from each station to each station and it worked as, uh, maybe some of the military background helped there with, being efficient and getting them in and getting them out quickly. And also. you had to be a little more directive. So the whistle was a big part, two beeps, and then clap back and they get your to get their attention for about 10 seconds and get them going into another thing. And you just had to roll with it. That's, that's what it was, but we had a lot of fun and the kids got better and my daughters had a great experience. And well, one thing about how I tried to keep it fun is my daughter Reyna almost every day in middle school, as I'm talking. 90 of these, middle school girls, she would always like tug on the side of my shirt and whisper mirror, make it fun and don't yell at anybody. So that was my little, my little reminder. And then my oldest daughter Saya, who was a year ahead arena and they actually got to run on a, on a relay together. And it went to the state meet, which is really cool in my first year. Rena was the anchor as a sixth grader in science seventh. And, I'm teaching relate theory and she raises her hand in front of a whole group. She goes, dad, do you know what you're talking about? And I remember thinking a right ego. Just totally. Yeah. So the, I think I know what I'm talking about. It was, that was a good laugh. So that, that was interesting. Yeah.

Luke:

Well, I think there's some validity in your daughter saying that to you about, Hey, don't yell and make it fun. I do think that right. You got to listen to the kids because now, you know, like you said, meet them where they're at, where that's, where they're at. So. You walk into practice, you have a strict plan and we're gonna, we're going to get this, this and this done, and we're going to be about discipline and we're gonna be about hard work. And meanwhile, 75% of those kids just want to. Right. So, so it's at that tough balance and that's what great coaches can do though, is kind of meet in the middle there and kind of establish what you want to get done, meet your goals, but also meet the goals of the kids as well. Another thing we have talked about is how exhausting coaching as if you're as passionate as a guy, like you are, you come home each and every day. And you're spent, you're spent from teaching and then you got to drive over to another school, probably drink a couple cups of black coffee, find that energy and get rolling in for practice. And then you go home and then you have a wife and you have, your real life when you go home. Right. So, how do you find that energy? Because you coach year round, like I know when my season is over. It's like, whew. I feel like I finally could take a breath. You don't ever really get a breath cause you go from cross-country in the fall and then ramping right up to track in the winter. So how do you keep the energy there to make sure the kids are getting the best version of you?

Jeremy:

Uh, well, one thing is, learning to delegate a lot better. we have a seasoned training map and a weekly plan, and my coaches by Monday morning have their weekly plan out. So that really helps because all that mental planning and bits and pieces of the practices. Plan. And I really trust them and I let my hurdle coach be the hero coach and throw his field to be I don't micromanage and that way. And so that, helps cause I get to focus on what I want to focus on. but I don't know. I think it's. It's just, if you love doing it, it's, it's energizing. It's fun. I really like it. And, so instead of going to LA fitness to work out or something, I just go to the attract coach and. Work out that way for two and a half hours being a head coach. And, um, but yeah, it is, I mean, it's a 70 hour week if you? do it right. during the season. but I also say, look, I don't have to scout film. I don't have to do, I mean, our practices can go from three 40 to five 15 on Sundays and I'm home really early, depending on the training. So it's up and down. There's recovery days. There are short days. We don't have like what football, basketball as these. You got to teach so many different things in football and there's there scouting and there's video, and that's So much more, I think, labor intensive and why it's only a nine week season, right. Track 17, you know, and if you go to the state championship, so I think then it's what a 14 week season or something like that. But yeah, the sport lends itself. So to some days we can get out of there pretty quickly and get home early and have dinner and go for a walk or whatever.

Luke:

So you use that effort again? Fun. What do you find fun about.

Jeremy:

Seeing the kids develop and taking from top to bottom track is so objective because we measure everything in time, everything to just see a kid grow and It's measurable that way and to compete is obviously really fun. being around those teenagers and those kids, I mean, kind of every day you laugh at practice or you have a conversation or a smile and you get the thank you coach after. I ran track and field in high school and cross country. I just really love this Fort at a great coach who was a father figure to me and Jean Jones just finished 53 years at Metamora high school. Chuck Tanner has been there for 40 plus as well, both in the hall of fame. They, uh, were huge role models for me growing up in that little small farm town. It was a football town, but we were, we were better at tracking cross the four years I was here football. So, so we hang our head on. Um, but it's just, it's, it's just. And if you, it kind of gets, it's like teaching, you know, if you, if you really love what you're doing and you have, autonomy and you have purpose and you have mastery and you really don't feel like you're working necessarily, that's, the joy for me being a teacher and a coach.

