The Fine Art of Coaching by Jack Bauerle (2004)


Published


Jack Bauerle:  University of Georgia, Head Coach – Men and Women, Head Coach – Athens Bulldog Swim Club.  His women’s teams won the NCAA team title in 1999, 2000 and 2001, and were the runner-up in 2002, 2003 and 2004. His men consistently finish in the top 10.  Jack was an assistant coach for the 2000 Games at Sydney, and has been a head coach or an assistant on national and international teams since 1989.  World-ranked swimmers include: Michael Norment, Kristy Kowal, Bobby Brewer, Beau Wiebel, Ashley Roby, Kim Black, Maritza Correia, Robert Margalis, Kara Lynn Joyce, Mary Descenza, Kyle Salyards and Courtney Shealy.

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Thank you very much.  You know, I always get the persistence and hard work part because that sort of makes up for lack of intelligence and I just want to say – it was pretty neat listening – I want to thank John Leonard for inviting me in today.  I am always amazed when I am standing in front of coaches because this is such a learning process and I always feel like I’ve got still more to go.  This is sort of an open-ended talk. I got a little bit of a kick out of Dave’s talk because basically I sat down like you all did and thought we were going to get some particular things and really when you got down to it, it was the art of coaching from Dave and basically he runs his program in such a different way, but it is still about the art of coaching.

 

I got a couple of things that I have written down I am going to look at, but basically I am going to try and talk for about 30 minutes plus – 30-40 minutes maximum and after that if anyone wants to talk about anything.  Just like Dave, I started out in a very unassuming situation at the University of Georgia.  Coach Dooley hired me – this is my 26th year as head coach.  Basically, I was the only guy hanging around and I went to school there in 1970 and then I was a grad assistant and made about $1,500 a year and I ended up and Coach Dooley offered me the head coaching job at Georgia for $8,000.  Unlike Dave, I didn’t ask for a bonus because I thought I was going to be thrown out on my ear so I signed for my $8,000 – actually I never signed.  I didn’t even really have a signed contract until about six years ago.  I didn’t feel like it was our place until we were like top two or three in the country to go and get a signed contract, but things have changed and so anyhow, what I am here to do is to talk to you a little bit about coaching.  I was with Jon Urbanchek this morning –which I also consider one of my mentors – which makes him sound even older than he is.  We were talking about coaching; Jon said maybe it’s 10% or 20% science and the rest of it is the art of coaching and I honestly believe that is how it is.  Thank God – because as a science guy I got D’s and as an English guy I got A’s so I went through school reading and writing, but I couldn’t put numbers together, and I couldn’t do anything mechanical either so I cant understand a lot of that stuff.  I think any success we have had at Georgia has been the result of beg, borrow and stealing.

 

Anyhow, let me get on with my talk here.  I honestly believe the act of coaching and the art of coaching is just really wonderful.  We are here to make goals for the kids.  We are here to give team goals because they are intertwining – closely intertwined.  Team goals can help individuals achieve their individual goals.  We have to motivate.  We have to communicate and more importantly than anything else and I have learned this from the best coaches in the world I think around me, we have to give time.  It is neat today because I get a nice reminder here today with Sheila Taormina. She is going to remind me to say something about a little time when she went through her senior year when I literally took Sheila back to her house, maybe two or three times a week, when she was having it rough – and that was all the way into her senior year.  Time spent is time well worth doing and it comes back to you ten-fold. More importantly, it comes back to the athlete ten-fold.  There are no short cuts in swimming.  Coach Shoulberg always said it is an honest sport.  It is a straight line sport and my feeling is – all of our success and all the swimmer’s success is always predicated on fast practices.  Just my way of doing it – I can never leave a practice without seeing something fast.  Something where the kids get challenged and that is every day and we don’t do much cycling stuff, but I am not here to talk about that. I talked to Bob Bowman this morning and he said please, do not mention EN1 so it will not be mentioned.  We are not talking about energy systems here this morning at all.  That has nothing to do with what we are talking about.  I think all of us sort of know how to train kids.  We have all read enough.  Everything is out there for us.  You can grasp all that.  It is for everyone to certainly take in and regurgitate.  The difference is how we are on deck and how we treat our athletes and how we get work out of them because in the end result, they have to work harder than probably they really want to.  And   that is when it really comes up to us.  There are kids who want to work real hard all the time, but generally they still – you still have to push a button to go past that to be real good.  As I said, I think the biggest thing here is building confidence and I have never used a quote in my life on a speech, but I found one that I really liked and I found one a couple of years ago and it sits on my desk; this is Sigmund Freud – he says:  “A man who has been the undisputed favorite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of conqueror.  The confidence of success which often induces real success”.  So basically, if you take the man out of there and put a swimmer in. And then if you take the mother out and put a coach in – not to offend any mothers here, but so you will have a swimmer who has been the undisputed favorite of his coach keeps for life the feeling of conqueror.  The confidence of success which often induces real success – I think this is an amazing quote and like I said, I don’t have quotes all over the office – I have this one quote because basically it is up to us to make kids feel special and with confidence they are going to swim and achieve things that they have not done before.

