Character First by Don & Ron Heidary (2011)


Published


Don Heidary: We’ll allude to in this talk, where does our leadership come from? Who has the ability to challenge kids to grow physically and emotionally in ways they never thought possible? I would argue that it is you, in your unique and influential role, providing influence, inspiration and motivation on a daily basis, of course, academics educate, the workforce generates material gain but athletics and their mentors explore the physical with the emotional perseverance and triumph in the individual and the team.

The athletes are unique in that they give everything they have to a demanding process that offers no guarantee and while most pursuits in life are quantifiable, personal growth through athletics is immeasurable and it is you who facilitate the growth and the process.

So it is an honor to be a coach and to be here with you. We would also like to thank Guy Edson and ASCA for the incredible work that they do and for John Leonard for his passion and support of this topic and the inspirational work that he does and for the invitation to be here.

We all come to clinics hoping to find specific things to help our program. We do a training plan, innovative sets, drills, equipment, maybe now working. We cannot offer you anything like that but some general age-old concepts, concepts that while simple in nature and understanding, are becoming threatened in an increasingly complex world, a world that seems to be closing in on our youth. We have no propriety to any of this, if anything, we are living in the past.

So we would look at this as a topdown macro view, a rising tide concept that lifts all boats from a competitive perspective. And although it may seem divorced from athletics, as some parents might suggest, we would argue that they are inextricably tied and therefore this is not only relevant but should be a prerequisite.

Our starting position is to help develop high character young men and women, regardless of age, and high character athletes who will be leaders in difference-making, difference makers not only here among their peers and teammates, but in the world. As time and years go on, we become more convinced that what can and should be gained from sports is truly invaluable and can be life-changing. For the countless hours committed, the physical, emotional and financial commitment, the sacrifices made, there has to be more than a time at the end of this process.

We see these kids as not only wrapping their lives around the sport, a team training process and a coach, but in many ways their emotional development, their college path and the person they become will be shaped by this as well. In swimming we see too many careers unravel from overzealous parents and kids obsessed with times or ego. Both miss the big picture and they ultimately lose out on the broader areas of personal development and team environment. Parents ask their kids who they beat in practice rather than who they helped and seem to care more about their kids at a place and time rather than their attitude and effort.

Too few kids want to be a character role model. And while parents like the idea, they generally want results. The process is getting lost and with it so are the virtues of team commitment, work ethic, sacrifice, humility and on and on. We have tried to deeply embed some general, character-driven concepts into our program so that it has become a blending of swimmer and team, athletes and people, sports and life. And ultimately, this becomes a byproduct of the human process.

Success may be a zero sum game but character inspiration and leadership are not. We remind every kid that some will win but everyone can be a winner in the character game. The picture on the next slide is of a disabled athlete Megan Liang who lost her leg to cancer at age 7 and she has never ever demonstrated any negativity, anything that would resemble somebody that has struggled or is at a disadvantage.

A short story about Megan, her freshman year on the senior group we were doing a kicking set, she’s 14 years old kicking with one leg, it was a vertical kicking set where they do a minute of kicking here in a streamline and then doing pullouts from a 7-foot depth. Two thirds of the way into the set, I heard a high-pitched wheezing and I walked around the pool to find out where it was coming from and it was Megan.

She never even thought to say, “I only have one leg.” This is a little bit hard for me. Maybe I shouldn’t do it, she did it. She’s been like that for 2 years and the team really rallies around her as an inspiration. She’s somebody that is truly winning the character game.

I want to give a brief background, my brother and I have been coaching for over 30 years, large summer league teams, large high school teams and we’re into aquatics in the past 18 years. We maintained an aggressive position, in this regard in all programs at all levels and all ages. The teams have been successful and we believe the philosophical backdrop has been a critical component of that success. It supports the notion that you can have both success and a cultural environment at the same time.

So it’s not a coaching philosophy, it’s really a life philosophy. And I would ask, how can you have a high character athlete without high care of the person? How can you be a high character team without high character people and interaction? And something that seems to be overlooked, name one business college team that does not want character, humility, work ethic, team commitment and to implicitly trust its members; read any mission statement in any organization. It’s right there.

A few questions that I would ask you, if you don’t mind, if you take a few seconds and think of what comes to mind, how would you define your character culture? What are the strengths and weaknesses? Is it defined more by the institution or organization, the coach, talent or social groups? Are there absent flows based on personality or is there a long-term continuity? Where does the leadership and inspiration come from, more of the coach or more of the locker room? Does the environment add or detract from the competitiveness of your team? To what degree do you trust your group left alone at a workout, an activity or a hotel? To what degree do the older swimmers look to mentor and to what degree the younger swimmers feel safe to lead?

In this talk, we’ve included several quotes and I’ll be honest with you, in an hour presentation, one or two quotes could make a difference to your team. They’ve not only made a difference to our team but our lives. So we include a number of quotes. We ask our kids to choose a few that resonate with them, to remember them and repeat them often and then try to anchor their swimming and their life to those quotes.

A short story: after purchasing a dozen or so books on quotes, a kid came up to me and said, “Donnie, I have a new app, 55,000 free quotes.” Then I said, “Well first I’d have to buy the phone. And it became a 400-dollar free app.”

In introduction, the first thing I want to talk about is challenging the societal status quo. There’s a quote that we use regularly to find comfort and those who agree with you find growth in those who don’t. We preface many conversations with kids with this quote and we ask them if it’s okay if we tell them something they don’t want to hear because we care infinitely more about their personal well-being than their swimming. The answer is always yes. But in terms of a backdrop, I would ask you, where in our culture do we celebrate culture in humility, and we would argue that society is anything but character based. Teachers and coaches are noble. The professional athletes are idolized even though for the most part they’re ego-driven, materialistic, not to mention other indiscretions.

Wall Street executives are envied for their money and power, celebrities are worshipped for their popularity and lifestyle and how many of those are really happy? Why are there so many character breakdowns in business and politics? How does one become humble, self-confident, positive and selfless when marketing tells us we’re not good enough and society tells us that success is the only measure of achievement? Honestly, it’s either self-doubt or ego and neither supports a healthy athlete.

How many teen magazines are character or service-based versus fashion or appearance-based? How many character-based video games would sell? How many TV shows are character-based versus attitude, materialism, sex, promiscuity, language, on and on and on. “The edgier, the better,” said a popular TV network executive when they orchestrated 57 F bombs during a prime time awards show. The response was, “We need to draw in the younger crowd.”

