Monday, November 7, 2011

Is this Fun?

Last week while I was coaching my swimmers one of them looked up at me and asked, (insert a bit of 15 year old attitude) "After this set can we do something FUN?" Luckily, she pushed off the wall right after she said it so she did not have time to see my blank stare and "huh" face. I thought to myself, isn't this fun? Swimming some different sets with your friends, being outside, challenging yourself? When she got back to the wall I asked for more information. What do you consider fun at swim practice? Do you like challenging sets? The answer was---I don't know what is fun at swim practice but this is not it AND no, I don't like challenging swim sets. Well, that leaves me with 2 ideas 1) sharks and minnows or 2) relays. Since neither of those were feasible at the time I came up with a set involving some underwater flip turns and then some sprints. It was definitely not what she was looking for---I got the 'this is stupid and boring look' from her. Honestly, I felt a bit bad I could not satisfy her need for fun. I want my swimmers to enjoy themselves at practice but let's be honest---no matter how you disguise it you are still swimming back and forth staring at a black line. That by itself is just not fun. I am a swimmer and I can recognize that aspect of swimming. I try to keep it interesting with varying distances, some challenging intervals, kicking, etc. but there is only so much I can do. I think the fun aspect of swimming also needs to come from your motivation to push yourself in a workout.

Since I am a swimmer who thinks swimming is tons of fun I'll list some of the things I like about it:

*trying to make challenging intervals
*the burn I get in my arms during and after a swim
*water that is just the right temperature (probably on the warm side for most but that is how I like it)
*swimming butterfly (only when it looks pretty though, gets ugly after a 50 nowadays)
*band pulling (seriously, love it)
*focusing on my high elbow pulling in freestyle (yes, I am a dork)
*best average sets
*The Fernando Special (an awesome set and it never gets dull)
*sprint 25s
*flip turns

I admit I am dealing with a special population when I coach---teenagers. What they think is fun varies from day to day. Some days I get them and they want to work hard and listen to me; other days, not so much. I just try to roll with it and show them what I think is fun about swimming. They will probably appreciate it---in 10 years or so.

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