Read Part 2 HERE
I jump again to October 2015. And again refer back to my question
To Give It Up, or to Give It My All, That Is the Question
I gave it my all. It’s now or never. Think of your biggest fear. Think of it as an individual, as a coach or as a participant in your sport. What do you do? Its fight or flight.
I know as a coach what it looks like to see a swimmer at that pivotal moment of give up or give it their all. I have seen this go both ways and as a coach you can feel at a loss when it is the give up moments. My instinct with one swimmer was to respond in quite a maternal fashion, protect, support, be that shoulder to cry on. But there is that nigle, that I suppose stems from my own experience, that I want to scream “give it all you have, don’t give up, you have no idea how hard it is when it is all taken away from you, don’t take it away from yourself!”.
An hours training session felt like an eternity. I was exhausted after 50m, I couldn’t catch my breath partly because my body was thinking WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME? partly the anxiety was making me panic.
MY coach appeared at my side, myself, no longer the coach, but the person being coached. I had switched positions to being the one in need rather than providing it. Coaches are like a branch missing from a family tree. The influential part of our existence in sport that can go completely under the radar and drift by us without a second glance. Whether you are the coach or being coached, what would you say to yourself or your swimmer?
GIVE UP OR GIVE IT YOUR ALL!
The position of a coach is hard to define. There is no job title or specification. You don’t fit a criteria making you suitable for interview. I can describe my coach because of how he impacts on me and I can describe the coaches I have worked alongside as to how they have impacted on my coaching career. There are many similarities, some differences but that is what a coach should be. Different, unique, one of a kind, the list could go on.
Ask one of your swimmers, or anyone you coach, “who am I?”, I wonder what they would say?
If you reach a cross road of give up or give it your all, what is there to lose? You give it your all and it doesn’t go to plan, CHANGE THE PLAN! You give up and whatever it is that makes you think this way has forced your hand.
Life can throw a huge curve ball at you. Do you catch it or let it hit you? Do you catch it or let it fly by? Do you catch it and throw it right back?
The only point repeated is to catch it!
Coaches need to be able to catch. You can catch if you are ready, even if you aren’t you can try!
You might drop the ball.
PICK IT UP, DO NOT LEAVE IT ON THE GROUND BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE WILL PICK IT UP AND YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO GET IT BACK!
I will round off what can only be descried as the longest blog in publication but also a way for me to see what I have accomplished and hopefully shed a tiny amount of light onto a coach somewhere who may be thinking of giving it up.
My future in swimming will unravel perhaps during or maybe after my Masters course. I want to take my identity as a coach, my identity changes through my coaching career and use it to help, support and help coaches and swimmers alike to give it their all. What is there to lose? I lost my identity as a coach for a while. I gave up but a coach was the individual to add heat to that slowly burning ember. My desire to coach, to swim, to learn gradually built to what it is today. There have been set backs, there will be more. I am currently injured but my coach spoke to me, and didn’t hold back. “stop punishing yourself! SWIMMERS have set backs all the time, you should know that you are a COACH as well!”. I was reminded of my identity.
Coaches, you are one of a kind. We may fall under the same job title but ask yourself;
I may be a coach but who am I?
Don’t ask the question I proposed at the beginning, to give up or to give it my all?
DON’T GIVE UP, GIVE IT YOUR ALL
YOU ARE GREATER THAN YOU THINK
YOU ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU KNOW
YOU ARE YOU AND THAT IS A GREAT PERSON TO BE!
Bio: I have been swimming since I was 3 years old, training with a competitive club since I was 5 and first raced at the age of 6. I am passionate about swimming and it has been the focus of most of my life. Having gained my Level 1 and 2 teaching certificates I studied at the University of Gloucestershire from which I hold a BSc in Sports Science and Coaching. I have coached mainstream and disability squads with both Gloucester City Swimming Club and Stockport Metro prior to and during my time at University. After I finished my BSc I spent a year coaching swimming at the Shanghai REGO International School I returned to competitive swimming in October 2015 where I now train within the Masters program under Harry Needs at Stockport Metro swimming Club. I compete in masters events across the country and am aiming t5o compete in next year’s World Championships in Budapest. As of September 2016 I will be studying for an MSc in Sport, Physical Activity and Mental Health. My ambition is to able to write and publish works in this area of sport particularly with a swimming focus of parents, coaches and swimmers alike.