Team Building by Mark Onstott (2014)


All right, we are going to talk about team building. I am actually formally of New Trier High School. I retired this year. After 20 years there 39 years of coaching and what I am going to talk about this morning and this afternoon are basically things we did at New Trier.

Why team building? Basically team building brings about better results. It brings out the best in everyone. It, it develops loyalty and a deeper commitment, relationships of interdependency on a team. It allows everyone to shine, it just it just feels good and it builds deep teams, deep teams that are going to perform at a better level. We have on the boys team in New Trier we have somewhere between a 100 and 120 kids. Ah we have two pools on two different campuses, three miles apart and they are – there are five practice groups, which I believe includes our divers. So we have people spread out all over and by focusing on building the team we really get everybody together and can move the whole program forward.

This is my opinion on what team building is not and we don’t do these things. So it’s not artificial, you know we don’t do a lot of games that that would be identified as we are going to be building the team now. We don’t do icebreakers, the girl’s season just started up there and I am pretty sure the girls spent a lot of time the first week out on the field in a circle singing Kumbaya, but we don’t do that. I think it works for some situations. We don’t do a lot of those type warm up activities you know and ropes course. I have done ropes course before. They are fun, but I am not sure they are they are really great for building the team. What it is again in my opinion? It is an organic process that takes place as you are maneuvering through a season. It’s very natural, it’s kind of built into what’s going on and it involves a lot of memory making.

Kind of narrow this down to the six C’s of a team. Culture, which is number one on list, it is definitely number one, it is – it’s the biggie. Cooperative Energy, Collective Power, Common Purpose, Commitment to a Collective Win and Cultivation of Individual Greatness and Culture; your team and program have a culture. As a young coach I don’t think I ever thought about it, but your team definitely has a culture and you want to make sure that you drive and direct that culture where it’s going, what it’s about, who you are.

The culture at New Trier is really centered around our core values and beliefs and I checked yesterday if you still go on the New Trier website, you go to the boys team and if you go to the handbook the core values and beliefs are still the same as of yesterday and this is the two big ones. If you ask me what is the key to New Trier Swimming you know what, what do you value the most, what do you believe in and it is the team and hard work.

The team gives you that big picture, again you are talking about a 120 guys and we have a lot of guys now. When I got there we didn’t have very many guys that came from a club situation. We have a lot more now and you know a club situation tends to be a little more narrower, a lot of individual, a lot about them, what’s good for them, where they can go, what they can do, what works for them, what practice works for them. We are a little bit bigger picture situation and it’s about the team. We talk about team goals, team outcomes and the team agenda and we really focus on the those things as we go through the season and the guys know then when they come into the high school season that you know their best event maybe the 100 fly, but we got three other 100 flyers and they maybe swimming the 100 free or you know they may not know what they are going to be swimming because as the season goes on things change.

And then hard work, you got a lot of hard work because it’s controllable. You can’t control the talent that arrives at your door, you know you coach who shows up, but you can control how hard you work and as a coach you can control the work level of your team. Basically hard work everybody can do it. They can work hard at whatever level they happen to be at and hard work is a great equalizer; you know the person who works hard can beat the person with a little more talent who doesn’t work this hard. And I found this graphic, I think it came across my twitter feed, I am not sure where from, but I have always told the guys there is no I in team but as it turns out there is.

Culture, more culture; everyone has value, this is really, really important to New Trier Swimming anywhere I have coached. We are not a team that separates out the top 15 kids and we put them in the varsity practice and ah they don’t interact with anybody else and I don’t interact with anybody else. It is really a situation where we are trying to connect everybody out through the whole season and again five practices, two different pools; it’s ah not easy to do, but some of the things that we ah that we espouse are no cut and I know Orval was talking about the that kids that he has had on his team.

We, every year we have kids come out for the swim team who really don’t know how to swim. I get phone calls from parents and it’s always scary, you probably get these about the parent who wants their son or daughter to come up for swimming and you ask if they can swim and they always say yeah they swim every day and what they really mean is they go to the pool every day and you know then they show up and they really can’t swim. They don’t really have any idea.

