Coach Engelhardt Ready for a Great Year with the ASICS Grasshoppers

The ASICS Grasshoppers Spring Track/Road Racing Club is for 5th and 6th graders who have a competitive spirit and want to see improvement in their performances through consistent training. What is most important is that attitude – young athletes of all abilities will find themselves able to train and race with the support of the entire club (almost 50 kids last fall!), including myself and the rest of the coaching staff.

Kids who have participated in Summer Grasshoppers or a school running club, enjoyed it, and thought running even more would be fun will find exactly what they are looking for on the Grasshoppers Spring team. Practices are from 6:15-7:30 p.m. and include form drills, warm-up and cool-down jogging, and shorter, faster segments at specific race paces. Total distance for each practice is at least 2 miles, and can be up to 5 miles for the most experienced athletes.

Now, Spring Grasshoppers is not like the track clubs around town. While we have two track meets on our schedule, we also have two 5K road races and finish the season with the Columbus 10K. Can you imagine seeing 50 kids on the starting line of one of the biggest road races in the state!? It’s going to be awesome.

And we hold it down on the track, too – last year we had several boys and girls run under 2:50 for 800m and under 6:00 for 1 mile. It's important to note that our club focuses on distance running – we don’t have the expertise or the facilities for sprints and field events like the many excellent track clubs in the area, so keep that in mind if your athlete is more interested in those events.

Our main goal with every season of Grasshoppers is that the kids show up to the races excited to compete and run their hardest, and this is only possible if they are having fun at every practice. Staying healthy – physically, mentally, and emotionally – is necessary to achieve this goal and is every one of our coaches' top priorities for the kids. We want the kids to challenge themselves, and for the most part, we’ve found they are excellent judges of how hard to run in practice. Of course, we will always stop a kid before he or she runs too much, and always encourage an athlete keep running if he or she gets distracted by a squirrel or something else on the trail.

Hope to see you at our first practice Tuesday, March 28th!

- Coach Ben Engelhardt