Coach Derek's Email Blast for Week of August 17, 2020

Wahoo Families,

I want to begin my first email blast for the 2020-2021 season by welcoming everyone back to the Western Wahoos for the start of a new short course season!  I’m excited for this opportunity to join the Wahoo family!  I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for this program and the accomplishments this program has achieve over the years.  The Wahoo program has been the gold standard in our district for many years and I want to see this programs success continue so I want you all to know that I will be working closely with Coach Ryan, Tom and the rest of the Wahoo staff to make sure we continue to be the best we can be both in and out of the water.

As I’m sure you have heard the YMCA looks totally different these days and they take the safety of our members very seriously.  I can tell you that we have very strict protocols in place to protect the health of our swimmers.  We also have a new Pick-up and Drop-off policy which I will go over in detail later in this email.  Please make sure you pay attention to these new steps to help keep your swimmer(s) and our coaching staff safe.

While I realize this season is very different from what we knew last year I want all of you to know that I intend on making this season feel as close to normal as the new protocols will allow.  The coaching staff is planning on putting up our meet schedule just as we have in years past in hopes that we will be able to get the green light to participate in some of them.  In the meantime, we are planning on running some virtual meets where we will be racing during our normal practice times and recording our times so we can track our progress throughout the season.  I know this does not compare to the real thing, but we need to race in order to see improvement which even in a pandemic is what we are striving for.

I want to get the word out there because I have heard the rumors that the YMCA is only going to be a “rec” program.  I am here to tell you that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  We fully intend on being as competitive as we have ever been and while we do have to follow certain protocols from the Delaware Department of Public Health and the YMCA which have limited our team size we are still going to be a USA Swimming Club and plan to participate in all the same meets we did in the past. 

The reason you did not see any USA Swimming charges right now with registration were due to the fact that there aren’t any meets yet.  Once those USA meets are approved to be back on the schedule, we will register everyone for USA Swimming.  We didn’t feel it was right to charge everyone $75 a swimmer if we potentially won’t have any meets to compete in for a while.  I hope everyone understand this.

I have also had a few questions regarding the youth membership which has been baked into the monthly program fee for each training level.  If you already have a family membership you will be credited the amount of the youth membership ($20.50) each month per swimmer.  You will not be double charged.  If you are please let me know so I can work with member services to get this taken care of for you.

As you all know we are breaking this short course season up in to two segments.  The first from August 24th through November 8th and November 9th through March 21st.  Due to COVID and an attempt to accommodate as many swimmers on to the team as we can, under the new protocols, we have been forced to add a new training location at the Walnut Street YMCA.  I know this is something new and I completely understand your frustrations especially those families who have swimmers in both locations.  Under normal circumstances I would suggest we work on setting up carpools to help get swimmers to and from practice.  But with COVID, it all depends on how comfortable our families are having their swimmers carpool with other families.  I’m hopeful we will all settle into a routine and we can tie up all the loose ends.

I finally want everyone to know that Coach Ryan Schultz and Coach Tom Janton are still very much involved with the Wahoo Program.  I know the email that went out last week made it sound like they were not coaching anymore.  I want you all to know they are still an important part of the Wahoo family and I’m looking forward to working with them! 

The first practice for each training level is just a walkthrough of these protocols and won’t be getting in the water.  Please be prepared for an early pick-up.  Plan for practices to last 30 to 45 minutes at maximum!

 

Drop-Off & Pick-up Procedures for 2020-2021 Season!

Before arriving to the YMCA, all swimmers are expected to:

Be in good health without any COVID symptoms or a temperature above 99.4.  Swimmers with symptoms/temperature Should Not come to practice and remain home.  It would be a good idea to pre-screen your swimmers by taking their temperature before leaving the house.

All swimmers should be wearing their bathing suit on under their clothes as we will not have access to the locker rooms to change before or after practice.

Swimmers should also use the restroom at home before coming to practice.  Swimmers will be allowed to use the restroom during practice if needed but otherwise the locker rooms are off limits.

All swimmers should be wearing a mask if they are 13 years of age and older.

Swimmers 11 years of age and younger must be signed in/out of practice by a parent/guardian.

Drop Off for Academy & Bronze (Western Indoor Pool)

Swimmers/Parents/Guardians will enter the YMCA through the front doors, swipe their membership cards and proceed to the back patio of the 10-lane pool.  Once you reach the patio take the immediate left through the gate and head to the grassy area along the building and the fence line. 

Swimmers/Parents/Guardians will wait in their designated spot for their coach to arrive.

While the swimmers are waiting, they may place their outer wear into their swim bag.  At this time, Parents/Guardians should complete the COVID health screening questionnaire.

Swimmers will have their temperatures taken by the coach and sanitize their hands while the parent/guardian signs in the swimmer for practice and turns in the COVID health screening questionnaire to their coach.  This needs to be done every day the swimmer comes to practice.

Swimmers will then follow their coaches and teammates single file to the indoor pool with their belongings for practice.

