Great conversations can teach us ALL something.
Last week, a string was started in the discussion board that got a lot of people talking (For Age-Group Coaches) Those who weighed in with what they thought was right or wrong put a lot of thought into their replies.
I encourage everyone who either coaches kids, or has kids that swim, to read through the discussion, and even to add your two cents. What everyone should keep in mind is that we ALL bring our own background, circumstances, and experiences to the discussion. We all care about kids, and we all try our best to do what’s right. If we keep the kids’ goals ahead of our own — even just MOST of the time — we will help create a positive environment and a good experience for them. If we switch that around… well… that’s a TOTALLY different discussion.
Through the week, I also received emails about this discussion, and was VERY impressed with one particular solution. Agree or disagree with this coach’s methods, she’s developed a successful system to inspire, motivate, and keep her kids involved. I’m including parts of her emails, and some images of her system. I was even MORE pleased when I discovered that Tammi coaches with the Cincinnati Marlins. MAN that club has an incredible history. 🙂 Enjoy her email, and the images of her personal website, which is set up JUST for her swimmers (which is why I’m not providing the actual link).
I was reading an article about the coach who had a conflict with a swimmer’s parent about not getting a poster as a prize. The swimmer did not complete the requirements for a prize and the parent was upset or something. Well this topic has had a lot of responses and is always a "hot" topic. I am very big on making sure my swimmers feel good about themselves and enjoy swimming, even if they are not having success at the time! For example, after a "bad race" if my kid can come to me and point out where they went wrong in the race, I’ll say something like, "Well at least you knew your mistakes" or, "Now you know what to fix." Even though they had a bad race, I always try to end on a positive. Anyway, I coach a wide variety of swimmers — 8 and unders to a T16 10-year old. I needed a system that allowed my swimmers to work for something. Yes, it’s a little material — but let’s face it –it’s almost 2006! I created a points system. So far it has been working great and allows everyone, all levels, a chance. I keep everything on a web page at no cost to me and the kids love it. It is a fair system, my T16 swimmer is in last place for points! It is all based of hard work and dedication. Well here is … my Points Games page, hope you like it!
I do want people to understand that it is a goal-oriented program. Like I said, my T16 10-year old (about to turn 11 in Jan) is in last place for points. It shows that the fast don’t always win. The groups this is for are Mini Marlins (8 and U), Bronze (9-10), and Silver (11-12, AA or above 9-10). I coach all 3 groups at Marlins South — total of about 27 kids. This is my 11th year coaching USA and I’ve found this system works for me and my swimmers.
I have an exceptionally well behaved group of swimmers so the normal grind and "yelling" doesn’t work with most of them. I’m the "mom" coach with tough love! I knew this program worked when the 11-year-old boy whom I could not motivate told me very sternly that I misspelled his name on the points game site. I was floored, the game hadn’t even started yet, only the rules and points scale were posted. He checks his points regularly and has been working harder at practice.