We have a great freshman coach and a great novice level JV coach and both of them work with kids of, you know varying abilities, and but it’s all very inexperienced, but we don’t cut anybody and everybody swims in meet. Great thing about swimming we have three level meets and so we have a lot of opportunities, we swim in a lot of eight lane pools, including our own, so we have a lot of lanes in general and everybody gets to swim.

Everyone has potential, a lot of times it’s easy to just look at those who are the most talented and the most confident and look at those and think those are the once that have the potential, but diamonds in the rough, I heard that this morning they are out there and if you coach everyone and we do we are very fortunate to have several coaches spread out at all these different practices, but every single kid is coached and they are coached with the tenacity that we coach our varsity level kids.

We expect everyone to contribute. Now they may not be contributing at the state meet but we expect everyone to contribute to the team. So nobody gets to show up and just say well you know I I want to get in shape or what we hear a lot is I want to get in shape for Water Polo, Water Polo is a spring sport in Illinois and so it comes right after the boy’s season. Well they can get in shape for Water Polo, but they have [clears throat] other responsibilities of being on the boys swimming and diving team.

And then we expect everyone to swim fast. We expect everybody at the end of the year is going to have lifetime best. They are going to swim fast and we are going to do everything we can to make sure that happens. So we are going to train them, we are going to coach them and we are going to taper them and give each taper and we have about five to seven different taper groups as we finish everybody out. Each taper group you know gets that focus and that special feeling so they understand that the meet they are going to is important and what they do there is important.

We also feel everyone has a niche or a job, a role and we work really hard to find those roles for people and I remember when I was coaching smaller teams a lot of times you know that guy who just went very fast where you put him in the 500 and but you know he had a job, he had a role, he knew what he was supposed to do. Every job is important to the team success. Again, we have a lot of meets. There are weekends where we will go to five different meets with different levels kids going all over and all of that is important because at the end of the year we kind of – we calculate everything and we are and we are looking to be undefeated all the way across and not just on the varsity level, everything is important. And of course that leads to the success of the individual and the individual success leads to the success of the team.

When you have this culture, that that I think we developed it in New Trier, everybody is important, but everybody has responsibilities. So, we have expectations of them, we have high expectations of them. We ah, expect them to be a practice. If they want to win a – an award at any level, a freshman award, a sophomore award, a JV award or a varsity award they have to attend 90% of all practices. Now each of those, different levels has a different number of practices that they have a week. But we expect them to be at – actually it’s 90% of all activities, so, swimming meet counts as an activity. So, if you are on the varsity team you probably have most of the season. You have 12 opportunities to be, at the pool every week, ah basically two times every day.

On, Friday and Saturday one of those is a meet. Ah everybody is expected to participate in meets. So again we have some kids, who don’t maybe want to swim in meets because they are just trying to swim and get in shape, for their Water Polo participation. Well we expect everybody to swim in meets. We expect outstanding academics. New Trier is a challenging academic environment. It is an outstanding high school in all respects and the academics are – are tremendous. The academic expectations are very high.

Pretty much every teacher at New Trier feels like the only class the kid is taking is the one they are in with that teacher. So, you know homework, projects, expectations are off the charts and of course behavior, we expect just tremendous sportsmanship and tremendous behavior out of our kids. And that you know, that [laughs] that can be really challenging with a 120 kids. Usually where three or four who cannot swim and you are – you are still at midseason wondering why they are on the swim team.

Rituals are very important to your culture. Everybody has rituals traditions that they have. Ah New Trier had some when I got there, ah but in the 18 years before I got there, kind of the between Dave Robertson and Mark Onstott years there were five different coaches.

New Trier at the point when Dave Robertson left in 1976 I believe it had three coaches since 1912. One of those coaches coached six years and the other two were on the 30’s and in the high 20’s. So, then we go through five coaches and a lot of the tradition and the rituals and the important things about New Trier Swimming were – were lost in the transitions. Ah so, one of the things that I did when I first got there is we went to a standard suit for practice. When I got there I realized that all the teams in Illinois this – this was not the case in – in Texas, but all the teams in Illinois were – wore what they called baggy suits, drag suits.

