March Break

There will be no practices during March Break: March 14-21.     Regular practices will resume on March 23.

17 Ways to Drive your Swim Coach Nuts


Part babysitter, part life coach, and part instructor, our swim coaches are tasked with a lot. What makes their job even harder is when we as swimmers go out of our way to make things even more (and usually needlessly) challenging.

I’ll freely admit to being guilty of some of these. I know I drove some of my coaches a little bit bonkers when I was a kid, being partially responsible for some premature greying and stress.

Here are 17 ways that you drive your coach a wee bit nuts:

1. Be the last one to get in the water. Every time. Hey, it’s not your fault that the water is so cold, right? I suspect some of us secretly enjoy having to get thrown into the water to start workout.

2. Consistently show up late to practice. Instead of standing on the pool deck waiting until the absolute last possible moment to get in, just show up fully late! You ran out of excuses months ago, and by now coach just shakes his or her head when you fake-rush out onto the pool deck as your teammates motor through the warm-up.

3. Take 3 full strokes going into the wall doing kick. Even though it’s a kick set you’ve managed to limit the amount of kick being done to only about 15m per length (5m for the push off, 5m for the pull in).

4. Get blisters from pulling on the lane rope so much. You’ve broken more lane ropes than you can count, with little shards of red or blue plastic intermittently littering your lane by the end of most workouts. When coach gets wise to your act—and she will—you’ll be swimming in the gutter lane.

5. Turn over on your belly to do a turn doing backstroke from the flags. For some swimming on their back is just too much. The uncertainty of knowing whether or not the wall of the pool was moved on them means that they turn over onto their belly and glide/kick into the walls from 4-5m out.

6. Be a warm-down denier. The work is done, right? So what is the point of warming down? You’ll stretch it out in the hot tub or the shower.

7. Be a loud breather/groaner while the main set is being written up on the board. Even though they have their back to you, your coach is quietly seething and/or rolling their eyes while you groan and moan about the work that lies ahead.

8. Pick your head up 3m from the wall and float in nice and easy. “You don’t sprint for 22 meters, you sprint for 25!” was a common refrain on my pool deck as a kid. It’s like the moment we see that black T on the bottom of the pool it’s time to hit the brakes. Only downside of this habit is that our finishes in races tended to look awfully similar.

9. Conveniently forget your suit/towel/goggles/cap. (Again.) There are always a couple Captain Forgetfuls on every team. Looks like it is time to hit up the old L&F Boutique* for some off-brand goggles and shorts!

10. Convince the rest of the lane to do handshake-pulls during kick sets. Ever wonder why suddenly the “3” beside the brackets outlining the main set suddenly was scribbled out and replaced with a “5”? This is why.

11. Drop any of the following just as the main set is gearing up

  • I have to get out early.
  • I think my shoulder going to act up.
  • I don’t understand what we are doing. (After a ten minute explanation of what was to be done was carefully detailed.)
  • The next top after this one, right?

12. Do the set or stroke wrong, and then when corrected, say “Yeah, yeah, I know.” Even though we know what we should be doing, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are still going to do it. (That is some logic, am I right?)

13. Be nowhere to be seen in the minutes and moments prior to the big relay of the meet. Where were you? In the gym shooting some hoops y’all!

14. Tune out when sets are being explained. It’s not enough to not listen, but then wait until the set is literally just about to start to ask, “Wait, what are we doing?”

15. Ask questions that have nothing to do with the task at hand.

Coach: “Alright, so we are going to do another round of 50’s, this time we are going to focus on keeping a stroke count under 32 for the—“

Little Bobby raises his hand, inquisitive look on his face.

Coach: “Yes, Lil Bobby?”

Little Bobby: “Can we play sharks and minnows instead of practice on Saturday morning?”

16. Never help with the equipment. “I did it last time!” is the common refrain of the equipment-setup dodger. This sometimes means practicing without backstroke flags, lane ropes, or a pace clock until coach begrudgingly goes to the equipment shed and pulls it out.

17. Be a laissez faire meet swimmer. The surest way to drive your a coach a little bit crazy is to slack off the entire season, goof off all meet, don’t warm up, and then still swim a best time anyways.

How to be a More Coachable Swimmer

By Olivier Poirier-Leroy….

We’ve all had that swimmer on our team or in our training group. The one that argues with coach every time she writes up a workout on the board. That rolls his eyes when the group is asked to do something challenging. That argues, whines and resists. You swim long enough it is inevitable that you are going to get paired up with this athlete at some point.

Some of them are more guerilla-like in their resistance. Eye-rolling, grumbling, and passive resistance in the form of not doing the sets right and ignoring instructions. Others are far more vocal, and cause practice-freezing moments where they are locked in a practice-paralyzing screaming match with coach.

We’re human. There are times where we roll our eyes, or become ungrateful to the assistance that those closest to us provide. We take things too personally, let our emotions get the best of us, and become quietly uncooperative at best, or at worst bursting like a negative solar blast.

