RUNNING TRACK ETIQUETTE
A lot of coaches and players do not have any experience with running track etiquette so it needs to be taught. Using a track is very beneficial to soccer coaches for speed and endurance training. Most coaches do not have dedicated tracks available for their use. Accordingly, these coaches need to use public tracks. This running track etiquette instruction is especially useful because of the high potential for coming in contact with casual users.
- Note that many people have no clue about running track etiquette. The worst offenders are generally the casual public who walk on the inside lanes, but then there are those with any type of wheeled vehicles, like bikes, strollers, scooters and skate boards. (None of these should ever be on a track.)
- Never confront people who behave poorly on the track. If it’s really worrisome, you need to go to the coach or to a school or parks official. (Walk away if you have to or even leave the area.)
- Be careful and courteous when crossing the track from an entrance or to-and-from the infield. (People on the track have the “right-of-way.” Look both ways before crossing. Wait for people to pass, leaving a good break. Do not try to sprint across between people.)
- If the track is associated with a school, school teams like track and cross country have priority.
- Be respectful of others and do not create dangers.
- No clothing, bags, keys, or water bottles are to be placed on the track itself.
- No soccer balls. (No balls of any kind.)
- Wear running shoes only.
- Go counter-clockwise only.
- No bunching.
- No running backward.
- Pay attention; no horseplay.
- Runners to the inside.
- Joggers to the middle.
- Walkers, warm downs, and rehab to the outside.
- Overtakers must always be the ones to move, allowing sufficient room to avoid collisions if someone should do something unexpected, just like in skiing.
- Pass on the right.
- Notify before passing. (“On your right.”)
- Be courteous when you are passed.
- You have to see where you’re going.
- Never assume that the track is clear. (Overhanging tree limbs can drop sticks or fruit.)
- Look for obstacles. (From coins to cones, and twigs to branches.)
- Clear obstacles for the benefit of everyone, when completely free to do so. Do this before and after using the track.
- Don’t just stop or stand arbitrarily in the middle of the track.
- Do not play music that interferes with others.
- You must be able to hear! If you feel that you just have to wear earbuds while on the track, keep the music really low or only wear one.
- Look for any posted signs for additional rules. This may include operating hours, such as “closed from dusk to dawn.”
Many thanks to the readers of CoachingAmericanSoccer.com who contributed to this article.
© Copyright, John C. Harves