Luke:

It's not all sunshines and re all sunshine and rainbows, like any other profession. What are some of the difficulties that you encounter? The struggles, the frustrations, and how do you manage them?

Jeremy:

if I think back to what coaching was like in 98 versus now they're sleep deprivation for teenagers, social media, their phones, the expectations that high school athletics is almost become like a sort of environment or environment. I mean, we have it. It's great. There's some amazing online websites for high school coverage. A lot of our athletes And star athletes are treated like stars, you know, and they're all very humble these girls, but that's another variable. They have to kind of deal with that. There's these expectations being published online. there's so many clubs and, um, You know, we're have more dual sport athletes than any other program in the high school and our team, but balancing their AAU and their needs and our needs and, and that, and helping the kid that all that outset stuff is more than it's ever, ever been. So, a lot more emails, a lot more conversations with parents, expectations of coming from these media sites that celebrate the kids, but it's like reading. NCAA website, you know, so those are all, things. And then, um, you know, we, we say we get older, they stay the same age. Right. We're getting the same clientele every year, but boy, they're dealing with so much more now than, than they ever did 20 years ago.

Luke:

And you've made the decision to follow your daughters and have the opportunity to coach them. How was that experience and how did you separate your dad hat from being the head coach?

Jeremy:

Uh, it was amazing. I mean, it was absolutely amazing because I had spent so much time at Deerfield that I didn't miss their soccer games, but I might try and come late. I didn't get to coach? their teams, Because I was coaching Deerfield and it was like coming home from a meet. And we're going to this player, this activity. That was an exhausting time. Whenever a little, my wife was great. She say, you have, you have one hour nap and then we're we're back at it. the experience was awesome because just to see them try something different and it was a sport that I love and a sport they're kind of connected to from what I did at Deerfield. And I mean, and they were successful too. Like they both got to go to the state championships in middle school and then, you know, From a competitive side and Saya was such a great JV leader for me for four years. He was such a, a girl that would, that any girl would feel like she could go up to. And she had that experience. It was just being on a team, just doing it just to be athletic. And that was her only extracurricular through all of lake Zurich was track and field and hearing her say. And she wrote me a letter after graduation about what the sport meant to her and that in R and her senior meet w where she said it all tight PR and the hug afterwards. Amazing. We're in Ray. His journey was she never lost a conference, duel me. They never won the lost the conference championship. They've won two counties in her three years without, you know, we have COVID, they won the first sectional. She breaks the schoolwork, goes to state two years in a row in the four by two. She had that really high end athletic experience, but. What was interesting is she also said a few things about track and field that were near and dear to the heart about, her teammates. You could just see it within the pictures and the meats, the way that she engaged with people. It means, that's what you wanted your kids to get out of it. And, and, and they grew as young women through the sport.

Luke:

You mentioned as a track coach, your objective. you look at the clock and whoever my three fastest, a hundred meter dash, for example, they're the three that run in the meet. Uh, if it's not a dual meet. Right. So how do you handle those tough conversations when you have. A star freshmen or sophomore that just are better on the watch than the senior who has done everything. Correct. But just isn't fast enough or jump high enough or whatever it may be. How do you handle those difficult conversations?

Jeremy:

Well, we record ranked and publish every single practice. So there's we have more, the larger, the sample size, the more true the data's going to be. Right. And luckily we're getting more fat timing, almost every meat now, but it's interesting. You say that the very first thing on the eight reasons to join girls track at lake Zurich as a freshmen can be an MVP. So they know that right away. Secondly, in our culture, the fact that they know that we are coaching the slowest. At the same level as the best girl that we are a state focus program and everybody is going to get the best training to make them the best they want to be based on their goals. And girls say, Hey, I want to be JBL conference. We'll do that. If a girl wants to be all state, we'll do that. If it goes like, Hey, I'm here just to get in shape, we'll do that. But we actually had that situation this year, where we have. The majority of our captains are senior captains ran at the JV level on conference and freshmen and sophomores were running in their spots actually on the sectional championship team, there were only. Four or five juniors and seniors running in that meet the rest, refer us off. But what's interesting is we had a conversation and I said, I know you got beat up and there. And I know you're a four-year senior. I go, if it was a tie, it would go to the senior, right? If all things are equal academics, behavioral left, but I go, you could be the JV conference champion and the hurdles. You can be JD conference, champion and jobs. You can be Jay. And they went out and did it and they won. The JV team title and the last event and all those senior captains were just elated. And I said, you got to go out as a champion and, and they set PRS and then they watched the girls run and, you know, they were pretty honest, like, yeah, they're, they're faster than I am, but I got to have my moment too. So those conversations? are always happening when we were reviewing our PRS. This is where you're at. And obviously we have a ranking chart. They can look and they get it every Sunday with our newsletter. Here's where I'm at. And if I want to be here, I've got to improve to this. So at the end of the season, those are the decisions for conference and sectionals leading up to it. Indoor, I run Girls and all these different places to give them opportunities. I've taken those same girls. Like you're in the big time, invited late cheer in the big time, invited Barrington on varsity. They got to get in those meats. They had opportunities to show what they could do on the bigger stage. And they appreciate that. They know that I'm trying to get them in as much as possible. And they know at the end of the season, it's the best team for those championship meets.

