Field Tips for the Fan
Like any sport, track and field is confusing
to watch if you never participated in meets yourself.
Below are a few suggestions for how to learn more
about the sport.
Track and Field:
1. Read about the sport.
1a. Learn the basics online:
SportSpectator Fan's Guide
to Track and Field: Our 10-minute guide to
Good wiki community write-up on the competitive
swimming. Click on the name of an event for more
1b. Consider purchasing the following books from
of Track and Field
Track & Field Coaching Manual
2. Understand the role of records.
At all levels, records are an exciting element
of the sport.
Personal Record: A personal record
(sometimes called a PR) is a great accomplishment
for any level of track and field competition.
The goal in every event is to improve over one's
best performance (fastest time, longest jump,
farthest throw, etc.) for that event. Winning
the competition is obviously important, but the
only thing an athlete can control is his own performance.
Other records: Historical times
are used as a benchmark for track and field athletes.
The highest record to hold is a world record (very,
very rare). There will also be records for just
about every level of track and field competition
(Olympic records, college records, state high
school records, jr. high school records, etc.).
3. Watch a meet with an educated fan.
Find a current or former player or coach to sit
with during a local meet (high school or college).
Have the events explained and don't be shy to
4. Appreciate good techinique.
Watch the best athletes to appreciate good technique.
Here are some suggestions for observing techinque:
and Field Calandar: The Olympics draw the
best athletes from around the world, but only
occur once every four years. Many other events
are held througout the year and are listed here.
Track Clips: Find clips of previous races.
Learn about cross country:
1. Read the following online:
SportSpector Cross Country
page: One paragraph of our track guide is
devoted to cross country.
Cross Country Guide: Good community write-up
on cross country.