 

If you are older such as I, would like to go back 20 or 30 years and sort of clean up some of the things we did – all the mistakes.  We have made bad mistakes.  I know I did.  I wish I had some of the kids I had at Georgia once again and you know, I think I could have been a better coach, but it wasn’t long into my “coaching career” I started off by myself and I was in a great situation at Georgia because the coach there (does this get copied and taped, Chuck?) well he was a pretty good coach – not a great coach, all right?  But he did give me an opportunity and for that I am thankful, but I have really literally learned everything about how not to do it at that time so whatever he did, I did a 180 and then late in the 70’s I went and worked with Dick Shoulberg who changed the way I looked at swimming. I have seen kids do 20,000 races.  It is the only time, matter of fact Sheila did a 10,000 meter fly.  That was because at some point in time I knew Dick Shoulberg and so at any rate, but what I found from Dick was as much as he wanted kids to go up and down the pool, he would never hesitate to yank a kid out and talk to them individually and just tell them how good they were doing or this is how I want you to do this and this and that and as much as he was pushed to get in 12,000 or 14,000 yards in a workout he would take the time to make sure that he was talking to kids.

 

Daily talks, daily challenges up there brought out some amazing performances and you know, Dave was saying today – it was pretty neat listening to him because that was from a sprinter where he had a program but you know, he gets this/that label but he has all these great kids in 200’s and then he had Hayley Peirsol too in the 800 – they do a lot of things right.  I think that is such a misnomer and the same thing with Dick.  I remember in 1981 when he had ______ Schneider who was a 20 flat kid in high school and then he had Karen ________ who going 10,000 meter races every week so you had this big dichotomy within the program and he knew how to treat each one real differently so as a young 27 year old, that was the best choice I ever made in my life.  I went up there and I worked literally for free.  Dick gave me a camera at the end of the first summer and I am sure that came out of his pocket and then the next year I got a couple more hundred bucks so, but it was a labor of love and we were on the deck every day and then we would cut it down on Sundays – we only had a 4 hour job around Sunday’s – we did an awful lot of work.  As Dave pointed out today – Dave Salo – he mentioned a couple of things.  About talking with coaches being on a run. I took my second run in two months today – just to be with John for a little while because I knew he would call me if I hadn’t gone this morning and I can’t stand hearing that word that early in the morning, but time spent with coaches means an awful lot and I do – I have been fortunate – Jon – I call him and I still will, no matter what – probably once or twice every couple of weeks or so – just to get an idea – hey what are you doing today.  Let me have this set, let me have this set and let me sort of see what you are doing.  just try to communicate.  I try to communicate a lot.  I do it with Dick Shoulberg.  I do it with Eddie Reese – Eddie Reese has this insatiable appetite for swimming and it is why I respect so much and we always think, you know, he is the men’s coach at Texas.  There is this little joke in my house with my wife and me – if we get a call after 10:30 or 11 o’clock because Eddie doesn’t really pay attention to time zones – on a Saturday night – it is Eddie Reese and he asks me how the women’s team did which is pretty amazing stuff and then he obviously always has his opinion how my team can be a lot better and Eddie is always right and it is amazing how well he can coach my team.  I am really thankful for him that we won the three championships that we did – we would never have been close without him coaching us from Austin.

 

 

