PROMOTING CLUB SWIMMING WITH NAME CAPS
How much interested would there be in football if the players just played in generic uniforms of different colors? What if they played with no numbers or names to identify the players? They would probably have much less interest in their sport. I do not even like to see teams with just numbers on jerseys. I’m lazy and do not want to go to the program to identify someone. With the names on jerseys, I get to know the players better!
Think about it, football, basketball, hockey, baseball (the big four) all have identifiers on their uniforms. Can you image watching and betting on a horse or puppy race, if they did not wear numbers!
Why in the world do we think swimming is any different? If we want to increase interest and advance our sport, we need to get our swimmers in NAME CAPS! I have not put a requirement on my team for swimmers to wear NAME CAPS for meets at this time, but I am thinking about it. It will greatly increase interest in our sport if we can advance this idea in club swimming.
As a coach working with mainly my senior elite group, I sometimes find myself so business at times that I do not keep up with the names of all of the younger age group swimmers in my program. I have found that when I walk into a younger age group practice, that I immediately have my attention directed to the swimmers wearing name caps and that I can identify fast. I hope all NCSA Coaches will join me in promoting this idea!
NCSA has a Name Camp Program we are calling “Caps for Excellence”. We are asking all clubs to participate. It is so simply and you can organize and implement the ordering of the caps for your entire team in a couple of days. Also, try to get local recreational and high schools involved. Simply download the forms we provide. They are in Word Document format, so you can easily modify them if you wish. We pass out the individual handout order forms and then for the next few days they are placed in a collection box. At the end of the week, we make a “last call” at practice. Then, a parent or an assistant coach can do the team order form summary. If you wish, just attach payment to the individual order forms and send them in to NCSA. NCSA will process them for you. It is so simply. The program is going very well for those few clubs who have followed up with orders. Almost all have re-ordered. My team is doing it four times per year, to keep the kids well supplied with NAME CAPS. NCSA has priced the caps at a retail price, and the profits will be used for ONLY the NCSA All-Star Travel Program. This program will eventually be the great motivator to provide CLUB SWIMMING with the most prestigious swimming meets for 18 and under swimmers in the United States!
Every morning I wake up and try to solve of NCSA problem of funding our Jr. National All-Star Program for at least $100,000 per year. I think I have an acceptable idea that will work for us.
Caps for Excellence. We want each club involved in Jr. Nationals to have their club buy “swimmer name” team caps through this program. 3 Latex caps for $20 with team logo and swimmer’s name. 2 Silicone caps for $30 with team logo and swimmer’s name. This is the approximate retail cost of these caps and we have done the project at my club, AFOX, as a pilot program. It was simple. It took less than a week and it was done. An assistant coach and parent did the complete program in a couple of days.
We need every club to do this! It will have tremendous results for us. The gross profit to NCSA’s Jr. National All-Star Program is about 50%. Arizona Sports Ranch will fund all administrative cost through their Swim Shop. 100 swimmers X $20=$2000. This results in approximately $1000 in gross profits to the program. 100 teams (and we have many more than that!) X $1000=$100,000. This project can fund our Jr. National All-Star Program!!! We just need you and everyone associated with NCSA to actually do it and get the job done!! Forms that we used, in Word document form, are attached. It will be easy for you to do this project. You can get it done within the next week. Will you please do this cap program this next week!
The NCSA Jr. National All-Star Program
A goal of NCSA has been to forge a bases to make the Junior National Swimming Championships a more prestigious event for 18 and under swimmers. Club swimming is the major force in developmental swimming and the future of excellence in USA swimming depends upon the expanded success of this sector of the total sport of swimming in the USA. It is important to the club programs to have Junior National be as good as it can possible be!! The club coaches need a Championship Meet for the majority of their top level swimmers that has the same prestige as other top level programs, both within and outside of swimming, for this age of athlete. It is not appropriate for high school state championships to have more importance to the swimming community than the club program’s top meet for this age group. We need a program that offers the prestige of the “McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Program.” There is no attempt to supersede the importance of the USA National Championships with the very few athletes in this age group that can be successful at that level of performance. However, at the same time, Junior Nationals can not be held back in fear that it will become more important to this age group than our USA National Championships.
This program contributes to the goal direction of international swimming. Our swimmers grow up looking forward to and placing great value in high school swimming. Then their attention focuses on college swimming. We have not brought our young elite swimmers up thinking about the international scene. While other countries have engaged their swimmer with events like the European Junior Championships, we have only really encouraged the younger elite swimmer to think internationally at the very highest level, those athletes who can make a USA National Team. A secondary effort has been made with the 30 to 40 athletes of a Junior Team each year. We need a situation like a Junior National All-Star Team Program to involve many more swimmers in the goal of international swimming.
To increase the important and prestige of the Junior Nationals, NCSA has been developing the Junior National All-Star Program. The objective has been to increase the prestige and excitement of Junior Nationals by each time making it a “Selection Meet.” Swimmers qualify for the All-Star Team by performance in each event, and the selections are made similar to the selection process for all of our full USA teams bound for international competition. It is common knowledge among club coaches that travel and selection to such a team is the most motivating and prestigious thing that can happen for this age of swimmer. The key to the prestige of club swimming and Junior Nationals can best be achieved by this Junior National All-Star Team Program. There should be at least one domestic or international trip to competition for each Junior National All-Star Team after each Junior Nationals, both Spring and Summer.
This past year, the NCSA completed its first Junior National All-Star Team domestic trip. The team was selected from the results on the 2003 Summer Junior Nationals held in The Woodlands, TX. Forty swimmers accepted positions on the team. Eight coaches, all with swimmers on the team, were selected as Junior National All-Star Team Coaches. Swimmers and coaches paid their own transportation to Beaverton, OR, for the Junior International Championships, December, 2003. NCSA paid for all hotels, food, vans for local transportation, entry fees, administration cost and other miscellaneous expenses. Speedo did a great job of uniforming the team with suits, dress warm-ups, t-shirts, travel bags, and polo type shirts for the coaches. The money to accomplish this came primarily from a percentage of the profits generated by the first four NCSA Junior National Championships. This trip received great appreciation from the swimmers, home club coaches and parents of the participating swimmers. This trip was a great step forward in developing this concept of a Junior National All-Star Team Program being a principle motivator for excellence in the Junior National Swimming Championships.
Since the first Junior National All-Star Team selection in Long Beach, Spring Junior Nationals of 2002, NCSA has attempted to fund a domestic and international trip. Detailed correspondence and meetings have occurred between the programs of Canada and Great Britain and NCSA. Discussions with both countries have lead to the conclusion that the international travel meet can be done for approximately $60,000. The return domestic meet can be done for approximately $40,000. The NCSA has formally applied to outside business and organizations for funding assistance of $100,000 for a home and home competition exchange between these countries. To date, the NCSA has not been successful in attracting such a sponsor or grant from outside of swimming.
Club coaches, we need to face the reality! No administrator, no other group of coaches, no volunteers, and no USA Swimming staff members are going to do this for us! If we want a great club program situation, we must create for ourselves. NO ONE IS GOING TO DO IT FOR US!
This Caps for Excellence Program offers us a way to do it. Right here, Right NOW! It is time for you to step us to the blocks and take the plunge to help NCSA do this for ourselves. I hope that you will put this program together this week! I would love to see us be able to tell the Jr. National All-Star Team that will come from the 2005 Spring NCSA Jr. Nationals in Orlando or the Spring 2005 USA Jr. Nationals in Irvine that they will get a domestic or international trip opportunity because of their performances at this meet!
If you will commit to this program, give us an e-mail back at NCSA!