Caledonia has the need for speed

Dale Baskett
Dale Baskett

Craig Moorhead

The Caledonia Argus

Dale Baskett stood in a chill March wind, watching the Caledonia/Spring Grove track team warm up. “This is my 39th year,” he said.  “I was the first speed coach in America…”

“I’ve worked with NFL players, personally training over 120. Four are now in the hall of fame. I’ve been to universities all over. I’ve been to Texas, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Michigan, the University of Washington, Washington State, UTEP…

A Seattle native, Baskettt worked in that town prior to moving to San Diego. Pro sports francises were interested in what he had to teach.

“I was on staff with Chuck Knox of the Seattle Sea hawks as a speed coach (1986),” he recalled. “I worked with the Seattle Mariners baseball team, the Seattle Sounders (a professional soccer team).

Baskett has written countless columns for “The Speed Report” magazine since 2006. He travels all over the United States, hosting clinics on his specialty.

“That’s where I met Carl (Fruechte – of Caledonia),” the speed guru added. “He called, having read some of the magazine articles. This was about eight, nine years ago. We put the program in, and every year he kept bringing me out.

“He and I hit it off good. I really respect and love Carl. That’s how I ended up here. I finally decided I was going to move to Caledonia. I’m 71 years old, and it’s time to slow down a bit… It’s too stressful out there. Here, it’s quiet, and it’s inexpensive to live. It’s laid back, and I needed a change.

“I called him after our 2007 state (football) championship….” coach Fruechte recalled. “He said to me, ‘Coach, you guys must be really bad, since you are calling me during Christmastime.’ I told him we had just won a state title, and I really liked the speed aspect of football.

The Caledonia Booster Club club flew Baskett in the following April, and the rest is history.

“He has helped us get faster. We believe in the system,” Fruechte said.  Carl’s son Isaac (a Minnesota Viking) has trained with Baskett for years during the off-season.

“He (Isaac) is like my son,” the speed coach chuckled. “I’ve known him since he was a kid.

“I’m still seven days a week busy out here, even though I came here for the quiet,” he grinned. “It’s a different stress level, though. I can pick and choose.  Out there, I got so booked out that I was on a real treadmill.

When he finally relocated, Baskett said he stayed with Fruechte for about six months, until he found a permanent address. Now he’s helping out at places like Winona State, Pine Island, and Dover-Eyota.

“I’m booked all over Minnesota right now,” Baskett said, “plus several schools in Wisconsin.”

Argus: So how do you develop speed?

“It’s mechanical. That’s the name of the game. This is scientific. It’s about bio-mechanics… everything we do. You can do all kinds of holistic training, but you need to run fast, eventually. If you’re real good in the weight room and you’re strong, that’s also fine.  But you have to run.

“When you start turning wheels over and running fast a lot of dynamics are taking place continuously, at very high rates of turnover and speed. You’ve got to be able to control it with mechanical function. So everything we do is predicated on the mechanical function of running.

“The name of the game is, you’ve got to know how to run. Then when you run well, you’re able to apply more power and more force every step. Therefore, you’re going to run faster.