My Life Influence

November 22, 2009
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A coach and an athlete have a very complex relationship which is made more complicated, and unique, when the coach is the athlete’s father. Being the coach’s daughter on a varsity swim team, I did not receive special treatment and I did not want to be perceived differently than other girls. As a member of a swimming family, the sport is with me twenty-four seven; whether on vacation or at home eating dinner, it is always a possible topic. Because of this unique relationship, my father and I have grown very close and he is a big influence on my decisions. The sport of swimming has had a significant impact on the development of my character mainly because of my coach’s influence and my father’s guidance.
Although I worked hard to become a better swimmer, my true motivation was to impress my father. Consequently my work ethic was solidified. Swimming has taught me time management. Other girls can skip practice because they have too much work to do, but because my father is the coach, I have learned to manage my time effectively. Immediately after school I sat down to work on homework because our swim practice ran from 7 P.M. to 10 P.M. and the possibility of absorbing new information was highly unlikely after a demanding practice. My day-to-day schedule forced me to stay organized and on track. Our coach had the same expectations for each girl on the team and drilled us on the importance of academic success and its correlation to our performance in the pool. He encouraged us to work hard in order to reach our full potential in the classroom and in the pool.
My senior year I was elected captain by the coaching staff and my teammates because they believed I was trustworthy and responsible. The team and my father relied on the captains to keep the team focused and motivated. As a captain I modeled my behavior after behaviors my father demonstrated. He had the ability to get his swimmers to push themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of, and as a result, they believed that anything was possible with hard work and determination. He taught us to encourage each other and that one success can lead to another. We’ve learned to focus on always improving, and consequently, discovered new ways to approach weaknesses. No idea was ever dismissed as silly or irrelevant, and sometimes these new techniques proved to truly improve performance. I have matured and become a better leader because of my experiences as captain.
Swimming, under the guidance of my father, has enabled me to acquire the values and personal skills necessary for the demanding rigors of college and life on my own. I have learned to be organized and to use my time more effectively. I feel that my coach has taught me how to work for what I want which will help me to achieve my goals, but more importantly, my father has taught me the importance of helping others achieve their personal best.





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