Pickle Rick Wins!

The prize is the thing. For young swimmers, for a prize, they will go to the end of the earth.

It is all it is; just a simple tangible award. Almost any prize will do. It can come in almost any shape or size. The exclusivity of the reward gives it it’s worth and the coach can decide that (or the parent). Pickle Rick did fine.

Pickle Rick, if you don’t know, is an animated character in a tv programme. Space travel, time travel, multiple universes. That kind of thing. My teen boys enjoy that show and in one season Pickle Rick keeps showing up in the episodes.

In a gift shop there was a large pillow size Pickle Rick. Of course everyone wanted it so my Wife said whoever wins a gold medal tonight can get a Pickle Rick.

From that moment on it was the chat. ‘I’m getting Pickle Rick…no I am…’ etc. …and how did the night’s races go? From our three boys in finals; two got silver and one gold. We bought him the Pickle Rick.

Another great prize was when my group of swimmers stayed in a university dorm. At many universities there is a large rock in the middle of a communal green space. Uni students paint on it, graffiti it, and sometimes even use it to communicate events; party at Randell Halls flr 4!

For that competition the group was strong and we would have a good three or four swimmers medalling and also relays each day. So each night we went out and anyone who won a medal got to put their name on the rock. It turned out to be one of my best ideas for prize giving motivation ever!

Mr Potato Head was a close second or third place in the good prize category. I would peruse a charity shop (second hand store) and found, in great condition, in-the-box, Mr Potato Head. I gave that to the biggest improvement in a finals for the entire meet. (I did think long and hard about keeping it for my own collectibles). I showed the swim group at our first competition day, pre-finals meeting, and everyone wanted it. How did it go; let’s just say ‘outside smoke’ became a regular occurrence! I even got inspired to draw a pencil drawing later on;

I even stoop to the level of candy. I have a warm up called ‘snakes & ladders’ which is an easy fun warm up. The winner (or winning lane) gets a sweetie (that’s a candy for north american folks). The sweetie prize never fails to get swimmers in early and meaningful prizes rarely fail to improve performance.

I do draw the line at cash for PB’s. I think that cash does work but it takes a bit of the magic away from a prize. Cash is not a prize but rather a payment for a job. But that’s just me.

About Coach Gary

I competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul representing Canada and coached in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics for Great Britain. I have a degree in History and a minor degree in Psychology from University of Calgary. I have travelled extensively and have been very lucky to see so much of the world while representing Canada and Great Britain at swimming competitions. I am very proud of the fact that I coached a swimmer to become number one in the world in the fastest swimming race in 2002. I pride myself in my ability to find new and interesting ways to teach swimming. I am an accomplished artist specialising in sculpture, I have another blog called 'swimmingart' where I publish some of my swimming drawings. I have three young children; all boys. I have recently taken up painting and yoga....but not at the same time. You can see my new paintings at: https://www.artgallery.co.uk/artist/gary_Vandermeulen
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