September 30, 2012
Coach Brian’s Corner
At the end of each month I will be posting a short message, involving swimming and the Osprey.
Our Clinics have gone well so far. We’ve had the freestyle and the backstroke. The key to developing our swimmers is exposing them to sound teaching of correct mechanics with consistent repetition. Yesterday 15 year old Owen McCormick was in the pool with other swimmers from the Sr., Age group Elite and Varsity groups, helping the coaches instruct the swimmers attending the Clinic, demonstrating outstanding form. Owen’s backstroke is one of the best on the team, having been formed by countless repetition of laps and drills over the past 6 years, as well as a steady diet of Osprey Fall Stroke Clinics. Owen is fast because he is a hard worker who loves to swim and loves to race. It’s one of his life’s priorities. But he is also fast because his parents recognized, support and encourage that priority.
No one plays a more important role in the development of an athlete than the parent! The parent’s role is to identify the right team, one that reflects their values, and then support the coaching staff and team. But most important, the successful swim parent must encourage and support, (never coach) their child through the ups and downs that come with participating; parenting them with life lessons, demonstrating unconditional love and support while fostering sportsmanship and character.
There are many factors that go into a swimmer becoming a JO or Far Western swimmer and beyond. But no single factor is more important than consistent exposure to the sport; to practice, to swim meets and clinics. It’s like the old Woody Allen line, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Over 20 years of coaching, I’ve noticed a few things. One is this, people like what they are good at, and are good at what they like. A swimmer with regular practice attendance gets good at the drills, skills and concepts being taught, becomes stronger and more fit. They get to like the success they feel in the water by what they are accomplishing, and that in turn feeds further attendance and success at meets.
Coaching great Bill Sweetenham said, “Fundamental technique is critical to high end performance.” That ethos has been the cornerstone of our success over the years. Every team is known for something or other. We seek to be known for that, in addition to hard work and character.
This past month two Osprey from the senior group, high school seniors Rachel Owen and Linnea Mack, took multiple recruiting trips to different Division 1 and Pac 12 colleges. These visits begin on a Thursday evening and go to Sunday morning, with the swimmer’s expenses paid by the college. They visit their campus, meet the Coach and get to know the team by staying with a host athlete at the college. Each of these young ladies has worked hard to earn the opportunities now before her, to continue her education, to swim on an elite college team and likely receive scholarship and financial aid in the process.
Linnea joined the Osprey when she was 8 and Rachel came to us when she was 12, after swimming since she was 10. Throughout their years on the team, both young ladies have been consistent recipients of the Osprey Commitment Award, presented to an athlete attending 85% of the practices and meets. John Gruden said it best, “the accumulation of hard work is a powerful thing.”
Indeed, the key to excellence is consistency!