December News letter 2021
As we move into the holiday season, I want to take a moment to address a few things coming up, and the expectations going forward. First is the practice schedule. This coming week, we have 2 travel competitions that we are attending. The first is the Florida Winter Invite, and the second is USA Winter Junior Nationals. Due to these 2 meets, there will NOT be practice this coming Friday morning. All other practices remain normal. I want to take a moment to wish all the athletes attending these 2 meets good luck. They have worked hard to qualify for these meets and deserve recognition for their achievements. Those attending these meets are expected at practice through Wednesday evening, and should plan on warming up at the meet location after traveling. On December 16th & 17th (Thursday & Friday), there will NOT be morning practices, due to scheduling conflicts on those dates. All other practices that week will run as normal. Over the holidays we are fortunate this year not to need to change our practice schedule very much, given that Christmas and New Year's both fall on a Saturday. We will be running our normal practice schedule Monday through Friday morning both weeks (9 practices total), and taking Saturday & Sunday off for the holidays. So there is not a significant change to training this December. That being said, please pay attention for updates should changes need to be made as we get closer to those dates. The second topic is our meet schedule. We have competitions scheduled for January and February at the Camden Kroc Center. These entries are due ASAP. Please do not delay in signing up and selecting events. At the USA club level we only schedule 1 competition each month, with the exception of Championships. These competitions are extremely important. Please plan to prioritize these events, and stay the full sessions. Athletes are expected to participate fully in the warm-up, competition, warm-downs, and dynamic recovery exercises planned. Its 1 weekend a month and it is our goal to teach athletes the proper way to manage competitions in order to perform at a high level, so we ask that not be compromised. If there is enough interest, we may add a distance meet to the schedule in February for those seeking cut times for Championship meets. The third & final topic, and most important is attendance. With the holidays and high school Swimming in full swing, people are being pulled in many different directions. During this time especially, it is important to be consistent with practice attendance and keep your goals in sight. The results in January, February, and even March are largely dependent upon the work you put in throughout the fall and increasingly so in December. Unfortunately, we have been seeing a trend of light attendance throughout the last month and want to address that quickly so it doesn't become a bigger issue impacting your season ending goals. This trend is throughout the team and not specific to 1 age group, school, etc. Athletes are expected to attend ALL scheduled practices for their groups. The training cycle is not designed for partial attendance, and therefore results become less and less consistent with progressively lower attendance percentages. While no single practice is required, they are all important to your results and build upon each other. Particularly, we have been seeing light attendance at morning practices. Where a year ago we had 20-24 athletes on average, we are down to 7-10. While some of this is due to the return of evening practices, even that attendance is not as good as we would hope for specific athletes either. These practices play a critical role in performance, especially at the high school level. In particular, Friday and Saturday practices are most valuable because there isn't a second practice offered that day and they round out the week of training, yet attendance remains low. If you expect to have success this season, I would strongly recommend correcting this trend. Taking more than 1 day off at a time and more than 2 days off a week (unless scheduled that way) from scheduled practices, creates a situation where your body is not properly adapting to the workload, and technical changes being addressed. This can lead to less consistent performances, lack of improvement, and even an increased risk of injury as the season progresses. While some conflicts are inevitable, we hope that you will prioritize your Swimming properly. Family and school come first, but please keep in mind how your attendance impacts your overall results and participation, especially those end of the week practices (Friday & Saturday), for which Senior & Junior group athletes, are expected to attend, along with the High Performance Group. Part of being a student athlete is learning how to balance your studies and training obligations to be successful both in the classroom and the pool. When high school swim meets & required obligations conflict with practice, make sure that you are doing things properly (warm-ups, warm-downs, training sets, & races) at those events and Swimming to your full potential at all times. This will minimize the impact on overall training and maximize your positive experience. Those that are in the Senior & Junior groups have the option to attend either morning or evening practices to make up for missed workouts Monday through Thursday, but the expectation is still 6 practices a week (including Friday & Saturday). The High Performance group expectation is 9-10 per week, and Age group is 4 practices per week. It is our goal here at NRG to offer top level coaching and training opportunities in a engaging and positive manner. To maintain a good experience for our athletes, everyone participating should be on board with the expectations that come along with the discipline pursuit of excellence we are engaged in. We want our athletes to have a productive experience and perform at their personal best, reaching their FULL potential within the sport, learning important life lessons about focus, determination, perseverance, and successful pursuit of goals. We hope that you share that motivation. As we move through the remainder of the season, we will continue to do our best to pursue these goals when you are at practice with us, and make that time a positive and enriching experience. Thank you, and see you at the pool! Coach Ray.