Visionary the Team

The Vision in Visionary
Visionary Athletics is a team that is dedicated to the student-athlete members. Here, we are aiming to maximize the potential of each athlete and that requires commitment from the student-athlete and parents. Visionary training and Visionary as a team member are different. Visionary training is for ages 7 - 14 (before high school) and Visionary team members are mainly in the middle and high school age range. Visionary training athletes many times represent another team. It is a paid service for non team members. Visionary team members on the other hand, are not able to just “train” here, then represent another team, even if it’s their school’s team. If any member gets coached here, they are also signing up to represent this team and this team only for that year (a year is August to August). This team is not only a team, but it is a program that is focused on the true development of the student-athlete.
Every team member must sign a contract that agrees to this standard. This contract is for 1 year at a time, August to August. If any athlete does not start at the beginning of the year in August, but joins in the winter or spring, the contract is valid until the upcoming August.
Visionary Athletics is focused on the overall development of each athlete. We know that in true development, more opportunities will be created for the athlete and the team. This will provide wonderful experiences in their youth, and also help provide opportunities for a successful future. Visionary is accepting youth athletes on a case by case basis. Opportunities for high school is our focus, which still does include youth athletes of all ages. One of our biggest goals is to  help develop our student - athletes to be well rounded individuals, and competitive athletes by the time they enter high school.  Middle school athletes are welcome, only if parents and athletes are willing to commit to be a team member through their 9th grade year of high school. For example, if a student-athlete is in the 8th grade, instead of committing only for that year, they would be committing for 8th through 9th grade. The exception to this rule is if an athlete chooses to go to a school and track and field program, that is recommended by Visionary. There are only a few programs on this list.
Elementary school athletes are accepted as well, again on a case by case basis. Of course I enjoy working with  athletes of all ages including elementary school level. The reality is, the younger the athlete, the more likely they are to be just exploring track and field as opposed to being ready to commit to the sport. I support the exploration, and I also want to make it clear that Visionary is for the athlete that sees track and field in their future. Elementary school may be too young to commit in the same way as middle and high schoolers. Instead, our elementary school athletes will be asked to give their best effort everyday, and will learn what that means.
One of the biggest upsides to being a team member of Visionary Athletics is that members can attend different schools. We value education here and we also want to truly operate with an understanding that every student has different needs. Visionary is open to accepting team members who have diverse needs in regards to education. The truth is, every student should have the space to attend a school that may support their unique intellectual gifts and needs, and their skill and talent in track and field should not have to suffer or digress. Visionary team members have diverse members; some have attended home school, dual enrollment homeschool, private school, public school, science and technology focused public school, school of the arts, public schools with a focus in special needs  and charter schools. These team members are and were able to get their needs met academically and athletically. EVERY  alumni of Visionary Athletics thus far has earned an academic and/or athletic scholarship to college. Every team member that has desired to continue their athletic ventures in college has earned an athletic scholarship to compete on the next level thus far. 
Visionary welcomes team members who have similar values for the long term success of the athletes. We are preparing each athlete for their teen and young adult years. Team members are here because they know and see the value of what Visionary has to offer, as a true  program, despite taking a non-traditional approach in building as a club team and not as a school team.
These rules are in place to keep the integrity of the goals of the program and the team. Again, exceptions may be evaluated on a case by case basis.
How Do We Get to this Vision? 
Visionary is not  your ordinary track and field team. Here we prioritize every athlete maximizing their potential. In order to do that, we offer year round training for our team to truly keep our athletes in a program that will develop them. This also includes training year round in all conditions including weather conditions. Team members and parents are to understand that true development and progress is only expected, when training is consistent. Therefore, team members and parents are also committed to the consistency of training. 
Winning is nice, gold medals are great, but the true vision of our athletes is for them to grow and for them to focus on their growth. If they do that, they understand that they are winning.
The Glitter and the Gold
It will not  be everyone’s goal to compete on a professional level. It won’t be everyone’s goal to compete in college. However, it is important to train the athletes holistically, and also put them in a position for them to adopt the lifestyle that is required to not only be the best athlete that they can be, but the best student that they can be, and to be someone who has the tools to do well in life.
