MSUM sent one of it’s own to Istanbul, Turkey for the 2012 World Indoor Championships as the USA women’s team head coach.
The Track and Field World Indoor Championships took place March 9-11. Headlining the women’s coaching staff was Dragons’ track and field assistant coach, Rahn Sheffield.
Sheffield, this year’s women’s sprints and hurdles coach as well as head coach, made his second trip to the World Indoor Championships. His first came in 2010 when he led Team U.S.A. to three gold medals in the 1600-meter relay, 100-meter hurdles and 400-meter. This year, the U.S. women’s team took home three gold, two silver and four bronze medals in 11 events.
One thing Sheffield and the International Association of Athletics Federations both study closely is the connection between biomechanics and conditioning. Through the study of biomechanics, he initiated and developed a new hurdle technique for the 100-meter/400-meter hurdles.
“The key to my success has been in the implementation of my philosophy to incorporate speed and conditioning in alignment with science and biomechanical awareness,” Sheffield said about the correlation.
Sheffield studied biomechanics at San Diego State University, his alma mater, and has applied it to the development of collegiate and professional athletes alike. Since 1986, Sheffield has been a personal trainer and consultant to National Football League athletes as well as creating Sheffield Elite NFL Football Conditioning in 2009. High-profile athletes to take advantage of his service include 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. Sheffield also trained prestigious athletes such as Oscar De La Hoya as well as serving two years as the speed and conditioning coach for the San Diego Padres.
Sheffield’s real passion comes in the grooming of student-athletes.
“I can have more of an impact on student-athletes than professionals because with professionals, all I would do is train them and they’d be on their way,” Sheffield said. “Here, I can help the student-athletes academically and educate them about the fundamentals and science of track.”
Prior to 2009, Sheffield spent 19 years as the SDSU track and field head coach and 5 years as an associate coach. In his span at SDSU, Sheffield coached student-athletes to 12 Division-I school records, including a collegiate and American record in the 400-meter (54.64 seconds) ran by his sister, La Tayna.
While at SDSU, Sheffield was named the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2003 as well as the Western Athletic Conference Outdoor Coach of the Year in 1991. Sheffield was also named the Cal-Nevada Coaches Association Coach of the Year six times.
Para Olympian Marla Runyan, under the guidance of Sheffield, set an American record in 1996 at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., in the 800-meter Heptathlon (2:04.74), making Sheffield the first to coach a Para Olympian to an American record. Athens, Greece held the next Olympic games in which Sheffield coached, which included Brenda Taylor, a finalist in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.36 seconds. Sheffield led athletes to gold, silver and bronze medals in the 2003 World Games and the 2006 World Junior Championships.
Of all these accomplishments, Sheffield remains humbled by his appointment as the head coach of Team U.S.A. “For me to be the one picked from hundreds of coaches in Division I, II, III and NAIA schools is truly an honor because there are so many amazing, amazing coaches.”
BY COLLIN BOYLES