Ten Things Your Coaches Really Want This Holiday

Photo Courtesy: Grace Nordquist

By Grace Nordquist, Swimming World College Intern.

There are a lot of things you could get your coach this holiday season: coffee, a personalized timer, a Christmas sweater that you force them to wear at your next meet, their favorite treat, a cap signed by the entire team, and the list goes on. But here are ten things you can get your coach this holiday season that are not only free but also what they really want.

1. A Positive Attitude


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We know things can get stressful as school gets harder and finals start. In some parts of the country, it has gotten colder and the snow is pilling up. For some of us, this isn’t our favorite weather. We’re to that point in the season where we’re really looking forward to winter break. Instead of complaining, keep a positive attitude.

2. Hard Work


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Not that you haven’t been giving your coaches hard work all season, but they always want it. The time when the season starts to feel longer is when your coach needs you to work harder. Continue to keep your mind on the goals you’ve set in the beginning of the season. Grinding through when you really have no motivation is what makes you a better swimmer in the end.

3. Fast Times


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What coach doesn’t love to see fast times? If you’ve gone to a mid-season taper meet and swam fast, your coach was probably pumped. While your coach knows you won’t always swim fast, it’s the end goal and seeing that season-best time makes them happy.

4. A Team that gets along


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The last thing any coach wants is team drama. The bigger the team, the harder this can be. It’s not easy to get along when you’re constantly together and not always the best of friends. But a team is like a family – you don’t get to choose them, but you’re stuck with them and might as well get along. So the next time a teammate does something that really gets on your nerves, try to let it go or be patient with them. After all, your coach has to deal with all of you.

5. Finishes


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If it’s one thing that will drive a coach crazy at the end of a close race, it’s a lazy finish. Every coach likes a good race with competition, but he loves when it’s his team who takes the gold. It’s painful for it to come down to the last stroke and yours is sloppy, basically giving the win to the other team.

6. No breathing in the flags


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Your coaches have been telling you since you were a kid to not breathe inside the flags. If you break out right after the flags, you lose the momentum from your turn and drive your coach crazy. Keep your head down and use your lungs that are stronger than you often give them credit for.

7. Good technique


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Whether your coach has been telling you for years now to keep your head down, work on your underwater recovery and get faster off the wall, there’s that one thing you never seem to get down. Maybe your coach is just a perfectionist, but they’re right. This holiday season, focus on that one thing as you train over break. This is a gift that keeps on giving, because it will not only make your coach happy but also benefit you as a swimmer.

8. Less Breaks in Practice


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If you’re one of the swimmers who gets out during practice to go to the bathroom, stretch, fill up your water, etc., maybe you should consider staying in a little more. If you absolutely have to go to the bathroom or have a cramp that’s unbearable, that’s understandable. But consider staying in and powering through. Practice might seem like it takes forever, but keep going, even when you really just want to get out.

9. Swimmers Being on Time


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Stop hitting snooze on your alarm and get out of bed. Next time your alarm goes off, I challenge you to hop out of bed the first time it goes off. Don’t be the swimmer everyone on the bus is waiting for. When your coach says to be somewhere at a certain time, don’t make their life difficult. Be there one time – or even 5 minutes early!

10. Good grades


Photo Courtesy: Grace Nordquist

Finals are nearing and projects, papers, and deadlines are piling up. You’re so close to the end of the semester; focus and finish strong. Remember that you’re a student-athlete, and in that order. Yes, swimming is important; however, your education and future are more important. In addition, your coach appreciates the good grades and wants to see you do well. It helps boost the team GPA and academic honors that reflect positively on your team and school.

Commentary: All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.