Even music, the language and the message. I went to download a song recently. There was an explicit version and a clean version. The explicit version, the bar went all the way to the right. It didn’t look like anybody downloaded the clean version.

The next slide shows the teen landscape. This is probably a short list of what teenagers deal with or face on a daily basis. In an age where media and celebrity create more false identities than products or music, we ask kids to not follow the trends but their heart and their conscience.

And we ask our kids and I would ask you, why can’t the most successful people be the most humble and appreciative? Why can’t athletes instinctively put the teen first and look to ensure the success of others ahead of their own? Why can’t a child dream of being a leader in addition to an Olympian? Why can’t kids welcome and embrace every challenge and always be positive and why can’t kids’ best friends be their parents? In pursuing a character-driven culture, you may not only be enhancing your program but saving kids from themselves.

The next slide is a hypothetical resume you may have seen, and I would suggest could be 2 sides of the same coin. You have the resume on one side; you have the character of the real life on the other side. And this is not uncommon among teenagers today. They’re pressed academically, they succeed. They’re pressed in activities, they succeed. In terms of character, that’s where the breakdown occurs. It’s not uncommon to see somebody succeed in a resume and break down in life. We call it the gift versus the wrapping, what’s outside the box versus what’s inside the box.

There was an article in our local newspaper recently. The title was, “He’s All Grown Up.” The history, he was pulled from a gang two years ago for being selfish. He now hails the coach for turning his career and his life around. The coach says, “He’s now a much different player.” The player says, “I was just trying to find myself.” I was looking at the best players and they were all selfish. I figured that was the way you were supposed to be. But I learned, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Treat others the way you want to be treated. You should be humble, be a leader and good things will come. At the end of the day, it’s not about me. Who is he? He is the highest paid tight end in NFL history, and I would ask, why couldn’t this have happened 20 years earlier? And when it finally did, it was because somebody told him, “No.” And that clearly had never happened.

A recent story, you may have heard a famous young rock musician was asked to leave a plane because his pants were too low. His response, “I’m sorry? What the F?” And those are our role models. We have a quote and a theme to prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child. Society is moving to adjust the path. The kids need to learn and the kids need to grow.

So, where does character fit in the coaching? If you’re wondering why you’re sitting here, I will start out by saying, you don’t get paid for it, you don’t get professionally recognized for it, you won’t get pushed back early in the process and it will cut in to the pure coaching time that you have.

So who really cares and what difference does it make? I’ve had parents say, what’s the big deal if they skip training? They’re going to get a good education and a good job, let it go. And our response would be, because character is more important than success, people are more important than athletes and life is more important than sports. And the “character” is the only secure foundation of the state, applies to everything. I would also add that maybe in the unseen, in self-esteem, self-awareness, accountability, improved academics, saying no to a drug alcohol or sex introduction, choosing role models over social models, a better family life, a more productive college experience to being a better employee down the road, to dealing with a life crisis, to becoming a leader and making a difference in people’s lives. And yes, quite possibly becoming a better swimmer and teammate on your team.

So how it works, it’s an every day, every minute, every lap, every one, everything, everywhere. It must go from print to life. It has to be the present. You have to watch constantly. In terms of the philosophy there must be an overrising anchor to your philosophy and it must link happiness to sports and performance. It must be an organizational mandate, a – we concept like a blanket wrapped around your team. We have seen over the years, if you deal with incidents on a case by case basis, it becomes problematic; when there’s a philosophy and a mandate, it becomes easy. Not only is it easy but kids know it. We don’t do that. We don’t do that ever, and you generally don’t have a problem. And that’s part of the vision and it has to be sold to the board, to parents, to coaches, to athletes and to the community. Everybody has to know what you stand for.

There’s a slide on with a quote “How you do anything is how you do everything,” and we talked to kids, you can’t be like disrespectful and have that not be a part of your life, and it is. And this slide basically shows key virtues that spill over into avenues of your life like academics and emotional wellbeing and healthy, social choices.

So, I want to introduce a few concepts and I know there has been a discussion at the clinic about what works and what doesn’t work. I actually, and my brother will guarantee, these concepts work. They work, they will have an impact, they will make your team better, I guarantee you. The only challenge is selling it to the kids.

The first is partners. I think it’s important to sell and move kids from partners to owners. So, you need to move people from participants and customers and swimmers. You see the first clip art; there are two people on opposite sides of the counter. I give you something, you take something. Move those people to owners, stakeholders with accountability and invested interest. You see the second picture, two people looking at the same blueprint, the same game plan. Customers will take, and I don’t mean this in a negative sense, the kids will take something from you but partners will sacrifice. They will make it work.

The team concept and we love this quote, “When he took the time to help the man up the mountain, lo, he scaled it himself. The team concept we saw as a life concept, you have kids that struggle with the team and we basically turn it around and say, “This is your life. If you can’t figure it out, you’re going to have trouble. It’s not the team; it’s you and your life.” Team is life. Your very existence is a display of teamwork, family, friends, neighbors, classmates, people you don’t like, people you like. It’s co-producing and coexisting and it requires empathy, sacrifice and unconditional commitment to a greater cause and a greater cause is your team’s wellbeing. And the last point is, that requires an unyielding view that the team always comes first and the kids need to understand it. And the point above the picture is that this concept will serve kids for their life. It’s not about your team. It’s about being a team player, and the picture was at a team dinner and everybody is in team attire and they’re getting along well.

The second is attitude, and this may be the one thing that you could know that could turn your team around and I would say is the hardest and the easiest to rectify. We do an exercise with the kids; I can do it with you now quickly. How many of you know somebody that complains? Okay it should be everybody. How many of you know somebody that complains a lot? It still should be everybody. How many of you like to hear it? And how many of you think it helps in any way? So, we ask the kids that and they get it immediately. It doesn’t help, don’t do it.

So, the message about attitude is always positive. It’s positive or nothing, and the second point we make is there is no room or reason for negativity in the life of an athlete. If you want to be an athlete and you can’t deal with negative, go find something else. Find something where you can be comfortable. But if you can’t deal with negative, this is not the place for you.

Some of these quotes I think are great. If you complain about anything, you will complain about everything. That’s human nature. A thing is not good or bad, only your perception makes it so, and then changes the perception. Any fool can criticize, condemn or complain but it takes character and compassion to be understanding and forgiving, and that’s what we want our kids to do. The picture is of kids cheering on the ring and I will guarantee you that was a positive experience for those kids.

