Up to the Scary Group!

Posted on June 16, 2011

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Hello, back again.  It surely has been a crazy month with tons going on, helping with Florida Swim Network, swimming meets and a 70.3 event that was quite fun!

I wanted to talk about this time a year that means only one big step in a swimmer’s progress.  This giant leap involves moving up into the scary Senior Group and/or doing two practices a day over the summer.  It is a time where the last of the training wheels are finally taken off.  For us, the time is after school ends for the summer and the athlete is going into 9th grade or high school.  Currently this season, I had roughly 12 kids or so and it surely was a sad transition for me. And now that most of the group has transferred to the Senior Group, I know that the moving up was a great idea.  Why?  They need the extra work and the extra discipline along with the internal pressure they put on themselves to see their potential through.  Not only was my son in the group, but a few kids that I’ve known for years and years.

 What They Don’t Know Is

What they don’t know is that these extra practices along with extra yardage and dryland will make them more tired than they have ever been. Broken down beyond their own thoughts would ever take them. What won’t kill them will make them stronger, right?

Maturity Levels of the Senior Athletes

What also will happen is the newcomers will see that the athletes in this group most likely “want” to be there and are not pushed by their parents. They want to train hard and they want to be in the best shape of their life.  So what happens? Success breeds success in training and in the “will to succeed” area with what they are doing.  Also the newcomers to the group learn from the more experienced swimmers and hopefully it’s the correct things.

Meets

What some athletes don’t know about swimming in meets with all this extra training is that meets are sometimes painful both physically with all the hard training going on and mentally, because sometimes best times are extremely hard to come by, but not impossible. With me, when I used to swim years ago and swim in meets while training hard and doing doubles, I was down right awful.  Yeah, that’s right, even horrible.  BUT, I knew that I was training hard and as long as the athlete knows that, the taper and shave will be ballistic. Let up? Even if slow in practice, keep the hammer down!  The agony will pay off.

There is a time and place for every athlete to go to the next level. Some times are different than others, but mostly between 14-15 years old seems to work out best.  A general step in progress and training is the best way to grow mentally and physically in a young athlete. If you are an athlete, train hard, even if you are crazy tired, eat well and sleep as much as you can. 

If you are a parent, feed them, support them, and realize what they are going through.  They are the hardest working athletes in the world.  If you are a coach, train them harder and understand that you have athletes that love to be the hardest working athlete on the planet.

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Posted in: Raising the bar, Tips