So right away I went out and got our guys baggy suits because I want to do what the best in the state was doing and we wore nylon, Kiefer nylon PE suits to practice in and to swim meets in. We also during the first part of our season, usually the first six weeks we wore gym shorts. That kind of plays into the hard work that it also was part of our uniform. We have t-shirts, you know shorts all that stuff that’s kind of the normal that I am sure everybody does, but at a meet we don’t allow the kids to wear anything except our warm up, ah t-shirts, swimming t-shirts, New Trier High School swimming t-shirts, so we don’t allow club shirts. We don’t allow ah soccer shirts or whatever math club, we get a lot of that at New Trier. Water Polo whatever other team they are on we focus – that’s got to be a New Trier Swimming t-shirt.

Same with the shorts, suits, they wear the suits, we – at different meets we will wear either our baggy suit or our ha, regular brief depending on the situation. We also have equipment bags and equipment that is New Trier and we want them to us our equipment with a couple of exceptions we have the nylon mesh bags and so I want every kid to have that that blue bag, bring that blue bag out, not a club blue bag or a – a club orange bag or whatever color it is and I want them to have the equipment that we are giving them except for their snorkels and I do allow a little leeway on paddles that they have paddles that are working for them. A lot of times I don’t like to mess with that because I – I don’t like I am blaming the paddles for you know not feeling good or not looking good.

This is actually Bolles School right here. Sergio was kind enough to invite some of the NISCA guys out there, a couple of days ago and to see his – his situation there with his 21 lanes in one pool and his eight or eight lanes in another pool and he had his high school group just starting in, as they were getting ready to swim we were in the office talking and he pointed out that he requires them all to wear the solid blue, suit and if they wear a cap to wear the orange Bolles cap. Not any other cap, the orange Bolles cap and I think that’s critically important, for team identity and their culture.

As I was getting ready for this I was talking to my daughter and we were talking about kind of New Trier. She was the freshman, my first year at New Trier. And so she was on deck at her first swim meet. Her first swim meet was two weeks into the season. I am positive that every guy on that swim team was wondering what the heck, I am sure they were, we went from one practice a day and then my first day from that point on we are going to two practices a day, but what I have the guys do is we all go in the locker room before the, before the meet starts. So we have a meeting in the locker room, but then we all walk out and we walk out in a single file line and I mean literally I went down the line and made sure every kid had their jacket zipped up to the right place that they didn’t have, you know their towels in there they looked good.

And they walked out on deck and we had some parents that were kind of down helping and my daughter has never told me this, this was 20 years ago. And she told me just – just the other day that the parents who were on deck when the guys walked out they looked at each other and literally just said this is going to be different and that was the culture I wanted to create. We are not doing what’s been happening for the last 18 years. This is going to be different. We are swimming a team that are beating us, the previous eight years, which I didn’t know of course, ignorance is bliss. And we won it in the last relay and things from that point got a little different.

Part of our pre-meet preparation we do have a 120 guys and you are warming up a 120 guys in either two lanes, three lanes or four lanes depending on the situation. We have a standard warm up. We do the warm up the same all year, we kind of switch up build, descend on parts of it, but they know what they are supposed to do. I have captains run the warm up, but we have to run them in and out pretty quick. So, we don’t get a 2000 yard warm up. We usually go about 13, 1400 yards and we have to rotate in five, six, seven groups depending on how many lanes we have.

Get everybody out, get them in the locker room and go through, you know kind of a quite period in the locker room before we have captains talk and we have coaches talk and get them focused for the meet and kind of what’s going on the next day or the next week because that’s, that’s our time together all 100 plus of them and then we go out.

