Sunday, October 21, 2012

Be Careful With This One

We remember hearing from Dave Marsh that you can have a lot of good things happen to your program with an effective Masters Team. We have found 4 really capable coaches from our group of nearly 150 regular adult swimmers. One coaches exclusively in our Master’s program while the other three spend time in both Youth and Master‘s workouts. They bring a level of expertise and maturity that is a welcome addition to both groups.

Every now and then we get a gem of an idea from a Master’s swimmer. This one comes from Michelle…but you need to be careful with it. After you read it and smile, going, “Yes, finally some wisdom I can lay on my team in one sentence” remember that every now and then a swimmer tries it his/her way and gets it right. When that happens you as a coach need to be smart enough to recognize this occurrence and even change your perception of “how things should be done.”
This follows on our discussion of being able to suspend reality…have a great week!


Try doing what your
Told you to do the first time

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Need to Suspend Belief

At this time of the season our athletes have made goal statements which we are reviewing. In our quest to help them get from “here” to “there” we are working on a simple yet profound concept; namely how to suspend what you believe to be true about yourself so that you can move to a different opinion – a new operating system if you are a fan of that type of analogy.

Madeline is my wife and shares my passion for helping people identify and then reach their dreams. As an artist and musician she continually is working on her own dreams. Our discussions about each of our passions (see last week’s comments from Ken) – my coaching and her creative endeavors – are lively and pretty much continuous.

About a month ago she dropped this sentence on me and its value was immediately so clear in my mind that I wrote it down, lest I forget. “To make a change you must be willing to suspend a belief in order to have a new reality be possible.”

In our discussions with our team we help them realize that when they set a goal they are stating that they wish to make a change. For them to be successful it helps enormously to suspend, at least for the present, their belief about what is true for them. The idea of a “new reality” – their goal – is exactly that…something real that is new. You have a very challenging time reaching that if you don’t exit the place you are in right now, in your mind’s eye.

An example might be the swimmer who cannot get out fast enough on the 2nd 50 of a 200 such that no matter how fast s/he is on the back 100 the time cannot be met. The swimmer must change to a new reality of swimming that 2nd 50 fast enough to be in the race for the last 100. So you work on that in sets in practice and give her/him the confidence necessary to “see” the “new reality”.

Any way you slice it, it is still the same. The change (goal) occurs first in the mind and then is expressed in the real world by the action.

Of course, once we as coaches perfect the teaching of this concept we will have a waiting list a mile long for our team! So, this notion does indeed apply to us as coaches as well!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Passion & Joy

Usually I (Don) write this weekly blog having been inspired by some recent event, workout, swimmer, coach or article. More often than not it comes as a result of something that happens as Ken and I work with our team and the process of nurturing it. Today’s post actually was written by Ken for our team’s (North Bay Aquatics) newsletter. Ken said I could use it and so…thanks to Ken for this wonderfully crafted piece on coaching motivation.

"We coaches at NBA are passionate about working for this team … coaching our swimmers brings us great joy.... After 32 years of coaching here in Marin, how else can I explain getting up before 5:00 AM and actually looking forward to it?! "

Since I am just back from my one time of the year where I am not at a swim practice or a swim meet, my story this time around revolves around a concert. This summer, on a lark, my wife and I decided to travel up to the Gorge in eastern Washington to see the Dave Matthews Band perform (great venue and a great concert, by the way, for those that want to know).

While sitting in our seats waiting for the concert to begin, a couple who had to be at least 75 years old took the seats right next to us. Already feeling a bit on the older side compared to most of the crowd, I was quite intrigued by this rather ordinary looking couple and I couldn’t help but wonder why they were there. My first thought was they had to be relatives of one of the performers, either parents or perhaps even grandparents.

To my surprise, when the concert started, the woman took out a small box from her belongings and then stood on it in order see. She then proceeded to dance her way through the entire three hour show. Even more amazing was the fact that she sang along to all the songs, seemingly knowing every word to every tune.

When the concert was over, we asked her about her connection to the band. She told us that she had no connection -- other than that she thought they were the greatest. It was her 40th Dave Matthews show! Her passion was incredible.

On stage, one of the performers was a drummer named Carter Beauford. He is at the top of his craft, arguably one of the best drummers in the business. The big screen continued to show him close up and the smile on his face was genuine and constant. To see such joy from someone doing something they had done so many times before was very inspirational to me. I know the feeling, as I approach my 33rd year of coaching swimming here in Marin.

There are many components that make someone successful. Don writes in this newsletter about how important character is in the makeup of an athlete (or anyone, for that matter). Two more critical components are passion and joy.

Having a passion for something allows you to jump into the activity with both feet. It allows you to give freely of yourself while engaged in that activity. And attaining joy from doing the activity gives you the desire to keep on working on your craft. It never gets old when you receive such joy.

We coaches at NBA are passionate about working for this team. I believe I can speak for all in saying that coaching our swimmers brings us great joy. How else you can explain getting up before 5:00 AM and actually looking forward to it?! One of our goals is to find athletes we can share this with, and we continue to have great success in that quest. Our swimmers’ enthusiasm ignites our enthusiasm and vice versa.