Coventry Swimming Club, UK

I started training with a local swimming club back in January ahead of a triathlon I had signed up for. Two of the coaches, Allison and Frank, had both worked as teachers and so knew a lot about working with young people in a range of settings, including competitive sport.

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‘There are so many things that are out of your control so recognise all you are in control of is the next minute. Things might happen you don’t have control about – all you can control is how you respond to things’
– Allison

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‘If people have dreams of ambitions they need to make them a reality, and be prepared to apply themselves. As a swimming coach I’ve coached people who have gone on to the Olympics but at aged 12 I couldn’t tell you which they’d be. But in the end it was those that were prepared to do something about it that did.’

‘Let’s give an example. Say a young person wants to meet a pop star. That’s fine. But you have got to take a first step. Go to concerts, join a fan club, whatever; but you need to take that first step and actually start doing something.’

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‘Think of it as a big mountain. The cliché goes that you only get there by taking small steps which is absolutely true. But at the same time, be aware what a mountain actually involves and thus what those steps are likely to be.’

‘You can tell youngsters but they’ve got to want it. You need to make it real for them – i.e. what their mountain will involve. People learn more when it’s relevant to them so if you’re getting a qualification, what is it for? Or what do you perceive it to be for? It is about needing to get people to learn how to learn. [I agree with Allison] The only thing you can be certain of is the next minute. And so if you can only be sure of next minute. Make sure you do something in it.’
– Frank

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