I asked my grad assistant – this new guy that Dick Shoulberg sent to me and he is a happy guy right now because he is a Boston Red Sox fan and I asked him – I said look, if I am going to go talk on the art of coaching, if this is really open-ended I don’t want to drive people crazy here because #1 I feel a little uncomfortable being in front of you.  I don’t really feel in a way that I think you almost get a little bit presumptuous in the fact that you are almost saying that maybe we do this a little better or a little this and that is not the case.  I think we all do stuff a hell of a – a lot of good things.  Everybody does a lot of great things and no matter how well you do it, somebody else is doing it always a little bit better so we always have a place to learn from.  I am just going to tell you what I think I try to do and what we do and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but I am just going to try and tell you some of the challenges.  He told me that if he wanted to hear anything, since I am not going to talk about anything technical and we are not going to put workouts up there – he would just like to hear a couple of stories and I am going to tell you just a couple of stories about some of the things that happened with our kids.  One of the biggest things that transpired, Chuck mentioned years ago we were struggling – it was 16, 17, 20 years ago; when we got a new pool it impacted us tremendously and now we weren’t bad before we got a new pool.  A new pool is not going to make you win anything unless you are doing something right before you get a pool, alright?  But when Sheila was there we swam in a dungeon, but when we got a new pool the most important thing that happened when we got that pool was that it was a comfortable place.  My office was there – it wasn’t in the other place.  The door was open.  We had a team room and all of a sudden the kids came a little earlier.  They stayed a lot longer.  Kristy   Kowal who you know, she came to me after her – her fall semester was right after ’96 when her well publicized “collapse” even though it wasn’t a collapse – it was just a calamity and so we had a lot of putting back together.  She was not a happy young lady when she arrived on campus, nor freewheeling.  But, in the four years that I had her at Georgia she never missed a day walking through, putting her head in, sitting down or saying nothing.  Usually that was about a minute or two – maybe a little bit longer, 5 minutes.  if someone did something wrong to her it was longer than that and that happened about every fifth day because Kristy thinks – she has got this little thing – she has to get mad to get good in swimming.  So, she has to get mad about somebody doing something with her and that gives her this little edge for the day so I would say, take it out in the pool, but basically that went on for four years time.

 

I teach classes at Georgia about five or six times a year just to keep in touch with students.  It is a lot of fun.  The first thing I do is tell them to put their cell phones off and then I tell everybody to come up to the front, alright?  so, they all reach in because every kid now they all have a cell phone so which is actually pretty dam amazing stuff if you think about it because – think about it when you were in college.  I would have paid – probably $200 a month in college to have any machine to make sure people didn’t know where the hell I was and now they are checking in you know, as they leave class they are checking in – hey I am driving a car which is what you are supposed to do when you are driving a car and they are just talking, talking, talking – cell phones are a pain in the neck, but anyhow – Kristy Kowal is an amazing kid and as I said, she just communicated all the time.  She kept coming in, coming in and because of that I always knew her mindset, I always felt like I knew what I could get out of her and probably because of that it ended up being an eight year relationship rather than a four year relationship and I was blessed the day she walked through the door. Now I am going to tell you a quick story and I am going to try not to offend either one of them because they are both great girls.  Courtney Shealy and Kristy Kowal came in at the exact same time.  I saw this ——– the first time back in the 70’s and very early 80’s when you had kids going for the Olympics and Courtney’s mom and dad are a little bit more interactive – how is that?  Is that pretty good?  Then Kristy’s; Kristy’s mom would call me maybe once a year – Jack, Donna – anything I need to know?  Is everything alright? and you know, usually she didn’t get me on the phone and she would say, call me if you need anything and that was that and then I saw them at a meet and Courtney is a little different and so basically they came in but both of them were highly successful kids and the art of coaching for all of them – both of them – I had to make sure it was real interesting.  Kristy came from a very low yardage situation.  She loved to play water polo.  Courtney Shealey played volleyball almost four months or five months out of the year before she came to Georgia.  So, after Courtney got there I actually let her play volleyball her sophomore, junior and senior year.  That was the hardest thing I have ever had to do because this is an amazingly talented kid and volleyball kids get hurt all the time – all the time and then with Kristy, basically and I will tell you this, when I got both of them – we only signed two gals that year and everyone thought we didn’t have that great of a recruiting plan, but four years later they were both the NCAA swimmers of the year.  They both made the Olympic team and they both medaled – that sounds like a dream – that isn’t a dream.  There is a lot of stuff going on.  They were also roommates. So what I did for Kristy I sure as heck had to do for Courtney.  Otherwise, I would get a call from Columbia, South Carolina. So anyhow Kristy – her senior year – she won the NCAA Woman of the Year award.  We were up here in Indianapolis.  Out of 8,000 student athletes in the whole country she is the #1 student athlete, based on community service, based on academics, based on how fast she swam.  Courtney didn’t get that one so I went to our academic people and I found a neat thing.  She was chosen as one of the top three people at the University of Georgia to go on a leadership conference and she was the only athlete ever to do so at Georgia and they went to New York so Courtney got something and then Christy got something and so that went on for 8 years.  I am a tired guy.  It is fun; their hearts are in the right place always.

