Monday, August 24, 2015

But Wait, There Is Enough Time

It is the beginning of the new swim cycle…or the last quadrant of this particular “quad” swim season. Either way it is time to reflect upon what we learned just recently and how that knowledge will shape our next 11 months.

At some point, sooner or later, the lament “I never have enough time” will be heard. It is a constant in our universe. So to put things in perspective we “borrowed” (it’s never plagiarized when credit is given?!) this from Steve Morsilli.
There are 168 hours in each week. if you go to school 5 days a week for 7 hours that uses up 35 of the 168. Moving right along we sleep 56 hours a week. We also could do 28 hours a week of homework – at least there is enough time for that. Figure on 30 minutes per meal and that’s another 10.5 hours.  Finally we include 15 hours of training and 3.5 hours of driving time. All this adds up to 148 hours. So there is still 20 hours of wiggle room, free time, call it what you will.
The message here is very simple. There is enough time to do what you want so long as you are organized and have your priorities set to match your goals.
That is up to you…which is very powerful. There are no “victims” – “I never have enough time” - among the successful.
See you poolside in no time at all!
Thanks again Steve…

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Keeping Things in Perspective

When a swimmer (or parent) says, “I’ve been working so hard to reach my goal. I came to every practice this summer, passed up trips with friends and still fell short”. The “woe is me” attitude comes to mind. We just looked at the calendar and our summer training and racing here in northern California is a mere 7 weeks long. Yes, 7 weeks is a nice block to put your all into it…but really? You expect some sort of “magic” to happen after 7 weeks?
And you freshman going to college are going to work diligently – harder perhaps than you ever have – and you are going to get upset if December comes around and you aren’t any faster? Really?

(thanks to Eric Branch!)

Shortly after the Steelers released him in late July, Shawn Lemon began attacking his iPhone with intensity.

He had compiled contacts for the personnel departments of all 32 NFL teams and the well-traveled, often-rejected outside linebacker was, again, unemployed and undaunted.
Some teams responded to Lemon’s “Will you give me a job?” request with a question: Why isn’t your agent making this call for you?

They obviously didn’t know that resourcefulness was part of Lemon’s resume. After all, Lemon had convinced his agent, David Canter, to represent him in 2012 by making a phone call. So back to those conversations with NFL teams …

“I said ‘My agent’s working as well,’” Lemon said. “I mean, I was going to do everything within my power to help myself. No one will work for you like you will work for you. People might think you’re crazy, but if you want something that bad in life, you’ll do whatever you have to do to get it.”

Lemon, 26, who was signed by the 49ers last week, has endured plenty to improbably reach this stage: On Saturday, one trade, three leagues, five teams, five releases and eight teams after he left the University of Akron, he finally could play an NFL snap when the 49ers visit Houston in their preseason opener.

Considering his three-province, four-state odyssey, his NFL debut will be a feel-good moment. But more rejection is certainly in store. Lemon was signed to fill the roster spot created when the 49ers released Aldon Smith, but the outside-linebacker corps is still well-stocked with Ahmad Brooks and three recent draft picks: rookie Eli Harold, Aaron Lynch and Corey Lemonier.

On Thursday, Lemon was told no one expected him to survive the summer. No one thinks he’ll make the 53-man roster. He smiled.

“And no one — besides my parents — expected me to get a Division I scholarship,” Lemon said. “No one expected me to be in professional football. I’ve been told I couldn’t do something my whole life. I embrace that.”


Consider his first 12 months in professional football when Lemon was routinely told he couldn’t play. It began in 2011 when he signed with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers on July 18.

He was released July 21.

What happened? “That was the weirdest thing ever,” Lemon said. “They signed me, but then they decided they wanted an older player. So after they brought me up, they just released me.”

And so it began. Lemon spent five weeks with Saskatchewan (released) before sliding a rung down football’s food chain to the $500-a-week Arena Football League. He spent five weeks with the SaberCats (traded) and three weeks with the Orlando Predators (released) before, again, moving even further from the NFL: He left Orlando and signed with the Sioux Falls Storm of the Indoor Football League.

In three games with the Storm, he had 10 tackles (seven solo) and two sacks. He sent a video to the Edmonton Eskimos and his play inspired a contact offer.

Lemon, 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, arrived for his second CFL stint with more weight and less selfishness. He admits his lone goal in previous stops was to get glory.

“I didn’t have a big-scheme mind-set,” Lemon said. “I didn’t understand that every play is not designed for you to get a sack. It was about learning to play within a scheme and growing as a player.”

After a six-sack season in 2012, Lemon was released, but finally found a home in Calgary. He was limited by a hamstring injury in 2013 before thriving with the Stampeders last year. Lemon had 14 sacks and tied a CFL record with eight forced fumbles to lead Calgary to the Grey Cup title.

