We had a good workout on Sunday and thought we’d share
the ideas with you. Our intention is to craft training sessions so that
everyone has an opportunity to “latch onto” some work of value. We look at our
club team of teenagers as being all sprinters while dividing them into long,
mid and short sprinter sub groups.
The sets below came after about 50 minutes of warm-up
and technique work. We measure the benefit in the moment by how much talking
goes on while they are on the wall…less chatter, more grit being developed…at
least that’s our bias. We’ll know down the road in a couple of months if we are
Long sprinters 500/7 then 3x100/1:40 fast] 12 x 5 rds = 60
Long sprinters 500/6 then 3x100/1:40 fast] 11 x 6 rds =
Long sprinters 500/5 then 3x100/1:40 fast] 10 x 6 rds = 60
Long sprinters 400IM/6 then 3x100IM/1.40 fast] 11 x 6 rds =
The 500’s are NS (negative split) by time and the IM’s NS by
200fr/2:30 then 4x50/1 stroke fast then 200 stroke/3 then
4x50fr/1 fast] 13.5 x 4 rds =52
Flyers did laps 1,4,8 fly on the stroke 200; Breasters did
1st and 4th 50 breast
3x100/1:30 NS w dolph kks off each wall
Then all fast: 2x25/.30 then 2x50/1 then 1x75/1:30] 9 x 6
This group went any stroke they wanted on the 25’s, 50’s and
We needed to keep encouraging them to go fast on the fast
stuff since the natural tendency was to use the longer rests to go easier. Once
they bought in, the lane chatter went away…no rest between rounds.
As coaches we are forever striving to hit the correct phrase
to flip the proverbial switch with our swimmers…the switch that leads them to
the promised land of success and fulfillment…sounds a little like snake oil but
what the heck…
This week we came up with the following…
There are really only 3 types of swimmers
1 – The swimmer who works diligently and is in darn good
2 – The swimmer who refines her skill set and has fabulous
3 – The swimmer who has both skills and conditioning
Those who fall into group 3 are far more often than not the
ones swimming up front. No single athlete is in the third group all the time.
Life gets in the way and they move around and yet we have on our team – and so
do you! – those who consistently live in group 3. By far the largest group is
probably group 1. We have very few in group 2…that one requires a fair amount
of brain power and connectedness.
As club coaches we never give up striving for large
percentages in group 3. We have found that once a swimmer experiences group 3
they won’t want to leave…and that is the Promised Land.
there is a group 4…those who have neither but our experience is that by 13 or
14 they self-select out of our sport because it takes too much work and so
group 4 usually only exists in 12 and unders
Rust Never Sleepsis an album by Canadian singer-songwriterNeil Youngand American bandCrazy Horse. It was released on July 2, 1979, byReprise Records.Most of the album was recorded live, and thenoverdubbedin the studio. Young used the phrase "rust
never sleeps" as a concept for his tour with Crazy Horse to avoid artistic
complacency and try more progressive, theatrical approaches to performing live.
We took our team to a ½ day conference meet with 3 other teams today. We
haven’t been on the blocks since early August. We have some rust and it showed
today. However, we need not fret since we are, like Young, avoiding complacency
by being more progressive in our approaches to racing.
All of our racing is formed by our training. We have been working on
instilling new techniques taught to us by Bob Gillett for the effective use of
underwater dolphin kicking. We are far from proficient yet many of our swimmers
are discovering the wisdom and value of “getting it right.”
And yes, like Young, we have a few theatrical approaches by our
swimmers…life is never dull around kids!
Back to the rehearsal studio – oops, we mean pool – tomorrow.
really new here on this topic. It is that time of the year again when we think
individually and collectively about what our goals are. Goals, of course, are
the map to the destination. No map, you just end up driving around. We saw a
card once that said “to be sure of hitting your goals, shoot first and whatever
you hit, call it your goal.”
this isn’t really news to any of you either. When you hear something you have a
small amount of retention. When you read the same thing, your retention goes up
somewhat. When you write your goal your success rate goes up quite a bit. When
you see your goal daily, or even more, your success rate improves dramatically.
