PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Miami Southridge
Year after year, Miami Southridge proves to have one of the most dominant women's track teams in Florida. Hey . . . It’s all in the practice.
By Matt Shepard & Len Walencikowski
Published: Summer 1999
The 1998 Lady Spartan Track Team was a perfect 27-0, winning the Florida 6-A Girls Track State Championship. In the ‘90s, the Spartans won the title twice, finished 2nd six times and 3rd once. How does a track team win so much? Len Walencikowski, Miami Southridge's Strength & Conditioning Coordinator, simply puts it, “Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” This “perfect practice”, under the guidance of Coach Sam Burley, has produced 356 victories and only 6 losses over the past 19 years.
About this amazing program, Coach Walencikowski proclaims, "How does a program win 98% of the time? Coach Burley is a believer in the Bigger Faster Stronger Total Program; a believer that the mind, body and spirit must be balanced and feels that “You don't demand respect, you earn it'.” Coach Burley believes that in order to become champions, you have to train year round and that during the competitive season you must train 2x's a week in the strengthroom. Coach Burley states, “We never give up lifting for running; we do both, if it is called for.” To further explain the program, Coach Walencikowski continues, “The Lady Spartans do the Dot Drill, 1-2-3-4 Flexibility Program, the 6 Core Lifts, SLDL (Straight Leg Deadlifts), GHD (Glute-Ham Developer), Lunges, other Auxiliary Lifts, Plyo Boxes, Medi-Ball work, Sprint Chute and Sled work, and Video work. These are only the physical challenges our team overcomes; other teams may also do them and may even do them better, but the way Coach Burley's girls are able to take the physical part (Body) and balance it with the Mind (the focus to keep training correctly) and the Spirit (the drive to keep going) is what sets these student athletes aside from others."
Before the District meet, Coach Burley stated the following to his team, “We must concentrate on what we have to do in order to make this a winning season all the way to State. After Districts, we will be one step closer to reaching our goal. A goal is a dream with a finish line. We have a dream to win State and the finish line is just a few yards of concentration, feet of sweat, inches of dedication and a few centimeters of ability away.” From day one, Coach Burley instilled in his student athletes the ideals of dedication, focus, and hard work. His athletes then took these ideals to heart and have had perfectly dedicated, perfectly focused and perfectly intense practices ever since, eventually winning them the well earned title of State Champions.