We have given out articles, one was of a man commuting 2 and a half hours each day but was thankful for the job that he had. He didn’t criticize or complain about the commute. The second and related concept is embrace work, and the quote is a great one, “Followers see the hard work they must endure to climb the mountain of success while leaders see the success in climbing the mountain of hard work.” And this again is a very, very simple concept. You sign up to be an athlete, the essence of being an athlete is hard work and challenge, so why would you ever be negative, ever. And if you are, you either don’t understand or you’re in the wrong place.

So we make sure they understand that challenge creates growth and opportunity; you need to embrace it rather than resist it, in the same way it uses to take the path of most resistance. So, common team complaints, I’m cold, I’m hungry, the pool’s too crowded, I had a bad swim, it’s a hard set. Turn everything into a positive. We get kids out of the pool in the wind and rain and explain a set or we make it very clear, “If this is hard for you, you’re going to have a difficult time being an athlete. You probably need to move on.” If you can’t deal with this in a positive way, it’s not going to work. And the first “adversity” introduces a man to excelling if he himself supports that concept. But the points with the kids in the rain, one, this is really minor and the big picture being an athlete, two, you could have a peak meet or shaved meet in the wind and rain and if this is how you respond, you’re going to mentally fold. So you need to raise above. You talk about rising above the weather.

And the quotes below, life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another. Service over success, we talked to kids about being service oriented and doing the little things that make a big difference. The picture is 40 kids cheering for one. The little things are being the first one to the pool, the first one to the pool cover reel, helping set up, picking up garbage, every little thing that makes a big difference and ultimately defines your character. We want to have people of service. And these quotes are great, and the final analysis, there’s no solution to a man’s progress than the day’s honest work, honest decisions, generous utterances and good deeds.

And the last one, I don’t know what your destiny will be but the one thing I know, the ones among you who will truly be happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. So even with teenagers, we talk about service.

The next is people over times. And a quote by Mother Teresa, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in the world than for bread.” We make it very clear; we care infinitely more about you as a person than you as a swimmer and we would like them to all treat each other the same way. So value the individual to be defined by compassion, service, effort, integrity as opposed to appearance, things, status, grades and success. And the quote on the bottom is one that I actually carry in my wallet, “Humanity looks like bowing in the presence of kings but peasants know there are no peasants in the eyes of God and we are all royalty. Everybody is great, we need to accept and embrace everyone.”

The next is humility over ego. Again, it’s prevalent but a very simple concept. If you have an ego, you have a problem. You have a need for attention, and the quote is great, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” So in terms of ego, it’s not tolerated to the minutest degree, and they understand the concept that if they have an ego they have a problem. They need attention and we won’t give it. We ask kids to walk a path that gives attention rather than draws attention and a quote that we refer too often is there are two types of people that walk into a room: one says, “Well here I am,” and the other say, “Oh there you are,” and clearly there’s only room for one of those two types of people.

The next concept is about building leadership and we think this is – the picture at the bottom, he is actually bench pressing a person. That’s Chris Peterson. So it’s about lifting young people up. And the quote is, “If people lead, leaders will follow.” So our message here with the kids is, I think there’s a consistency, certainly athletics about hazing and about tradition. Our point is, listen, if we want leadership at its best, we need to start from day one. If you’re a young, naïve, nervous freshman, you need to learn and be nurtured and motivated from day one, and the kids need to understand that. So, we don’t tolerate anything that resembles hazing; if anything it’s the opposite. We start right away, and I’ll tell you that the young kids see it in the older kids every day. They see the demonstration of leadership, and we do this with all ages.

Team attire is simple. It’s a statement of team pride and we get this occasionally, my shirt was dirty so I wore this. And we tell them, a dirty team shirt is infinitely more important and valuable to this team than a clean grey sweatshirt. Find a team shirt or you’re not swimming in the meet. And that really is to link the attire which is basically a representation of the team. So I think team attire is important and team travel is really a sum of all of these things and I know teams wrestle with this from high school teams to club teams, but in our world it’s pretty simple: if you need a babysitter, you need another team. We will not remotely in any way tolerate or take someone on a trip that we have to worry about.

Going back to the concepts of integrity and character, why would that ever enter your mind? Why would you ever think about doing anything that would jeopardize the integrity of this team or this trip and “Integrity has no need for rules or chaperones?” I think that’s critical and the penalties are clearly severe, academics, I guess that’s the dog can’t eat your laptop. But academics on the team, we feel a part of being a student athlete and if a kid didn’t embrace academics or homework, they would really not have a place.

The only thing I would add to this, if you have kids that don’t embrace academics, what fills that void? It is generally not positive. So, we want kids to look at academics and athletics as a parallel path and they pursue both aggressively and we would tell you after 30 years of experience that they support one another, neither detracts from the other. And appreciation, a parent’s appreciation is basically a theme that we talk about. I think if you want to move forward with character and you hit humility, you have to live in appreciation for what you have and it starts with parents. We’re very aggressive about that and we give articles and talk about appreciation and what your parents do and sacrifice for you which is really everything.

We do a visualization of you standing on a stage with the light on you and you can’t see the people around you and the light moves from you to the people around you and then it becomes clear who has allowed you to get to this point and those are the people that you need to recognize every day.

We did a character camp this year which was exciting. It was for 10 to 14-year-olds. It was open to the community. We integrated life lessons into sports. It was one week, one hour in a classroom, one hour in the pool. We gave a cap, a T-shirt and a bracelet and the response was very positive. We talked about things like leadership and work ethic and attitude, selflessness and making healthy choices in life, and these were young kids that have never really heard about this before, and we asked probing questions, what is the best age to be a leader? And will you accept that you are a leader? We explained the concept that anyone is a leader. If one person follows you, you’re leading somebody and you’re leading in a positive direction or a negative direction.

We talked about drugs and alcohol and we asked questions like, “If you walked in the gate to practice and you look to the right and there were 10 people playing foursquare and to the left there was one person sitting alone, where would you go and why?” And, “What would a leader do and what would a difference-maker do?” If a coach said they needed help with laying lines at the end of workout in the wind and rain and kids were running to the shower, what would you do and why, and what would a leader do? And we asked who your best friend would be, and the answer was your parents.

