The one thing we know about humans is that we all resist change, even if it is for the better. We are creatures of habit. As coaches and swimmers this time of year is ripe for change. The competitive season is over – for most, or soon will be…Pan Pacs!
Many are changing programs as they head off to college or perhaps on your team you are moving into a new training group. Things will be different. Our club team changes every year at this time as swimmers head off to college. Many of our swimmers will come to that first workout and what will be most noticeable is who isn’t there. Many of our faster swimmers, some of whom had leadership roles on the team will be gone. And those that move on will go to a team where they are now the newbie, the freshman…and that makes the perspective different for sure.
And the cycle goes on. As coaches we look for the new patterns to develop. It is a fun time of the year for us. We, of course, have the perspective of seeing this annual metamorphose take place, secure in the knowledge that it will all work itself out in due time. As the training begins and the patterns develop a sense of calm eventually prevails…and all is “right” in the universe again.
Except that it really isn’t.
Every swimmer, when asked, raises her/his hand when we ask, “How many of you want to get faster this season?”
And therein lays the impetus for change. If you swam 10x100 on the 1:30 averaging 1:20 last year, if you do the same thing this year you will not get faster. More of the same doesn’t make for change. We tell our college bound kids that they won’t likely be doing 100’s on the 55 now that they are in college. They can handle the work they will be given. The question is, “Can they handle the change in intensity, on a daily basis?”
Most often we already know that answer; “yes” they can handle it. The more important question to ask is “will they handle it?” And only they know the answer to that one. We have encouraged them to answer it before it is asked since that is perhaps the most important turning point for them.
We do the same thing when new swimmers join any more advanced group on our team. Can they do the work; certainly, it is just work. Will they do the work? That requires intention. Stated intention drives the human condition.
September is almost here…let the games – Games – begin!