One Size Fits None

A warm welcome to DCRainmaker readers who are pouring in as a result of Ray linking to my recent “Where’s the Romance?” post. My most read post of all time, by a considerable margin, is one titled “School Mission Statements”. Do a Google search for “school mission statements” and it’s the fourth link, but whose counting? Ray gets 6,000 hits a day, a little more than me. If yesterday’s record uptick in readership continues for very long, “Where’s the Romance?” may give “School Mission Statements” a run for its money.

Now back to regular programming.

Read an interesting swimming article recently that detailed the different mindset of sprinters. Even elite Olympic caliber sprinters don’t like training and get bored extremely quickly. (Was that the rare double adverb? Is that legal? Shouldn’t I know that?) The ability to adapt to differences and individualize one’s coaching, teaching, campaigning, and sales pitches often distinguishes swim coaches, teachers, politicians, and salespeople as particularly excellent.

In teaching it’s referred to as curriculum differentiation. Curriculum differentiation occurs when a teacher adjusts his/her lesson plan so that it meets the needs of all students.

Amazingly, nearly all of the car salespeople I’ve interacted with seem to be reading from the same script. None of them have successfully read me. If they had, they’d bypass the small talk about what I do for a living and my family which I can’t stand and focus exclusively on the car’s features (which they often are unable to do very well).

The high school coach that I help and I sometimes get frustrated with some girls that don’t practice very hard. They sleep-swim, stop to adjust caps and goggles, stretch their shoulders, go to the bathroom during main sets, and in some cases miss practice altogether. But now that I think about it, they tend to be the sprinters. Their natural tendencies and our workouts are misaligned. They’ll probably never embrace the process, or the long, sometimes monotonous and always tiring rhythms of distance training.

If I’m ever a head coach, I think I’ll design three different workouts—a sprint one, a distance one, and a distance-lite one. The sprint workout, which will emphasize intensity and variety, will last about 60% as long as the others. Instead of coasting for ninety minutes, they’ll go real hard for 50 minutes.

1 thought on “One Size Fits None

  1. I have come a long way from piling yardage on high school kiss. Most of ’em don’t need it. One of my best inservices was coaching track for two years. Think of the differentiation that goes on in a track practice. In high school swimming only three events are more than 100 yards, so one is basically training sprinters and it is probably better for the practices be geared to that group, with exceptions made for the 200 free, 200 IM and 500.

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