We gave checklists for them to go through of the high character athlete in workout and they’re fairly common at meets, and we talked about staying positive, getting to know your teammates, checking in with a coach, finding the value in every swim and thanking the coaches and parents after the meet, and this was what we did to try to tie in a high character individual with a high character athlete. The high character athlete at home, and you might look at this, you say, “Well this doesn’t really relate to an athlete,” but we would say it does. So, if you want to look through these, we’ll do the twin switch. But the last one is things about leadership and making a difference.

Ron Heidary: I’m going to start with the “We’re not perfect” story, and this is a caveat to any of you that kind of forget about telling your college stories. So the kids, they ask us, well did you do any twin stuff in college, fun stuff that you played tricks on people? And I said, “Well we didn’t do a lot.” I said, “One thing we did was I thought it was really funny. We had the same class in college, it was a big lecture class and we broke up into sections so we had different section teachers, and we had to write a paper. We rationalized, as kids do, that it would be more prudent if we wrote one paper and turn it in to each section.”

So I’m telling the kids, well I said, “So we wrote one paper, we each turned it in,” and I said, the funny thing was, he got an A and I got a C.” I was really frustrated but I couldn’t go to the administration because it wasn’t right. And the kid looked at me, this girl and she said, “You cheated in college?” I just said, “No, no that wasn’t the point of the story. The point of the story – you missed the whole point.” It was funny, but, you got to be careful.

My first slide is, I’m glad you didn’t ask me out, the conversation that changed my life and my coaching career, and that is 25 years ago I did a program called Lifespring. My brother did it also and it’s kind of like the S program, if any of you are older, you’ll remember that. It’s a personal growth, very intensive, 5 days, 500 people in a big auditorium, you broke up and you did all this emotionally intense stuff. You would have partners and you would talk and share and you would be in groups. You really had to expose who you really were and you had to participate. I was a little bit reserved and I went through this thing and I learned a lot, but at the end of it, when everybody was mingling and congratulating, a young woman was walking over to me and I thought she was going to ask me out. My immediate thought was she’s not my type, I hope she doesn’t ask me out.

And she said, “Can I talk to you?” And I said, “Yeah sure,” and she said, “I’ve been watching you for these 5 days and I want to share something with you.” And I said, “Yes?” And she said, “You didn’t contribute anything. You didn’t open up, you didn’t share. You weren’t vulnerable. It appeared that you were reserved and watched in judgment.” And she said, “Really, you made no difference at all here.” And then she walked away. Then I thought, “Now I’m really glad she didn’t ask me out.”

But as I drove home and part of the program is, you’ve got to be honest with yourself and I didn’t. The program asked you to look at these exercises and apply them to your life. How do you live your life? If I was honest with myself, she was right and I was coaching more to succeed, and for my ego gratification and for winning. And if I coach fast swimmers, I look good but I wasn’t making a difference. I had to acknowledge that. From that day, when I was honest with myself, I promised that I would make a difference every day I walked on the deck.

What Lifespring though us was, that you don’t look at the person physically, you look into the core of who they are. You take all the façade away and you look at what’s in their heart, and in that program, we saw grown men that appeared to be mean and angry, crying and saying, “I’m tired of being so mad. I don’t want to do this anymore.” Parents are like that, they get angry, they get frustrated at teenagers, and as my brother said, “If you look at what’s inside,” and that’s what we try to do and that’s why there’s no tolerance because the kids that are acting out, they have a need. If we can get them to see that and make changes, then we can change their life. And the reality is, sometimes kids don’t want to change. I have a theme later that’s called “cut the cord” and the bottom line is, at some point you’ve got to cut the cord. But if you can change a kid’s life, you do that.

The next slide is the biggest picture, and we did an online clinic and there’s a triangle, if you’ve seen it, it’s the – be, do, have triangle. The base of the triangle is be, and if you want to get to the have, you’ve got to be that kind of person. I think if I had not have that conversation with that young woman, I would have continued my coaching career aggressively and looking for ego gratification. And I changed. So my be became, make a difference, everyday and I literally, consciously walked on the deck to do that. Whether it was a parent or a kid, and I’ve had as many interactions with parents where they are upset or they’re angry or they’re frustrated and you talk to them and you realize they’re just very insecure, they’re overprotective, they want what’s best for their kid, it’s just coming out in a bad way.

I actually had a parent tell me when we had a confrontational discussion and I was trying to explain my position, he finally said, “You know what, and I’ve never done this before. This is my first time raising a teenager. You’ve done this so tell me what I should be doing here.” But prior to that point, it was angry and questioning and just being overprotective.

So whether it is with parents or kids, I think if you can be that kind of person, you start doing those things, you’ll look at people differently and it’s one of the things my brother said, “We have no parent problems.” I mean, we just don’t. Our parents really look at us as people who are their partners to help their kids. And one of the things we talked about is the high school level; parents don’t have a lot of influence on their kids anymore.

In a cell phone in a palm of their hand, they got the whole world of media, in the palm of their hand. What can a parent do? They don’t even know what’s on their phone anymore. So they really rely on us to influence their kids. So our parents, when we have meetings, and this is one of the things we do, we talk about swimming, we certainly are competitive and that’s why we’re here and we don’t want to waste your time and money but we’ve got to develop your kids into high character young men and women. That’s what we have to do. We have to build a responsibility, and when they hear that, when they hear that, they trust. And then it gives us the latitude to discipline and to do the things we need to do.

And we can really, and it’s really nice that we can discipline kids without the phone call and without the email, and the kids understand also. And sometimes we make them do some not fun stuff, and the kids accept it, they know the deal and we don’t hear from the parents. And the next slide, why is it so important, and as I said, parents have a hard time influencing their kids. Teachers, with respect to teachers, it’s kind of a superficial relationship. We are the ones. I’ve always believed that but where it came home was recently having a conversation with one of our parents and the parent of our fastest kid and I was frustrated and I said, “I don’t know how long he can do this. It’s just hard to deal with the drinking and the social stuff.” And she said, “You can’t quit,” and she said, “Don’t you understand you’re our last line of defense. You’re it. You’re the ones who are going to save these kids,” and we all are.

When you really look at it, we are the last line of defense, coaches that can get to know kids and work with kids’ long term, and that’s the great thing about coaching. Parents ask me, would you ever be a teacher? Heck no. First of all I don’t want to do the work at home, but you don’t have the latitude to discipline and you don’t really bond with the kids. We coach kids from 8 years old to 18. We literally grow up with those kids, and it’s an incredibly intimate relationship and you can change lives that way.