Because we humans move toward and become like that which we see, hear, feel and
envision being true about us. If you examine your spot in life right this
moment you will see that this is indeed true. You get, most of the time, that
which you actively seek.
had a chat with a friend today who asked, “So what’s your team look like for
the coming season?” We said, “It sure looks different than it did last year and
we lost some firepower due to graduation. However, we have willing and able
athletes and we know how to coach so we will be fine.” That is a goal
this is perhaps newsworthy. What do most young people (at least teenagers and
up) look at 30-150 times a day? Yup, their phone. What if they put their goals
on the screen saver? Potentially a game changer…
spent the week in Fort Lauderdale at the annual ASCA Coaches Clinic. If you are
a coach and not yet a member we urge you to become one…invest in your
profession, education and get inspired all for way less than a cup of coffee a day.
The clinic was of course anchored by the accomplishments of Team USA at the Rio
few impressions from that theme are as follows:
at the swimming IQ of your team – watch, react and appreciate all the swimmers
work and their workout swims…Team USA built on those swims in training camp
to touch the wall ahead of the others…this was a key mantra if you will…USA
garnered something like 12 of its total 33 medals by a combined 2.7
seconds…they were extremely focused on touching the wall ahead of as many as
the question of your team “When did the switch go on for you?”…every swimmer at
the top has an identifiable moment in their career when that has happened…know
when that was for you
assume anything – cover all the bases
a coach you must fight for excellence for your swimmers. It isn’t cheap. You
must commit to it and as a club coach you may not get the credit or the
its ad on this month’s back inside cover of Swimming World, Arena has a quote
from Mahatma Gandhi that pretty much summarizes the difference between podium
swims and the 5 other swimmers…a harsh assessment but more often than not true…
“Strength does not come from physical
capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
We are a little
bit like proud parents after watching our offspring do something remarkable.
The following came to us last week from Mitch. We know we did right by him and
that he got “IT”…so proud of our efforts and his progress…pats on all the backs
all the way around. Thanks for sharing Mitch…You got it right!
Just got out of my first college practice...still hasn't
set in that I'm swimming at D1 school. Seemed like yesterday I was sitting in
your car wondering if I should even swim. I just wanted to thank you for
everything you've done for me over the past 3 years. I still remember the night
I came as a scrawny/moody kid to the Bay Area to check out NorthBay. I knew
immediately that NBA was the place I wanted to be because everyone was so
happy. Ken was poking kids with a noodle...and he was the head coach. It was
such a weird concept for me that people could actually swim fast and have fun.
I definitely had my fair share of pity parties and screw ups as a Tuna, but you
were always there to talk me off the ledge. I've still got some work to do in
that department, but I can't thank you enough for helping me grow up. You made
me realize that nobody really remembers how fast you went in our sport or in
life. What they really remember is what kind of person you were. You helped me
to understand that my role is to be not Mitch the superstar, but Mitch the
leader. For this, I will be eternally grateful. I can't wait to see what NBA's
gonna do this year - I'll most certainly be keeping tabs. Keep in touch and all
the best for this year mate.”
stumbled upon a blog post from Jeff Kubiak and Eric Ewald today, gotta love the
internet. We actually know Jeff personally…a most excellent swimmer and coach
who now appears to be a renowned educator. Anyway, the subject was failure and
its importance in the role of success…in all walks of life.
resonated with us in particular since this Tuesday is our first day back in the
water. We haven’t had much interaction with the team for the better part of a
couple of weeks, which feels like a much longer period of time than it actually
know as coaches we feel energized and ready to move forward and suspect that
most if not all of our swimmers feel the same. The ones who may not feel so are
perhaps the ones who missed some success last season, at least in their eyes.
ball player who hit a home run last night cannot wait to get to the ballpark
today; the one who struck out 3 times, maybe not so much.
of our recurring themes this year is grit…defined as” the tendency to sustain
interest in an effort toward very long term goals” (thanks Jim Richardson!).
Kubiak and Ewald we get this: “Failure + Perseverance = Success”
Jordan missed more than 9,000 shots. He said he was entrusted to take the game
winning shot and missed 300 times.
we all fail and we need to use it, not shy away from it. As coaches we need to
keep reassuring our athletes on this point…you cannot succeed without failing.
of the compelling aspects of the Olympic Games is the human interest stories
that emerge for both super stars and back in the pack athletes. We find it
interesting to see that none have had any success handed to them. Everyone
earns what they get.
we started thinking about how those athletes are supported by parents and
coaches and teammates. This led us to thinking about the origins of those
supportive members of any athlete’s circle.
