Pool Side Barber Shop

Posted on February 12, 2011

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So I was just reminded by Virginia swimming alum Katie Gordon, one of the “get-out” swimmers in the Power of the Get Out Swim blog post, that an addendum was needed.  So here goes, a little “real-life” situation to my earlier post about shaving and tapering.

Katie reminded me of a jubilant coach shaving his head because his team won a Swimming National Championship, or state meet or whatever is nothing new, but maybe it was at the time, who knows?  Back in the mid 90’s when I was coaching in Winter Park, FL at the Blue Dolfins when they swam at Rollins College, I made a bet with my swimmers.

Here was the bet: Whoever lowers ALL their times at the December McDonald’s Meet in Gainesville, got the very rare opportunity to get a few seconds with the very sharp and short cutting clippers on my head.  What? What a lunatic!  (Yeah, what’s new?)

As a coach, I went an extremely long way to motivate this time.  Darn it.  Didn’t really think I would get someone to lower all their times…I believe it was a rough 9 events, so my odds were good. ………Bawhahahahaha!

Well, no need to go into details, but they all were secretly adding up their events up at the meet without me knowing or me even counting the swimmers that were achieving the feat.  All I can say is I should have sabbatoged it somehow.  I should have taken them for spicy wings the night before, or yelled “GO” for a false start, or even trained them real hard during warm-up.  Ok, so I admit it, I have a slow internal microprocessor. (10 mhz??) All of us old guys do.

No need to tell you the rest, you know it.  I had a few athletes achieve the unthinkable–including Katie Gordon–and so they earned the right to shave off my mop.  We had a major haircutting ceremony to boot, right there at pool during practice!   Talk about some additional motivation for the other swimmers! (And, not only that, we had a bunch of fun and the scars on my head healed eventually. Let’s just say not one of the ones who shaved my head is a hairdresser or barber today!

SO, coaches, perhaps offer up some unusual enticements for your swimmers to go fast. But, beware, because you never know when they might rise to the occasion!

And if former swimmers have pictures of the shaving ceremony, send them!

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