By Jim Lutz
Walking out of trials last night I heard an interesting comment from one of the coaches. This was not a "rookie" coach but a seasoned coach of many
national qualifiers and Olympic Trial participants. He felt he had not done his job correctly because his athlete fell short of making the Olympic team.
Leading up to the trials, the goal for the athlete was to perform a personal best time. When the swimmer had accomplished that feat during the preliminary heats, he/she had qualified to swim in the semi-finals. During the semi-finals, the swimmer once again had a best time and progressed to the finals. In the final heat, the swimmer performed well but failed to earn a spot on the Olympic Team.
After the race the previously mentioned coach was experiencing a very deep emotional low. He had forgotten the original "game plan" and had changed the
goals. What a shame to allow the emotions of the moment put a gray cloud over the accomplishment of their original goals.
Try to imagine getting in a sailboat and sailing across Cape Cod to Martha's Vineyard. Upon arriving, you decide that the crossing was easier than you had originally planned so you decide to cross the Atlantic ocean and sail to England.
Sounds like insanity to me yet this is the same type of pressure that coaches put upon himself or herself as their athletes elevate to higher levels. Pushing to higher levels is great, but changing your direction in midstream is not only difficult, it is a sure-fire mixture for disappointment and failure.
All too often coaches have done an excellent job training their athletes and the don't allow themselves an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labors. The coaches are not only excellent professionals, they are the epitome of working hard for minimal payback.
To all the coaches, give yourself the credit you deserve and realize the tremendous impact you have made in the lives of so many athletes. Keep up
the great job you are doing…America needs your effort.