IMPORTANT Responsibilities & Expectations

As we move into the second half of the SCY season, I wanted to go over a few important things that we can do better and help us continue to improve in a positive direction.  It will take a few minutes to read, but will be well worth your and your athlete's time.  

While we had an excellent competition at Virginia Tech, there were some very obvious things that we can improve upon over the next 15 weeks.  

Some where technical issues that we will be addressing.  Others we have been addressing but seem to need a little more time to take hold in competition.  Some are training improvements that need to continue to progress.  While we also see a need to improve the overall strength and fitness of our swimmers.  

With that in mind, and in a effort to maximize our effective training time, here is a list of things we would like your support in improving, so that we can create the best possible environment for excellence.  

  • Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the start of practice. There are things that need to be done before practice starts.  
    • Athletes need to help with the responsibilities of pool set-up and break down.  Encourage your athlete to help with getting lane lines in and tight, as well as out of the pool quickly.  We have about 2 minutes to get this done without it effecting our practice time.  The more help the better. 
    • Practice start times are just that.  The moment when the athletes' feet hit the water.  It is not an arrival time.  Encourage your athlete to be prepared to get in the water on time.  Many of you get your athlete to the pool early, but they do not properly prepare during that time, and it takes away from effective training time.  Remember, time lost is just that lost!  It adds up quickly.
    • Socialize while getting ready, not instead of getting ready.  Pre-practice routines can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of training.  Encourage athletes to make these routines about being prepared and ready at the start of practice time.  Athletes can catch up on the "dramas" of each others day at anytime, they only have a few minutes to prepare.
    • Equipment needs to be gathered and had at the ready for use during training.  Encourage athletes to make sure that they have everything they need ahead of time.  
  • Treat practice as you would classroom time.  After-all, there is a lot of teaching that happens in effective training, you don't want your athlete to miss out on it.
    • ​Encourage your athlete to be attentive and listen to instructions.  If an athlete is not paying attention, the effectiveness of training diminishes.
    • Encourage your athlete to be fearless in attempting new skills and efforts.  It is the ability to accept change that allows for continual improvement.
    • Practice is not play time.  We have other activities for that.  Practice is a time to improve, so that athletes have fun at swim meets through improvements made there.  Encourage your athletes to play before and after practice, not during.  We are learning during practice.
  • Buying into the philosophies and principles of used in training is huge!
    • Encourage your athletes to believe in what they are doing, and why they are doing it.  Without belief you can not gain as much from the training.  
    • If athletes have questions about training, encourage them to ask the coaches before or after practice.  We believe heavily in what we do, we would be happy to help you better understand it.  Please just don't do it in the middle of practice, it disrupts the stimulus and the coaches' & other athletes focus.  Asking in the proper time is important too.  
  • Training is cumulative and happens in small bits of learning repeated over a long period of time.
    • Understand that while we train in a linear way, performance does not always follow this pattern, improvements build up over time, and the body has to process and become comfortable with these stimulus before it will become a nature part of their swimming.  Sometimes athletes appear to plateau during periods of great learning, and then burst forward.  Do not expect these bursts to be a trend meet to meet.  They often take 6 to 10 weeks to occur.  Encourage your athlete to keep working hard and and stay focused.  Help look for the small things that will eventually allow them to breakout.
    • Practice (ie- stimulus) Frequency is the primary factor in the rate of improvements.  Encourage athletes to attend regularly, and in consistent patterns.  This will help us to improve the athletes training program.  Remember progression is important.  We can not do the same thing forever and expect to continue to improve.  Increasing commitment is a part of improvement over the long term.  Pick a starting point, and understand that it increases from there.  
    • There is a minimum safe level of participation, athletes training below that level are at a higher risk of injury as they will not adapt to training properly and may not make performance gains in a consistent and predictable manner.  Typically the minimum safe level in any group is 50%, and not missing extended periods of time in the middle of the season (ie- 3/ 4 days in a row without stimulus).  
  • Without great effort, nothing great can happen
    • Encourage your athlete to challenge themselves everyday in training.  Nothing can be done to improve an athlete that is not willing to work hard.
    • It is the athlete's job to stretch their limits everyday.  It is the coaches job to place athletes in a situation that allows them to do so effectively.​ 
    • Encourage your athletes to take it seriously and work just as hard there as in the pool.
      • Strength and Stability are gained and improved through regular activities done during this time.
      • It will make swimmers faster over time
      • It will help keep them healthier as they grow and train.  Many times as we teach athlete proper technical skills, and training increases, it requires an improvement in strength to use these new skills effectively.  Without strength improvements, weak links are often exposed.  
  • Free play and other physical activities are important too.
    • Encourage your athlete to get off the phone, put down the video games, and get outside!  Nothing can improve an athletes physical fitness more than just being active throughout the day.
    • Siting for hours is the worst thing an athlete can do.  Keep them on the go! Believe it or not, bad things happen to the body when it remains still for long periods of time.  We were not meant to be sedentary.
    • We allow our athletes to play outside and in the facility (when it is not being used for something else).  Many of our younger athletes play before and after practice in the basketball court and outside.  This is great, and we encourage this, we just ask that these athletes not be left unattended, as the coaches focus is on the pool and practice there, not what the athletes are doing before and after.
  • Hidden Training= outside factors that influence the outcome.
    • Get proper amounts of sleep
    • Nutrition, encourage athletes to eat properly, and understand that as athletes they will often need more calories than that average adult.
    • Stress, how it is handled effects training, encourage athletes to take everything one step at a time, and to use good time management to help reduce the fear of failure.  Be your athletes supporter, they want to improve more than any of us want them to most times.  Help them manage other activities and responsibilities in a way that allows them to learn to balance expectations without sacrificing results on either end.  
  • Last but by far not least, RESPECTFUL BEHAVIOR IS A MUST.
    • Encourage your athlete to act respectfully to everyone and everything involved in this program.
      • Coaches
      • Swimmers
      • The Facility
      • Parents
      •  their competitors
      • even the philosophies used in training
    • Athletes acting in a disrespectful manner will be removed
    • Disrespectful behavior includes, but is not limited to:
      • Dismissal of instruction or directions by a coach
      • Not adhering to proper lane etiquette.
      • Getting in the way other athletes training
      • Refusal to participate in planned practice
      • Foul language 
      • Horseplay during instruction and training period

Please speak with your athlete about these items, and help the coaches to enforce a great environment everyday.  This way we can all be satisfied with the results we get at the end of the year.

Thank you.

Raymond Keown

NRG Swimming Inc.