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The following article was obtained from the American Swimming Coaches Association

Lane Talk

By John Leonard 
One of the most powerful positive OR negative factors on a swim team is the conversation that goes on among “lane-mates” in between repeats.

Typically, there are two types of conversations going on. One is highly destructive, one is highly motivating.

Motivating is the lane talk that focuses on the task to be done. Destructive is the talk that divides, that confuses the purpose of the work, that makes people feel badly. 

What is destructive? Conversation that goes like the following:

“Man! Its cold, isn’t it?”    (what is, IS, deal with it)

“This is too hard, let's take it easy”.  (well, that’s one choice, but not one that will make you a better swimmer.)

“why are you going so fast? Who are you trying to impress?” (maybe not trying to impress anyone…..just knowing that going fast makes you better.)

“can’t you keep up? Get out of my way!”  (maybe two choices would be better – “come on, you can do this, work harder” or, if impossible, “I don’t want to kick you, can you move closer to the lane line when I go by? Thanks!”)

“This isn’t the right way we ought to be training…its too hard (easy) (fast) (slow) etc.”   (who’s coaching here, athlete or coach?)

Motivating Talk is:

“Wow, lets go, we can do this!”

“OK guys, I got the lead, get on my feet and I’ll pull you along and we’ll go fast.” (if you ARE dominant in the lane)

“I’ll lead early then anyone who feels great can take over later.”

“ Marty, you can do this….stay with us!” (encourage those at the back of the lane)

“Just do ‘em one swim at a time, guys! Make each one”.

“One more, come on, we can do it!”

         The point being, if the talk is positive, everyone feels good, everyone can contribute and everyone can help everyone else be successful. It’s the meaning of team.

         If the talk  focuses on how difficult it is, or what is “wrong” or makes anyone feel “unwanted” in the lane, it’s a negative for anyone.

     And complaining about how “hot/cold/wet” the water/air is, isn’t going to make it any better. Better to just focus on what can be controlled, your own effort.

    Good Lane Talk makes for Good Teams. Try it.