Luke:

You mentioned sectional champs this year. I know you've done a great job of building the program and it's been a process and it's taken a couple of years. You look at your team picture. You have a lot of girls on that. And I think that speaks to the culture you have created. So take us through those steps to building a championship program. What has to be.

Jeremy:

Well, um, one, your middle school camps have to be. really fun and engaging. And when we got there in the first summer, after 2018 and I came in 2018, they were usually third or fourth in the NSC. And I don't even know where they're finishing sectionals, but, that group was one of the most improved teams and they ended up coming out of nowhere to win the conference on a pretty big upset. They were like a 35 point underdog. But that group had not had any summer camp stuff. They just had some really good, talented girls. You worked in lake Zurich, high school. There, there are some, there's some talent in that building. And we just had some girls that were very athletic that really started to like believe in themselves and what I was slowly. Preaching about our philosophy of track and field, but those middle school camps, we had the high schoolers on the team helped me run it and participate with the middle-schoolers. And when a little sixth grader is seeing, you know, a junior senior really take them under their wing and really care about them. And then. we went from 35 and 2018 in the summer to this summer, we're going to have probably 115 middle-schoolers co-ed fifth grade to senior. And we have out of those hundred plus about 70 are going to be girls And we just try to make that camp as efficient and fun and engaging and not a time waste for them as well. Not make it super long. They're two hour or two hour, little camp sessions, nine sessions short and sweet. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, they get their weekend little break in the middle of the week. and then in the high school, it can, it goes back to those lock sessions. It goes back to, Teaching your message, but also practicing the message and believing in the message and using our language. Right. You know, from bear down stickers and speed club t-shirts and polar bear t-shirts and, and, and PR stickers and all that stuff. And all those little things build culture are more, are Folkways our values. And then I gotta be honest with you. My daughters were great recruiters. And then the basketball players start getting girls out. I've got cross country, obviously and volleyball girls who throw for me are getting volleyball players out. It's just, it's like, wow. You know, all of a sudden you're getting some of the more, I wouldn't say popular girls, but girls that are really good in their sport saying, well, they're getting the best player from gymnastics and the state champion to come out for track, or they're getting one of the top basketball centers to come out. That that sends a message throughout the school that wow so-and-so is doing it. That must be pretty.

Luke:

Yeah, it's amazing that success breeds success type of thing, for sure. I'm sure. The other thing that helped is you're really positive guy. I used to love seeing you in the hallway. You always had a smile on your face. You always greeted me with like today's a great day and you really meant it. And I love that about you. I really do so positivity is a choice. It really is. How are you able to make that choice to walk into school despite the fact that you have. things going on in life, we all do. How are you able to walk in and have that smile and just be that positive force for both your students at Deerfield and your athletes, that league Zurich.

Jeremy:

