Often this kind of reflection focuses on new ideas. New ideas are great. Change is necessary. But I have found myself repeating a foolish mistake too many times: forgetting what worked in the first place.
I'm coaching a high school swim team. After announcing it on this blog, I promised that I would share the letter I would send to the year round coaches of swimmers that are on the team. The following is a template that I will send with some personalized modifications:
This coming season, I will be the head swimming coach for Oratory Prep. It has come to my attention that (swimmer) competes year round representing your team. I am writing you today with the intention of beginning a dialogue about (swimmer’s) swimming career. I believe that this is important to do because if we can find a way to work together, then we will be doing the best thing for (swimmer).
First, I want to recognize some of the limitations of high school swimming and how we can address them. The season is short, and so are the events. If (swimmer) is training to compete in distance events, that information is incredibly important for us. I will ask swimmers to report this information to me and will communicate to them that their season plan all practices will be designed with their long term development in mind.
To that end, there are two huge areas where you can help (swimmer) as it pertains to high school swimming. First, I would like to hear from both of you what the most important competitions are that will take place during this high school season or following it. In turn, I will communicate where the highest priorities of the coming high school season are, and I invite you to discuss with me how we can come up with the best possible way to prioritize these competitions.
Second, your experience coaching this swimmer is invaluable to me and (swimmer). Please share with me as much information as you can about what works well for (swimmer), What kinds of things he responds well to, what he doesn't and all that you have learned about (swimmer) both in terms of swim practice and your relationship with (swimmer)
Lastly, your sharing progress on what kinds of challenges the swimmer is currently working through would be extremely helpful. I will continue this work when (swimmer) is with me. I will be an open book and communicate with you what we have been working on at our practices.
Please let me know what the best way to communicate with you would be: I am happy to talk over the phone, meet you at your practice, or continue this communication in writing
I look forward to working together with you and (swimmer) to help him achieve his long term swimming goals.