Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Love/Hate relationship with the 60min workout

I both hate and love 60min practices. 

I hate them because it takes me almost 60min (and several drafts) to plan an effective, time efficient and quality 60min practice. There is little time for explanation, no time to start something again and no time for garbage metres. Every metre has to count in my workouts and even more so when I am pressed into 60min on Wednesday morning*. 

*We can only get 60min that morning because the high school team has the pool from 6:30-8am and I don't want my athletes in the water earlier than 5:25am. Some mornings, they will let us drift a few minutes into their pool time (as a favour to me) if we need an extra couple of min.

The success of the 60min workout on Wednesday morning is largely dependant on the athletes. They need to be awake and ready to go. If I can get things explained quickly (a set that we have "rehearsed" before or a very basic concept that they are familiar with) there is very little for me to do other than bark commands,  call out reminders, minimal stroke correction, refresh the focus points of the set and deal with issues as they arise. If athletes are not awake, not able to focus on a complicated set or drag themselves in late, the whole thing falls to crap. Which is a long way of explaining the second reason I hate 60min practices: I am not in control - its all up to teenagers to be on the ball at 5:30am.

But when things are done well, I love them! This morning my senior group did a pretty tough speed set of 25s. The concept was not complicated but the effort was there.  One of the things I am noticing with this particular group of seniors is the level of personal growth they are showing. 8 months ago, many of these athletes would be sprinting 25s at 16 or 17 seconds, where as this morning, the slowest was 15.8 or 16.2 (BR& FLY). True effort was given to the full 60min of work and I couldn't be happier to see it.

I often wonder if my athletes resent me for making them do work while not doing it myself. I am trying to remember if I felt that towards any of my coaches during my 16 year career. I don't believe that I did... however, I knew how much time Dean Boles, Alan Swanston, Bud McAllister and the others spent numerous hours planning and re-planning in order to get the best results (and Bud worked out, himself, on a bike and in the weight room for about 5 hours/day between workouts). Anyone interested, start asking me for the pages and pages of drafts for next Wednesday's workout; I'll be working on it this afternoon.