Below is an email we received last week. It got us thinking about how many times coaches use the words “good” and “fast” interchangeably. Indeed, “better” is not the same as “faster”. Often the “faster” swimmers are the “better” swimmers…but not always.
Hi, it’s Beth; I saw an article in a swim magazine that was put in my box at school. I have been teaching and also coaching swimming at my High School in San Diego. My 4 kids are grown so I am coaching again. I just wanted to say thank-you for helping make me the person that I am today. I was never very good, but you never gave up on me, thank-you, Beth
Beth swam for the Marin Aquatic Club that Don coached “back in the day.” I (Don) replied to Beth saying that it was great to hear from her and I appreciated her kind words. Then – always the coach! – I reminded her that she actually WAS “very good”; she showed up every day, worked her butt off, always displayed enormous character, contributed to the fabric of our team and ended up reasonably fast. No, she wasn’t as fast as some of the others but Beth was an integral part of the team and a very valuable contributor in many significant ways besides the time on the old Minerva (how many of you remember that name???).
Today when swimmers come to us after their races and we ask, “So how was that?” and they say “Great” or “Terrible”…we ask them if they are talking about the time or the race. It never ceases to amaze us at the misunderstanding they have between the result and the execution of the task. If you swam “fast” usually the time is representative of where you are in your training cycle and how you approached today’s opportunity. If you swam “slowly” the time is similarly representative of how you either applied yourself in the race or how your training cycle is going.
Understanding the difference about how we “rate” ourselves goes a long way toward lifting up our possibilities. Thank you Beth for your contribution to the sharing of wisdom around the globe!