 

Dave was saying a little bit – Shealey was the perfect example of having to trick a kid into swim and I always got her in the water by saying we are only going six and she knew she was going seven and if I said seven it was going to be eight, but God – she hated practice.  And she was brought up in ball sports and kids like that don’t like just going up and down the pool.  It is a whole different variety and so we sort of had to trick her into it and the year she swam best, when she had Olympics in mind and even this year, she had a rough meet at Trials, but I really honestly believe there were some other circumstances there.  She was as good or better an athlete this year.  She did the training and no question about it.  Kristy Kowal, I never had to push and shove her one time to do anything in practice and now – she finished the trials – very calm and she was 3rd and she reacted well.  She is an absolute lady.  She goes back home and spends, like I said an eight-year relationship with her and then I get a call and she gets a call to be put on the World Championship team here.  I get a call and I am sitting outside with my two boys in the driveway and she says Jack – what do I do here?  I got a chance to swim at World Championships and I said well, and this is the only way you can talk to them – you know after this long, I say – well what the hell do you want to do?  And she goes well I am not sure.  I said well, think about it for one day.  If you are 100% then do it and if you are 85% don’t have anything to do with it at all.  So, finish swimming the way you wanted to finish swimming.  Just because of knowing her the way I do after this long a time, I went back in the house and it was literally about 5 or 10 minutes and I came back out and called her again and said, you have decided right?  And she goes yeah; I’m going to do it. I knew she would because she loves challenges and all that and so right now what she did instead of coming back to Georgia because in the 8 years she has been there she has been there for swimming and she was there to get her Masters in Education.  She is a natural schoolteacher, but she wanted to be home.  She misses home.  She is from Reading Y, right outside of Reading, PA and she comes from good stock and so basically I said, you are going to have to find somewhere to go and we are going to go back to the old days because when she used to visit home I sent her with the only guy that I knew who could take care of her and that was Dick Shoulberg so even if she could only make it one time a day, she was hell-bent-for-leather there.  I mean, she did some work so basically this whole cycle that started back in the 70’s when Dick and I ran it still continues to this time and as he takes care of Kristy as she competes for World Championships, but basically taking care of these two gals was an absolute learning experience for me because you also have to be real careful.

 

You know, our job is to build each kid up and you have to give them confidence, but you have to make sure you are not pitting one against the other.  It never got so complicated as it did this year.  We had four young ladies that were in the Top Ten at Olympic trials in the 100 meter freestyle.  We had some crazy ass days in the pool this summer.  We had Kara Lynn who came from Jon and we also had Maritza Correia I inherited from Peter Banks.  I had Courtney Shealey.  I had Steph Williams and Steph Williams’ best time probably could have put her right there on the team also so you had four kids vying for these little spots.  So anyhow you know, at certain times of the workout you have to be careful what you say, you know?  I mean, Kara Lynn gets on a tear sometimes – all of a sudden there are two weeks where you cannot even believe how fast it is.  It is fun and so you know, she would come in and I might have them separated a little bit – either by going second or third or by lane or this and then I would say – unbelievable.  You know, just keep rolling, fast isn’t good enough – just let it roll you know, and then you had to quit talking real quick because the next one was coming in and you know, she pushed off – just pushed off at 58 high or long course or something and the other one is coming in 1:03 thinking she did great and you are saying that is great, looks good, alright, just keep rolling.

 

I think the end result is this.  You have to take care of each kid and you have to make sure you are coaching every kid in that pool and making sure that they are feeling special.  There are times when they have bad days and it is funny you know, old guys – I guess I start forgetting stuff.  You are always trying to build a kid’s confidence and I had a young gal that came – Haley Chura who is a great little backstroker and I thought she should have finaled. And matter of fact, had she just not hit the lane line maybe just one time less then she probably would have been in the final. She is a little kid, doesn’t look like much of an athlete but I am always trying to build her confidence up and I love get out swims.  We start them the first week when we get back.  You know, when they feel like hell.  It is a great time – make sure they get up and that sure tells you. You know, how bad they can feel sometimes and it gives them a little lesson right there after the summer. I put her up, I didn’t put her up for one I think about a week ago and one of the kids came up to me finally and said do you realize she has swum 15 get out swims in one year’s time and then because the girl that I had put up had never been up and that was her senior year and she has.  Anyhow, it is sort of funny how you sort of gravitate to help certain kids and I really think some of these swims she has done because she did a couple of swims that really transferred over and gave her a little bit of confidence and she would swim pretty fast in the pool.