Well, if you think about practice, I mean, we always say that no matter what happens in your school day, when you walk through those doors or field house stores, We do say everyday is a great day and don't waste a heartbeat. And all of the, these one-liners we use that, uh, the girls start to recite back to you over time when they really start to believe it. And, They know that it's going to be positive. They know that their coaches are always going to be positive. My coaching staff is never using a loud voice or a negative tone. We always go back to our common language, if girls are having a rough day, we can kind of see that and we'll say, Hey, how are you? What's going on? And. Give them an opportunity to sort of work through their stuff. I guess it's just that, it's the best place to be at the end of the day, because it's not a math test. It's not a history test. It's not a research paper, it's a sport and sports are supposed to be fun. And it's where you get to take some of that stuff and just sweat it out of your body or jump it out of your body or, be together and. You know, I know if I come in and I am using negative body language and I am being have to serve rude, that's just going to be so toxic, especially with female athletes. And, that dynamic of I've always been interested in. Female, a whole female coaching staff on a girl's track team for as a whole male coaching staff and a girl's track team I've watched from abroad. And it's really interesting. It's almost like female coaches with female athletes is almost like big sister or mom. That's true with male athletes. It's like, I'm there. If I get on them, it's like my, it sounds so stereotypical, but it's like my big brother and my dad just kind of yelled at. Like they, they take it really hard. So he got to be really. Sensitive about that. And I think, especially with female athletes, I mean, they are such amazing readers of non-verbal cues and of language. I mean, that's just proven science. So they're watching you. And if you are, like I said, not being genuine and really being positive that they're not going to follow you anywhere. They're going to go the other direction very quickly. And probably raising two teenage daughters helped me with that a lot because I got to see that in my own house. Right. Like where I say, Hey. Yeah, don't yell at me. Well, I w I didn't really raise my voice, but she thought I was being, you know, clean your room where I practice. If I were to say, Hey, listen up. Wow, coach speed. Mean, so that's why I use things like three class back. And they do that, or, you know, the quick whistle or, you know, pay LZ, Hey, coach, you know, just instead of being, you know, that kind of thing. So little things I learned from many other coaches on how to engage kids and be positive when you

Luke:

Yeah, it's funny. You mentioned that daughter piece. I get myself in hot water all the time with my teenage daughter. I D I just have a loud. Sounds like, I guess, I guess it'd be a serious tone and she's

Jeremy:

Yeah, me too.

Luke:

why are you in such a bad mood? I'm like, I actually, I'm totally fine. I don't, you know,

Jeremy:

They tell me all the time, like when I'm getting excited, I'm like, and then they're like, why are you yelling? I'm like, I'm not yelling. I'm excited. you know, And, and that's true. And you're, I mean, you're going with a heck of an athlete too. So Reese is a pretty darn good soccer player. so. Yeah.

Luke:

Well, yeah, it's a thank you for saying that. And that's very kind of you, but yeah, it's, it's a different dynamic for me. I'm used to talking to, a football team and then I come home and I sometimes forget my audience and use that same approach. And you're right. And you're also right on about, about the fine. And I made light of this when I introduced you. But in all seriousness, if you went and talked to football players, they would say that one thing that they hate about football is the running. And I mean, that, that's just a tough part. Right? What do most sports use as punishment, your sport? Right? Go run. So how do you make running.

Jeremy:

Well, we'll start with tracking sealed and. It strengthens feel is such a technical sport. I mean, first of all, training theory has changed dramatically from when I was in high school. I mean, you know, 20, 30 to 200 repeats. I mean, that's crazy. Uh, everything. We have the free lap chips now with the tower. So everything is recorded and published in our practices are so efficient because each girl has her own chip. So it's just one after the other. There's no standing around. a lot of our drills are a lot of fun because we're using wickets and cones and. Bullet belts and rafter resistors that we bought. And so they like getting into those pieces of equipment and, and making themselves better. And there's vaulting and throwing and hurdling and jumping. So track is a, is a much easier sell because there's a lot of really fun things. I can hold a pole and go upside down. I can throw this discuss. I got the cool Baton, you know, the four by ones, like the lead guitarist of a rock band. Right. You know? those are the sprinters, right. But distance. Is a, is really about the mindset and they have to really love to be a distance runner. And that is a summer time I've worked. I'm leaving Monday to go to my camper. Uh, I work at great lakes, cross country camp. We have a hierarchy campers over eight states working with, Steve long. Who's been Michigan coach of the year, multiple times, multiple state champs, and that camp. All about the mind and about your belief in running. And the why of your running. And, uh, we bring in all kinds of guest speakers from former Olympians and collegians and we got Hobbs customer coming. Who's The. Greatest, maybe high school distance runner of all time. He's 18. He just went pro you know, sciences of running speakers, all of that. And they almost have to take a class over three months of why am I going to run 13 mile long runs one running seven mile tempo runs a 90 degree heat that I agree. Distance running is a different animal. They are just different people. And you've got to find those people, tractors, you know, we had it this year. We got a couple of girls from basketball. They want to come out and do track and it's like, well, okay, you can do a layup, right? Yeah. We'll try high jumping. And I'm like, oh the girl, I'm not kidding there. Girl got second state. She almost won the state title in high jump. She came from basketball, you know? But, uh, the track, they just they're like, wow, this is kind of fun. I really, this is tough. The different cross country, that, that first day where you have a grill is never ran. It's like, let's just try and run for five minutes without stopping. And what'd you think? And you know, I agree distance running is, uh, is a totally different approach than track and field. Totally different.

