Excellence in sports doesn’t have to be miserable
My friend and co-worker Tim Boivin pointed me toward this story today from the Wall Street Journal. It’s about Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin, and her coach Todd Schmitz.
One of the interesting things in the article covered her training routine. Unlike many high-level athletes who train constantly, Missy’s coach actually has her train less than most, and even gives her weekends off. His rationale is — wait for it — he doesn’t want her to burn out.
Amazing isn’t it? A coach who doesn’t believe you have to spend every waking moment working on your skills.
The other part of the story I personally found interesting was when they talk about her relationship with her coach. Her parents say many people tried to tell them over the years that they should take Missy to a more “high level” coach.
Todd Schmitz is not an international superstar coach. In fact, the swimming club he works through, the Colorado Stars out of Denver, doesn’t even have its own pool. But Missy’s parents resisted the pressure to have her move to a “name” coach because of the excellent relationship she had with Schmitz — and the fact that she kept getting better under his instruction. It seems to have worked.
Give the article a read. It’s worth it as a reminder that excellence doesn’t have to miserable. You CAN be a world class athlete and still have a life.