The national anthem, several years ago probably 13 years ago we decided that was an important thing. I have a diving coach who was a marine and you know, we talked soon after 9/11, it had always been very, very important that we were out there and we are lined up in a line, you know not just the 75 or 75 feet of the pool, but you know wall to wall on a straight line looking at the flag; but about 13 years ago we decided we were going to sing the National Anthem, which as you can probably guess was rocky to begin with, but the guys really picked up on it and they – it’s part of our ritual, it’s part of what we do. We have been to meets where the National Anthem like they are having trouble with their audio and we just start singing and then, you know everybody is singing and it’s really a great unifier for our team to do that together.

We also have a team cheer, I was told by my assistant coach Bruce Burton who is the son of Evanston coach, Dobbie Burton, former Evanston coach; and New Trier and Evanston are pretty much arch rivals and so his – his son, you know is coaching at New Trier, which is interesting, but he is our freshman coach, outstanding coach and he told me, ha you know just I don’t know, ha… when it was, a few years ago. It really surprised me he said, you know before you got here nobody did team cheers and of course now everybody does a team cheer and now you got to – you got to pick your time, you know at the state meet or even at a dual meet, you got a, you know a timing so you are not cheering over each other.

Well, we have a team cheer it’s basically a team cheer that I picked at Mankato State, which is now Minnesota State. I went there one year stole their cheer and left, a and then went down to Kennedy Coach there, put the cheer in and went down to Sypher I put the cheer in. Everywhere I go I just take the cheer with me. We have been doing that for 20 years and the guys you know, get in the big huddle and they jump up and down, they do things I really don’t, I don’t like them jumping up and down I think they look stupid. They break benches and luckily only at our pool, but again that’s a very unifying thing that we do and it’s part of our culture.

So, more rituals and traditions, this is some stuff. We do workout stuff and – and fun stuff we try to do over Winter break. Ah, Winter break, you know we – we go from here to here ramping up what we are doing and how we are doing it. Usually you know you have Christmas, you have Christmas Eve, New Years Eve, and New Year is in there so we already have in my opinion six practices that we can’t do. So, we hit it pretty hard. Rollercoaster, this is a rollercoaster, not a very good picture but basically the peaks and the valleys are different distances and different repeats I do. Ah, six minute distances based on cruise intervals and when we do the rollercoaster we do six minute distances, 12 minute distances, 18 minute distances and so that the – the higher the peak, the more minutes and so for each one of those like a six minute distance our best kids were going 550 yards and usually have an interval somewhere between 615 and 630, ah but based on their 600 time they might have only be going 450 yards on our varsity level.

So kids are going different distances but they are going for the same, on the same interval. I would start drawing this about a week before we do it and ah you know the – you know they – they know it’s coming, they know we are going to do it every year. They know it’s coming, but when it’s on the starts and I do it just a little at the time like the – like I am building a rollercoaster and ah, they are so excited to see that.

Pigeon, anybody play pigeon, pigeon is a great game. Good nobody plays it. Ah, I tell everybody I invented it. So, ah pigeon is basically a game we play, line them up on the edge, side of the pool. When you say pigeon, they dive in, swim over as fast as they can and get out of the water. Last one over is out. Anybody who goes in when you say any word other than pigeon is out. Ah, we play that over Winter break and you know they have a lot of fun with it. Ah, we have a – we crowned a pigeon champion and you know my job I win when I get the last year champion and I get them out and they don’t win.

I think my sons senior year that was him. He won the year before and nailed him as senior year. Ahm, but it’s fun, we end practice with it, they get in some fast swimming, they are swimming 20 yards, ah they actually get in some good dives, some good reaction time, they have to listen, because I say a lot of words to begin with P and it confuses them if they are not listening. A lot of times I just say go and they all go and I win.

The Plunge, everybody knows that the Plunge was a high school event at a one. Anybody know that, the Plunge? Everybody know what the Plunge is? The Plunge is basically where you dive in and glide. Now most pools back them were 20 yards, so they would glide the whole 20 yards. Ah so it was actually a timed event. Ah, we have results at New Trier that go back into the teens and the Plunge was quite an event.

