Diary of a Coach on a Christmas Break


We don’t do Christmas training camps, or hell weeks (see here and here), so we trained this year until Dec. 23 (morning and afternoon). Then 12 glorious days off! Below is my unofficial diary of how, as a coach, I handle the time off.

Dec. 23: Evening

This was a long day. Morning practice (everybody did a 200 time trial of their worst stroke), and then afternoon practice which included worst butterfly competition, most stylish dog paddle competition, and a serious 50 Run (shallow end)/Swim (deep end) for time. Finished off with free time on the Tarzan rope, diving board and pool toys. It was a blast. Then evening board meeting and my break started.

Dec. 24

Woke up at 5 am, as usual, and then remembered that there’s no swimming! Needless to say I was very happy, until I realized that I wasn’t able to get back to sleep. Busy day today preparing our house for Christmas and the impending arrival of family. Lots of cleaning and baby proofing! I did manage to sandwiched in a few hours on the computer to review early January practices, take a look on the Facebook Swim Coaches group, Swimming Science, SwimSwam, Swimming World and some other sites. Spent some time thinking about how the 12-day layoff will affect my swimmers. Some will jump right back into it with both feet, and I know others will need it to be a little more gradual. So much to think about.

Dec. 25

Of course I’m awake and it’s 5 am on Christmas morning and nobody else is up yet. I swear I didn’t think about swimming until at least 6 am. Well, maybe 5:30 am. That’s progress! Swapped Merry Christmas messages with a bunch of my swimmers and their parents. Snuck away from the family a few times to check on swimming news and watch videos. I don’t think they noticed!

Dec. 26

Woke up at 6 today. Birthday party for 1-year old granddaughter today, so spent a good part of the day running around preparing for the party. Didn’t manage to look up anything about swimming until about 6 pm. It’s amazing how much swim-related news gets posted on Christmas and Boxing Days.

Dec. 27

Woke up at 7 and felt refreshed. Eventually got on the Facebook group to catch up on post from the last few days. Then surprised myself by forgetting about swimming for the rest of the day.

Dec. 28th

Up at 8 am (the late nights had something to do with that) and wandered around the house for a bit before I realized I wasn’t thinking about swimming. Then got a coffee and decided I didn’t need to think about swimming. Well, until about noon when I found myself on my computer checking up on all things swimming. Good thing I did. Saw a great article on sumo training for breaststrokers. Same concept as what our Strength & Conditioning coach (Kevin) has us doing, but this will be so much more fun for the kids. Talked to Kevin and he thought it was a great way to make it fun. Can’t wait to take this to our first S&C session in January. Spend another hour reading the Facebook group. Gotta love those USRPT vs the rest of the World debates.

Dec. 29th

Got caught up in playing board games with the family and not thinking about swimming. Didn’t realize it until later in the day when I checked my emails and found some messages from parents.

Dec. 30th

Forgot to think about swimming today.

Dec. 31, Jan. 1

Went away for a few days with my wife. Forgot to even think about thinking about swimming. Took many naps and didn’t wake up feeling guilty or rushed. Even did some Netflix binging. Now that was a great vacation!

Jan. 2

Got back and checked my emails. Noticed lots of team messages. Didn’t read any of them. I did pop into the Facebook group and read the post asking about the purpose behind the infamous 100 x 100 set. It was massively entertaining to read the vocal proponents for each side. I remember doing that set back when I was a swimmer. To tell the truth we trained so much back then, 100 x 100 wasn’t even considered unusual. But then again, my swimming career was cut short due to shoulder injuries.

Jan. 3

Ok, can’t put it off any longer. Woke up at 6 and was thinking swimming. Met with an assistant coach this morning. Lots of team emails to answer. Spent much of the day getting back into swimming mode. Practices start tomorrow, and I just realized I hadn’t thought about the details of that first practice for over a week.

Nothing beats a good Christmas Break.


One thought on “Diary of a Coach on a Christmas Break

  1. Hey Rick! Love your writing and perspective….for one side of the fence, we had a million meter workout at TPASC on Mon/28 with 100 swimmers from Belleville, Uxbridge, Port Hope and host-club Whitby go 100X100 over four hours. Lifetime first for many and it went great!

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