The California high school season is in the books…fast times and excellent competition. We had some of each and need to work more on being our best at the bigger meet, meaning the Section vs. the League…oh well, job security.
As we begin to look at long course competition while training at heavier loads, we wondered what we might do to get our team to focus on the early meets, the ones without any built-in motivation. This is especially critical here since our long course racing season is only about 10 weeks long.
At our team meeting last week we asked this question, “What do you think is involved in being a Top Notch Racer? What is at work when a Top Notch Race occurs?”
When you ask a question like this you need to avoid “seeding” the discussion. Simply ask the question and then wait for some responses. On the white board in the classroom the following words went up:
Concentration…determination…technique…focus…overcoming adversity…resilience…stay loose…eating properly…warming up enough…
There were several others along the same line. It was interesting to note that all of these are in play regardless of the time of season or the level of the meet. Ken pointed out that not one person mentioned “time.” We then asked them why they look at the scoreboard immediately upon hitting the touchpad. No real consensus on that one.
We challenged them to race in the early meets and get out without looking at the scoreboard. We have mixed results on this skill. The phrase “I added 2 seconds” drives us a little crazy. We often reply with, “So?”
Working to reinforce the process and allowing the task to follow along is a constant and never ending skill for us coaches to work on. We talk about it all the time and do our best to reinforce it by how we react to times posted at the various meets.
We would love any feedback on this topic from the greater community out there. Have a great week!