June 2, 2011
Let's give all swimmers a little reminder about why we are in our great sport and what we can focus on.
We all know of the great health benefits of swimming, but other sports can give you that. For more focus, let's look at what EST's Mission and Vision Statements are:
Exeter Swim Team Mission Statement
To provide a fun, motivating, innovative program where all swimmers set and achieve personal goals while developing life skills.
Exeter Swim Team Vision Statement
To inspire and build character through the pursuit of excellence in competitive swimming from the novice to the senior elite athletes entering college.
Let's look first at this excerpt ……. "where all swimmers set and achieve personal goals"
Before you can "achieve" you have to "set". Here is something from an article on the coaches' forum on our web site about goal setting.
We all want our children to be
successful in the things they are involved in. Swimming is no
different. One of the great things about our sport is that there
are so many ways that any swimmer, regardless of ability, can
achieve a feeling of success. The trick is for the swimmer to focus
in on the goals that are challenging, yet reachable, for them and
to also begin setting some long-term goals that will continue their
interest in the sport.
There are many goals and challenges
out there that will motivate your child to achieve spectacular
things. The highly self-motivated children will “key
in” on these goals by themselves and will become standout
swimmers much sooner. But for the vast majority of swimmers,
it’s like trying to find your direction in a fog. So the
coaches and parents must help direct them rather than hope they
stumble on something by themselves.
Once they have set some
challenging (yet reachable) goals that they really want, then
they’ll really look forward to going to practice and once
there, will have a sense of purpose and direction. For example, a
child with a specific goal to break 30 seconds in the 50 yard
freestyle will listen and learn much quicker when a coach says,
“Pull underwater with your elbow higher during every stroke
in practice and you’ll knock 2 seconds off your time at the
next meet.” A child who has no goal, and hence no motivation,
will swim a couple lengths with their elbow high and then forget
The coaches will help our swimmers key
in on some specific goals during the individual goal setting
conferences. But 10 minutes of time is going to be quickly
forgotten unless the swimmers post their goals at home and are
reminded of them by their coaches at practices and encouraged by
their parents. It’s important that both these authority
figures are stressing the same goals. Coaches only see the kids
between 3 and 5 hours a week, but you parents see them the majority
of the times so your role is critical.
So……. where does a swimmer start setting
Actually, the very first thing they need to do
is learn their current times!
Print out your best times from the web site or pull out your
summary sheet you got at the winter awards banquet. Now
memorize your 5 favorite events. This will be a good
We did a practice last week for the AG swimmers where they were
asked what their best time was for their two favorite
events. For each correct answer (they had to only be within 1
second) we would take a minute off practice to do something
fun. With 16 swimmers at two events each, they could
have "earned" 32 minutes of fun relays or games that
day. How many minutes did they actually
earn? Only TWO. (and one of them
sounded like a lucky guess:)
If you don't know where you are starting from, how can
you get to where you are going?
More on how to start setting some super-motivating goals in
Part 2 of this newsletter.