Keeping It Real

High school coaches lead by example, staying healthy and focused

Holly Baron

Mathematics educator, Head Women’s Cross Country Coach, Alpharetta High School

Power snacking

Before a meet, I will eat toast with almond butter and drink an iced coffee. Runners are encouraged to eat toast as well before a meet. For school lunch, runners are recommended to incorporate protein into their meals. To be a strong runner, fueling your body properly is essential.

Practice and Repeat

In-season we have morning practice Monday and Friday and afternoon practice Tuesday—Thursday. This schedule allows runners to acclimate to the heat. Typically, we run workouts twice a week and focus on mileage on other days. The cross country meets occur most Saturday mornings during the season.   

Around town

Smoothie King, off Old Milton Parkway, generously provided smoothies to runners through the summer and fall too! I enjoy grabbing breakfast from the Nest Café in downtown Alpharetta.

Digging deep

My runners are motivated during training by their desire to be faster and stronger in their next race. They are always seeking improvement, whether it is a time or mental aspect. Seeing them achieve their goals and being a part of their development as a runner and adolescent makes me stay positive. As a coach, I believe it is easy to stay positive when you see how much of an impact you are making in the kids’ lives. It is an incredible privilege to have the opportunity to coach the runners, and I am always so proud of them. 

Brandon Allen

Varsity Coach Girls Lacrosse and Varsity Girls Flag Football, Alpharetta High School

Director of the Georgia Outlaws travel lacrosse program

Power snacking

Actually, I eat very little on game days. I’m usually too focused (and nervous) to eat before a game. If I do eat it’s usually something light like fruit or trail mix.

Practice and repeat

In the high school season, we practice every day after school for two hours. A typical week also includes two games. The regular season has 18 games. We begin practicing in late January and typically finish up in mid-May.

Around town

My wife and I typically go to downtown Alpharetta (Coalition or Smokejack BBQ) or occasionally to Avalon (Marlowe’s Tavern or Antico).

Digging deep

Working with teens can be challenging. I try to tell them that coming to practices after school ought to be the best two hours of their day (it is for me). You can forget school work, drama, family or home life issues and come out, compete and work with teammates to get better. It can be an escape from the everyday pressures that teenagers face (way more pressure than I had when I was their age). We want to compete hard and do our best to win, but there are a ton of life lessons that can come with being part of a team. We gain as much from the losses as we do from the wins. Motivation is different for each kid and it’s my job to try to tap into that to maximize their potential. I stay positive by celebrating the success of our team. Success extends way beyond the scoreboard or the win/loss standings. I’ve had the great fortune to coach some incredible young ladies. As the father of a young daughter, they’re helping me to know how to navigate the world of a teenager, when my daughter gets to be that age.

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