View Full Version : Sparta or Athens?

July 28th, 2009, 01:32 PM
For the last few years I've been thinking...
What is the best solution for every swimmer?

A. Keeping them going and making sure they like swimming?
This way they will keep training and will maintain better technique.. This sacrifices hardcore training and they will be a bit slower because of it, but at least they won't quit training at 16y...

B. Making them as fast as possible, as soon as possible?
This way swimmers will be faster, however injuries will happen more often, boredom will set in at about 16y and let's face it... They quit swimming earlier because of it, but they will be faster at an earlier age...

I want to say that option A is the best, because too many talented swimmers quit because of boredom and puberty...
That way they will at least keep swimming...

But i've seen option B working aswell... The less talented and physically weaker swimmers are at a huge disadvantage here and will eventually quit because of the lack of attention they get...

So I ask you guys the ultimate question:
A or B?
Keep the group going (A) or choose to coach only the best (B)? Not an easy choice, so answer honestly, please...

July 28th, 2009, 02:36 PM
Where I coach the goal is most definately 'A'. Our goal is to foster a love of the sport of swimming for our swimmers entire life not just until they turn 18. A lot of our swimmers go on to swim in college, either on college or clubs teams.

July 28th, 2009, 06:06 PM
That depends how close the sport is to extinction. You'd like a large enough pool (pun unintended) to have good competition and talent to draw from. Too few swimmers == not enough resources for the sport.

For example, the NFL and MLB can afford a few teams performing poorly, and still have enough good teams to keep fans interested in the games. That compares to college water polo, which in the past was in danger of dropping the NCAA championships because the number of D1 schools was close to the limit.

July 29th, 2009, 09:22 AM
I think you can do both. You can push kids wretchedly hard, but you need to make sure they know that their efforts are appreciated. Further, you need to make sure that you train them to follow the best stroke practices to ensure the fewest possible injuries, and let them know that is why you train them like you do. You need to throw in a game night once every couple of weeks, as a pleasant surprise to kids that may be feeling a bit beaten by the last few practices. Last, you need to know the difference between being strict and having high expectations and, on the other hand, being mean and abusive. Obviously, the latter is bad, but being strict and having high expectations, if such qualities are delivered to the swimmers with affection and concern for their future, can really do wonders for your team. I think too many people think that it is either A or B, these days, and, given those choices, everyone except the sort of coach that shouldn't be coaching chooses option A. However, a third option is available, and that is, as expressed above herein, to push them very hard but to make sure they know at all times that their individual benefit is always your highest goal. When you lose sight of the individuals and start thinking only of the team's benefit, then you lose swimmers.