Statement of Purpose
The Sonics Youth Track Club is an AAU-affiliated track and field organization serving Houston area youth between the ages of 6 and 18. The mission of the program is to develop young athletes’ physical and mental abilities while also fostering self-esteem and pride. The Sonics Youth Track program provides opportunities for youth to define and reach tangible goals, instills respect for authority, and develops values that translate into responsible citizens for our community. Although instilling the desire to win is a central program objective, the organization more importantly strives to teach teamwork and good sportsmanship within a closely supervised athletic program. Through a dedicated team of parents and volunteers, the organization takes a vested interest in each child’s growth and maturity. The ultimate goal is to have each child mature into a strong confident individual who has internalized the value that the “will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.” Our focus is, therefore, the development of the entire child, not merely his/her athletic abilities.
The Sonics Youth Track Club’s daily operations are organized around a very structured youth development philosophy. It is the belief of the organization that a closely supervised youth development program, if implemented properly, can instill values and beliefs that will be vitally important as these young individuals approach adulthood. Accordingly, the program seeks to enroll youth at a very early age with the intent of teaching them lifelong values and behaviors.
Although accepting youth of any age, the program makes concerted efforts to solicit the participation of athletes under the age of 10. This has been the philosophy of the program since its inception. As a result, many of our youth that enrolled at this early age have now matured into responsible young adults who not only know the meaning of competitiveness, but also have a wholesome respect for teamwork and preparation. Additionally, these young adults have developed a strong sense of community as evidenced by their willingness to “give back” each year during the Annual Sonics Relays. To instill these values and beliefs, the organization spends a great deal of time teaching the young athlete the proper way to compete. This not only includes the proper techniques for running and competing in the field events, but also how to respect their teammates, how to respect other competitors, and most importantly how to respect themselves.
An integral part of our youth development philosophy is a mentoring relationship between our older youth and our younger athletes. The older youth are expected, as members of the team, to exhibit proper behavior for the younger athletes. They are also expected to help the younger athletes prepare for events and to support them when they compete, whether they win or lose. In this sense, our older athletes are taught that they are role models for our younger athletes and they must act accordingly; while our younger athletes are taught that the older youth are individuals that they should emulate. This has resulted in a very close-knit family type atmosphere among our athletes that exhibits itself as a genuine caring attitude among all. Additionally, it has resulted in a very respectful group of young athletes that constantly receive compliments on their behavior and their competitive spirit.
The Sonics run a competitive track and field program, however we do not take a “win-at-all-cost” approach. Athletes who compete with the Sonics throughout the season will be the same athletes who compete with us throughout the qualifying and championship rounds, win or lose. As a standing club policy, Sonics athletes will not be replaced in the qualifying and championship rounds by superstar recruits simply for the sake of winning. This is all part of the commitment we have to the kids who have entrusted our coaching staff to help them realize their full potential as track athletes as well as to help them develop a strong positive self-esteem.
The Sonics Youth Track Club began operation in the spring of 1993 with an organizational membership of approximately 25 youth. The track program was located at a single location on the south side of Houston and competed in both USA Track and Field and AAU sanctioned meets. Since that time, the program has shown consistent signs of growth and maturity. In the spring of 2010 the Sonics Track Club had an organizational membership of approximately 100 athletes and practice sites located on the north and south sides of Houston.
Not only has the program exhibited signs of membership growth, the Sonics Track Club has also increased the competitive level of its athletes. In the first year of competition, the Sonics program qualified only six athletes for the national championship meet and failed to produce a single medal in any event. Since that time, the club has won at least 25 national titles and well over 200 medals at the national championship meet alone.