There was also an event back then called Tilting and if anybody knows what that is let me know because there is no record of what it is. We don’t do that one. So we do the Plunge on one day, we just line everybody up; we get them in one lane they go and whoever goes that far is the winner. Ah, we have kids that go 25 yards, but not very many. Not very many can go 25 yards.

Ah Rudolph’s Ride that’s just something we do on Christmas Eve, just for fun and basically, it’s probably hazing although we try to do in the nicest way possible. We usually have a few freshmen on the team and the team kind of you know gets together and they pick either the smallest freshman or the mouthiest freshman. A lot of times that’s the same guy and we have them swim 50 yards with a team, you know down the middle two lanes. The team is on the lane lines outside of those lanes and they are splashing because, you know Rudolph’s Ride was a rough one that night and so we do it on Christmas Eve and again they get out of practice little early, so they are happy.

100×100’s is some we have been – I was, I am yet to look about the first year, we did this probably about 1986 down in Texas and we do 100’s – 100’s. Ah last, several years we have done it on, ah New Year’s Eve, so we only have one practice. The parents come in and do a breakfast buffet for the guys and ah it works out pretty good. The 100×100’s is the fastest ha interval that I have had anybody going on, I think this 105 had four or five – three or four kids do that and that is difficult. It’s, I tell the kids it’s a physically challenging mental exercise because it really is much more mental and you know not everybody makes the interval they choose, they do get to choose their interval and it’s interesting, you know it tells you a lot when the kids comes up and you see what interval they choose, that tells you a lot whether they are going forward or they are not going forward and then you know how many they make, also tells you, you know kind of what, where they are at mentally.

600 for cruise interval, we do a 600 three times a year and it’s a training thing. Its a test set I guess that we use to determine intervals and it’s turned into kind of our cultural thing because we do it three times and you know they know when those times are. We do it the second day of practice to get intervals right to begin with. We do it then the fourth week and we usually do it on a Tuesday or Wednesday and then we do it somewhere around the eighth week of a 14 week season. And they – they kind of know and they kind of get ready and they kind of – it’s like race time. Now they do it from a push in a drag suit. Our record I think is 538. We have had two or three kids go 538, 539. We had a crew of distance guys and you know nine, ten, eleven in there or twelve, I guess thirteen with Reed Malone and those guys really went after it. Lots of kids are under six minutes and then we determine with a chart what their cruise interval is.

We do the bleached hair thing I don’t know I think probably everybody does that. I really love it when they do the bleached hair thing and it’s just white not colors, not designs, am pretty basic and then we don’t wear caps, we shave heads. So, ah that’s part of our culture, that’s part of who we are. The guys on their own do a couple of things. Ah there are really three things up here.

One is they take a trip into Chicago. To go to a restaurant. It is totally and completely not sponsored by the team and or me and every year I try to talk them out of going, but their parents think it’s the greatest thing in the world. I believe they go to Hooters, and then they used to and now we killed this one thank goodness. They used to go to Old Country Buffet. Everybody know what Old Country Buffet is? Well, it’s old, it’s country and it’s a buffet, but basically it’s a – it’s a pig-out joint. So, they go there and they just go there and just you know eat until they are sick. We killed that a couple of years ago. I am not sure how I got it done, but I have been discouraging it for years and finally it went away.

And then cubicles, we have in our locker room, it’s setup, our team locker room it’s setup with basically you know U shaped locker banks and the guys call those cubicles and then each cubicle they have, for about the last 10 years they have named them, and the only one I can remember is the shire. One of them is the shire which I, I think it relates to some book or something I don’t know.

Anyway, they all have names and you know they all if they come in as a freshman and they are in this cubicle they are in the shier for four years. I mean it’s like going to a college and you are in that fraternity and they – they have some competitions and interesting things that go on between the cubicles. Again that’s – sometimes I have to step in on those.