 

We had some other things that worked this summer too and I just – the art of coaching goes a long way with this. I had a gal – Sarah Poewe who was from South Africa/Germany and now Germany; she was second after prelims at the Olympics this summer – 1:07.2 but I brought her in with Kristy and for the last couple of years.  They were real good buddies and it worked real well and I think she made Kristy be a lot better and Dave’s talk today I am sorry about this, but I think you are getting the second round of it, almost. He was talking about he had his Lezak there and we wasn’t going to bring anyone who jeopardized how Lezak was going to be.  You can tell if you just listen to him how connected he is to that young guy – now 28 years old and so same kind of thing.  I wasn’t ever going to bring anyone that I thought would jeopardize Kristy Kowal.  I had a commitment to her – a commitment to moms and dads and she had already committed and given her life to the University of Georgia.  So I brought Sarah in and at that time we also had a young gal, Ashley Roby who was a .59, 100 yard breaststroker and Kristy was under, Sarah was .59 and then we had this other girl over here, Lindsey.  She works everything exactly the way it needs to be worked – all the time.  She is a breaststroker and she has the ugliest freestyle in the world and she still goes a 2:03 unshaved 200 long course just because she works.  We have never shaved her because anytime we get to the point where she is ready to go we are swimming breaststroke, but she is like what I call a “red-headed step-child”.  She has got all these breaststrokers here and to her credit she could have gone South because she got lost – well, my job was not to have her get lost in the shuffle so I approached her summer real differently than the other ones.  We didn’t talk – we talked about Olympic Trials – just trying to final and have some fun with it and then we want to go to Senior Nationals and then put a statement out there.  So, this is a gal that used to think that 200 was like a mile.  She hated it.  She had 200-meter breaststroke at some point where she was in the 2:40’s and this gal was going 1:01 100 breaststroke.  She has had some bad, bad experiences so we tried to fix up the 200 a little bit and in the same kind of deal as was with Kristy and Sarah Poewe.

 

Basically I had to find something for her where she could beat the other two breaststrokers because every day she was losing and getting beat.  Kristy goes some big things, she will push off at 1:11, 1:12 100 meter breaststroke.  She can kick you know, 1:19 long course.  We do a set of 30 100 kick every year short course, ten under 1:30, ten under 1:25, ten under 1:20.  She can average 1:12’s – 1:13’s kicking yards you know, that is good stuff so this girl wasn’t beating her swimming, she wasn’t beating her kicking and she sure as heck wasn’t beating her in IM’s and Kristy is competitive enough where she wouldn’t let her beat her anywhere else and the only thing she could beat her in was when she put fins and paddles on.  So I always had to make sure one time a day she had a place where she could feel real good about herself and we would put her on fins and paddles and then she would beat every breaststroker in the pool so we just sort of find a place where a kid can feel good before they leave the pool and within that I think this is the art of coaching too. I think when you have a workout, and, if you ever see Jon Urbanchek’s – you know, he has got different kids doing different stuff.

 

I have been real fortunate to be around Bill watching him on International trips too, Bill Rose, and they have this great communication with the kids and they think they are the only ones in that pool and what you try to do is give them something different, maybe within a set.  Maybe it is not the most important set, but it ends up being real important.  Lindsey Ertter this young girl – what happened to her by the way – she went on to win – she won the 200 meter breaststroke at Senior Nationals.  It was really neat.  So, all that stuff worked, right?  And no way that happens without doing a little hiding here, a little self-confidence boosting here and there. All of a sudden now she thinks she can swim a 200 now – sure as hell – next summer is probably going to go 2:38 after I say this, but I think she is going to go 1:07 and I think she is going to go 2:28 coming up. But anyhow, I think the biggest thing you can do sometimes is even if you give the same thing out – change it for someone that is in there.

 

Lindsey Ertter after everyone is doing eight 400’s or something like that just pull.  She is a breaststroker, she doesn’t need all those, but it is sort of just a general set.  It might be after a main set we are doing just sort of a cruise 8/4’s or 8/3’s – I will put four of those – half of them with fins and paddles and let her get some breaststroke in and then I walk over and just watch her for a while because I don’t really have to watch other kids go 8/400’s pull.  Except Kara Lynn because she might go 4:18 on the last one and then I will watch that so, but so anyhow even if you had ten kids doing the same set, you could have ten kids doing something different.  You might want to be working on somebody’s back half.  You might be working on someone just doing a little breaststroke – you can like building some confidence in some of the kids if they are doing some of it fly and staying up with the kids doing all freestyle.  Just be willing to change everything.  Talking about a couple of things that certainly would support these kids and build confidence:  Maritza Correia is a real neat example of it and Peter – I inherited her from Peter Banks five years ago and I did a great job of coaching her the first couple of years.  She set the American records in the 50 free her junior year at Georgia.  She still has the American record short course.  Kara Lynn has the short course American record in the 50 meter short course and we are real proud of it even though we are not a sprint program and we are way not a sprint program, but that tells you sort of how we treat our women sprinters, but anyhow when Maritza came she set the American record in the 50 free and she never swam the 50 free for the first two years so I was really pretty darn smart coaching there.  I had a girl – fastest girl ever in the 50 freestyle and she never swam it in conference or the NCAA Championships for two years so, like we always say – it is a lot easier coming down than going up. She is a very smart athlete and it has been a confidence builder for her. When she went home a couple of years in the summer, she stayed most of the summer, but any time she visited she was with Peter and then a couple of summers she was with Peter, so basically, we were sharing it.  She knew all the time that Peter and I talked.  That is really important.  Kara Lynn – even when she was here as a freshman, knew that Jon and I talked about her all the time.  That empowers kids.  They feel important and Maritza – to her credit – knows how to draw on what Peter gives her and what I give her.