Dad, Guthrie Swartz, began his career as a minister in October of 1946 – age
20. He is still alive and well at 90, living independently and driving; he has
a silver Honda Insight so you may want to give him a little space if you see
him on the freeway!
shared with me a handwritten letter from September 28, 1946 from H. Edward
Hooper who was the Clerk of the Harwinton Congregational Church. In read in
part, “It was voted unanimously to extend to you a call to serve as Pastor of
our church at an annual salary of $1600 plus 5 tons of coal plus the electric
bill at the parsonage.
in my eyes is indeed a humble beginning. He has influenced thousands of church
members at about ten churches over his career.
made me think about my own beginnings in coaching in 1966, earning $4 per hour.
Indeed every coach out there, regardless of your sport, has had a humble
beginning. And for whatever reason you kept at it and collectively we have
influenced millions of young people. Every now and then one ends up in an
Olympic uniform. Those that don’t are just as valuable to the community they
serve, be it local or global.
and take a small bow. Sport has been good for all of us.
we reflect on our successes and missteps of the season just ending we are
undoubtedly like many of our swimmers. We are wondering about missed
opportunities and marveling at transformations. This takes place both team wide
are reminded while watching the Futures meet at Stanford that humans (and
groups of humans – teams) are constantly in motion travelling toward that upon
which they are focusing.
must choose between that which you want and that which you want to avoid. The former
will lead you to the promised land. The latter will lead you to the dark side.
old adage comes to mind; winners see what they want while losers see what they
want to avoid. Want to finish a race with power then focus on it. If you focus
on not dying in a swim you are most assuredly going to fade, sometimes
move in the same direction. Want a team full of positive, supportive and
trustworthy athletes? Then you must as a coach talk about that, recognize it
and call into question those who don’t “fit” your desired model.
to be upbeat? Then go do it and dump negativity whenever and wherever you see
it. Hold yourself and those around you to the standard which emulates your
are all conscious choices we make daily as we move through the often whimsical
forces of life. When you evaluate your season be honest.
is powerful. You are responsible for who you are and who you will become.
end of season meet is upon us all, swimmers from Olympian to National to Age
Grouper, parents and coaches of same.
is a basic primer of how to get what you have earned. Your “bank account” is as
full as it is going to be this season. Now figure out how to spend it all…empty
all you need is equal parts of trust and courage…trust that you will do your
best and courage to put aside any doubts and fears. When the moment comes – and
it does in darn near every race – when you find yourself wondering if you can
make it to the touchpad simply say “GO!”…as many times with as much emotion as
you need. Keep it simple.
just love your swimmer…stay away from advice…feed them the same no matter the
result…keep things light…let them get their own towel, snack bar and water.
Keep it simple.
you are the steady rock. Stay in character, be calm. Tell the truth. Most
important perhaps is to use a teaching moment if it arises…know what to say to
them if the swim doesn’t work out.
This is the time of year
when less is actually more.
being at Olympic Trials we have been thinking about the direction of our
program, defining it and then implementing a plan. We decided that it is in our
team’s best interest to develop a 4 year cycle. The goal will be to put as many
swimmers at Trials in 2020 and give any a shot at a second swim or making the
team the best opportunity to achieve that goal.
had four swimmers at this year’s event, 2 who are still at our club level and 2
who had dual representation with their universities and our club. None of them
had cuts 4 years ago. 2 were not even on the team 4 years ago.
– a lot can happen in 4 years. Your promising 13 year old without cuts today
can make them in 4 years. Any of the 4 who were there this summer can improve
in 4 years.
have to make the statement of intention publicly so all will know what the
center of our target looks like. No one is excluded, though naturally many will
exclude themselves due to training neglect or development of other interests.
attempt to “coach” all swimmers on our team while acknowledging the reality
that some only get “trained” while others actually ask for and are susceptible
to being coached. Also, being willing to be coached doesn’t mean you will get
to Trials. We are of the belief that if you only train you probably won’t make
it to Trials. We talk about this openly; we play no favorites; we are an equal
opportunity team…everyone has the opportunity and they must own it. We facilitate;
couple of weeks ago we were listening to a radio interview being conducted at
San Diego in conjunction with MLB’s All-Star game. Respected baseball authority
Tom Verducci was asked why the San Diego Padres (host of the game this year) faired
so poorly over such a long stretch of time. They have made the playoffs very
infrequently yet reside in a baseball rich area of the country with excellent
weather and great living conditions. His comment burned in our minds. “You
cannot microwave a championship”. You must plan, build, invest and coach like
crazy…over the long haul.
exactly what we are doing…beginning yesterday.