Question about scholastic swim team coaching from KWB and a reply

Question:

Need some ideas..did a goals meeting tonight since I felt tension in my small high school team. We have a very new team dynamic this year won our 1st meet since 1999. We have some are very talented young swimmers with big goals ie state champion. Some who admittedly say they are social swimmers upperclassmen. The Social swimmers are not interested in practicing or winning just want to have fun. Show up late, leave early, skip practice all together or just sit and watch or talk during sets. They feel too much emphasis on winning this year Others want to win and improve. Not enough swimmers to have jv and varsity. So no matter how poor attitude or motivation is everyone swims or we cant cover every event. How do I meet both groups needs working those with goals hard enough to meet them and some how get the non-competetive group to try without jealousy coming into play.

Reply from Coach Mark:

You won’t meet the needs of two camps. However, I think it would be better to look at the needs of each individual and try to meet his or her needs — as a person, as an athlete, as a swimmer, as a school student, as a mentor. So, break it down to personal relationships. Trust and respect with each person. However, this gets really libertarian rather quickly. Monolithic TEAM — not so much.

IMHO, I love to stress that kids on the team, and kids in life, need to have brushes with excellence. It is a perspective thing. Sure, everything in life isn’t going to be great, be excellent, be all academic Ivy League. But, we need to have our kids have exposure to witness that — or perhaps some — to live it, or be near it.

How cool is it that you’ve got a team-mate with state champion goals.

Your goal talk was a great way to get that discussion rolling. You will need more and more of them, in semi-private, individual and public ways.

Understand, that how I treat SAM is not going to be exactly like how I treat YOU. Worry most about the 1-to-1 with each athlete. Athletes can’t mind nor be jealous of what unfolds in another relationship. We all need to share the respect of team and we all have a role within the overall squad.

We need social swimmers. I value social swimmers. Social swimmers should be, and are welcomed. But, social swimmers who get in the way of other people, then they are really being anti-social and are a problem that is about disrespect and dishonesty.

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