Sunday, July 1, 2012

Is It Worth It?

You are a coach, or maybe a swimmer; perhaps you are a parent. You – or your swimmer - have just made the qualifying time – the cut - for an important meet.

BUT…the meet is a long way from home. Maybe it is a rather expensive plane ticket away. Plus the hotel cost will be higher than if you had made your cut earlier. And then we have to figure out a way for the coach to make the trip as well…right? The coach is an integral part of this process.

For the swimmer it is a chance to compete at a higher level, with your new group of peers. For the coach it is a clinic, an opportunity to grow professionally and personally.

If the meet is the US Olympic Trials it is a no brainer – you and the coach go; period.

Somehow, some way the money is found and you both are at the meet. Your hotel might be 20 or 30 minutes from the pool…no big deal – you are in THE MEET!

Ken just returned from Trials with two of our girls who each had a single event. Neither of them will forget the experience. It has changed their lives – forever. If you stop and think about it, what has been the highlight of your athletic life so far? If you are an athlete or a coach chances are it was some prestigious meet or event. Certainly there are a multitude of races and meets you will remember for all the various reasons. But if you have ever been to the Olympics, or the Trials, or Nationals, or Junior Nationals, or Sectionals – well you get the drift here.

Most important thing in your life – perhaps, but probably not…yet still a remarkable experience and at the time, perhaps the defining moment in your development.

If the meet is not the US Olympic Trials you must decide if the trip is worth it, or not. You must decide what the goals of your swimming or coaching are. If the goals are to move up when opportunity presents itself then you must be prepared to act on the opportunity.

Here in Northern California we have target meets. In December it is either the Husky Invite or Sectionals. We attend one or the other. Our faster swimmers go to either the Junior or US Open meet. Even if there is only one swimmer we go. Why? We are a competitive swim program with goals to race at the top…simple.

In March it is Clovis or Orlando. We go with whoever qualifies. If we need two coaches we take them. It is how our program looks at competitive swimming.

This summer it is Trials or Sectionals or Clovis or Indianapolis.

The point of this discussion is simply that you need to apply the same standard to all the big meets as you would to the Olympic Trials…make the cut and you go…and take the coach with you since she or he has a vested interest in your performance and their own professional development.

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