As I said before, I try not to rant, bitch, and/or moan in the TSC newsletters, but my emotions have hijacked my reason this morning and is pounding my keyboard right now, so please excuse me as I rant
Yesterday, I was helping out at my team’s swim practice; since we only have two lanes available to us I had decided to swim earlier. Many of the swimmers who show up to this evening session are beginners so the paces are typically slower, and the practice’s emphasis is more on form and efficiency instead of speed and calorie burning. Compared to the Master’s swim team, a notoriously competitive group of elite, nationally ranked and pre-Olympic swimmers whom we share the pool with, we look extremely slow. However, that does not phase me in the least bit.
I actually prefer it this way. I have coached a variety of athletes from people who are just starting out to elite runners going to Nationals, but it is the former that I like working with the most. They are open to suggestions, eager to improve, motivated to change their form, and overall “hungry.”
They also do not take themselves or the sport too seriously, placing fun and good times over major accomplishments or breaking records. If they do not hit their splits, they are disappointed but smile and carry on with all the effort they can muster. No drama, no throwing of swim caps, and no excuses.
In my mind these are true athletes who juggle full time jobs, families, life stress, and personal issues yet still have time to train. They may never make it the Olympics or Kona but with their attitude they ALWAYS make it the finish line.
I was standing on the pool deck watching them hit their main set and making sure I did not see any crossing over when the “coach” of the master’s swim team turns to me, points to one of my swimmers, and says: “What is he? a Football player? He will never be a swimmer. Why do you even bother?”
I wanted to slap him in the face, throw him in the pool or run him over on my bike; however, I restrained myself and just said, “He is a hard worker who is just starting out. He will get there.”
“Good luck with that one. Keep on dreaming there kid,” he replied and walked off to talk to one of his “elite.”
He obviously does not understand the definition of an athlete. Athletes come in many forms, sizes, races, speeds, and abilities. It does not matter if you can hit a 1:10/100 yrd split or 2:00 taking a break at the wall. Rather it is about your attitude. If you are willing to work, put in the time, show up to practice, and want to improve then you are, in my mind, an athlete. You can swim as fast as you would like but if you only get into the pool “when you feel like it” or do not put your heart into it, then you are not an athlete to me and can get the hell out of my lane. You are getting in the way of my real athletes who are actually trying.
Remember, it is not where you begin but where you end that defines a career, so keep on swimming!
Words of Wisdom:
Hard work beats talent every time that talent fails to work hard.
Workout of the Week: Its the off season so you may notice a shift in the specificity of the workouts from speed to endurance. I will still include speed sets of course but in limited dosages
200 warm up, nice and easy with your choice of stroke
2x(3×100) with 15 seconds rest: choose three drills (e.g. catch up, fist, and 6/3/6 (6 kicks on left, 2 strokes, 6 kicks on right) then repeat
4x 500 as 400 going from a nice tempo for 200 then pick it up for 150, then all out for 50+100 easy. 30 sec. rest
200 cool down with perfect form
(note that the main set can be done continuously if you want some TSC brownie points)