The banquet is part of our culture. Has anybody been to a banquet recently, the last three or four hours, anybody? Nobody went last night? Okay, our banquet is infamous for being long, but we do honor each and every kid at the banquet. Every kid who survives the season is honored, so even if they didn’t make 90% attendance they still get honored at the banquet, their – their coach calls them up in front of everybody, talks about them briefly and you know, so they get some recognition on what they did during the season.

We have passed on awards, passed on awards started long before I got there and they are basically awards that that one athlete gives to another athlete with various, you know we have a Macho Man, an all American. There is probably 20 of them and the only rule I have is no new ones and we try to have a little meeting, so it’s not like all 20 of them go to the same guy. We had a problem with that early on. Ah the only awards that we really give out as a team and they are – we call them the coach’s awards and those are the awards ah they are basically almost improved awards.

Early on I gave out ah, awards for most valuable and I realize that that, that really wasn’t the direction I wanted to go. I really want to honor kids that worked hard and improved and so we give out probably about eight or nine of those with different workout groups and sometimes a workout group feels like they need two of them so they get two of them, and then the captains, it’s kind of again a cool thing that happened before I got there and we continued it. Ah I didn’t realize this scene was going to happen until my first banquet when the captains told me that they were going to speak, you know when were they going to speak just you know let them know.

So, ah the captains, each of our captains give a speech and we are at the point now with a 120 plus kids that we have five captains. So, we have five captains speeches, they are always, almost without exception. Inspirational, ah you know humble, thankful, ah they get an opportunity to thank their teammates or coaches, their parents. They get an opportunity to inspire the next year and what might happen then. They got so good that I started making them write them down, so I would have copies of them and I make them turn them into me in advance.

Rarely, do I have a kid who shows up there and really that hasn’t planned what they were going to do. I have had some incredibly inventive ones and they are all entertaining and it’s a great opportunity for the kid to be in front of a – not just the team, but you know probably about 300 people with all the parents and everything. Again, that’s part of our culture.

Cooperative energy, we try to cooperate, there is a lot of, you know we look at ourselves as a team. There is a lot of opportunities to do what traditional teams do, you know we are not throwing the ball to each other, ah but we do a teamwork collaboration. One of the ways we collaborate is and we started doing this about four or five years ago. We used to do our videotaping and our Dart Fish work individually. Bring a kid over, work with them, send them back.

Ah, about four, five years ago my coach who was doing this Larry Stagbauer, he thought it would be best if we brought all the flyers over, so maybe seven or eight kids and you know he would show them a video of the best and then we would video, he would videotape each of them and them working together and being in that group really helped the learning process and really accelerated them making improvements.

Support, we are – we are a huge on support of each other in encouragement as well, at swim meets, ah dual meets we do not allow them to have headphones or to be off on their own. We really encourage them to be engaged and to watch the meet. We have three level meets. The freshman, JV and varsity and so you have your freshman level swim and then your JV level swim each event and then your varsity. And we expect everyone to be up and watching and plugged in to what’s going on in the pool and not kind of off on their own. Our meets last about three hours, comparing on how many divers we have and the other team has, but the support at meets and then support at practices again our Dryland, which is coached by Coach Stagbauer again and they do a lot of things there that infuse – is infused with teamwork and support and ah you know cheering for each other and encouraging each other. And then we try to do that as well on the water, especially on our power and ah speed days, in our race days when we are getting up and just going off the blocks and going all up.

Trust, when you have a bunch of guys and they are, you know in the same thing, in the same situation and it’s a 10, 12, 14 week season that they all need to get through together then it really develops a closeness. We work on that closeness at meets, so it’s connected to the whole team and we really encourage each other. They don’t have to be friends with everybody, but they really need to work together and support everybody.

Places, like I think Orvell mentioned that you know, we have – we have probably had in the last, oh, five, six, seven years. We have had I think three down syndrome kids. Ah, we currently have a visually impaired young man. Ah we have had some folks with hearing issues and that’s where you see it, you know the most, but if you watch New Trier and you watch, not the races, but the kids what you will see is everybody cheering for everybody and not just cheering, but then you know different kids going up and congratulating kids when they got it done.

