It’s another September, and it’s time to ask yourself, what will be different this year?
The start of every season needs to include dreams, goals, and thoughts about the END of the season. If you’re not thinking about what you want to have happen in six months, then it’s time to start.
All athletes, coaches, and parents need to start TODAY, knowing that the actions that are taken each day, from today forward, will impact how the swimmer performs at the end of the season. These actions need to be purposeful and intense. From food, study, sleeping habits, social interaction, punctuality, integrity of practice habits, work ethic during practice, and techinque improvements.
While these are not all that go into building a successful season, that list alone should help any swimmer advance further than a typical season would. The habits you set up today will be the habits you carry forward for the season.
What will you learn to do better this season? Where can you make the biggest improvement over last season? If you do not make any decisions toward this, what can you expect to be different from last season?
I’ve heard it all before… "I’m going to work harder this year!" "I’m going to make all the practices." "I’m going to do 8 dolphin kicks off EVERY wall!" And my all time favorite (true story) – "Glenn… I’m so committed to this season, I quit smoking yesterday!"
While each of these are initiated with good intentions, long-term improvement comes in small, steady, and consistent steps…NOT by a quick, emotional statement that may or may not be able to be accomplished.
How about starting with the simple things you can control. Here are a few ideas.
– Show up on time to all practices.
– Get in the water BEFORE everyone else.
– Listen to the coach’s instructions on the sets so you know what you’re supposed to be working on.
– Start each set on time, and pay attention to the clock.
– STREAMLINE — Yeah… that’s it for that one. My wish is that all swimmers really understood this one.
– Finish every time at the wall.
– When you’re asked to kick… kick… don’t pull.
– Actually THINK about what your head does while you swim. Your head position is your foundation. Looking all around isnt’ helping.
– STREAMLINE — Just in case anyone missed that one.
– Add one dolphin kick more than you did off each wall last year. One more would be great (unless you’re already hitting the 15-meter mark off every wall.
We all know this list can go on, and on, and on. Coaches will all have their own list of favorites, but the goal here would be to make sure SWIMMERS have a list.
Year after year, we witness swimmers returning to the pool to embark on "the next season." We HAVE to make sure they understand that they need to take complete ownership of their own career. While we as coaches do all we can to create training systems that allow these athletes to improve, that improvement is limited if the coach cares more than the athlete does. Coaches will have thousands of athletes pass their eyes over the course of a career, but the swimmer has only one career. He or she has to understand that listening, and performing the assigned laps, are simply NOT ENOUGH.
Each practice is an opportunity. Coaches have to be passionate in the message of swimmer involvement, of swimmer ownership, and swimmer understanding of why the simplest of techniques is the most important.
The Pyramids weren’t build from the top down… EVERYTHING starts with a solid foundation.