Monday, May 18, 2015

The One Constant

Here in Northern California the high school season is over for all but a few elite swimmers who will go to the first ever State Championship this next weekend. As is the case when a season’s block of training and racing ends swimmers and coaches reflect on what went right and what went “not so much.”
Discussing this with one coach we found his observation interesting. We don’t keep strict track of attendance other than to note that we do absolutely know who is there “all the time” and who misses on a consistent basis.
This coach remarked that he had an athlete who swam a 56+ last year and a 57+ this year. He also pointed out to this swimmer (because he has the data) that last year the swimmer came to 95% of all workouts offered and this year to 88%. He went on to say that he had a boy last year head off to a major academic and swim school who missed 4 workouts in his 4 years of high school and a girl who did the same, missing 1 workout in 4 years.
Now lest you think that this is absurd we can assure you the data is real. Not every workout attended was high performance and not every workout attended was on 8 hours of sleep. But darn near every workout offered was attended.
If you look at any field of performance this one constant is - dare we say – always present. We know since we follow Bruce Springsteen that in his development from local hero to superstar (still relevant today after 40+ years) he played his guitar every day…not most days, every day. He still writes music every day. That is why he is still relevant.
So as we looked at our swimmers we noticed another trend. The ones who swam really well – and really fast – this block also had another characteristic readily visible. They trained really well every day. Some coaches and swimmers relate better to the word “hard” so we will use it here. These swimmers trained “hard” every day. On many days they were faster than on other days…but make no mistake, they didn’t take days “off”.
Were they perfect in their swims this weekend? Not necessarily so but did they shine? Absolutely they did!
So, swimmers, the question is, “are you going to the pool today or are you not?” The second question is, “Are you training or are you going for a swim?”
The same two questions apply to all coaches out there…just saying…

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