We have in the state of Illinois I think it’s fairly unique. Ah we have at our state meet we have four events for visually impaired and physically disabled students. So, they are swimming at the state meet. We have a visually impaired young man and he won the 200 freestyle, two years, well he won it last year as well, but his freshman year he won it and we happen to have Reed Malone who won the varsity or the regular 200 freestyle. And to see the two of them interacting as they did and as many of our guys do, was just, it was – it was incredible. I wish I had a picture of it as they walked away from getting their awards, you know and Reed has got his hand on Charlie’s shoulder kind of guiding him back to the team area, but that’s what we try to produce, try to encourage is teammates taking care of each other, you know so you, you know I can – you know it’s like I can mess with that guy, but you can’t mess with that guy.

Synergy, that’s collective power, you know the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, you know we – when we broke three minutes in the – in the 400 relay, which you know it’s almost embarrassing that you mentioned it after sir – Sergio is up here, but ah… when we did that the, you know our parts we are not 43 pluses, you know but together they were and what happened was that we won about a 302 I think the year before, maybe 303 and we had six guys who could probably be on that relay and those six guys got together and they decided what they were going to do and you know their synergy was pretty incredible as we were picking which of the – which of the six was actually going to be on the relay and the support from the whole team as well as the two guys who didn’t make the relay.

Their strength in numbers, I know that when we walk out of the locker room with a 120 guys and you know we do a cheer and we line up for the National Anthem. Ah…. a lot of people come in our pool and think they are already beat and a lot of times they aren’t, but they think they are and that ends up helping us out.

Group challenges reinforce the team culture. A lot of times we will give challenges ah, on our 600’s. We will give challenges on our lactic tolerance swims or our lactate ah swims which we, you know we record all the times and we record averages and so if we improve average wise you know we may at that point in the season take a morning off. It is, sadly it’s always a morning I, you know I want to take off a morning it’s just you know guys do something and we will let you do that. We also do a lot of challenges and teamwork on – in our, in our dryland program, which is – is a very incredibly dryland program and which again and Coach Stagbauer runs that and does a great job.

Common purpose, you know the vision to do something significant and the, the you know being able to see that and being able to see where you might fit into that and understanding that’s okay to be a little part, just so your part of what’s going on. Ah, big vision creates big results and you know we have guys who are never going to be at the state meet, but it is really important to them to have that vision of the state meet and winning the state meet and they are very much part of the power of what we do and then accomplishing something together that you can never accomplish by yourself that’s what teams are all about, you know you can’t do it by yourself, you know and when you -. Somebody – somebody has a down day, somebody else is up everybody lifts everybody up.

Commitment to the collective win, like I said earlier we are committed to every single kid swimming fast at their, target meet, at their goal meet and we make a big deal about our first taper group. Now our first taper group a lot of times is our very weakest swimmers. It’s our most novice swimmers, so they are the kids who came out for swimming and they really had no experience. They really had, they could, they could swim at least a little bit or they were coming up from the freshman squad, they couldn’t swim and now they can.

We put a lot of emphasis on that first taper and we call it the tip of the sword and it’s usually at a dual meet. We don’t always have a championship meet for them, so they shave their heads, they are all tapered and that dual meet is all about them and all about what they are doing and everybody is excited for them and we basically tell everybody, you know this is, this is our taper, this is what’s going to happen and then they go out and blow it out and everybody knows that, you know those guys swim fast, we are going to swim fast.

Ah, we like to find a way or make a way. A lot of times things don’t go exactly the way you want them to, ah but we work through it and again hard work makes things happen. Ah find a win. I encourage the guys as they are analyzing what happened at a meet, you know you kind of start with your – your events and you know find something positive there, a best time, a good you know better turns, better pace whatever, you know you go from that to, you know one of your teammates had an outstanding swim broke a pool record did something, you know find a win and of course the last thing there is well did we win, did the team win, did the JV win, did the freshman win, did the varsity win. Find a win, somewhere in what happened and do that every meet and then no one left behind. We want to gather everybody up, we want to move people along. We want folks to be in the right place for where they need to be, but with the idea that there is – there is better places to be on the team.

