For four years now, the Palmetto High School JROTC raider team has been dominant, winning each of the three state titles hosted over the time period. As a member of each iteration of the team, I will do my best with this article to give an inside look at the methods and culture that created such a successful team.
The key to success is in raiders is how well a team can run. Three of the five events that teams compete in are running related. To work on this Palmetto would run every day, alternating between shorter speed workouts and long runs of 4 miles or more(at minimum). On break days, the team would do strength exercises to prepare for the other two events.
Along with all of the running, the team would also work closely with Palmetto’s cross country team for extra practice. At times, each team’s varsity roster would be composed of members from the other. It’s for these reasons that Palmetto had the fastest raider team in the state(by far) for multiple years in a row.
Of course, it’s challenging to win with running prowess alone, so each year the team would make sure to have at least two bigger, stronger guys who could act as the foundation of the team in the strength events.
When it comes to a winning culture, Palmetto’s coach, Chief Edmond, has much to say. He says the biggest factor is “having the right team captain…every member gravitates around the leader of the team.”
While he acknowledges that having a good leader isn’t enough to win a championship on its own, he stresses that “[being] around a leader who is a winner and gives 100% [motivates] the entire team to do their best to win.” Essentially, having someone to drive everyone else to put in the extra work and give the extra effort makes everyone better.