So, we are the last line of defense and when I look at the coaching aspect of it, I’m trying to change lives; I mean that’s what we’re trying to do. When you see a kid with a problem, can you help that kid? Could you make a difference? And we would do anything and everything to help these kids. And if it’s clear that we can’t, that’s when we cut the cord and we’ve got to let them go so they don’t impact the team in a negative way.

The next slide about integrity, part of the B part of the pyramid is, you have impeccable integrity. Other than our college stuff, we generally do. The kids know everything we stand for is character and values, everything. It’s communicated with every action and every word, every meeting, they’re clear on it. So when we ask them or tell them or demand that they do the right thing, we have credibility. So I’m just saying, if you want to do that and you want to have those expectations for your kids, be impeccable. Show it in everything you do and then you can tell a kid, you better do the right thing, and they will respect you for that.

It hasn’t hurt our success thay one of the things is that we’re a warm and fuzzy program and we just want have kids to do well and we are concerned about swimming. The competitive side, our high school team has won 15 section championships and my high school record over the last 10 years is 170 wins and 6 losses. It can work, it has worked for us. You can be very successful and you can have a positive environment.

In terms of credibility, you try to do the right thing all of the time. We ask kids to do things that are difficult and challenging and whether it’s doing a set or swimming at a different event or doing something outside of the pool deck, and if you are right a lot, they listen to you. And if you’re not, they don’t listen to you, even if they pretend to listen to you, they roll their eyes and walk away and say, “I’m not doing that.” But I want to have the credibility to say, “You’re going to do this, it’s the right thing for you,” and the kid is going to say, “Okay, I’ll do it.” You have to be right a lot.

Sometimes I ask a kid to do something fairly extraordinary and I’m just in my mind going, “I hope he says okay, I hope he says okay.” Generally they do but you want to have that confidence. And if you lose it, it’s difficult to get it back.

Expectations need to be very clear. So you ask tangibly all the things we talked about generally, how do you get kids to do that? Well, one of the things we do, we do it consistently, is we make it clear how we want our kids to be, very clear with examples. And there are two things in the examples, one is, this is what a good teammate does. This is what they’ve done in the past. This is what we expect of you, and most importantly, they have done well in their lives because of these qualities and that’s very important.

One of my first examples is Nader Masarweh. So we would tell the kids this story every year. My first year camp in high school, 18 years ago, first week, getting to know the kids, guy gets out of the water, walks over to me and I’m thinking, what does he want, and he says, “I was wondering if you noticed,” and then he paused and I thought, “Okay if I noticed his stroke or –” he was working hard and he said, “I was wondering if you noticed that Mark has been working really hard and you haven’t mentioned him yet or given him any feedback and it would really mean a lot to him if you could do that.

And I stopped, “Wow! That was amazing!” Number one, he cares and number two, he brings it to my attention. And he gets backs in the water, and then a couple of days later, he comes to me after practice and I’m thinking, “Okay, well, this is going to be interesting.” He says, “I was wondering if you noticed,” and I thought, “Okay, notice what?” And he said, “I was wondering if you noticed that Brian has a lot of ability and he’s never really worked hard. I think he could be a very good swimmer. If you could just get that out of him, I think he could have a great year.” That was the second thing. And as prophetic as Nader was, Mark was the most inspirational swimmer and Brian was the most improved and I’m really well.

So the point is, not that we had a great camp 18 years ago, that’s a good teammate. That’s what a teammate does. And then, as my brother said, “Can you do that?” So I asked the kids in the room, “Could you be a teammate like that? Could you care that much about your other swimmers on the team?” My point about the future is, I said, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Nader Masarweh today is a doctor. He is a conscientious, caring person. He is successful.

The next example is Peter Varellas, and if you’ve heard of him, he went through our program in aquatics, he was team captain, most inspirational. He went to Stanford and he was a Stanford Male Athlete of the Year on the water polo team, they won the NCAA championships and he won a silver medal on the Olympics on the water polo team.

So the kids know Peter, he is like an icon. And I said, “You know what? Peter was late one day at a meet and it was the only time I got upset with him.” So we were at sectionals, all the kids came out, the kids are always on time. He’s late. We’re waiting and waiting, all the kids getting frustrated, 5 minutes, 7 minutes he finally comes out. I said, “Peter, why are you late?” He said, “Oh man, matter of fact, no frustration.” He said, “You know I was leaving and the team area was a mess and there was a lot of garbage and I just wanted to clean it up so I threw all the garbage out.” I said, “That was our team captain. That’s the best athlete on this team. That’s what he does.” I said, “Are you humble enough to be that kind of leader?”

For Peter Varellas, there was one more example and we talked about work ethic and kids want it now and I said, “You know when Peter was a junior, he made a water polo camp at Stanford and he was swimming with us and he did the morning workout, he went to school, he did the afternoon workout and he was supposed to drive an hour to Stanford.

His mother called me and said, “Can you get him out of the water early because he’s got a long drive and I want him to rest and eat.” And I said, “Absolutely. I agree with you.” So halfway through the workout, I said, “Peter you need to get out, you need to rest.” He said, “No I’m fine.” I said, “Peter, you got to get out,” and he said, “Let me swim a little bit more.” He swam a little bit more and I said, “Peter,” he said, “No, let me swim a little bit more.” So he does almost the whole workout. He finally gets out. He drives to Stanford and then plays two hours and comes back at 10:00, 10:30 at night.

I said, “How many of you would have taken the morning workout off? Or gotten out early or not gone in the afternoon?” I said, “Peter Varellas has a work ethic that he just does what he needs to do everyday.” And you know what, and I said, “It didn’t pay off for him in a week or a month and even in a year. But doing that over years and years and years puts him on the Olympic thing. And without that work ethic, he doesn’t make the Olympic team.”

So those are the examples that we share with the kids. I said, “There’s another team example, we had a guy named Zach Disbrow, as a junior. And we had a workout, we had 4 workout groups every stroke and he was in the butterfly group.” And I had the separate sets and I set, “When you’re done, you warm down and get out.” And the freestyler group finished and they got out, the butterfly group finished, they got out and he stayed and he kept swimming. Then the backstroke group finished five minutes later and they got out and he kept swimming. Then the breaststrokers were last and they finally finished and then they warmed down and he was still swimming and then when the last breaststroker got out, he got out. And I kind of have a sense of what he did but I asked him and I said, “Zach, why did you stay in?” And he said, “Well I didn’t think it was right that I get out when my teammates are still swimming so I just felt I should stay in.”

