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Getting Started in Track & Field

Finding a club

The best place to start is with the USA Track & Field website, www.usatf.org. On the home page there is a "Get Involved!" option that allows you to enter your zip code to generate a listing of the USATF-registered clubs in your USATF Association area. The list will indicate the age groups served by each club.

It would also be wise to ask around, check local phone listings and use online search engines to identify other local clubs.

Picking the right club

Once you've narrowed your list down to clubs that are geographically feasible for you, you should visit their practices to get an idea of how the program operates, what the coaches are like, etc.

You can also check the results of regional and national meets to see which clubs have had the most success. Through the USATF and AAU (Amateur Athletic Union, www.aauathletics.org) websites you can find meet results to see which local teams have athletes finishing in the top places. When you navigate to the USATF Junior Olympic section, look for the link on the results page that takes you to the Association and Regional results. These results will give you a more accurate picture of how your local clubs fare than the national results.

Lastly, if you are getting an early start on finding a club, try to go to a local meet or two and observe. See which clubs give you a good feeling based on performances and how you see the coaches interacting with the athletes.