Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wisdom Around Every Corner

There appears to be wisdom around just about every corner, or so it seems to us. In yesterday's paper there was a short piece about Amare Stoudemire, the often unbelievably talented, and sometimes injured (which athlete goes through his/her career without injuries?) basketball player for the Phoenix Suns. The writer spoke of how when the Suns acquired Shaquille O'Neal a few years ago that Amare went into a funk, taking the arrival of Shaq as a personal affront to his ability and the organization's faith in him. With Shaq clogging up the middle, Stoudemire went into a shell, offering the Suns no help on defense or the boards.

A club executive said, "If Amare is going to be among the great players, he's going to have to dominate the game in other areas - rebounding, defense, passing. There's going to be a time when he can't jump as high, and he'll have to rely on his mastery of the game, not ability. He'll have to play smarter, not harder."

We are going to read this at our team meeting this week. Too often swimmers rely on more and or harder training to improve forgetting the importance of swimming and racing "smarter."

So, a short list for you this week might look something like this:

For a swimmer...When was the last time you did a set where you:
Actually watched the clock to check and see if your swims got faster as practice progressed?
Counted your strokes to make certain your efficiency was as high as possible?
Did a kicking set that really had your heart rate up into the anaerobic range?
Made sure your head followed your hand on the last stroke into a flip turn?
Got an extra two or three feet off the wall because you were underwater deep enough?

For a coach...When was the last time you:
Wrote a goal for practice, then the workout, and then evaluated your success?
Asked a colleague for an idea for a set?
Made sure you said "Hi" and "Goodbye" to each swimmer at practice?
Told a joke in the middle of workout?
Wrote the team report cards?

We are sure you get the idea here. At some point working as hard as you can will not be enough to keep your game improving. You will need to rely on your intellect. The reason for this is very simple: the people you are chasing have already begun using theirs.

Let us know how we can help. Have a great week in and out of the pool!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

More Lessons From Tiger

The great ones in any field never stop teaching. To learn from them all we need do is observe, keep our eyes and ears wide open and pay attention.

This weekend Tiger Woods is playing in the U.S. Open which is one of golf's "Majors". When he wins his next Major it will be number 15 for him. Jack Nicklaus holds the record at 18.

He is coming back from major knee surgery about a year ago, working at his game after changing his technique yet again (the great ones are always trying to improve). He said last Tuesday "I feel great, I keep getting better and better."

He is finally feeling strong enough to resume his routine of going to the practice range following a round in a tournament. Yes, you read that correctly. Woods goes to the practice range immediately after a round in a tournament.

We are not certain how many swimmers go into the practice pool for a set after a day of racing...none on our team do...not yet anyway.

More from Woods; "To get better at this game, you have to put in the time. You don't think about it and magically get better every day. You have to do the work, and I'm able to start doing that now." Woods is a golf geek in this sense. Listen to him talk about practice and you begin to realize he enjoys those range sessions nearly as much as playing in the tournaments. He didn't win 14 Majors on sheer talent alone.

Never stop learning; never.

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Guaranteed To Stretch Your Brain

Last week we had a long and interesting piece on the "suit wars" issue. This week we present a much shorter take on a different but clearly (at least to us) related matter.

In his book "Virus of the Mind" Richard Brodie writes about "The New Science of the Meme". For your consideration we offer the following excerpts:

"Definition of Meme: A meme is a unit of information in a mind whose existence influences events such that more copies of itself get created in other minds.

The most interesting thing about memes is not whether they're true or false; it's that they are building blocks of your mind.

Memes can and do run your life, probably to a far greater degree than you realize.

One of the ways the memes you are programmed with greatly affect your future is through self-fulfilling prophecy.

The distinction-memes you are programmed with control what information you perceive. They actually make reality look different to you."

We find this kind of discussion fascinating since we are in the fulfillment business...helping athletes and coaches reach their vision. And to do that we all must be very aware of what our reality looks like.

Have a great week and let us know what you think!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Very Interesting Take on Suits

We have stayed away from the swim suit issue for quite awhile, both on our own team and here on this site. The following is a bit on the long side but raises some rather intelligent questions. We thought you would enjoy. Let us know!

Record Evolution: It May Not All Be In the Suit