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What the Coach Looks For at a Swim Meet

The coach will stand on the side of the pool and expect to speak with each swimmer before and after each swim.  Please be sure to direct your child to the coach before the event.  When you see your child after the event ask them if they have spoken with the coach about their race and if not, direct them to the coach as soon as possible.

Before the swim the coach will ask swimmers about technique and give them reminders.  After the event the coach will ask them how they viewed their swim, listen to their responses, and then review the swim as the coach saw it. 

It is important that parents play the role of emotional support -- give warm towels, and hugs, a "good luck, darling" to your swimmer and ask them to check in with the coach before and after their swim. 

Leave the race strategies, breathing patterns, stroke, start and turn reminders, time analysis and race analysis to the coach. 

There four things the coach will  look for in each performance:  proper attitude, a best time, proper technique, and winning.  Few swimmers achieve all four aspects in a single race.  When they do, that is a job well done -- but it is not a "great job" or and "unbelievable job" or a "fantastic job."  To use those terms can make a performance greater than it really was and therefore make it more difficult to repeat.  We use "mild praise" because we know, and we want everyone else to think and to feel, that there is always room for more improvement.  Doing three of the aspects, or two, or even one is cause for some level of praise.

When a swimmer achieves none of the above there has been a failure in the coach-swimmer relationship and the coach  will make every attempt to correct the difficulties. 

Proper attitude:  Coaches  look for the "I want to be coached" attitude.  Coaches look for swimmers ready to express themselves about their swim in analytical fashion and then be eager to listen to advice.  Coaches look for athletes to say "I'll do it next time."

A Best Time:  A best time usually represents an improvement in endurance, strength, and technique.  It measures the swimmer first against themselves and second against the rest of the world. 

Proper Technique:  How was the start, the strokes, the turns, the pace, the race strategy?

Winning:  Winning means racing with someone and finishing ahead.  In some cases that means winning the event.  However, in every heat there are several races -- there is a race for 1st, there may be a race for 3rd, there may be a race for 5th.  Coaches look for swimmers to be in a race, whether it is for 1st or 5th, and to try their best to "win."