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SWIMMER Editorials

Thanks, Coach! (January-February 2017)

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by , January 1st, 2017 at 01:00 AM (456 Views)
If you’re fortunate enough to be swimming with an organized USMS program, complete with teammates and a coach, you’re experiencing Masters Swimming at its best. An organized club leader creates an environment in which several other things can occur.

For starters, just having someone who’s made the commitment to get up earlier than early, to beat the swimmers to the pool and get things ready for morning practice, is often underappreciated. If you’ve ever swum in a program with no coach, or swum with a coach with spotty attendance, you know what I mean. If you get to the pool and get to jump in and start swimming—without wrestling tarps or dragging lane lines—all the more fortunate you are.

Some coaches are swimmers themselves, and like to lead by example. Some do their best work without ever getting in the water. Most Masters coaches I’ve met have one thing in common: They derive a profound sense of accomplishment from helping their swimmers succeed.

And success comes in different flavors.

Whether you’re learning breaststroke for the first time or training to break a world record, a good coach approaches all your goals with equal zeal. Whether you show up five days a week and grind out every length with gusto or a few times a month as respite from a crazy schedule because being in the water is the only time you get to relax and you just want to float up and down the lane in a meditative daze, a good Masters coach is there for you. A great Masters coach accepts that these situations can occur for the same person.

This kind of support has a trickle-down effect. In my experience, there isn’t a friendlier bunch of people than a Masters swim team, and a lot of that stems from good leadership. A smart coach taps the talent on the team for tasks that give rise to a vibrant social network, one that transcends scoring points at a championship meet and puts as much emphasis on each meet day’s after-party.

And since swimmers are the nicest people on the planet, I don’t need to remind you to thank your coach—you probably already have. Whether you show your appreciation with home-baked goodies and gift cards or a smile and thanks after a workout, a good Masters coach needs to know how much your swimming experience means to you. Words and deeds that translate to “Thanks, Coach!” are what keep this cycle going.

Thanks to all the great coaches who are making magic happen on pool decks across the country.

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