It is a common thread of discussion among swimmers and parents concerning practices: which ones are really important and how many do I really need to attend?
Not surprisingly coaches do not ask these questions. They already know the answer: all of them!
Swim coaches get frustrated when athletes miss workouts. We have a plan for what we accomplish every day…or at least what we aim to accomplish. So why, we ask ourselves, would any swimmer miss a training session?
Let’s set aside the usual and very real reasons – illness, family emergency, unexpected school work and or tutoring.
If you play on the football team, soccer team or lacrosse team and miss every Thursday because you are getting tired from training you will not play in the game on Saturday. Why, because you have missed some important practice time that is relevant to the game itself.
When a swimmer misses a day here and there are they really prepared to race on the weekend? Well, yes and no. Yes - because they know how to swim and race and have entered the meet. No - because they have missed valuable practice time that affects their ability to race up to their current potential.
We are talking here about the senior swimmer or senior want-to-be. The younger age groupers have other sport activities and school interests (the school play) which are very valid things in which to participate.
At some point however, if the youngster really wants to see what she can do with the sport she needs to commit to it…and that means to going to every practice, not just the ones she wants to or can fit in due to her social schedule.
Every year we have seniors who miss out on a college opportunity due to being a second slower in their 100 free than what the college needs. Is this the end of the world? Of course not! Having said that, every time a swimmer misses a training session there is a cost to that absence.
Not terribly dissimilar to the fact that every day you don’t show up to work there is a cost. Or to put it into more precise terms, if a student missed a day once a week of math class then he doesn’t get to complain too loudly about his grade suffering…nor does his parent(s).
If you are older and swimming is important to you – get to the pool. If you are younger and swimming intrigues you – get to the pool. As one of our soon to be famous swimmers said a year or so ago, “You don’t get faster with your head on the pillow.” We couldn’t say it any better, so we won’t. See you at the pool soon – like today!