 

You know, we are two different guys – we run two different ways and we look at things in two different ways, but we have one main interest – how fast and how much we can help Maritza – with everything so she learned how to draw on it and it is also a pleasure for me – also you get a chance to work with coaches whose egos are good enough where they are not worried about who is getting credit for who – we are just worrying about how fast this darn kid can swim and he is one of those guys, but because of that she is now and she made her first Olympic team which was a big dream for her.  She could have done it for another country and taken an easy route, but she decided to be doing it on the USA team, but this thing has worked out quite well for her, but I could kick myself for a little while there. She ended up right and she is going good, but I think if there is a lesson to be learned there – a good communication – you know, between an elite kid like that or any kid and their coaches out on the home-front mean an awful lot.

 

So basically – a couple of things – just in closing. Your time before practice or after practice for the kid might be the most important time you have.  I love to get the kids beforehand a little bit and say this is and I never show them our workout – well – unless they sneak a look.  Because, #1 – it is going to change.  The common joke on our deck with my assistant coaches is don’t ever tell the kids what they are going to do because that is not what they are doing and I think we always have to be flexible enough to walk on. I have the same kind of season plan and same kind of weekly plan as Jon Urbanchek has and I am sure he does it the same way. Then there are days when you completely change the workout.  You have got to look at the environment, how the kids are feeling, you give them that little idea that something different is going to work and so now, I am just sort of doing – I used to have everything written down perfectly – now just a couple of sketches and then I have my assistants – one of the guys write down what we did afterwards and it is not even close and that is the art of coaching. Because as you go through a day you got to do something special for one kid and you can just draw them out and it is not going to kill you.  Its not going to ruin any kind of set and you take 300 yards here and 400 yards here, 500 yards here and you got some kids that you think they can swim a hell of a lot faster than they walked in that day, but I think the pre-practice time is absolutely gigantic and it is a fun time.  You got them – they are a little bit more relaxed and you got a little time to talk to them and then you also can tell them – this is what your challenge will be and put it out there in front of them and the good kids love that kind of stuff anyhow because they really want to see how fast they can go.

 

When we got the new pool that is what changed us. It is such a pretty place they are not in such a rush to get the heck out of there and so you can grab them and talk with them and really have a little bit of fun with them.  Basically, it is a scenario I guess about just working with people, but basically it is also this: it is just working with kids and trying to entrust and empower them to make sure they are swimming their fastest, but I also believe that starts – it is not – it doesn’t start at the meet and it doesn’t start with one goal meeting in September – it is an everyday and ongoing affair.  This is as I say, a real emotional sport.  It is real draining as you all well know. When you do our workouts you get home and maybe we are not the most popular guy when we walk through the door you know, sometimes you don’t have any words for the most important people in your life because you have just given everything you can so it is a funny balance that we have to mix because our kids can be exhausting.  The kids that commit themselves to a sport deserve everything you can give them and it is a fun way to go.  The thing I like is just walking in on a day and just not knowing exactly what is going to happen and then start changing a little bit here and change a little bit there and see what you can get out of the kids and as I said, as the coach, I am never satisfied.

 

I have learned with Dick Shoulberg for years up there watching him and I am never satisfied unless something is real good or real challenging every day.  We don’t do recovery days and we try not to use the work actually.  We change different points of stress, but at that same point in time, I think if they leave every day like that and they become accountable for doing stuff hard every day, they are pretty darn good when they leave swimming too.  That means they are going to be able to probably show up for what they are supposed to do from there on in.  That is all I got.

