A Renewed Focus in September

Bram Montgomery

As we head into the Summer Holidays we expect many of our swimmers to be away from London for some much deserved rest. Rest and recovery in July and August is an excellent way to help the swimmers come back refreshed and excited to work hard in September. 

With that in mind I wanted to share some of my own thoughts on the importance of consistent training attendence, and as always some excellent ideas from author Olivier Leroy. 

Coaches Corner- July 2022

Although it may sound like a broken record, you’ll never stop hearing coaches’ talk about the importance of showing up for training everyday (or whenever your groups’ schedule calls for). There is nothing you can do to replace the benefits gained from consistently showing up to training. No amount of private lessons, swim camps, or squeezing in extra sessions at the last minute before a gala will help your swimmers reach their goals and fulfil their potential like showing up to training everyday prepared to work hard and engage fully with your coaches and teammates.

I feel strongly that despite our continued rise up the County and Junior League rankings and positive results at Regional and National level, we are still underperforming because we have too many members of our competitive squads not turning up to enough training sessions and many trying to find “easier” routes to success. At the moment we are only scratching the surface of where our club could be as a competitive force in British Swimming. But no matter what level of coaching we offer or facilities we have access too, the club will never be truly great until we have swimmers and parents fully understanding the level of commitment it takes to excel in this sport (very high), and most importantly the long term benefits that can be gained by making that commitment. (This isn’t just about “swimming”).

The best swimmers I’ve worked with over the past 25 years have thrived in both the pool and the classroom so using academic pressure as an excuse is not always viable. I recently attended the annual Oxford vs Cambridge Dual meet where 5 Brompton swimmers were racing (about 10% of the swimmers competing in meet) and we consistently have swimmers going on to attend the best Universities in the world; many of whom rarely missed sessions by finding balance between school and swimming and making sacrifices in other areas.

The following are highlights from an excellent article on why “missing just one practice” can be detrimental. (“Why you should go to practice today” by Olivier Leroy)


It’s 3:30pm, and with a morning practice, a day full of classes and relentless eating and snacking already behind you, another swim practice looms ahead. Taking stock of your day you begin to think that maybe you are better off taking the rest of the day to yourself. In these moments it can be tempting to pull the ripcord on account of illness, homework or straight up disinterest.

Sure, it might just be “one” practice, and in the long term a single missed workout won’t make much of a difference to whether or not you eventually achieve your goals in the pool.

But that “one” missed workout (let’s be honest here, if you’re having these thoughts it’s probably not just going to be one workout) has larger implications than just our goals in the pool.

Here is why you should brave the feelings of “I don’t feel like it” and go to practice today.

The reality is that there will always be days where the last thing you feel like doing is going to the pool. You’re tired, grumpy, and a fresh season of your favourite TV show just got released on Netflix. Some of these days will be exceptionally challenging, and even the top athletes in our sport aren’t immune to these types of days.

Here are a few reasons you should make it down to the pool for practice (besides the whole getting better at the swimming aspect)


If you’re constantly waffling and flaking on the things you say you are going to do, you are conditioning yourself to be the kind of person who doesn’t take his her own goals seriously. Keeping your word shows you that you are capable of commitment. Sure, waffling on occasion might not feel like a big deal, but when you stick to the deals you’ve made you develop a level of invaluable confidence in knowing that if you set out to do something it will be done. Period. Regardless of motivation, external circumstances, or how you’re feeling that day, you will keep the integrity of the promises you make to yourself.


Is there anything more disappointing than being the teammate that people can’t rely on? You probably have already swum with this teammate at some point, the swimmer who, when they miss practice, isn’t given a second thought as to why they aren’t there. Or it becomes noteworthy when they actually do show up to practice. The promises and commitments you make to yourself matter, and so do the commitments you make to the team and the goals you guys have for the season.

One of the benefits of swimming with a team and a group are the communal goals and the momentum that they create. It is times specifically like these where that commitment helps to pull you along.


Doing the seeming benign things well can have a compounding effect on the other, larger aspects of your life. Consistency, attendance and effort in one area always bleed over into another. It’s no accident that high performance achievers in one area tend to excel in others as well. When you are able to suffer through the off-days to get your swimming workouts done you develop a type of resiliency and attention to effort that cannot help but bleed into the other areas of your life.


Making exceptions is a dangerous thing. Once made they can spread like wildfire. Don’t underestimate your ability to reason your way out of something.

The solution? Draw a clear line in the sand for your workouts. There are things where you have to miss training, things like a family emergency, illness/injury, and so on. Draw a clear line between those and days like today. Once you start making exceptions for things like “I just don’t feel like it today” the slippery slope of excuses and rationalizations becomes treacherous and endless.


It would be impossible for me to count how many times I grudgingly showed up to practice, expecting nothing and feeling rugged, only to emerge from the water an hour and a half later grateful that I’d shown up.  While there have been plenty of times I’ve had my mind racing before practice trying to justify bailing, I’ve not once ended up regretting showing up and doing the practice. Often we fall into the line of thinking that because we aren’t feeling super motivated, or because we are stressed out, that we can’t have a good practice, and as a result, there’s no point even going. Keep in mind that when all is said and done, nobody ever regretted going to the pool and giving a good effort.