If Visionary were to have a prototype, our prototype is modeling similarly to Athing Mu’s process on a youth level. Athing Mu became the Olympic champion in the 800 meters at 19 years old and years prior to that accomplishment, we could see that that goal was in her sights. What we know is that she started with a track team and coach and stayed with that same coach all throughout her years of competing. That includes her time as a highschooler. As a high school aged athlete, she continued to compete in club track and field meets and eventually senior level meets. I believe she was able to develop so well, because she stayed with her coaches, who had a program for her to develop into one of the best youth track and field athletes ranging from the 200 meters all the way up to the 1500 meters. Visionary is creating a space for youth athletes to train and compete for a team that has developed a program unique to them, without the interference of a high school team. Similarly, we compete in mainly club level meets. Some of those meets are AAU Qualifiers, Invitationals and National Championships, USATF Qualifiers, Invitationals and National Championships, and even the shoe brand National meets such as Eastbay, Adidas, Nike, and New Balance Nationals for cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field. 
The rule of athletes not competing with their high school team is strict, to make sure that the athletes stay in the program. No other outside training or coaching is accepted here.
We recognize that our team model is unique, but we also know that this is the way to get the best from our athletes. When you do good work, you are rewarded more opportunities. This year, the whole team traveled to Virginia Beach and Puerto Rico. Also, members of our team earned a trip to race at Central Park in New York, to the Armory in New York, and even earned their way all the way to Des Moines, Iowa.
Some may say that it is harder for athletes to earn scholarship opportunities because they are choosing to not run with their school team. The truth is, in track and field, the time is the time is the time, and the mark is the mark is the mark. Our schedule is set to go to verified FAT meets where the marks are true, and we include some pretty high profile meets on our schedule for our athletes to be seen by recruiters. Competing in these meets gives them a few ways to be seen by recruiters. They are physically seen, and the mark that they post after they compete is verified.
The Impact of the Visionary Program
Visionary is still very young, but one of our bright lights Tanise Thornton - Fillyaw graduated from the Visionary program in 2022. She went on to continue her academic and athletic career at Goucher College in Towson, MD, where she was recruited. Right away she was successful as a freshman, and became the cross country team captain and number 1 runner, she made it to both NCAAs for the 800 both indoor and outdoor track (2:13 and 2:12), she broke multiple school records countless times, and she made it to the USATF Under 20 Championships in Eugene, Oregon for the 800 meters and the 1500 meters. 
Tanise did 3 consistent years of training with Visionary. In these 3 years, she did not have any interruptions of training from other teams, she stayed in the program so she could truly develop. Before she committed to team Visionary, she started with a PR of 2:51 for 800. After 4 years of true aerobic focused training, she ran 2:12. What is the significance of 3 years of training? The Kenyans and Ethiopians are historically the best middle distance runners in the world. They take 3 years to aerobically develop their middle and long distance runners. For us, what that means is that after doing 3 years of consistent Visionary training, we can expect a big drop in time from the athletes. This is why we can see Tanise drop major time in all of her events. This is why I believe Athing Mu has become so
dominant as a runner, because her coaches took a minimum of 3 years to develop her aerobically. 
Prioritizing aerobic training doesn’t mean that we don’t focus on sprinting. View this chart below:
100 meters
200 meters
400 meters
800 meters
1500 meters
5,000 meters
10,000 meters
Track & Field Coaching Essentials - USATF
The aerobic system takes much longer to develop and therefore, the Visionary program will not neglect what each athlete needs aerobically in order to perform well. Anaerobic training of course is important as well, and is included. I am just making a point to emphasize where much of the speed development comes from in Visionary athletes. The aerobic and anaerobic energy systems will not be neglected, and both systems are truly developed to physically help our athletes reach their maximal potential. 
Training with these needs in mind really gives our athletes the tools to succeed on the youth level, and also allows for them to have LONG TERM success as Visionary alumni.