Exeter Swim Team Partners
What should I be working toward with my swimming?

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 it.

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 goals?

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 start. 

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. 

Stay tuned.