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  • Writer's pictureNaomi McDonald

How I led my team to victory

I was the head coach for my summer swim team for two years, and here's how I led my team to compete in the highest league in the city.

How it all started


I have been a competitive swimmer for eight years and competed in swim meets since I was just eight years old. I’ve always had a love for the sport, and I still feel enthusiastic about passing down that passion to younger generations of swimmers. My love for swim led me to be the head coach for my local swim team.


Rocket City Swim League is the local swim league where all local seasonal swim teams compete against each other. RCSL is broken up into three competitive divisions: A league, B league, and C league, the A league being the most competitive and C league being the least competitive.


When I first started coaching, our team was right in the middle of the B league. Our goal was to move up to A league, and I knew we had the potential to reach our goal. These are the steps I took as a coach to lead our team to victory and accomplish our goals.


I set up short-term stepping stones


Setting a very ambitious goal for yourself can feel overwhelming, but here’s the thing: you don't have to reach that big goal overnight. Reaching a goal starts by making and accomplishing smaller, easier stepping stones leading up to the big milestone. Here’s what I did to break down my goals into smaller, bite-sized chunks:


  • I pushed each of my swimmers to make personal goals for themselves to get faster.

  • I wrote detailed training sessions to improve the team’s swimming skills.

  • I made goals for how many points we had to win at each competition.



I put in the work day by day


Creating goals is a great start, but in order to accomplish that goal, you have to put in a lot of hard work. My goal for my team was to be the fastest we could possibly be so we could move up to A league. I knew that in order to move up to A league, we had to start with the fundamentals: how to swim fast. I knew reaching this goal would take a lot of time, planning, and patience. This is what I did to put in the work:


  • I took no off days.

  • I stayed focused on the basics.

  • I took one step at a time.


I stayed focused on getting 1% better every day


Nobody suddenly wakes up and becomes an Olympic athlete overnight. That's why it is important to have a 1% better mentality. Here's what I mean: focus on small wins toward your set goal. You are much more likely to fail and get discouraged if your focus is on getting 15% or 25% better every day. Instead of trying to make huge leaps in progress, set your focus on getting just 1% better every day. Those small wins will slowly add up, and before you know it, you'll be crushing your set goals.


I was committed to being ambitious


Making a really big goal and trying to accomplish it can seem scary and even impossible. But as cheesy as it sounds, believing in yourself can go a long way. This means being ambitious with your goals because you never know what you're capable of accomplishing.


After a long season of training, my team ended up doing incredibly in all our competitions. In the end, all our hard work paid off, and we earned enough points to move our team up to A league. This is all due to creating and staying committed to ambitious goals.


Here's my recipe for reaching big goals:


  • Believe in yourself.

  • Focus on the short term.

  • Put in hard work every day.

  • Don't be afraid to be ambitious!


Try these techniques and use my story as inspiration to accomplish whatever goals you have! Let nothing stand in the way of reaching your dreams.

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