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Message From The Coach

Welcome to Wake!!!

We will be spending a long hot summer together getting to know each other and learning many new things. Parents - you must be dedicated to your swimmer(s) to survive this sport!! You are responsible to have your swimmer at practices, on time, 3 days a week in order for them to be in top shape to improve their performance. If they are not in shape , it will affect what events they swim and what relays they will qualify for. It only takes 72 hours to become out of shape which is the length of time between our weekend events and the first practice of the week on Tuesdays.

Your swimmer (if new to this sport), will have to learn to do the 4 competitive strokes properly, a turn (at the wall if swimming 50’s or more) that correlates with the stroke, and also 3 different starts off the starting blocks for back, breast and free.

I ask parents to be realistic and fair to your swimmer(s), he or she may not learn everything the first season, and it takes time and patience for all of us. There are exceptions and it can happen but it usually takes 3 complete seasons of hard 3 days a week practices before it all clicks! Give the sport and the swimmer a chance to come together. There is no other sport as rewarding and as healthy as swimming.

I consider all of my swimmers a part of my family and they should know that the following are very important to me:

  • I expect proper conduct at all times.
  • I am a technique freak.
  • I will not move on to something else until what is being taught has been learned.
  • I am positive but honest.
  • I try not to over coach.
  • I allow swimmers to choose what events they swim at meets.
  • I encourage good eating habits.
  • I expect teammates to respect one another and motivate each other.
  • I like to try different things and expect swimmers to be responsible to bring equipment if asked.
  • I am happy, win or lose, if the event is swam properly.
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To the Parents:

A Coach’s biggest job is to instill self-discipline in each swimmer and to make those miles of swimming that long black line each day FUN!!!  I truly believe that each child should compete with their own goals in mind, not someone else’s goals.  It is the coach’s responsibility to help each swimmer achieve their own personal goals.  Swimming is a personal sport.  It's exciting and very self-satisfying - win or lose.  If a swimmer improves a time at a meet, the swimmer is always a winner!

To have the most effective program, the coach should have the only voice of authority, in all technical swimming matters.  At the start of the season, the coach must make it clear to swimmers and parents that the coach is in complete charge.  It is the coach who corrects style, decides what strokes to practice, what type of workouts the team needs, etc.  Any swimmer or parent who cannot accept this should NOT be involved in competitive swimming, or any other sport.

Having knowledge of the sport and being able to communicate it to your team is always a daily challenge that most coaches love!  I look forward to a great season for all of our Wake swimmers!

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To the Swimmers

For those of you who will be swimming this season, it would be a great idea if you would start getting in shape by riding your bike or running a couple of miles per day.

Here are a few more tips a swimmer should do to prepare for the swim season:

A swimmer knows to eat three well-balanced meals a day with the following in mind:

  • Start with a high protein breakfast.
  • No sugar foods the day before or the day of a swim meet.
  • Eat a lot of fruit (especially bananas) and drink water or unsweetened juice, if you're having cramps.  NO SPORTS DRINKS!
  • Pasta makes a wonderful dinner meal the night before a swim meet.
  • Snack on raw veggies, sunflower seeds, peanuts, raisins, fruit, applesauce, and low-fat yogurt during the swim meets.

    A swimmer thinks positive:

    • Think “I can do it” and you will.
    • When you are on the starting block, going into a turn, or finishing a race, think about what you should be doing.
    • Have Self-confidence!
    • The will to win is achieved only by the willingness to prepare to win.
    • Remember the 3 “D’s”:
      • Discipline
      • Determination
      • Dedication
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    To the Parents and the Swimmers

    My Job as Coach:  Good Coaching is Good Teaching!

    Introduce the skills to be learned.

    1. Be Brief!  Kids get bored - name the skill and give a reason for using it.  Sometimes the reason for learning the skill is not obvious to someone new or with little swimming experience.
    2. Practice the skills until learned.  Provide feedback to correct errors, positive approach is, of course, always the best approach.
    3. Sportsmanship - Motivation - Empathy - Responsibility - Independence.  Keep winning in perspective.  Help kids develop physically (diet) and socially (team-building).
    4. Communicate with a positive approach and with consistency.  Learn how to listen.
    5. Have realistic goals about the child’s and team's abilities.
    6. Avoid constant instruction during practice and at meets.  Do not judge constantly.  Yelling only takes the fun out of the activity.

    Hopefully, I can help the parents understand that the child should establish his or her own goals.  Every child has a different skill level and learning ability.  Some parents convince their children to reach for goals that are physically impossible.  When this happens, what they are doing is no longer fun and "no self-worth" can take over.  Each child has his or her own limit and parents must learn to accept this, as I must as Coach.  When athletes are pushed too much they become anxious.  Anxiety causes muscles to tense, so movements are no longer smooth and easy.  When they are relaxed, they feel more in control, and can fulfill their own goals and have success.

    At the end of the day, we're all here for one reason - FUN!

    Looking forward to a great Swim Season!


    Coach Leland 

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