Monday, January 17, 2011

Back to Basics - Again

For an athlete or coach to find wisdom all you need to do is pick up the sports page and begin digging. You are pretty much guaranteed to find something worthwhile every day. In Sunday's (1-16-11) San Francisco Chronicle Sporting Green section Al Saracevic writes about a recent conversation he had with legendary Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle.

When asked if Tittle had any advice for newly hired San Francisco 49er's Head Coach Jim Harbaugh he said, "He needs a touch on the head from the Lord. He's going to be great." And here is the wisdom for today. Tittle continued, "Football, at its core, is pretty simple. You go around the right end. You go around the left end. Run a draw play here and there. Throw in a couple of passes and a lot of heart, and you got it."

As Saracevic put it, "words to live by."

Swimming well and swimming fast is really pretty simple. Swim your strokes right, kick, turn well and know when to breath - and when not to - and have "a lot of heart."

Coaches are quite fond of constructing complicated and elaborate sets and workouts and cycles and...on it goes. Do the basics correctly and add some personal motivation - some "heart" - and you'll do fine.

We will go so far as to say that if coach A swapped a month's worth of workouts with coach B that it would make very little difference in the outcome of the season. That's a very broad generalization but we think you get our drift here.

Figure out your key strengths and weaknesses. Keep it simple. The nuances are important at the Olympic level but for the other 99.9% of athletes and coaches keeping it simple works wonders.

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