Monday, May 26, 2014

Just When You Think Nobody Is Listening

These kids…we love the surprises we get. Below is what we consider to be a major breakthrough for one of our swimmers. There is no doubt in our minds she also understands how this translates into any part of her life she wants to pursue, now and in the future. Swimming has been a success for her…and now we shall see exactly how much follow through she can make happen. The good news is that we can simply call her on anything now that she has made the declaration. Annie is finishing her sophomore year so…beautiful!!

Hi Ken, Hi Don, Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking a lot about what my future is going to look like, in terms of where I'll be with swimming. I've talked with my mom and dad about possibilities and listened to what they had to say. Their opinions were pretty much the same; "if you work hard and push yourself past what you do in practice every day, then you open up a whole bunch of doors for yourself." And I completely agree. I know I've been working harder in practice, and to look back, it feels like I'm just starting to become the swimmer that I know I can be. 
So work really does work. Anyways, after talking to my mom and dad, I've made the decision to try and swim in a D1 school. A big goal, I know. Actually, it's a gigantic goal, like the sixty foot wave that we talk about. Of course, it's not the only one that I have; I should probably get my National's cut before we start seriously talking about schools, but I think that having something like that in the back of my head will prove to be a beneficial thing, both in and out of the pool.  
When I first started training with NorthBay, I remember hearing from both of you "that it takes a year to learn how to practice, a year to learn how to race, and another year to learn how to win." I'll be honest, that made very little sense to me when you said it. A whole year to learn how to practice? Yeah, right. Yet here I am, only just starting to grip the "working-hard part" of swimming and it's been a little over a year. 
Over the course of just this season, I have learned more about myself than I have anywhere else. And not just in terms of how fast I can do 'x' amount of 100's or how long I can hold my breath, but I understand more about myself, mentally. For the mass majority of this season, during our hardest sets, I had the tendency to let things get personal. I let my emotions into my head and body, and crashed and burned, hard, not very far into the set. I would swim the set and however many laps, just to get it over with so that I could get out and go home. 
And then something just sort of clicked, not too long ago. I started to try and swim well, even though I was tired, or didn't want to, or wasn't in a good mood. I'd leave my emotions in the car, and focus on swimming for 2 hours. One round over, three to go, just telling myself, let’s see if we can do the turn just a little tighter, or hold your breath off the wall, or kick like mad. It became a bit of a game, and not so much of "how many more rounds do we have left, because I'm tired and this is dumb." 
I try to get into the pool with three things in my head - 1. Work hard when I get tired, 2. Don’t compare myself with everyone else in my lane, and 3. Go harder than you know you can, even when you think you can't. 
So, this is my decision. I want to swim in a D1 school and I want to be on the National team. I know that if I think I've been working hard now, I'm going to have to work 100 x harder, and I'm ready for that. I've always been a bit of a scaredy cat, and being on this team has taught me that there is no room or time for scaredy cats. I don't want to be one anymore. These are two huge goals and challenges, but I want them. And in my mind, there's no better way to get myself there than to work with the two of you. Let me know what you think.   
See you tomorrow morning,  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Parents and Swimmers

Coaches know that this swimming business is all about us (and if you are even a casual reader of this blog you know our collective tongue is firmly in our cheek). What is actually going on is a continual collective effort between and among swimmers and parents to figure out how competitive swimming works – for them…meaning both the swimmer and the parents. Why is this so? Simple…coaches are around forever (if they are fortunate) but swimmers and parents of swimmers have a short (compared to coaches) life span. And this is exactly why it is so critical that parents and swimmers figure out how to interact.

Swimmers; be honest.

Parents; listen with compassion and speak less rather than more.

The following real conversation was shared with us yesterday via email, at the conclusion of our Northern California High School Championships. Thank you, Eric and Miki, for allowing us to share this with our readers. This is a perfect example of how we believe a solid swimmer/parent relationship works. Any comments out there?

I love the long rides home from a meet, good and bad. And I know you know what I am talking about...super quality time.

Miki is pissed...mad…and disappointed. And I love it.

Her (and my) expectations were much higher for today …
I told her, “Oh well, it didn't happen, try to figure out why"...

I can't wait to see how she responds.

Miki's positive spin on today/her highlights…

"Olivia's cut time in fly made me super happy…"

“And I am really excited about long course.”

I love your process.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

This gem comes courtesy of Michael Feldman who owns Mike’sBody Shop in Mill Valley; CA. Michael is an evolved human being, to our way of thinking. If your body is ever in need of a tune-up check out Mike’s Body Shop – “Limp in; Walk out”…

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What is a Wave Anyway?

From Don Winslow’s novel, The Dawn Patrol, “We know one when we see one, but what is it? The physicists call it an ‘energy-transport phenomenon.’ The dictionary says it’s, ‘a disturbance that travels through a medium from one location to another location.’

A disturbance. It’s certainly that.

Something gets disturbed. That is, something strikes something else and sets off a vibration. Clap your hands right now and you’ll hear a sound. What you’re actually hearing is a sound wave. Something struck something else and it set off a vibration that strikes your eardrum.

The vibration is energy. It’s transported through the phenomenon of a wave from one location to the other.

The water itself doesn’t actually move. What happens is one particle of water bumps into the next, which bumps into the next, and so on and so forth until it hits something. It’s like that idiot wave at a sports event – the people don’t move around the stadium, but the wave does. The energy flows from one person to another.

So when you are riding a wave, you’re not riding water. The water is the medium, but what you’re really riding is energy.

Very cool.

Hitching an energy ride.”

As a swimmer or coach you have seen this in action. We coach a small private school with a student body of 320. Our swim team is pretty small compared with the rest of our league. Every once in a while we have a chance to compete team wide due to numbers or swimming ability. Last Friday we had one such opportunity. As the meet unfolded, instead of the usual “we have no chance to win” we actually found ourselves in a battle with a chance to win. Everyone one of our swimmers “came to life”. They swam on an energy wave created by each other and the opportunity to ride their individual and collective efforts to a “team” win.

It was indeed a wonderful teaching moment. Each one of the swimmers realized that they made a difference in the outcome. The water was the medium but they were indeed riding energy. So cool to be a part of that sort of experience – one of the reasons we coach.