June 30, 2017
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I mentioned in my last post that things start to get compressed about this time of year. This weekend is a good indication of what I meant. Here’s what happening this week and beyond. If you make it to the end, I give my thoughts on how our team culture is developing. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a fun and safe Fourth of July weekend.
Recreational League Meet This Saturday
We are holding the event at BSAC. Registration and warm ups start at 10:30am and the meet starts at 11:30. The cost is $10 per swimmer with a once yearly $5 league fee, which is collect or charged at the swimmer’s first meet. Swimmers can participate in as many events as are offered for their gender and age group. Stroke School, Blue, Bronze, Silver, Summer League and any newer swimmer from any of our branches are invited to come and join us for a fun day of swimming. These events are fast. Expect to be done within a couple of hours. We hope to see you there.
NTCA Summer Fun Meet
We have a small contingent going to this meet, which will be held in Clermont this weekend. Bring plenty of sunscreen, healthy drinks and snacks, chairs and extra towels. We put this meet on the schedule to give our swimmers another opportunity to make cuts for season ending meets or to gain more competitive experience. It is a prelims, younger swimmer, finals event. Full details can be found on the event page (link below).
Meet Warm Up Times
Friday afternoon 3:30pm
Saturday & Sunday AM session 7:30am
Saturday PM 4:45pm
Sunday PM Session 3:45pm
Friday’s events are deck seeded, so there are no advance heat sheets. Heat sheets for the rest of the weekend can be printed out and brought with you using the link below.
Heat Sheet (Sat & Sun)
7/8 - Florida Swim League Invitational (all event time trial at BSAC)
7/15 - Recreational Swim Meet @ BSAC
7/21-23 - Team Hosted Florida Swim League Championships
7/28-30 - Cayman Islands Meet / Trip
8/2 - 8/6 - USA Swimming Futures Championships (Nashville)
This past week was special. I feel we have turned the corner and are becoming a team that understands what it takes to become champions. This is not coming from a top down perspective; meaning that our older kids are getting faster (which they are). This is coming from a 360 degree view of our progress.
Over the years, the younger swimmers under my care never realized I was not “supposed” to work with them until they were older and elite. Throughout the country, most coaches with my level of experience specifically work with the high performance members of their teams. I found out early on that working with the younger members of your club, as well as the elite swimmers, helps ensure that the club is balanced, has a consistent mindset and performs at a very high level year in and year out..
This is easy to accomplish with a small team. On a larger one, like ours is becoming, it takes a little more finesse to make it happen. You may see me run practices with the summer swimmers or our novice groups from time to time. I do this to stay in touch with this important part of our program. It also gives me a chance to interact with our coaches and ensure we are all speaking the same language, so to speak. Besides, I love the little ones!
The X’s and O’s are important. But if you have ever listened to me speak to the swimmers, you have more than likely heard me talk more about choices and attitudes than flip turns or breakouts. I strongly feel that if you can help a child, especially at a young age, understand that championship attitudes and behaviors create life’s champions, you have done your job as a coach and mentor.
Yesterday, for example, I asked our older campers to list ten things they could do to make themselves better that did not require talent. The immediate responses were good. Better streamlines, good breakouts, maintaining rhythm in and out of walls, amongst others, were the responses I received. We wrote down the items, whittled our list down to the ten most important ones and agreed to be better at these points as a team. But the exercise did not stop there.
I then asked them to list ten attitudes that would make us better. At first it was the usual; good sportsmanship, being a good teammate, etc. When they gave me their responses I asked for examples. I did not want to have a talk where they listed everything they ever heard about being a good teammate. As we got deeper into the discussion, they started to understand where I was going.
We went a step further. I asked them to pair each of the attitudes with actionable behaviors. We boiled the growing list down to the ten that meant the most to the swimmers and again agreed to try to keep these in mind in and out of the pool each day. One day soon, I will post these on our website so it can become part of our club’s DNA.
My long winded point is that we are developing a true culture of excellence here, at all levels. Culture is tricky things. It can not be dictated from above. Cultures must be cultivated and rise up organically from the members of the group, As leaders we can influence that process, but we can not force a culture on any group of people. I am so honored that ours is developing in the manner it is. I have seen this play before and love the way it ends.
Thanks for being a part of the program. See you at the pool - Rich