 

I just wanted to tell you sort of a little bit how I approach it at Georgia – I am sure everyone approaches it a lot differently or maybe sometimes the same way, but basically it comes down to this.  I think our whole job, after a certain point, is to make sure the kids feel very, very confident and if they get to a point and they get a little bit more confidence, then all of a sudden you see them change another level and another level.  Kara Lynn enjoyed this summer – didn’t even have her 200 meter freestyle cut until this summer and then she got that and then she thought well now I got the cut and she missed the 200 free Olympic team by 2/100’s.  So all of a sudden now she thinks she is a 200 swimmer and this morning she gets a chance to swim the 200 free on the relay so all of a sudden there is a new world opening up there, but fast swimming is basically this:  the only thing we are doing and we are working hard when they get fast swimming in practice because fast swimming in practice makes fast swimming in meets.  I have come to the point in my life where I have not been surprised in the last ten years about a fast swim.  There was something very similar or something that showed what was going to happen you know, during the course of that year going in and you knew it – preferably close to going in because I like to see something pretty fast close too, but nonetheless, there are very few surprises so the faster we can have our kids train, the better off they are, the more positive environment we can have and the more communication we can have the more you can get out of your kids and make them swim as fast as you can so – I appreciate the time.

 

Chuck – do I need to see if there are any questions because this is a little vague talk – I am not sure there will be many on this one.  Yeah, too confident?  Yeah, that is up to us to talk to talk to them.  We have a little saying, what you do is special, but it doesn’t make you any better than anybody. I think if the kids remember that they are alright and sometimes they have to be reminded.  Kids screw up.  I mean, they screw up when they are 18, 19, 20 – 21.  We all screwed up.  We know a lot of stupid adults and so they have to be reminded, but basically I think you can get them to that point where they feel confident in themselves and I have been very fortunate – we have never had to take too many people that we had to knock down a level.

 

Any questions from anybody?  Yes sir – basically – they are asking if we ever had to sit down kids.   I will repeat the question – I had a potential conflict maybe between two kids so maybe you are asking whether I needed to sit down and actually explain what was going on because maybe they were not aware of what was going on – there is a funny line there too because you want the kids competitive.  You want them trying to beat each other, but you also want to do it in the way it needs to be done.  Fortunately, with Kristy and Courtney, they swam two different things – Thank God – so otherwise I would be finished and, but yes, I sit them down if it gets a little haywire.  I think it is really important that you remind them that kids are there to help other kids swim fast too – that helps them swim fast in the end.

 

An environment like that is really good and we had – this summer – it was draining, but it was fun.  There was fast stuff every day.  It is a neat thing to walk in the pool knowing that you are going to see some fast swimming.  I had a girl Ashley Roby that made Kristy Kowal the American record holder.  Something about Ashley – and she is the sweetest girl in the world. #1 she always left early – it drove Kristy nuts, but that was great too because Christy always had to catch her. So I always had to sit down Christy and say God darn don’t say a word – you are blessed that she is here and she you know, left – she had an edge on every time and Ashley Roby could train some breaststroke and her one thought for four years or actually she was there for six years in time was to beat Kristy so that is a hard way to walk into the pool every day – you got someone after your tail every day, but that made her good so I welcomed the fact that certainly I had to talk to Kristy a couple of times to make sure you know, we don’t need any talking here because they do go in that locker room and I am not there so God knows what happens.

 

Any more questions?  Yes sir – Completely.  You know, I was thinking about this when I was doing this last night a little bit and looking it over – this sounds like it is a little soft kind of stuff and probably it is a little deceptive – it is still about working hard and we don’t – we try not to accept any excuses for that part, but as far as treating them a little bit differently – I think the guys have the tendency to leave stuff a little bit different.  We were much stronger on the women’s side and we had many more kids on the world class situation so I had many more situations like this and so our most viable chances in the last couple of years have been mostly on the women’s side making teams so basically the challenges have been a little bit more on that side of it too, but I tell you what, it makes it interesting and it makes it fun, but as I said, you know, it is not as fuzzy feeling – fuzzy as it probably sounds I mean, basically we are just trying, we have been real fortunate.  You know, when I got to training camp you know, Kara Lynn went to Colorado. Training camps drive me nuts. I’m always afraid someone is going to tell one of our kids they are doing too much. And then someone actually told one of my kids they were too competitive.  I mean, what a stupid thing to say and so, you can never be too competitive, I mean, you need to compete but when my girls got there I mean, Kara Lynn being the 50 American Record holder was willing and able and went right with Bill Rose and he had the distance kids and Bill, was she enjoyable?  Yup, she just lays it down and she goes after it and she is fun to coach so basically you know, it is not – we are not trying to make them soft by any means, we are just trying to figure out a way to get more work out of them.

 

Any more questions?  Yes sir – well the meets are the gas part.  I mean, that is the fun part and you know, like I said if a kid is prepared, how much fun could a meet be?  It is an absolute blast and basically, you sit back and you just watch them do things that they have already done and I wish – now I am not that relaxed when it is happening because you want it to work for them.  I think you need to be prepared for almost any scenario, which is not a bad way to do workout sometime. To yank kids up in the middle of a workout – stand the kid up and throw him some curve balls now and again.  I had a girl the other day we went an IM practice, half way through the IM practice on Tuesday morning I added 600 meters and she goes “huh?” And I said God Melissa – I am so sorry – I am trying to help you become a better athlete and you know, that was a big curve ball and I got her afterwards and I said if you can’t handle 600 meters, how are you going to handle a day if you have a rough swim?  That is not really that hard.  As a matter of fact – the only thing was I just forgot to put this extra 600 on at the end so and so I had to fix it up, but I think you have to be prepared for any scenario.

