Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reaching new levels..

I had a meeting with my head coach the other day. I think he is a great coach, great person, and has a great philosophy on swimming. He is "young" for a head coach, at age 34, and combined with me (age group coach, at age 26) we are a young coaching duo. In the coaching world, probably like other jobs and areas of life, most successful coaches have had mentors. My head coach is ALWAYS learning, loves to learn from others, and loves to be critiqued. He was BORN to be a coach.

I got into coaching dragging my heels. I only did it because I needed money out of college, and I knew I had coaching to fall back on. While in college, as team captain, my teammates would tell me "You're going to end up coaching." I would respond, NEVER! Because I believe it is HARD to be a good coach. Because how many swimmers (or any year round athletes from young age) have ISSUES and SCARS in their life from their coach?!!?!! I did NOT want to ever be that person.

But now, I'm coming to the end of my 4th year coaching year round. I haven't left coaching. I've found more reasons to stay. I don't know if I've bought into the idea that I was "born" for it like my head coach, because do I have that same passion? Do I desire to become a better coach? Get mentored? Go through more of the learning/training/academic steps available? Well, like he does with the athletes our head coach is challenging our staff (that means me and him right now..haha, we're still a new/growing team). In a mentor/managerial way he has challenged me to reach for a new level in coaching, change some things, and given me tips and advice. This, of course, sounds all good and exciting...and it is...except for my own fears. To bring my athletes to the next level, means I have to move to the next level. But as we were talking my head coach could see my resistance. I told him my fear as a coach - of putting a watch to them too much that their self worth is from the numbers on the watch, that standards and qualifying will be held at such esteemed heights that you must measure up, that unless your a top athlete in the group you are not worth the coached time, and the list can go on from the scars of my past and others. In his wisdom, he said that these fears will hold not only me back from my healing (which I realized that my years of "healing" from swimming was obviously not through) but would also hold my athletes back from reaching their potential. Ouch. We talked about some ways to time athletes and build self worth, how to reach standards but always try your best, how to appreciate everyone on the team, etc.

I left with the same thought I had in college...it is HARD to be a good coach. It is a lot of work. But I have seen the fruits of labor, not only in times reached in the pool, but on the mentoring side of athletics, as well as my own growth as a human/coach.

Now my questions to blog world...
What does a "good coach" look like? Have you ever had one?
What do you wish your coach would have done? Or not done?
What are ways your coach made you feel good, special, happy?
What do you consider the most "fun" time you had in sport? What did that look like?
As parents, what do you expect your kids coach to be teaching?
As parents, what do you hope your kids will get out of sports?

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Post Ironman Depression...is what the second week after your IM will feel like, is what was described to me.

I have not been depressed. I think mostly b/c I've been so friggin busy. The time I would have been training/tapering is now spent sleeping and getting caught up and organized for my team(s). I do miss having a goal, so I've looked ahead a bit. I'm 90% sure I'm going to do another Tri in August or September...maybe even a 70.3. I feel like it'd be a waste to not use this base I have. I'm even debating a running race! Besides a Race for the Cure 5k I did in college, I've NEVER ran a running race. I'm looking into some trail races....just b/c it sounds more interesting. Yes, I know that most triathletes have their whole season planned out with A,B,C races....and I don't b/c #1 - I don't REALLY consider myself a triathlete (its not my complete lifestyle and identity) - #2 - its so darn expensive...and we are......um, in not highly paying jobs (I know, you're surprised that a swim coach isn't making 100k). So, I may have some more training updates soon.

There has been no training since IM CDA. I have swam about 5 times....twice in the water as a coach to help some IM Canada friends since their race is coming up and they wanted some tips (we'll see what happens in 1 month). I've ran 4 times....twice with the dog up "the ridge" (our regional park behind our house...trail running/hiking). My runs have been sans garmin....no idea how far, how fast, how long...LOVED IT! I have yet to be on my bike...not because I don't "want" to, but mostly b/c cycling just takes more time (that I haven't had).

These are some of the faces I've been able to hang out with everyday....

Yesterday, the FMRC IM CDA'rs had a reunion at Ernests' house with an awesome BBQ. It was a fun time to reminisce about our training and racing. We shared our highs and lows the day. We had many stories to laugh at and many stories to cringe at. We talked about when we would do another one, and how we would all train and race a bit differently. Our spouses were again supportive and joined in our accomplishments. I really appreciated doing that, and look forward more training and racing with these amazing athletes.

And.....one last picture of a time I reminisced about from IM CDA. I've been searching the internet for a youtube video or a picture of someone capturing MY MOMENT OF HUMILITY after the swim. And I've found it!!! So, please enjoy my 15 minutes of fame/shame! ;)