Swimmers will go to their designated space in the indoor pool to put down their belongings and remain in place until their coach gives them further instructions.

Swimmers will move to their designated starting area for practice in the pool.

 

Pick-Up for Academy & Bronze (Indoor Pool)

Parents/Guardians will arrive to the indoor pool door by the ramp to meet their swimmer’s coach.

Parents/Guardians will sign-out their swimmer from practice.

The coach will call the swimmer over to the Indoor pool door for dismissal.

 

Drop Off for Silver - National (10 Lane Outdoor Pool)

Swimmers/Parents/Guardians will enter the YMCA through the front doors, swipe their membership cards and proceed to the back patio of the 10-lane pool.  Once you reach the patio take the immediate left through the gate and head to the grassy area along the building and the fence line. 

Swimmers/Parents/Guardians will wait in their designated spot for their coach to arrive.

While the swimmers are waiting, they may place their outer wear into their swim bag.  At this time, Swimmers/Parents/Guardians should complete the COVID health screening questionnaire.

Swimmers will have their temperature taken by the coach and sanitize their hands while the parent/guardian signs in the swimmer for practice and hands in the COVID health screening questionnaire to their coach.  This needs to be done every day the swimmer comes to practice.

Swimmers will then follow their coaches and teammates single file to the pool with their belongings for practice.

Swimmers will go to their designated space on the pool deck to put down their belongings and remain in place until their coach gives them further instructions.

Swimmers will move to their designated starting area for practice in the pool.

Pick Up for Silver - National (10 Lane Outdoor Pool)

Parents/Guardians will arrive to the emergency exit gate on the patio to meet their swimmer’s coach.

Parents will sign-out their swimmer from practice, if they are 11 years of age or younger.

The coach will call the swimmers over to the gate for dismissal.  Swimmers who drove themselves will be free to leave while maintaining safe physical distancing.

Drop Off for Silver - National (Walnut Street)

Swimmers/Parents/Guardians will park in the lot right next to the YMCA.  The parking lot is free starting at 5:00 PM.  Parents are welcome to drop off right in front of the building as well unless your swimmer is younger than 12 years of age.

Swimmers/Parents/Guardians will enter through the front door and will report to the member services desk.

Swimmers/Parents/Guardians will fill out the health screening questionnaire, get their temperature taken and turn the forms in to the member services staff.

Swimmers will enter the pool, sanitize their hands and go to their designated space on the pool deck to put down their belongings and remain in place until their coach gives further instructions.

Swimmers will move to their designated starting area for practice in the pool.

Pick Up for Silver - National (Walnut Street)

After practice is over swimmers will collect their belongings and exit into the side hallway adjacent to the lobby and stand in their designated spot. 

Parents/Guardians will come to the front door of the YMCA and will check in with the member services staff and give them the name of their swimmer.

Member Services will call the coach via walkie talkie and the swimmer will be brought upfront to meet the parents.  Parents will sign out their swimmer if they are 11 & younger.  Swimmers who drove themselves will be free to leave while maintaining safe physical distancing.

Drop Off for Jr. National & National (Brandywine North Pool)

Swimmer/Parent/Guardian will arrive to the outside doors of the North Pool.

Swimmer/Parent/Guardian will complete heath screening questionnaire and coaches will take temperatures and collect questionnaire.

Swimmers will enter the north pool, sanitize their hands and go to their designated space on the pool deck to put down their belongings and remain in place until their coach gives further instructions.

Swimmers will move to their designated starting area for practice in the pool.

Pick up for Jr. National & National (Brandywine North Pool)

 Parents/Guardians will arrive to the outside doors of the north pool to meet their swimmer’s coach.

Parents will sign-out their swimmer from practice, if they are 11 years of age or younger.

The coach will call the swimmers over to the door for dismissal.  Swimmers who drove themselves will be free to go while maintaining safe physical distancing.

 

Parent & Swimmer Information

I always like to end my email blast with some swimming related articles around sports performance, sports psychology, nutrition, etc. centered around swimming.  I find these articles really inciteful and I hope do too.  Enjoy!

HOW TO BE A WINNING PARENT-PART I

By Dr. Alan Goldberg, Competitive Advantage

If you want your child to come out of his/her youth sports experience a winner, (feeling good about themselves and having a healthy attitude towards sports) then he/she needs your help! You are a vital and important part of the coach-athlete-parent team. If you do your job correctly and play YOUR position well, then your child will learn the sport faster, perform better, really have fun and have their self-esteem enhanced as a result. His/her sport experience will serve as a positive model for him/her to follow as he/she approaches other challenges and obstacles throughout life. If you "drop the ball" or run the wrong way with it, your child will stop learning, experience performance difficulties and blocks, and begin to really hate the sport. And that's the GOOD news! Further, your relationship with him/her will probably suffer significantly. As a result, he/she will come out of this experience burdened with feelings of failure, inadequacy and low self-esteem, feelings that will generalize to other areas in his/her life. Your child and his/her coach need you ON the team. They can't win without YOU! The following are a list of useful facts, guidelines and strategies for you to use to make you more skilled in the youth sport game. Remember, no wins unless everyone wins. We need you on the team! 