 

We always tell our kids we think you are prepared. I think you are going to haul, but you have to be prepared just in case something doesn’t go exactly right and it all doesn’t go in a bucket and we always tell them it is no different from any other sport and I grew up playing every sport thank God and I loved them all and you know, baseball – guys get in slumps and they can miss ten times and the thing you know they can go 6 for 10 so even the best kids might have a bad race.  Just this summer, I know Kara Lynn’s first races were always terrible so when we went to Olympics this summer the morning she was going to swim the relay because she didn’t actually swim it in the morning, she only actually had it at night – made sure that we got a couple of races out of the way in the warm-up pool so you got to do different things for different kids and then some kids I have, their first races are usually their best.

 

Any other questions?  Yes sir – we just sort of give it time or get out swims are not get out swims – that is the big joke too – I mean, they get to leave – they don’t get to leave early and they get – so practice is finished and then I put someone up and then they get to leave to go home so, but you get good swims.  I don’t like them missing any yardage and so we sort of do it that way so we do it a lot of different ways.  I might have a gal here and she might have a 10 second lead on a guy on a 200 or something like that – we might just do put one person up or we have two people, but basically – give them a time that you think they can do but you know may or may not happen.  You know, they have to bust to make it.  if they make it they feel pretty good about themselves and usually I mean, we are all smart enough to realize you put the kid up there you think is going to make it, right?  Just had a great practice, they are on top of it and if you can just add one more little building block on that thing before they get out of a great practice and then of a sudden you got yourself – you might have a kid a little bit more on their way and that takes a lot – all of a sudden you have saved yourself about 3,000 words later on down the summer maybe so get out swims I think are fun and I just had them when I was a kid.  I used to like to surf.  My coach at home would always make me get up because he knew I was on my way down to the beach which was two hours away.

 

Any more questions?  Yes – never – well you have got to remember – that means that – that doesn’t mean get moving – just like a TV show.  You have got to remember – I am in a very protected environment and I am just forgetting – let me answer your question.  The question was do we have any kids that self-destruct and we need to talk to – constantly – and then there are some other things that work probably.  You have to remember that I am real fortunate and this is where college coaches are real spoiled.  You know, we get to pick a little bit so club coaches are in a different scenario; everyone comes – they pay their money – they are there and part of recruiting is to find out what kind of kids you want to have on your team on a day to day basis.  When kids come in on a recruiting trip they think they are getting recruited and you know, we are watching real carefully and I mean, it is a real big deal of how they interact with kids and we try to find out as much as we can about them and you find out an awful lot about kids when they come on a trip but I mean, if that case gets to that point then there is you know, only so much that you can do and then something else has to happen too. What is the name of that – is it the Blue Collar show – have you all seen that show?  It is on cable?  Has anybody seen that?  Well, I think it is big in the South, but anyhow, we had a filming at our pool the other day.  Has anybody seen this thing?  It is pretty wild.  It is Jeff Foxworthy.  He talks about being rednecks and stuff like that and we have had one or two in Georgia – believe it or not and anyhow they came in and they filmed the other day and I gave them all Georgia swimming shirts and I don’t know if you remember, there is this one guy called the cable guy and he is a pretty regular old guy and before he left he cut the sleeves off the t-shirt and got his toothpick in but we had a good time at the pool but I was getting a lot of those signs when I was talking to them and they were trying to get me off the deck because these guys were a lot of fun.

 

Any more questions – anybody?  Yes – watch for how they treat the coaches, certainly how they interact and also how they treated – there is an academic meeting every Friday when we are bringing them in and how they are with those people.  The biggest thing on a home trip – I see how they treat their parents because if they don’t treat their parents well, we de-recruit.  Because they are not going to treat me well at all. If they are a user it is not going to change all of a sudden when they come to me so they sort of back out the door a little bit there so you know, I watch them – I think the most important thing I see on a home visit is how they are with their moms and dads when they are here – certainly you know, I would rather see them quiet than the other way certainly, but also how they act with anyone that is in a position of authority – whether it is a professor or something because those people are giving up time and the kids need to be appreciative too.  I think that is pretty much it.  Thanks for the time, I appreciate it – good luck this year.

 

 

 

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