RIO Pre-Competitive Coach’s Corner – May 2012
The Spring League season is drawing to a close and as summer approaches, practices are heating up. We had a very good start to our meet season and all the coaches are excited for all our returning swimmers and those who are joining our program for the first time. Performances this spring have been exemplary and we thank all the parents and swimmers for their continued support of RIO Salado Swim Club’s Pre-Competitive Program. In order for us to continue having success during our Spring, Summer and Fall League seasons, we must have successful swim practices. Here are a few practical ways for us to do so:
Be Present – Practices at Gilbert and Hamilton are Monday through Friday evenings. Queen Creek runs Monday through Thursday evenings. Swimmers who participate in Junior 1 and Junior 2 have the option to swim any 3 practices. However, practice attendance is only half the battle. Being present at practice means not only showing up at the pool on time, but having the correct mindset when you arrive. When you walk onto the pool deck, be ready to train and be ready to work hard. Swimmers who are active participants during practice and who are paying attention to the directions, instructions, and corrections from coaches find more success during practices and at swim meets.
Be Responsible – YOU as the swimmer are the one person who is responsible for becoming the swimmer YOU would like to be. That means, YOU are the person who chooses when to attend practices. YOU are the person who decides how fast you will swim. And most importantly, YOU are the one person who controls what your attitude at practice will be. Far too often, we coaches have swimmers come to us and ask, “Why didn’t I get a faster time?” Here is what you will hear from us in response: “Did you come to all the practices you could? Did you work hard and swim fast in practice? When you were at practice, did you swim the very best you could?” YOU are the person responsible for how well YOU perform come race time.
Be Accountable – For most of us, this is the most difficult aspect of swimming to conquer. When we don’t swim our best we need to address the reasons behind it. Maybe we were sick or went out of town. Maybe we made some mistakes during our races, like forgetting to streamline or missing the wall on our backstroke flip turn. Perhaps we goofed around during practices instead of being attentive and working hard. Whatever the reason, we need to be accountable for our actions. Ask questions during practice if you don’t understand. Make corrections to your strokes when your coaches give you advice or critique. Most importantly, talk to your coaches before and after you race. Allow them to give you feedback about your swim. Being accountable for your swimming, both at practice and at meets, is how we grow, develop, and improve as swimmers.
Be Respectful – This is the most important. Being respectful to others is as simple and easy as treating your teammates the way you would like to be treated, not talking while others are talking, or picking up all your equipment at the end of practice. But above all, be respectful to yourself. Few athletes put forth the time and effort swimmers do to get better in their sports. Don’t waste it. Be respectful to yourself by getting the most you can out of every minute you are at practice. Having fun and working hard go hand in hand. Think about how fun and exciting it is when earn a place ribbon or when we achieve a best time. That’s all the fun from the hard work paying off!
So, if you are PRESENT at practices, if you are RESPONSIBLE and attend the practices you should, if you are ACCOUNTABLE for the work you put in during those practices, and you are RESPECTFUL to your teammates, coaches, and yourself, you WILL perform well.
– Coach Patrick
Here are a few key terms that coaches may use during practices. It is our feeling that every swimmer should have an idea of what we are asking them to do.
- Build – to get faster as the distance progresses. Ex. 100 Breaststroke building by 25s. Each 25 is faster than the one before it.
- Drill – a breakdown of skills to improve a particular stroke. Ex. Double Arm Backstroke.
- Descend – to get faster as the set progresses. Ex. 4 x 100 Freestyle, descending 100’s 1-4. Each 100 is faster than the one before it.
- Smooth – a long and strong pace used to maintain good stroke technique.
- Sprint – a lap or distance that is done at the fastest pace possible.