I said, “Zach, I really appreciate that. Listen, I’m going to need you to be a leader. I want you to keep doing that.” And he said, “If I ever don’t do something that is leadership oriented, can you tell me?” And I said, “Absolutely I will.” Six years later, he was the captain of the West Point Swim Team and he made Olympic Trials which was a huge deal for him. So, the point to the kids is, do the right thing, care, be a great teammate and it’s going to serve you the rest of your life. So those are the tangible things. So the kids hear that and they know. Going to the next slide, just trying to be more practical, whether you agree or disagree, like it or not, I’m just telling you what we do and what works.

If you’re coaching a group and there is the broad range of personalities, we or I tried to break them down this way, I identify kids I can trust that I know, I can count on, that believe in what I’m doing, unconditionally and that’s one group. And then there’s a group in the middle that could go either way and I look at those kids and I see who can I move into the first group, who’s got that personality type? Then there’s the group of kids that are not onboard. You really need to identify the groups of kids and the kids that are not on board, you’ve got to watch closely and you’ve got to figure out who you can bring into the middle group at least and who you can’t. And the ones that you can’t you’ve got to cut the cord on. Because you guys know as well as I do, one kid in a locker room can spoil the team, one kid can influence them.

We’ve seen it, they just pull kids in to do what they do and the negativity grows and you’ve got to be very observant about all the kids in your group and really try to identify and work with the ones you can. Favoritism, absolutely, and I’ll tell you my first favorite as my introduction, I was a 16-year-old assistant coach on a rec team and there was a coach that was older and very wise, strong personality and we had had a parent meeting and the parents were frustrated with some things, and then one of the parents stands up and says, “Well we don’t like the way you play favorites.” How do you respond to that? And he said, “Of course, I play favorites.” You’re not supposed to do that and I thought, “Holy crap, did he just say what I think he said?” Then he said, “You better believe I play favorites. The kids that come to practice every day, the kids that work hard, the kids that have the best attitude, they get the most attention, and absolutely I do.”

And he was right, and I agree with that and that’s the way I do it too. Our feeling is when you allocate attention to those kids and I’m not saying only the fastest kids, I’m saying the kids that come to practice and do the right thing and work hard, and the kids that don’t, they get less attention. For me, I’m not real sensitive about it, I make it clear. I make it very clear and that’s the way it’s going to be. My point is, the kids that don’t get a lot of attention, the ones that want to do better, they’ll do better. You’ll see them trying harder, and the ones that don’t, they won’t even care.

So, you put a spotlight on those kids and you try to bring other kids in, make it something that they want. They want your attention and they’re going to work for it, and I make them work for it. And one of my conversations 15 years ago with one of our fastest kids was, she said after workout, “Will you help me with my dive?” I said no and she said, “No, seriously. Can you help me with my dive after work?” and I said no, I’m serious. She said, “Why not?” I said, “You missed working workout. I’m not helping with your dive. You want me to help with your dive, don’t miss workout.” And she started coming to morning workouts. But it was just a matter of fact.

Coaching your favorites aggressively, absolutely and the point I made earlier was, it can’t be about just the fast swimmers because that’s where you get in trouble with favoritism. It has to be a broad base; the kids have to do the right thing. To give it and take it away, the way I have done it is that the attention you give and things you provide for the kids and the bond that you develop is conditional. I don’t believe in unconditional coaching. I could believe in unconditional love but the coaching and attention, that’s conditional.

So, when kids start to stray a little bit, the conversation is, I’m not going to coach you the same if you make those choices. And we had a girl as a sophomore who was trying to work hard and get better and she was struggling with drinking issues and social issues and she didn’t know how to talk to me about it and she finally said, “I’m invited to these parties and the kids go and they drink and I don’t know what to do and sometimes I kind of want to go because I want to be involved.” And would that upset you, she’s just saying “What do I do?” I said, “Well let me tell you, you can do whatever you want to do. I can’t tell you what you can and can’t do. The only thing I’ll tell you is, if you make that choice, our relationship is over as a coach and swimmer, over. So you decide what’s important to you, but that’s the consequence.”

So they know and I think you got to do that and we’ve had talks with our groups, the top core kids and said, this is the standard, there’s no deviation, there’s no allowance. If you can’t do this, you’re out. And they could be the best kid. But the kids know that there are very strict boundaries and they follow that.

Some of the basic rules which my brother has talked about, we just don’t want the kids to lie. We try to tell them, just be honest. I know that they are so used to lying in school and with their parents and even if it’s not an absolute lie, it’s a subtle lie that’s not really true, just be honest, just tell me what’s going on. You try to react reasonably but we try to get them to be honest. If you missed practice recently, just tell me that and we can move forward. I tell them that the problem is, if you lie to me and I find out about it, which I probably will, that means I can never trust you again and our relationship is not very good. So it’s not worth it to do that, just be honest and be accountable.

No bad language, we’re not into that. The dude and bro and the garbage talk. We’ve coached swimming workouts on one side of the pool and had 11, 12, 13, 14 water polo workout right next to us and you’re hearing the F bombs right and left from these kids and it’s unbelievable that that stuff is allowed. We just don’t want that. Nobody ever talks when we talk. If you are a younger coach and kids talk when you talk, you’ve got to stop it, zero. Because if you let them do it, they keep doing it and then you get frustrated and you get mad at them and then they keep doing it. So our policy is when we start talking, zip it.

We don’t really even have to be on them about it; the kids kind of reinforce it. If somebody is talking and I start talking, the kid will say, “Shh, pay attention.” So they’re really good about that, in workout and in meetings, and no low pants or inappropriate dress. I just think it’s disgusting. I don’t know if I’m old fashioned. I feel like I’ve become the – from the cool coach to the don’t play on my lawn kind of guy, yelling to get off my lawn. But we don’t like that, I just think that it’s just gross and so, they don’t. Every once in a while a new kid comes in, his pants might be low; I just tell him, pull your pants up or don’t come back. And I tell them I’ll buy you a belt, tell me what your waist size is, I’ll have it tomorrow.

