News and Notes:
Tuesday, December 18 is our Holiday Party. There will be practice for all AG 3:30-5PM. The party starts at 6:30PM at JRHS. See you there!
Thursday, December 20 is a parent meeting for AG and Neptune. It is at St Edwards at 7PM. Be sure to attend.
We begin our Holiday Schedule on Thursday. Make sure that you are checking it out in advance. All swimmers in Varsity and Advanced are encouraged to try some double practices. They are optional for all, but Advanced is still asked to stick to a 6 practice minimum, even during the Holidays.
There is a change to the Holiday Schedule. There will be NO practice on Christmas Eve for AA and VAR. However, swimmers in the AA who are looking to pick up another practice are welcome to jump in with the Seniors 7-9AM, December 24.
If you plan to leave town over the break, let your coach know. You could have a great opportunity to hook up with another team, while you are at Aunt Mildred’s house in Coral Springs . You may need a practice packet as you are hitting the slopes in Steamboat. You may possibly need a dryland packet as you may not have a pool handy while at Granny’s farm in Salina . In any case…find ways to build on your training that you’ve accomplished, don’t just expect to start over in the New Year.
Janurary meet sign-ups are due! PSDN BB+ All Ages is already due! Senior Circuit (for 13&O with AA in two strokes) is due! NOVA BB/B/C All Ages is due 12/31. Plan ahead, get signed up!
Last weekend we hosted the PSDN Holiday Classic. It was great to have so many swimmers from AG making it back to finals and swimming faster. Special congrats to Meredith Drummond who made her first Sectional cut in the 200 breast, Alex Parrish who made her first Senior Champs cut in the 200IM, and Patrick O’Keefe who made his first ever AG Champs cut. I’d like to point out the efforts of a couple of individuals that may otherwise go unnoticed: we have a pair of swimmers in our Advanced group, who have really taken the time this season to really learn how to act and react in the competitive environment…if you see Meaghan Godwin or Travis Kerner around, give them some positive feedback for being so positive, last weekend. Remember that we only had a couple of easy days before this meet, so I would expect everyone to have greater expectations for their season champs coming up in February and March.
Topic of the Week: Growth and Improvement
There is no doubt that physical growth can stimulate athletic improvement. Think of a 16 year old boy on your summer league team. If we tracked his best time in the 50 backstroke since he was 9, he would probably show steady improvement from year to year. I doubt his training level would have improved significantly. I doubt his technique would have been greatly changed. I doubt that he became that much more competitive in the 7 previous years. However, I’ll bet that he is bigger, stronger, and knows how to use it.
You can’t control your rate of growth (within the rules of this sport). Such a dilemma is the bane of all youth sports. However, you can control your rate of development in other areas.
Here are some archetypal young swimmers for your consideration:
Some swimmers work very hard as youngsters. They spin their arms around, kick their legs real hard, wanting to wanting to believe that building a bigger engine is the way to the top. Many of these swimmers are in such a rush, they don’t necessarily do important things the right way. Quite a few of these swimmers have trouble repeating their practice efforts in competition because they lack the confidence that their hard work will directly apply to the meet performance.
Some swimmers follow coach’s instructions to the letter. They push off in perfect streamlines, they take long smooth strokes, and they are aesthetically pleasing to watch. They aren’t normally the “work horse” of the group. However, they usually compete pretty well, but are lukewarm in their feelings about the sport and aren’t usually found in the top of the ranks.
Some swimmers are “gamers.” They live for the meets and are tortured by practice. They don’t do a whole lot the right things right. They feel most comfortable at practice at the back of the lane, or worse yet, hiding in the locker room. They can usually be confused for really bad swimmers, but are really just biding their time until the next race opportunity.
These aren’t the only examples of young swimmers that exist (almost every young swimmer is a hybrid of the three), but for arguments sake, just guess which of these three makes the best senior level swimmer? The answer is….ANY of them. Whichever one learns to work hard, swim with advanced techniques, AND step up to the competitive demands of the sport will be the best senior level swimmer. It really doesn’t matter which of those examples you may have emulated as an 8, 9, 10, 11, maybe even 12-year-old; however, you had better start learning how to be a better swimmer once your growth rate begins to slow.
Today I gave our swimmers examples of successful individuals I have had the pleasure of coaching who have come from every athletic background I could think of. Fast swimming isn’t just for the talented youngsters, just like quitting the sport shouldn’t be the answer for the “has been” kids who had it all as little champions. Everyone can excel at this sport, as long as they are patient and they want to do what it takes to get there.
We know that growth will make you faster. For some, it comes earlier than others. Growth alone will not make you the best swimmer you can be. Only hard work, attention to detail, and a competitive drive can do that for you. You have to want it.