May 2018 Note from our Silver Group Coach


Silver Meets - Ribbon policy and the right focus

Hi Silver Parents,


Today at practice we talked about what Silver swimmers should and should not focus on at a meet. One of my rules in Silver is that swimmers can’t collect ribbons for the place they come in in their heat. I have this rule for a couple of different reasons. If you disagree/have comments, questions, concerns/want to talk about this further, please come chat with me after practice. I would love to know your thoughts and share some of mine in more detail.


  1. Your swimmer has no control over the heat they’re in or who they swim against. As such, “winning” the heat doesn’t mean very much.
  2. I’d rather they focus on the things they can control – effort, technique, supporting their teammates, etc
  3. One of my goals for Silver swimmers is that they progress from “novice” meets and start attending invitationals. An invitational is a higher level meet with higher level swimmers. This transition can be discouraging if they are used to coming in first at a novice meet. However, if they’ve learned to focus on the right things at swim meets it’s easier for them to focus on personal improvement and get validation from that, rather than from beating the person next to them.


With that in mind, what are some of the “right” things to focus on at a swim meet? I asked your children that question today at the end of practice and they came up with a great list. I wanted to share it with you and encourage you to ask you child about the things that they’ll be focusing on this weekend. I’ve added a few comments to their list with my perspective.


  • Times – times are a great way to measure linear improvement. However, it’s important to keep in mind that they don’t always tell the whole story. I’ll probably share more on this later in the season, but feel free to come talk with me if you have questions now.
  • Effort – this is one of my favorites, and is pretty self explanatory
  • Attitude – Swim meets (and practice!) should be a positive environment. It’s okay to be upset when things don’t go quite right, but swimmers, coaches, and parents need to work together to create strategies to help swimmers deal with disappointment/ anxiety /pressure/etc. in an appropriate way. More on this later (though as always, feel free to come talk to me if you notice your swimmer is having trouble with positivity)
  • Technique – this gives me great feedback on what lessons the swimmers are absorbing, what we need to spend more time on in practice, and in general who needs help with what
  • Having fun!
  • Supporting your teammates – Hearing this one made me happy. We discussed encouraging your teammates during the first few weeks of practice and I’m glad they remembered what we talked about. Even though swimming is considered an individual sport, swimmers are still part of a team. One way to be a great teammate is to say encouraging things to one another.


Please let me know if you have questions about any of this. I’m always available on deck after practice or you can email me at