Thursday, July 9, 2015

Coached swim, no whiteboard required

When our swim group began, and we gathered in the pool with Coach Tom for our very first session, I remember wondering where the whiteboard (dry erase board) was. This was what I expected to see:

How could he possibly do his job without a whiteboard? How in the world would we know what to do?

I soon found out. He would tell us what to do, and we would have to listen.

At first it was a little like hearing another language.
"Do __x100, descend the first 3 on 1:50, then 3 on 1:45 holding 1:35...." 
"3x200 as pull, swim, pull with pull on 3:20 and swim on 3:30..."
 "8x75 as 25 drill, 50 swim..."
He'd have to repeat everything multiple times. But over time we've gotten better at listening and at hearing. Not perfect, but better! (However, it's nice to have lane mate Janet as a backup. We do a lot of checking in with one another to be sure we have it.)

It turns out now I like not having the whiteboard. I like not knowing what is next. I like focusing on the set I am in and not worrying about what is to come. I am not tempted to ration my resources!

No whiteboard also means we have many moments of suspense as we wait to hear what is coming. Sometimes we try to predict what is next if we think we are seeing a pattern. We respond appropriately to the set. (Yay! Pull set! What? THAT many fast 50s on 50?)

Without a whiteboard, it means Coach Tom checks in with each of our lanes (he has three different workout groups going at once) between sets so we have a moment for feedback in both directions and then we get our next instructions.

I don't think we have many opportunities as adults to really practice listening and remembering so this has been good for me.

Swimming without a whiteboard certainly has its advantages.