“What makes a good coach?”

Today was a bittersweet day of sorts because it was the last day of my swim session. That, in itself, should not be a reason to feel bad, I know. I could always continue practicing on my own, I know.

But if I were to be honest, I think I enjoyed the “laugh trip” with our swim coach as much as I enjoyed being in the water. Let me explain.

As with many coaches/ instructors, this one hopes for nothing but the best for his students. He’s strict when he needs to be, but he also unfailingly dishes out the funniest comments (at least to me). Comments that are actually motivational tips, but are covered with layers of humor. He would also just suddenly burst into singing when something you say catches his attention.

Coach, thank you: for consistently demonstrating patience to my consistent ‘complaining’; for believing that beginner swimmers always have the potential to become better if they would put their heart into every practice. Who would’ve thought I’d see the day when I could finally cross a 25-meter lap pool without stopping? Here’s a secret: I could not wait for the class to be over when we started 19 sessions ago.

Image - 25 meter lap pool
Image and credit: 25-meter lap pool / Wikimedia

I think I have to be most grateful for that period when you must have sensed I was feeling despondent, and yet you never let on that you knew. Instead, in your own way, you managed to tease me out of the doldrums with street-smart advice wrapped in lots of wit.

Enjoy the holiday season! I’ll keep on practicing that (sigh) butterfly stroke until I think I get it right. This isn’t the end of the “laugh trip.” See you next year!

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