Luke:

And you brought the basketball players coming out, What do you do with those basketball players? That let's just say that that's their quote unquote number one sport. And I'm sure they're playing on a AAU teams in the spring and they have those commitments. And I know that you're a well-read guy. And you understand the idea of recovery rest and recovery. What do you do? Do you have them. Sit out practice. You do an abbreviated practice. If they have like three AAU games that week, how do you manage that load?

Jeremy:

we tell them it's track is your secondary and basketball is your primary. We are going to support your basketball first. And we do exactly that. So, one of our girls is as a freshmen star in basketball, arguably one of the best freshmen in the state. And she ended up getting 15th and hurdles at state for us and being, just a wonderful contribution to our varsity team and hurdles and long jump and 300 hurdles. And we would just say, what'd you do when you got this weekend? I got three, three tournament games on Sunday. All right. Monday we come in and roll off the stretch. Where do we want to put your, your workout? We'll we'll put it, we'll put it here. And she's good to about her AAU coaches, very supportive. The girl's basketball coach at lake Zurich is just awesome and supportive and they communicate well. And he's, she's gone to some AAU practices and he said, what'd you have, I had this. He was like, all right, just, just practice free throws and shoot around today. It's a great turn of events from what I've had in years past. And we're both benefiting and the kid is doing something else that isn't just sustain all year round and all the gymnastics coaches at lake Cirque and the basketball coaches there said, boy, the girls are coming back more athletic. They had some fun. It's like they mentally had a break, but at the same time, I'm loving that jumpers are going to be rebounded and that vaulters are going to be doing floor routines and he'll make it way athletic and those events too. So it really is right. But yeah. We work with the kid. We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We want to support them. And they've missed some big meats for some national term. It's perfectly fine. But also on the backend at the state meet, the young lady missed a huge tournament in the North Carolina to go run in the state, meet for us. So there was some definitely give and take for, for the kids. So it was all great.

Luke:

That's really, really encouraging to hear. It sounds like you have a really great situation internally with the other coaches at lake Zurich, but man, that AAU coach, that's definitely an anomaly, at least through my experience. So that's awesome. Hopefully that starts to bring. A little bit more. I mean, sports are, is huge right now and it just creates so much conflict. Uh, there's not a lot of communication. And, that's only putting the athlete in harm's way by overworking them. And sometimes the high school kids just so afraid to speak up because they don't want to let us down their high school coach that don't want to let their club coach. And there's that lack of communication. So very encouraging the hair. Also very encouraging just to, again, to see that positivity coming through the screen. I meant what I said. I, I love crossing paths each and every day. you're just so engaged in the school. You're part of, and Hey, how's this how's the football game looked this week and, uh, man, you're just, you're just so immersed in host community school community, which is why I wanted to have yawn. Congrats on an awesome year and look forward to just watching you keep building and building and eventually coming home with, that number one trophy.

Jeremy:

That'd be great. Yeah.

Luke:

thanks for coming on. And, uh, if our listeners want to get in touch with you, I'll put your social media handle if that's okay. Uh, your Twitter handle, I'll put your email address and, anyone out there listening, I would encourage you to get in touch with coach coffin. if you want to talk AP psych, you want to talk mental training. You want to talk about a positive mindset, or most importantly, how to build a program around a positive, fun culture. He's the guy to reach out to you. Coach. Thanks so much for being on the island. When today.

Jeremy Kauffman Profile Photo

Jeremy Kauffman

Lake Zurich Head Girls Track & Field Coach

* Asst. Boys Track & Field Coach at Algonquin Jacobs HS 1996-1998
* Head Coach Deerfield High School Mens Track & Field 1999-2015
*Asst Coach Deerfield High School Mens Cross Country 2004-2005
* Head Coach Deerfield High School Mens Cross Country 2006-2014
* Great Lakes Summer Cross Country Camp (South Haven, MI) –Asst. Director 2014-Present
* Head 6th & 7th Grade Girls Track & Field Coach at Lake Zurich South Middle School-2016
* Asst Volunteer Coach Track & Field Coach at Lake Zurich South Middle School-2017
* Head Coach Lake Zurich High School Girls Track & Field 2018-Present
* Head Coach Lake Zurich High School Girls Cross Country 2020-Present