Coaching isn't just blowing a whistle and demanding respect, you have to know your athletes in order to potentially bring out their best performance. You should be able to suggest the best sports equipment for their training. Some people are short distant runners because they have a quick burst of speed that helps them get a head of the other runners. Some athletes can endure longer races and they excel when given a few hundred yards to get their speed up to a competitive level.
Track and field encompasses all types of athletic ability. Most people are good at one or two events so it's best to focus on their strengths and help to minimize their weaknesses. If you have somebody who is fast off the start then you should place them in shorter dash runs. You can find out who is fastest by having drills or competitions. Line all your runners on a white line for a twenty-five yard dash, those that finish in the top three are your best short distance runners.
For those that can endure a longer race such as a 220 yard run should be raced against those whom did not finish in the top three for a longer run. Everybody has their favorite race and when you put the right people in the correct position its easier to find their strongest points. Runners who can run longer races can even extend to the 440 yard run or even cross country running meets.
Each coach should know his team, sometimes you will have to sit and listen while they explain home life or school in general. You are their coach, friend and counselor even though you might not feel qualified to wear all those hats. A coach is also a focal point for people to gravitate towards because they are leaders and motivators as well as encouragement before and after a race.
Find out if your athletes are morning or afternoon runners, knowing their best workout habits will also help when its time to push them beyond what they think they are capable of. If you try to design a routine that is opposite of their normal balanced routine you'll add more pressure to impress or satisfy the coach and that could lead to injury. It's also good to know proper nutrition, coaches are leaders by example so be there early and stay late. Those who need a leader will look for one; those who want to be leads will respect your authority.
Choose track and field equipment that suits the need of the athletes. If an athlete does get hurt you should let them know that getting them well is your first priority. Don't push them past their limits if they complain of unusual pain outside the normal cramps and sore muscles. It's also best to keep in contact with parents and sponsors so they know their student athlete is in good hands while they are training. A coach should communicate with respect to parent's wishes for their student's future. Parents have the last say over their student's extra curricular activities.