Cultivating individual greatness, everybody is coached and trained at the appropriate level. There is a clear path to advancement. We don’t have a varsity and then, sorry you didn’t make it this year, you swim with the JV maybe you will make it next year. We work really hard to move people, more people up to the varsity as we are going. There is a clear path to that. Ah so they understand that if they do certain things that we move them up or we move them up part time, work them up with the varsity maybe in the mornings and they workout JV in the afternoon, same thing with some freshman, ah but there is a clear path they getting better into doing more of what they want to do. Ah always focusing on getting them to a higher level of performance, at practice and at meets.

The comp – competition, ah when everybody is connected and everybody is competing at whatever level they are at, everybody is striving to get a higher level, the competition is incredible. Ah and it’s not just competition, you know for two slots to go the state meet in an event. There is competition to be the guys at the varsity conference, the JV conference, whatever, whatever level it is. And then you know as everybody gets better, you know that the rising tide lifts all boats, you know everything goes up and when you are pushing everything up the people at the top go up higher. So everybody gets better.

One final thing building the team builds individuals and some people say it the other way around. You build the individuals to build the team. I think you got to build a team, ah and that kind of creates this up flow that builds the individuals. Ah anybody having questions?

[inaudible audience question]

[Onstott]: Well a lot of times – our dual meets are usually three level meets and everybody is there. When it’s – ah meets that are like a –invitational. We may have five meets on a weekend, so you know we have our varsity going one place, JV going one place, next level of JV going somewhere else, freshman going somewhere else, you know so we are kind of spread out, but like when the freshman conference meet, which is basically all our freshman swim at that we find a way to fit them all in. At that meet, everybody comes to that meet and that’s the meet you know because most of those guys are shaved and tapered. So at that meet everybody comes to they do body paint, they – they do things I wish they wouldn’t do, ah but and it’s crazy time, so yes, yeah it’s a very supported thing even outside of just when they are there. Anybody else. Yes.

[inaudible audience question]

[Onstott]: Ah CI, Cruise Interval, that’s a 600 for Cruise Interval. Yes.

[inaudible audience question]

[Onstott]: Our girls season is going on right now and it’s 14 weeks. So the girls get done the weekend before Thanksgiving week and then the boy’s start the Monday of Thanksgiving week and we go ah usually to the last weekend in February. Ah, so it’s 14 weeks seasons.

[inaudible audience question]

[Onstott]: Ah, in Illinois you swim high school, you don’t swim club and we have a New Trier Swim Club, so they work out of our facility and you know we are, I meet – well, I met with the head coach every week and as kind of the Aquatics Director but also is the boys coach and then our girls head coach would come and sit in those meetings as well. Ah so, you know we also, we draw from probably five different teams, probably 80% of it, 85% of it is New Trier. Ah so, it’s a good relationship, but there is no conflict because they really, they can’t do both and – and you know in my 20 years 99.99999999999% of the kids from high school and that’s not unusual on the state where it, you know if a kid is out in the country somewhere and they really don’t have a high school team then – then they probably don’t swim high school. Although some of them do, you know they show up at the state meet and you know they don’t have a high school team, but they have qualified the next one.

So it’s really a good situation and I – from my standpoint in talking to our club coach they love the fact that they, that they go into, with the boys, November and they come out 14 weeks later and they have been through a very, very intensive training situation where they have been coached, where they have been trained and our situation the kids usually they swim great at state and then they swim faster at their March meets. Part of the reason is we swim into very, very slow pools for our state meet, you know we went 259 in the 400 relay in a six lane 25 yard, three foot deep at one end about 11 feet deep at the other end and so that –. So, they – they have that great opportunity, but we have you know very good coaches who – who encourage that and then they – they make sure they understand they can go faster and they do.

Anybody else? Have a nice lunch. Thank you.

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