Not every child can become a great swimmer. No matter how deeply motivated, nor how hard they are driven, some can only achieve moderate competitive success. However, if the age group program is well planned and directed, every participant can gain from his experience, whether or not he or she ever wins a single race. It is for this reason that the coaching staff has adopted the following objectives for the upcoming season:
To provide appropriate level of training and competition for all swimmers on the team.
To provide an opportunity to learn sportsmanship and team cooperation - and their importance to performance.
To provide opportunities to learn good health habits - and its relationship to athletic performance.
To provide opportunities for social and emotional development.
To furnish a worthwhile and wholesome physical and recreational outlet.
Character development and values education is an integral part of the National YMCA program. YMCA competitive swimming offers some wonderful, teachable moments where participants can develop personal values that will affect them for a lifetime. The YMCA has been teaching character development for more than 150 years.
Character development is challenging people to accept and demonstrate positive values. The YMCA has adopted four character values on which to focus. The are Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility. There are many other important values, but these were chosen because the provide a foundation and relationship to so many other positive values. These four values make it easy for people to hold on to and interpret to the participants and supporters.
Competitive Swimming, like all YMCA programs, is a tool to help people develop in spirit, mind and body. Developing skills and achieving are secondary to pursuing the YMCA mission, which is "to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all." It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of competition and lose sight of the primary purpose and YMCA mission.
The Tigershark program is founded on the belief that YMCA competitive swimming offers an exciting and worthwhile experience in a young person's life. It can be enjoyed and learned by those with little or no ability to those of National champion caliber. Its values gained and lessons learned can go far beyond that of learning strokes and winning races. "Winning means doing your best!"
Competitive sports, especially individual performance sports, such as swimming, in many respects can be an excellent preparation for life - i.e. that the factors that determine the level of success one has in athletics are the very same that determine the level of achievement in any other field of life.
There is no better field than athletics for a young person to learn than every individual is born with different and unique levels of ability and aptitude - that genetics and environmental influences give everyone a special blend of strength, endurance and technical ability - commonly called natural ability.
There is no better experience than athletic training for that youngster to find that all have equal power to develop and increase their own inborn capacities - and that the degree to which they develop their gift is in direct proportion to the quality of time and effort invested into their training.
Finally, there is no better place than competition for the young athlete to learn that very often the hardest worker in the pool does not always win the most races any more than the hardest worker in a shop always earns the most money or the most studious person in school receives the best grades. Every swimmer will find, however, that the greatest and most meaningful challenge is the training to reach his or her own potential and that to this he/she must work intelligently, consistently and hard. The transfer and application of these lessons will prove to be of measurable worth in later and different situation.
It is the quest for personal excellence, which is the philosophy of the successful person in any field or endeavor - and hopefully, will be the motivating force of our Tigershark team. It is the willingness of everyone to make the personal commitment to do whatever it takes to become the best we are capable of becoming in our training season, and accepting no less.
An accurate early season assessment of capabilities.
The setting of appropriate goals.
An understanding of what it will take, in terms of time and effort, to reach these goals.
Making the mental commitment and having the day-to-day discipline to meet those training requirements.
This same discipline is adopted, in some form or another, by all goal-oriented successful organizations or individuals.