May 17, 2013
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
- Wayne Gretzky
Remember to do the things from the past few TO DO lists:
- Bring in your 2012 Year End Trophies
- Advise our Club President if you have broken a Club Record this season
- Sign up for the Year End Awards Night (remember to tell us how many people are coming so we can order enough pizza)
- Sign up for the Fun Day at Loco Landing
Did you leave something behind from the Big Bus Meet? KISU hoodie, size adult small; book entitled Hidden: A House of Night Novel by P.C.Cast and Kritsin Cast. If either are yours, they can be claimed in the KISU office.
Has your Mini Squad swimmer moved up to Juniors for May and June? Have you confirmed with Jill that they will be continuing to swim now that the two week trial period is over? If not, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm. Thank you!
. . . again . . . more Parent Article from Coach Michael Brooks
Times are the least of our worries. Many young swimmers spaz out when they race. They simply cannot control their strokes at maximum effort and maximum excitement. For the little ones I am much more interested in how beautifully they get down the pool than in how fast they do. Technique and tactics are more important than the numbers on the watch; if the technique and tactics are improving steadily, the time on the watch will improve steadily, too, and without our obsessing over it.
But he swam faster in practice!?!? Younger kids routinely swim as fast in practice as they do in meets. From one perspective, this makes no sense. Why should a swimmer do better on the last repeat of 10 x 200 on short rest, after having swum 1800 meters at descending pace, than she does when all she has to do is get up and race one rested 200? How can she swim faster tired than fresh??? Here’s how. In training she is well warmed up, her body has run through the spectrum and swum faster and faster, so her aerobic systems are working at full steam and her stroke rhythm is perfect and grooved, and she is energized from racing her teammates and shooting after concrete goals without the pressure she often feels in meets. Practice is much less threatening than meets are.
Not even Ted Williams batted a thousand. No one improves every time out. Don’t expect best times every swim; if you do, you will frustrate yourself to death in less than a season, and you will put so much pressure on your swimmer that she will quit the sport early. You would think that if a swimmer goes to practice, works hard, and has good coaching and a good program, then constant improvement would be inevitable. Wrong. So much more goes into swimming than just swimming.
The Rubber band effect. It would be easier for the swimmer, his parents, and his coach if improvements were made slowly and gradually, if all involved could count on hard work in practice producing corresponding improvements in competition every month. This “ideal”, however, is so rare as to be nonexistent. Often improvements are made in leaps, not baby steps. They happen by fits and starts, mostly because they result as much from psychology as from physiology. It is harder this way, because less predictable. Further, swimmers and their parents tend to become a bit discouraged during the short “plateaus” when the improvements that the child is making are not obvious. Then, when the rubber band has snapped and the swimmer makes a long-awaited breakthrough, they expect the nearly vertical improvement curve to continue indefinitely, which it will not do.
There is a lot more to swimming than just swimming. This will become especially apparent as the swimmer gets older, say around puberty. But even for the young kids, inconsistency is the rule. What’s going on in a swimmer’s head can either dovetail with the training or completely counteract the hours and hours in the pool. Again, if a swimmer has been staying up late, not allowing her body to recover from training, or if she has been forsaking her mother’s nutritious meals for Big Macs, fries, and shakes, then that swimmer’s “hidden training” will counteract the gains she makes in the water. Or, if a swimmer is in the dumps and can’t see straight after breaking up with his girlfriend, the best coach and the best program in the world will not save today’s race.
Raging bulls and “coachability”. Often young swimmers, especially “successful” younger swimmers who are very strong for their age, have terminal strokes – i.e., inefficient strokes that consist of bulling through the water and not getting much for the huge outpouring of effort, and that will not allow for much if any improvement. For kids with terminal strokes, we need to throw away the stopwatch, slow down, and learn to swim all over again. Often this adjustment period is characterized by slower times, which is difficult for the swimmer and for the parents. Difficult, but necessary, because this one step backwards will allow for ten steps forward soon enough.
Note that for the stroke improvement to be made, the swimmer must be coachable: he must trust that the coach is knowledgeable and thinking of the swimmer’s best interests, and he must trust that the changes that may feel awful at first will help him be a better swimmer. Unfortunately, coachable athletes are rare; most kids choose not to change horses in midstream, and both the horse and rider drown. Terminal strokers are soon caught by swimmers who are smaller but more efficient.