If you can walk, you have to run track. That’s what growing up in Jamaica was like for Yanique Booth, assistant track and field and cross country coach.
“From a very young age, they’ve instilled in us that we can be anything we want to be. I remember thinking to myself, what else would I want to do except teach other people the things that I’ve learned so they can be better than I am,” said Booth.
Booth, a Florida Atlantic University graduate specializes in coaching sprints, hurdles and relays and also plays a major role in recruiting. Booth joined the NSU team during August of 2011after as a coach at St. Andrews High School in Boca Raton for two seasons, where she worked with high school track athletes on flexibility and strength and conditioning.
“I was a former collegiate hurdler and I also ran track and field after completing college. I enjoyed the sport so much. I was a sprint hurdler and I ran the 400 meters as well,” said Booth.
Booth had remarkable achievements at her alma mater FAU. She set the conference record in the 55-meter hurdles and left her mark on the Sunbelt Conference. She held eight school records and was a four-time NCAA regional qualifier in the hurdles and received the FAU award for most outstanding athlete.
“I’m very industrious. I believe that hard work and dedication will get you where you need to be; and that is my motto in life,” said Booth.
Booth’s experience in sprints and hurdles is not only considered professional but international as well. The former top-10 ranked hurdler competed in several locations including Asia, the Caribbean and North America. While making her debut on the professional scene, Booth was under the guidance of several former Olympians and world-known Usain Bolt coaching staff. During that time, she earned recognition in the IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation) world-ranking for the hurdles. She was also a finalist in the 2009 World Championship Trials. She later moved on to become a National Representative at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India and the CAC (Central American Championships) games in Puerto Rico.
At NSU, Booth helped guide the track and field program to its first ever top-10 ranking on the NCAA Division II national list and a third-place finish for both the men’s and women’s teams at the Peach Belt Conference Championship.
Being an outdoor person made Booth perfect for coaching along with her passion to share her experience with growing athletes and continue the tradition of successful and competitive sprinting.
“I was lucky as an athlete; I had the opportunity to work with great people and great mentors. I felt that coaching would be a perfect career for me because I had a lot to give. I thought that it would only make sense to go into this career and teach what I learned.
Underneath her toughness as a coach, Booth is a caring person. Her mind and door are always open to accommodate to her athletes’ needs.
“That’s the biggest thing you can have as a coach, them knowing that I care about them as people and as athletes,” said Booth.
Track and Field provides a window of learning and exploration that fulfills Booth’s love for the sport. When Booth isn’t on the Track she just likes to relax or travel to different places.
“I just like a good bottle of coconut water and I love to learn about different cultures,” said Booth.
When it comes to attitude, Booth believes that having a positive frame of mind is critical to the sport. This applies to both the athletes and the coach.
“I think that the ‘I can, I will, I must’ frame of mind is essential especially for the athletes because they have a rigorous schedule and it just won’t work out if they don’t have the positive attitude it takes to attack things the right way,” said Booth.
Booth attests that coaches are not meant to limit their athletes’ capacities but rather to expand them as their capacities are unlimited. It’s important that coach also serves as a role model, particularly Booth since her hardworking and motivating qualities comply with that.
“I’m industrious, hardworking and motivating. I also like to give them the opportunity to be themselves and be free spirited, not as if they were confined to a box of limited capacities because their capacities are unlimited,” said Booth.
Motivating athletes is one of the toughest jobs coaches need to accomplish and maintain throughout their careers. Speeches are Booth’s way to go about motivation.
“I am a woman with very few words, I kind of do by my actions. But I think that sometimes we kind of adopt words as coached and I tend to do a little bit of Martin Luther King speeches sometimes. I also use a lot of comparison to motivate them,” said Booth.
Booth’s share of the motivation comes naturally from her passion for the sport.
“By enjoying what you do you’ll get the only motivation you’ll need. I get those days where I get tired but when I think of the fact that other coaches and athletes are out there, I don’t want them to lose an edge,” said Booth. “That in itself motivates me and at the end of the day when success is achieved at any level, I enjoy seeing that too.”
As for future goals, Booth has a short term goal of continuing to have a successful program and a long term goal of becoming the leader of her program.
“I’m taking strides toward my goals; hopefully I can be the best coach that I can be to each of these athletes. Whatever it is I’m hoping that I’ll be able to give the right attributes to them and 10 years from now I will continue to be successful at what I do,” said Booth.
Photo Credit: COURTESY OF E.CANAL