Some workout guidelines, just generally everybody gets in together. You always struggle with kids coming in, kids coming late, they stand around. We just wait. And if it’s raining they wait and then they get the message and the kids get frustrated. So we get in together, our warm-up is non-stop. We’ve had issues with kids that want to stop and play and it just becomes chaos. So it’s just non-stop. You just swim and you work on stuff. Have integrity about doing everything, it goes back to the integrity issue. We want our kids to understand, you do everything as it’s asked all the time. I don’t care what it is. If warm down is at 300, you do the 300.

We had an issue years ago where the warm down was 10, 50 freestyle, fade at nine, they go, oh let’s just get out and we had a discussion about it which wasn’t very positive, either I trust you or I don’t trust you. So, they’ve got to have integrity and our move-up guidelines, specifically from one group to the next, from senior 1 to senior 2 to senior 3, there’re four criteria and what it does is it gives us some flexibility and a little bit of an out. If you’ve got a fast kid, even a fast kid that comes to work out all the time but that’s not mature, so it’s maturity and attitude, attendance, training ability and times. We would take a kid that had the maturity, attendance and trainability in no times over the fast kid that trained well but that was immature and would bring the work out down.

So, that’s what’s worked well for us and it’s given us a lot of flexibility. The punishment, we call it disincentive. The punishment I think is very important because there’s got to be repercussion. There just has to be repercussions when kids do something wrong, otherwise they never learn. It needs to be fair so they respect it. It needs to be quick, it needs to be severe so that it’s impacting and consistent and forgiving also, and we forgive a lot of stuff and never make a rule you have to break.

On the swift and severe and forgiving, it all happened when we had a drinking issue years ago which was at the time catastrophic to our team, it happened outside of a team activity and my brother wrote a letter, a two-page letter about it, I think it was either an ASCA magazine or it could be online; it is the best thing I have ever read and I bet it’s going to be the best thing that you will ever read anywhere printed in the country on how a coach should deal with teenage alcohol use, and how to get them to understand why it matters and how to get them to understand why it matters.

So anyway, we have these issues, he wrote this letter. We had a meeting about it. There were a lot of tears, it was basically brought to light, discussed, and the kids that were involved, we said, “Okay here’s the deal, you write a letter; you tell everything you did honestly. If you lie in the letter you’re done. If you want to apologize, do it in the letter.” And we said, “If you want to stay in the team, you write that letter. If you don’t then we leave.”

All the kids wrote a letter and it was generally I think very heartfelt. A lot of the kids were kind of discussing with themselves for being in that position. They recognized the wrong they did and it put them on a better path. So, that was one of the things. So I think if we had just said let it go and try to have it be swept under the rug, I think that stuff would continue.

So, it was better I think for the kids and the kids in the future to do the right thing. Sample punishments years ago, we had an Olympic Trial swimmer at a high school championship meet. She did something that wasn’t team-oriented, I took her out. That was a statement that was to the whole team and that lasted a decade of credibility on our part that it doesn’t matter who you are. If you don’t do the things we ask you to do, you’re out. I think the parents and the team appreciated that.

I forfeited a dual meet to our rival and it was the most important meet of the year and it was my brother’s team, actually. It was very intense, and we had some kids do some bad stuff, and they did it outside, they did it on their own and we found out about it right before the meet. We had a team meeting about it, 95% of the kids had no clue what was going on and I said, we’re forfeiting this meet. We’re going to lose out on our undefeated at season.

The kids were very upset and the parents were upset. I tried to explain to them, look, the team stuff doesn’t just work when you do good things. You’re accountable for everything. If they did this, they affect the team and if you don’t like it, then you make sure this stuff doesn’t happen again. So, we did that. That was a team thing. And I did get back-slashed by some parents who were very upset and I got a half an hour tongue lashing from a parent, how it was unfair to his son because I took that last meet away from him. I tried to explain my position but in the long run, it was the right thing to do and it was best for the program, and we left 3 kids in a hotel in New York City which doesn’t sound safe. But our thing is we leave. If we’re going to go, we go. Kids need to learn lessons.

So these 3 girls, older girls that generally were not responsible, they were 5 minutes late. They had parents as chaperones, I said we’re leaving. I said we’re leaving, we’re going and we left and they finally came down and they called and the mom went back and got them about 8:30 or 8:45 but I made my point. And the funny story about the hot pocket is, which it doesn’t always have to be mean, but when we travel on a chartered bus, we go right away. The kids know that and they are on time or early, and if I walked out on time, I’m later than the kids are.

We get on the bus, is everybody here, is everybody here? We’re in the middle of a big parking lot and one of the kids say, “Tyler is not here.” I said, “Who’s in Tyler’s room?” These couple kids raise their hand and I said, “Did you walk out? Did you see him? How do you leave without him?” And they said, “Well he was busy,” and I said, “Busy doing what? He knows you’re leaving and you’re on time. He was heating up a hot pocket. And I said, “You’re telling me that he’s heating up a hot pocket and he’s going to make the entire team late?” And they said, “Yeah that’s what he’s doing.”

So I said, “Okay here’s what we’re going to do, I told the bus driver, when he comes around the corner, you start driving and you start pulling away.” And I told the kids not to look. So, it was a big parking lot, he walks around the corner, he’s got his towel over his hand and he’s walking toward the bus and I had the bus driver slowly rev up the engine. And I see him look up and he starts walking faster and then I tell the bus driver to speed up a little bit. Then he starts running with a hot pocket and then he goes for his phone and he’s trying to dial and you see him running with a hot pocket trying to dial and we went all the way to the street and turned the blinker on and he’s running and dialing and he had no idea. But it just made a point but didn’t do it in a mean way.

Kids get frustrated if you’re on them too much. A conversation I have with kids is, if they say, “You’re on me, you’re bugging me,” whatever it is, “You’re too hard,” I just say this, “Do you want me to lower my standards?” And they say, “What?” And I say “Do you want me to lower my standards? I’m trying to coach you to get to the next level, trying to do things I think you need to do and if you don’t like it and you’re uncomfortable, I’ll lower my standards.” Then they go, “Well, I don’t want you to do that.” I said, “Well look, I’m going to do it this way, if you don’t like it then don’t complain, but if you complain I’m going to stop.” So I think that always works when I say I’m going to lower my standards, man they just stop.