On the other end of the spectrum is the coachable athlete. Generally speaking this swimmer has the following characteristics:

  • Listens to criticism without taking it personally.
  • Is committed to the team. Doesn’t possess a “me first, team last” mentality.
  • Is accountable for their performances.
  • Demonstrates self-control in times of difficulty and struggle, both in practice and competition.

Here are 5 tips for being a coachable swimmer:

1. Be humble.

Your swim coach is your guide along the landscape of competitive swimming. Be humble enough to realize that there is still a lot to learn, and that the journey to your goals, regardless of how exceptional they may be, cannot be completed on your own. To say that we know it all, that we know best, is to close ourselves off to learning.

2. Be attentive.

Making eye contact and listening to your coach, and not just necessarily listening to what she is saying is the way to focus. If you’re looking at your feet, fiddling with your goggle straps, or staring at the weird growth on the back of your teammates neck instead of paying attention, you’re missing the context with which the practice is being delivered.

3. Be Open.

For swimmers who tend to wear their hearts on their sleeve constructive criticism can be difficult to absorb. If your coach is giving you tips and suggestions for things to work on or improve, don’t receive them as a personal affront. If your coach cannot give you instruction without the message being lost in a cloud of indignant rage, than the cues and prompts are lost.

Have a willingness to listen without judging, because the moment you judge, is the moment you’ve already discounted whatever counsel coach is providing. Listening to what they say, and not how they say it can be helpful in this context.

4. Be courageous.

Have the capacity to embrace change. To try new things. To branch out outside of your comfort zone. And to let go. Many athletes feel that by not being coachable they are retaining control of their athletic journey. That they are the ones calling the shots.

While I understand the trepidation a swimmer might have about working with an unproven coach, insisting on certainty is just another way to avoid taking responsibility. To let go of control and to dive into the breach of the unknown requires faith and courage.

5. Be communicative.

If something is bothering you, by all means bring it up with your coach. When you feel you aren’t getting what you need from coach and you harbor it, you find yourself rolling your eyes, tuning him or her out, and complaining.

Not only is this not helping you as an athlete, it’s detrimental to team culture, and reduces your ability to be coached. Sit down with your coach and calmly outline your concerns.

February 2015

Click below to get the new Channel Cats February Newsletter

Adobe PDF Document-01

 

Click the PDF Icon!

FIVE SIGNS OF A NIGHTMARE SPORTS PARENT

Nearly 75 percent of kids who play organized sports quit by age 13.

Some find that their skill level hits a plateau and the game is no longer fun. Others simply discover other interests. But too many promising young athletes turn away from sports because their parents become insufferable.  Even professional athletes can behave inappropriately when it comes to their children. David Beckham was recently ejected from a youth soccer field for questioning an official. New Orleans radio host Bobby Hebert, a former NFL quarterback, publicly dressed down LSU football coach Les Miles after Alabama defeated LSU in the BCS title game last month. Hebert was hardly unbiased: His son had recently lost his starting position at LSU.  Mom or dad, so loving and rational at home, can transform into an ogre at a game. A lot of kids internally reach the conclusion that if they quit the sport, maybe they’ll get their dad or mom back.   As a sports parent, this is what you don’t want to become. This is what you want to avoid:

  1. Overemphasizing sports at the expense of sportsmanship: The best athletes keep their emotions in check and perform at an even keel, win or lose. Parents demonstrative in showing displeasure during a contest are sending the wrong message. Encouragement is crucial — especially when things aren’t going well on the field.
  2. Having different goals than your child: Brown and Miller suggest jotting down a list of what you want for your child during their sport season. Your son or daughter can do the same. Vastly different lists are a red flag. Kids generally want to have fun, enjoy time with their friends, improve their skills and win. Parents who write down “getting a scholarship” or “making the All-Star team” probably need to adjust their goals. “Athletes say their parents believe their role on the team is larger than what the athlete knows it to be,” Miller says.
  3. Treating your child differently after a loss than a win: Almost all parents love their children the same regardless of the outcome of a game. Yet often their behavior conveys something else. “Many young athletes indicate that conversations with their parents after a game somehow make them feel as if their value as a person was tied to playing time or winning,” Brown says.
  4. Undermining the coach: Young athletes need a single instructional voice during games. That voice has to be the coach. Kids who listen to their parents yelling instruction from the stands or even glancing at their parents for approval from the field are distracted and can’t perform at a peak level. Second-guessing the coach on the ride home is just as insidious.
  5. Living your own athletic dream through your child: A sure sign is the parent taking credit when the child has done well. “We worked on that shot for weeks in the driveway,” or “You did it just like I showed you” Another symptom is when the outcome of a game means more to a parent than to the child. If you as a parent are still depressed by a loss when the child is already off playing with friends, remind yourself that it’s not your career and you have zero control over the outcome.

