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A Brief Interview With Armando Siqueiros, Jordan Hasay’s High School Coach

Scott Simmons
Super Distance Summit Coordinator
November 08, 2009

Armando Siquerios will join successful coaches Scott Raczko, Brad Hudson, Nike legend Jeff Johnson, Zap Fitness’ Pete Rea and others at the Super Distance Summit in January 2010. Mando talks about the summit and his approach to coaching in high school.

Q: Armando, you have made it clear that in coaching Jordan Hasay to all of her high school accomplishments that your larger concern was with her ultimate future. To what do you attribute this way of thinking?

I have had the opportunity to see and know many success stories. I have also had the opportunity to see those who perhaps didn't live up to expectations. Why? Now I have to be very careful how I say this, but why is it our young female super stars don't pan out? I know physiologically these young high school kids are still growing. The motor just isn't developed. Their psyche can be very fragile. Why should I strive to get all I can from this young person?

I could see with Jordan how naive she was to the sport. Jordan had had success at a very young age. The internet and youth athletics had built her into a super star before she had even raced in high school. When she came to high school she was not a ball of putty waiting for me to mold her into a success. She had very definite ideas as to how things worked. I don't believe anyone was really critiquing her.

I really felt an obligation to give her the opportunity to develop a good foundation of this sport (like any other young athlete). By saying this, "look towards the future," I was able to diffuse some of the expectations. I was able to really work on the basics. Anybody who watched her race as an age-graded athlete or freshman versus her junior and senior year can see what a different athlete she was. I could have just stayed with the "blast from the gun, catch me if you can" style throughout high school and she might have even had more high school success. But we know, that kind of style won't work at the next level. I wanted her to understand the sport. I wanted to do what I could to help her have success at the next level. I didn't believe that necessarily meant running her mile repeats faster, running higher mileage or setting more records.

Q: Mando, you come from a medical background, which is not the traditional path a coach would take. In what ways do you feel this has had an affect on your approach to coaching?

Well, before I was a physician, I was a passionate runner. I was actually disappointed I didn't learn more about physiology in medical school. However, what I have learned since medical school regarding people is "priceless" (as they say). Because of the nature of my work, I see people with their guard down. I have probably seen more extremes of human emotion in a greater variety of situations compared to your average Joe.

I bring these experiences with me. I believe this has helped me:

- better understand the human psyche.

- keep things in perspective and translate that to my athletes.

- be able to communicate.

- to work past difficult situations.

- to deal with concerned parents.

- look at the whole individual.

Q: The Super Summit replaces the National Distance Running Summit. Why did you accept the offer to speak there in January and why are you willing to share?

I accepted the opportunity to speak because I believe there are people out there curious as to who Jordan Hasay is, what are her chances for senior level success, and how did she get to where she is. I can offer some insight into those questions. I also feel by sharing this information perhaps the next coach can do an even better job than I did with their athletes. Plus, I'll get the chance to learn more from all the participants!

Q: You will be joined by a pretty accomplished list of coaches in Charlotte including legend Jeff Johnson, Scott Raczko, Brad Hudson, York High School’s Charlie Kern and Zap Fitness’ Pete Rea. Has your training philosophies benefited from any of their ideas or insights?

Yes! What a crew! Wow, I know I wonder should I even be up there with them? I am a neophyte coach when it comes to these guys. I have to say I have read things many of them have written (including yourself). And yes every bit of information I get goes into my program/style in some form or another. However, I have been passionately involved in this sport for over 35 years. I have had the good fortune to have been able to see some great coaches and athletes up close over these years. As a youngster, I was heavily influenced by the stars and recent stars of the day. I read and reread about all of them and their coaches...




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