1. When defined the RIGHT way, competition in youth sports is both good and healthy and teaches children a variety of important life skills. The word "compete" comes from the Latin words 'com" and "petere" which mean together and seeking respectively. The true definition of competition is a seeking TOGETHER where your opponent is your partner, NOT the enemy! The better he/she performs, the more chance you have of having a peak performance. Sport is about learning to deal with challenges and obstacles. Without a worthy opponent, without any challenges sport is not so much fun. The more the challenge the better the opportunity you have to go beyond your limits. World records are consistently broken and set at the Olympics because the best athletes in the world are "seeking together", challenging each other to enhanced performance. Your child should NEVER be taught to view his/her opponent as the "bad guy", the enemy or someone to be hated and "destroyed". Do NOT model this attitude!! Instead, talk to and make friends with parents of your child's opponent. Root for great performances, good plays, NOT just for the winner! 

2.  ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO COMPETE AGAINST THEMSELVES. The ultimate goal of the sport experience is to challenge oneself and continually improve. Unfortunately, judging improvement by winning and losing is both an unfair and inaccurate measure. Winning in sports is about doing the best YOU can do, SEPARATE from the outcome or the play of your opponent. Children should be encouraged to compete against their own potential, i.e. Peter and Patty Potential. That is, the boys should focus on beating "Peter,” competing against themselves while the girls challenge "Patty.” When your child has this focus and plays to better themselves instead of beating someone else, he will be more relaxed, have more fun and therefore perform better.
  

3. DO NOT DEFINE SUCCESS AND FAILURE IN TERMS OF WINNING AND LOSING. As a corollary to #2, one of the main purposes of the youth sports experience is skill acquisition and mastery. When a child performs to his/her potential and loses it is criminal to focus on the outcome and become critical. If a child plays his/her very best and loses, you need to help him feel like a winner! Similarly, when a child or team performs far below their potential but wins, this is NOT cause to feel like a winner. Help your child make this important separation between success and failure and winning and losing. Remember, if you define success and failure in terms of winning and losing, you're playing a losing game with your child! 

4.  BE SUPPORTIVE, DO NOT COACH! Your role on the parent-coach-athlete team is as a Support player with a capital S!! You need to be your child's best fan. UNCONDITIONALLY!!! Leave the coaching and instruction to the coach. Provide encouragement, support, empathy, transportation, money, help with fund-raisers, etc., BUT...DO NOT COACH! Most parents that get into trouble with their children do so because they forget the important position that they play. Coaching interferes with your role as supporter and fan. The last thing your child needs and wants to hear from you after a disappointing performance or loss is what they did technically or strategically wrong. Keep your role as a parent on the team separate from that as coach, and if, by necessity you actually get stuck in the almost no-win position of having to coach your child, try to maintain this separation of roles, ie. on the deck, field or court say, "'Now I'm talking to you as a coach", at home say, "'Now I'm talking to you as a parent". Don't parent when you coach and don't coach at home when you're supposed to be parenting. 

5.  HELP MAKE THE SPORT FUN FOR YOUR CHILD. It's a time proven principle of peak performance that the more fun an athlete is having, the more he will learn and the better he will perform. Fun MUST be present for peak performance to happen at EVERY level of sports from youth to world class competitor! When a child stops having fun and begins to dread practice or competition, it's time for you as a parent to become concerned! When the sport or game becomes too serious, athletes have a tendency to burn out and become susceptible to repetitive performance problems. An easy rule of thumb: IF YOUR CHILD IS NOT ENJOYING WHAT HE/SHE ARE DOING NOR LOVING THE HECK OUT OF IT, INVESTIGATE!! What is going on that's preventing him from having fun? Is it the coaching? The pressure? Is it YOU??! Keep in mind that being in a highly competitive program does NOT mean that there is no room for fun. The child that continues to play long after the fun is gone will soon become a drop out statistic. 

6. WHOSE GOAL IS IT? #5 leads us to a very important question! Why is your child participating in the sport? Is she doing it because she wants to, for herself, or because of you. When an athlete has problems in her sport do you talk about them as "our" problems, "our jump isn't high enough", "we're having trouble with our flip turn,” etc. Are they playing because they don't want to disappoint you, because they know how important the sport is to you? Are they playing for rewards and "bonuses" that you give out? Are their goals and aspirations YOURS or theirs? How invested are you in their success and failure? If they are competing to please you or for your vicarious glory they are in it for the wrong reasons! Further, if they stay involved for you, ultimately everyone loses. It is quite normal and healthy to want your child to excel and be as successful as possible. BUT, you cannot make this happen by pressuring her with your expectations or by using guilt or bribery to keep her involved. If they have their own reasons and own goals for participating, they will be FAR more motivated to excel and therefore far more successful.

Thank you and Welcome Back!

 

Derek Farrar

Regional Director of Competitive Aquatics

Western YMCA Wahoos