Discipline without punishment, I’ve got to hurry up through this. The example, kid doesn’t help with lane lines and covers and I watched in the warm up, I pull them out and I say, “Did you help with laying lines?” And he says, “Well, kind of,” and I said, “Did you pull a lane line down?” He said, “Well, no.” I said, “Well, I know you didn’t because I watched you,” and I said, “Do you want to move up to the senior 3 group?” He said, “Yeah I do,” and I said, “Well, if you don’t help with the lane lines, your chances of moving up, no matter how hard you work, no matter how fast you get, are zero, zero.” And I walked away. So I made my point. I didn’t have to yell, I didn’t have to punish. But that’s important to us and we watch that.

Part of this whole thing is with the rules and the stuff is, to create an environment that you don’t need rules. You create an environment where you don’t have to punish and get upset. That’s the idea, and we generally have a great environment, our kids do the things they need to do, they set up, we don’t ask, we don’t have to discipline and I mean we did a lot of stuff early to set that environment but that’s the idea. It’s not to be a policeman everyday on the deck.

These team workouts, we have Friday meetings and I think this is really important, every Friday we have a team meeting and in that meeting we talk about these concepts, we give stories, we talk about the stories, we talk about life issues and I think the kids really appreciate that. And they save the stories and the articles and so everyday, or every week, that’s what we do. Then we have team workouts and you’re talking about team integration and camaraderie, we have team workouts every Friday and sometimes in the mornings and during the week and we intermix the kids, we do challenge sets, we do games and I think it’s one of the best things we do, because the kids really feel like they’re part of the team. They all do, and the slowest kid feels like he’s up here with the fastest kids.

So that’s one of the things. We don’t have that elitism and the ego. And articles we give, this is an example and we talked to the kids about stuff, bad TV, economics, teen stardom and like my brother said, the Facebook thing, the media, the internet, I just think it is really bad and kids almost just get hypnotized by it, and we talked a lot about what the dangers of it and how do you stay away from it.

Dealing with teenager issues, we do try to be empathetic. We go to dinner with kids, we get ice cream, we talk and if you’ve got a kid that’s really troubled, go off the deck and just have an honest conversation with him, be real. We talk about things that we’ve been through like a kid says, “My parents are going through a divorce,” and we’re aware of that, it’s troubling them. Our parents went through divorce when we were in high school. We go get something to eat and talk about it and let them share.

As far as the drinking issue without attacking, one of the things we say and we said this in the meeting that we had a couple of days ago with our senior group, and I tell the kids, I know it’s popular and the pressure, but you’ve just got to consider this: the most mature, secure, confident kids that we have ever had on this team, the best leaders, the most inspirational kids, the best role models have never drunk. You’ve got to consider that they have never had a need to drink. So, if you see yourself that way, then you make those choices. But you don’t need to.

Let me just finish the integrity cheating issue. It breaks your heart. A girl comes up to me and says, “I don’t know what to do. Almost everybody in my class is cheating. I don’t want to cheat and now my grade suffers, what do I do?” And that’s a tough one. That’s a really tough one. We had a meeting about cheating and we talked about it, we talked about all you have is who you are and your integrity and it’s a life issue and it’s not about this test today or tomorrow and it’s even a spiritual issue. It’s about who you are in the depths of your soul. It’s all that.

We had a good talk about it and we got this email three years later, it says, “Ronnie and Donnie hello, I couldn’t help in noticing a new story about a mass-cheating attempt on a test at a major college involving more than 200 students. From a video taken by a local news station, a student is interviewed saying that, everyone cheats in life and something along the lines of there is nothing wrong with cheating to get ahead. The reason I’m bringing this to your attention is because I wanted to thank you for everything you’ve taught me. I specifically remember having a team meeting about cheating and life and in the classroom and how to protect your personal integrity, during my sophomore year, or junior year in high school.

And so, it does come back and you don’t necessarily know when you have those meetings or those talks that it’s going to make a difference. But you have confidence that it will and some people are going to be impacted by it and he was. I think the girl was able to deal with that better. On the drinking issue, our position is adamantly no. We just don’t agree with it under any circumstance, we’re not going to act to it, it’s not that big of a deal if you do it a little bit, and we’re not.

As my brother said and he wrote in the letter that a little bit can lead to tragedy and pain and loss and the easiest thing is just don’t do it. Just don’t do it and the point is, be somebody that’s secure enough that you don’t need to do it. And that’s what we try to teach the kids, that you just don’t need it, because they’re not going to not drink because of a rule, and they’re not going to not drink because they’re going to get punished. And so everything we do is try to create that framework, that bottom of the pyramid, be part, to be somebody who doesn’t need to do those things.

One quick example is that we had a swimmer go to college as a freshman and he was hazed to drink and he didn’t, and he was hazed repeatedly and he didn’t do it. I met with him afterwards in the middle of the year when he came back and he said, “You know what, the stuff that we did here and my teammates that supported me to not drink, I felt the strength of character really to not give in. I felt validated in my position on that.” And so, it does help.

The last thing, I do want to read this because the drinking article that my brother wrote, you got to get a copy of it and you can share it with your kids or your parents, but he says in a small part of this in the middle, we have seen up close every aspect of substance abuse from alcoholism to hard drug abuse to endless rehabs, an abyss of a mother’s pain and even prison. Please don’t insult us by telling us it is no big deal. Wait until your daughter tells you not to worry that it’s no big deal.

About 5 years ago, a swimmer walked onto the deck of this pool and told us he wanted to join our team. We knew he was a known drug user. We pulled him aside and told him that we were aware of his reputation and his social life and why we wouldn’t allow him a trial period if we heard one word related to drugs spoken in front of any member of this time at anytime, he would be gone and regret this meeting. He chose not to join the team.

You were about 12 years old at that time and neither you nor your parents were ever aware of a 2-minute conversation that put your safety and the protection of this team ahead of a new member. So you tell us where social life ends and team character begins. We may not know the exact answer but we will always ear on the side of caution for you. While some of you want to draw a line that separates this team from the rest of your life, we never have. We have never stopped caring about you or stopped supporting you when we leave the pool deck or take off our team jacket. And that puts it in the best context.

My brother wrote that. And what precipitated that letter was, in a meeting, that alcohol meeting, when we were talking about this and a 16-year-old girl raises her hand and says, “If my mom doesn’t have a problem with this, why do you?” That was the issue, and she didn’t last on the team much longer.

But anyway, I’m done and I appreciate your time in going overtime and thank my brother for putting this presentation together

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