Sunday, December 30, 2012

Prepping for Success –
or Holding Athletes Accountable –
or The One Thing All of Us Have in Common

We don’t know about your team but ours is a constant work in progress. It is so dynamic that it can border on maddening at times. In many ways this very characteristic – the work in progress – is the most stimulating part of any development process.

Make no mistake about it either; club swimming is a work in progress. It is not the end game that often describes college or post-grad swimming.

We have just recently made a shift in our approach to how we treat swimmers and the “next big meet”. We like to think we are better prepared for success as a result of this shift. We believe that holding athletes (and their parents) accountable for their choices is a very important part of the maturation process. In so doing, we as coaches also hold each other similarly accountable for our leadership role.

The one constant each of our swimmers has in common is the time factor. Each person has 24 hours in a day, no more, no less. Each swimmer has a different level of ability and interest. Each has a distinct parent level of commitment and support. And as much as you can point to differences, they all have 24 hours. And they all choose to use it in some way, shape or form.
Those choices define their payback.

We recently experienced the annual event known as “studying for exams, taking exams, resting from all that brain work, holiday shopping and prepping for holiday merriment, holiday merriment, family travels, sleeping in since I have no school, seeing my friends who I never get to see, being able to be a normal person for once in my life” – have we left anything out?!

We have had double workouts ever since exams finished. We only had one on the 24th and none on the 25th. And we had nearly 20 at every workout. The other 10 came sporadically and the other 10 vanished. Some will no doubt reappear for the start of the New Year and they all will gather on the 8th since school resumes.

And they all will want to know about their big meet in March before the high school season begins. Many will be ready for March and some will be scrambling to get ready and some will be looking at getting ready for the high school season.

We are not allowing those who have cuts and or money to “buy” their way into a big March meet. That meet is earned the old fashion way. Work works.

Make the choice and earn the payoff. Make the other choice and miss this particular payoff. Either way the choice is theirs and what better way to teach how life works?

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