FIVE SIGNS OF AN IDEAL SPORTS PARENT

Let’s hear it for the parents who do it right. In many respects, Brown and Miller say, it’s easier to be an ideal sports parent than a nightmare.
“It takes less effort,” Miller says. “Sit back and enjoy.” Here’s what to do:

  1. Cheer everybody on the team, not just your child: Parents should attend as many games as possible and be supportive, yet allow young athletes to find their own solutions. Don’t feel the need to come to their rescue at every crisis. Continue to make positive comments even when the team is struggling.
  2. Model appropriate behavior: Contrary to the old saying, children do as you do, not as you say. When a parent projects poise, control and confidence, the young athlete is likely to do the same. And when a parent doesn’t dwell on a tough loss, the young athlete will be enormously appreciative.
  3. Know what is suitable to discuss with the coach: The mental and physical treatment of your child is absolutely appropriate. So is seeking advice on ways to help your child improve. And if you are concerned about your child’s behavior in the team setting, bring that up with the coach. Taboo topics: Playing time, team strategy, and discussing team members other than your child.
  4. Know your role: Everyone at a game is either a player, a coach, an official or a spectator. “It’s wise to choose only one of those roles at a time,” Brown says. “Some adults have the false impression that by being in a crowd, they become anonymous. People behaving poorly cannot hide.” Here’s a clue: If your child seems embarrassed by you, clean up your act.
  5. Be a good listener and a great encourager: When your child is ready to talk about a game or has a question about the sport, be all ears. Then provide answers while being mindful of avoiding becoming a nightmare sports parent. Above all, be positive. Be your child’s biggest fan. “Good athletes learn better when they seek their own answers,” Brown says.

And, of course, don’t be sparing with those magic words: “I love watching you play.”

Division 3 Team Champs Update

We have taken a break from attending this meet the past two years. The coaching staff has decided to once again include it on our meet schedule. This year it will be held in Windsor, which has a beautiful facility with a very fast 10 lane 50 meter pool. Swimmers, coaches and chaperones will be travelling by bus, staying in a hotel and eating with the team. Team Champs only allows 25 swimmers from each club to compete. As a result, not all of our competitive swimmers will be able to attend. This means the coaches have to come up with a set of criteria in order to choose the team. We are now in Division three, our goal is to move back into Division two-we have to place within the top three clubs
(based on our total team score) in order to do so. Swimmers who have a chance at placing top 8 in their individual events (based on last year’s results, compared to our swimmers times) and the fastest relays per age group will be considered for the team. Team Champs only allows for one free and medley relay per age group. Our goal is to have swimmers represent each age group: 10 and under, 11/12, 13/14 and 15 and over. We will not be able to field both male and female relays because it would top us over the 25 swimmer maximum. We will choose replays that have a chance to score points based on last year’s results. Emails will go to selected swimmers by the end of the month. For those swimmers who do not meet the selection criteria, we will be offering a Team Meet again in April. This way all of our swimmers can experience a team meet. Thank-you for your understanding.

February Practice Schedule

We have added the February Practice schedule today.

You can download it here (tap the PDF icon).

Adobe PDF Document-01

Swim Meet Calendar can be found here 

3 Tips for Parents about Personal Bests

I have a freshman swimming in college and I have to remind myself that this is a transition year. Her coaches, workouts and team are new to her, she’s working out harder than ever. And she’s not getting best times at dual meets. I’m not freaking out about it. The shaved and tapered meets are still to come. It’s also possible that she won’t get best times this season.

When kids are little and learning this great sport, they seem to drop time often. As their bodies grow stronger and bigger, they drop and drop. In their late teens, they may not get a personal best except when they are shaved, tapered and wearing a fast suit.

I was asked repeatedly by parents of youngers at age group meets when my daughter was age 16 to 18 — “Was that a best time for her?”    I’d say, “No. Not close.”

“Why not? What do you think is wrong?” was the typical concerned question that followed.

I would explain about the phenomenon that swimmers don’t get best times at every meet when they are older — in my daughter’s case, age 16 on. I described training cycles and that best times would come at target meets.   Here’s my three tips about best times:

ONE

You have to trust your kid’s coach. Don’t second guess what they are doing — especially in front of your swimmer. “Coaches Coach. Parents Parent. Swimmers Swim.”

TWO

Don’t focus on the times — or you may kill your swimmer’s enthusiasm for the sport.

THREE

Trust the experience. If your child is swimming as an older teenager, they must love the physical and mental toughness of practice and competition — or they would’ve quit long ago. They are building life skills of grit, determination and perseverance.

New Website! New Opportunities

Hello fellow Channel Cats!

With a new website comes lots of little things that are missing, need to be added, or ideas on what we might add.

Please feel free to email dankershaw @ gmail.com if you spot something you need added.

I ask you paste the webaddress of the offending page to make my life easier fixing and adding things quickly.

Regards

Dan Kershaw

Logan, Calum, Grier and Marit’s Dad