1. What type of commitment is needed for higher levels of competition?
While your performance is influenced by numerous factors, there are three that exert the greatest influence: physical, technical and mental. As you progress through the sport, a greater commitment, of both time and energy, is needed to enable you to address all of these factors.
Additionally, you will be asked to take more responsibility for and ownership of your practice and competition performance. One way of doing this is by accepting responsibility for leading a lifestyle conducive to performance, i.e., proper nutrition, adequate sleep, time management and managing extra-curricular activities.
2. What does the coach mean when he/she says that you control 80% of your own training?
At this stage it is important for the athlete to take full responsibility for your sport. Your coach is just reinforcing this concept. Having a good attitude, developing proper time management, and demonstrating a strong work ethic are important both in and out of the practice and competition. What coach is referring to is what we call “hidden training factors.” You are in control of what you eat, how much sleep you get, your practice attendance, and even your effort on practice sets.
3. How can I help her reach the next level?
When you are making the transition, you need to realize that you are participating at a higher level. Improvements are in tenths and hundredths, rather than seconds, due to biological and physiological factors. Throughout your career, it’s important to have a support team. While this support is still needed at this stage, it may have to be a little different than in the past. It is a good time to discuss with your coaches and parents what you need from them. Do not be afraid to ask questions and take an active role in your training. It’s the time you should be taking on more ownership of her athletic career.
4. Are goal meetings important throughout the season?
Typically the coach likes to share his seasonal plan with the group prior to the start of the season, as well as reviewing the previous season’s strengths and weaknesses. This plan highlights the major competition, tapering and the overall training plan. By presenting you with information, the coach is making you a part of the process. This meeting may also be a prelude to individual goal setting sessions and an opportunity to begin to build team unity. Without individual and team goals, your season would resemble a sailing ship with no direction. It may get to its destination or it may not. It may get there in 2 weeks or 20 years. Without a clearly laid out plan and goals to work toward, your time spent in the pool can seem futile at times. Make sure you think of smart goals and discuss them with your coach.