His breakthrough brought long-awaited attention. He visited 14 NFL teams before signing in January with Pittsburgh, where the good times lasted six months: The Steelers released him July 28, partly because a strained Achilles tendon sidelined him for the start of training camp.

Lemon insists he has been allergic to discouragement during his career, but acknowledged that his release from the Steelers made him wonder if he’d get another chance. On Aug. 1, a few days after he returned home to Maryland, he made an 80-minute solo drive to see Washington’s training-camp practice in Richmond, Va.

“It was a sick feeling being on the other side of that fence,” Lemon said. “I wasn’t in the NFL and now I’m a fan. It felt so bad for a moment, but then I felt motivated. It was like ‘No, I’ve got to get back.’”

Lemon is back in the game, but it’s certainly possible this will be the end of the road for an NFL rookie who will turn 27 on Aug. 25. Not surprisingly, the man who already has beaten long odds on an improbable journey is undeterred.

“If there’s something you want in life, put your all into it,” he said. “No matter how many doors close — kick open the next one.”

Eric Branch is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @Eric_Branch

Sunday, August 9, 2015

You Actually Earn It

There are all sorts of “spots” up for grabs at this time of year. We can think of two in particular that define the concept of “earning” your way moving forward. The first is application and acceptance into a college of your choice. The second is application and acceptance into the training group of your choice.
The fall season is one of change. Summer has given us what it has in the pool. Spring has given us what it has in terms of scholastic pursuits. Now the fall is upon us and we are sorting out our options, our spots if you will.
And in our mind this is where the concept of “earning it” comes into play.
If you are a senior this fall you are most likely in the application process for college. The colleges you are applying to want to know what you have done thus far academically as well as extracurricular (swimming accomplishments). They look at your transcripts and test scores and using those along with the subjective references of letters from community leaders (and swim coaches) who sing your praises determine if you are “worthy” of admission to their school. It is a somewhat arrogant posture we think but nonetheless it is the process as it stands today.
Let’s say you have a 3.75 GPA and test scores to match. The college says you need to have 4.0 and test scores to match. Therefore, you fall short and are not admitted. You are disappointed but rally with the familiar cry, “But if you give me a slot I’ll show you that I deserve it by raising my grades to the standard you want”. They say, sorry but no go.
In the pool let’s say you want to move into a group that is more demanding on the training side. You have the same 3.75 swimming GPA and promise to bring it up to the required 4.0 standard if you are given the chance. A program based upon sound principles will not let that happen. The coach will say, “Show me by earning the right to be in the next more demanding group.” If you are fortunate the coach will have a set of requirements that outline the expectations so you will know what is necessary to move.
Again, you need to have the attitude that “I will earn my spot” and if I do then I will get it. It doesn’t happen the other way around…”Give me the spot and I will earn it”.
If you get a job and they say be at the front door at 6:00AM ready to go and you show up at 6:02 not quite ready then you will be asked to leave. Standards that are clearly defined help each of us know what is expected and how to “Earn” a spot.
It is a fine life lesson…earning our way gives us complete control over our future. Who would want it any other way?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Coaches Translation

By Gabriel July 23, 2015

All our coaches use certain phrases when talking to the swimmers during the season. If you're an 8 and under, an 11-12, on the senior team or an NBA alumni, you'll have heard some of these familiar statements over the years.

What I've found is that "It's usually what isn't said, that is the real story."
- Linda Park from the FLASH

So I've put together a "coach’s translation" to decode the true meaning behind their words:

For example: when Ken says:  “Just remember, Good race move on; bad race move on…” He really means: Yeah, that really sucked dude…

When Mean Mike says: “Ok guys, if you break 40 in the 50 free I'll buy you a candy bar!”…He really means: Those 8 and unders will do anything for candy.

When Don mutters: “Alright gang, now this main set is going to take physical toughness, mental toughness and emotional toughness.”…He means: You're all about to die and I’m going to be enjoying every single minute of it.

When Nice Mike yells: “Bring on the thunder!!”…He’s really thinking:  Wow, thunder! I sounded just like Thor.  Cool.

When Don says: “During that last race you weren't in the mental state of flow.”…He’s really thinking: And… There goes another reckless flurry of splashing and flailing.

And when Greg says: “Hi Laddy!”…He’s trying to say: I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.

When Lee Anne hollers: “Let's get ready to kick some boo-tay!!!”…She really means: They’re still motivated by butts…Unbelievable.

And when Mean Mike ends an email with something like: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”   Mark Twain…He’s really saying: Ha! I’ve never even read Mark Twain…Mike MacDonald - National Merit Scholar 

And when Ken says to me:  “Gabe, stop messing with your hair before practice.”…He’s really thinking: Oh, if I only had hair like that!!

And FINALLY when all the coaches throw out things like:




They’re really saying: We love you guys!