Inspiring Coaches Finalist Chris McAfee

De Soto High School - De Soto, Kans.

Number of years coaching: 13 years in track, 12 in cross country.

At a glance: Coach Chris McAfee knows the importance of every runner on his team, something that makes his track and cross country teams so successful at De Soto High School in De Soto, Kan. Coach McAfee is willing to arrange transportation for kids who live far away from school so they can make it to and from practice and he has gone the extra mile to create a supportive team environment for student-athletes with disabilities or who have housing difficulties.


What piece of advice does Coach McAfee give to an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
It depends on the athlete and the situation. First, one of the things I do, and not sure it is always intentional, is to share something positive with them in order to instill confidence in them. It may be something I have observed in the past, it may be something they do that I value/admire/respect/appreciate, it may be just a statement about how much I believe in them. Second, it may be to help them focus on their goals for the day or season. Sometimes clearing the mind or refocusing helps a lot. Third, we may talk about how it is good to struggle so that they have that experience, so they can learn how to deal with adversity and learn how much they have inside of them. Confidence is just the accumulation of experience and we talk about building that. Fourth, I try to give them some control over what is going on if they are having an off day. I let them have the choice on what they want to do because they know their body the best- they can run as much as they want, end a workout short, try something different in the workout. I think it shows you have confidence in them. So, in short, I try to find something positive to share with them- sometimes hearing something good is all it takes!

What makes Coach McAfee Run Happy?
I don’t get to Run Happy as much as I would like. But, some of the things that motivate me: My team- I want them to know that I still run (just a lot slower now!). My daughter- I want to be a model for healthy living for her! Mental health- I use it as a time to think!

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