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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Waves4Water Meet

Check out this info on an upcoming meet in NYC.  Good Luck to all swimmers, and props to Anthony Ervin who continues to give back to the swimming community.  At this meet -- Anthony, Doug Lennox (Puerto Rican Olympian), and Brett Fraser (Cayman Island Olympian and NCAA Champion) -- will compete in a 50 Yard Freestyle Showcase between the meet's two sessions.

All proceeds from the meet will go towards Waves4Water, a Hurricane Sandy relief fund.

http://swimswam.com/anthony-ervin-headlines-imagine-invite-swim-meet/

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Training and Competiting with an Edge

For those of you who follow NFL Football, you have recently learned that the Cleveland Browns have traded their young Running Back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts, in exchange for the Colt's 1st round draft pick in 2014.

It's a bold move by both teams.  The Browns have essentially conceded their season two games in, and are starting to prepare for two high draft picks next year, while the Colts are obtaining a much-needed running back to go with their prodigious Quarterback, Andrew Luck.

It's curious to me what Trent Richardson has said in wake of this trade. Keep in mind that Trent has shown flashes of greatness, but overall has not been outstanding (albeit while playing for a sub-par team in the Browns).  Yesterday, after learning about the trade, Trent was quoted as saying:

“I’m going to get studying on my playbook and get ready to go against San Francisco,” he said. “When I do go in this weekend, I’ll be playing with a big chip on my shoulder. I play like that every week but this week I feel like I got a lot to prove to people.”

A big chip on his shoulder?  Now he's going to up his game?  To prove that he shouldn't have been traded?  I understand his statement, and I have no doubt that his effort will be higher than it has been.  And that is my point.  Where has this edge been for the last year, if it's true that NOW he is going to up his game?

Athletes with an "Edge" are the best athletes to have on your team, and they are the toughest to deal with in competition.  Sometimes it takes disappointment to find that edge.  The Michael Phleps', the Michael Jordan's, and the Tom Brady's of the world have that "Edge" every day of their lives.  They hate losing, and take it personal when they don't perform their best -- and they carry that disappointment through months and years of time.  They don't get disappointed for a day and carry it through the end of the week.  The get disappointed and carry it through redemption...however long it takes.



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Recently, at the World Junior Championships I spoke with an athlete who had finished his last individual race.  He had hoped to win an individual medal, but fell short.  He had raced well and performed his lifetime best time, but of course he wanted to stand on the medal stand after the race.  Instead, he stood next to me.  I asked him what he had learned.

He said, "I know now that I have to work harder, and improve the little things in practice."  His expression told me that he knew his walls and his skills were not in line with his fitness -- and without the skill work he would continue to fall short.  He wasn't thinking about the race at all.  He did everything he had trained to do.  His expressions told me that he was thinking about his practices and all the hours of wasted effort training at 95%. 

Whether it's the skill part of the sport or the fitness part of the sport that needs to improve, you have to identify it and attack it.

I thought this swimmer's comment was right on.  And it's coming from one of the best 18 and under athletes in the history of the USA.  At 17 years old, he was learning young that you have to bring that edge to practice and competition every day, and practice being that edgy athlete all of the time -- or risk disappointment at the end of the season.  What he had done, to get to be the best 18 and under in the USA, simply wasn't good enough!

 


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Tempo Trainer Idea from Coach Adrian Dinis

My friend and colleague Adrian Dinis (Coach and Owner of Rattler Swim Club) has some ideas worth sharing; one of them -- posted a few months ago -- gets at the crux of the issue with many age group athletes: finding the correct dolphin kicking tempo.  If you like reading about new ideas for training and learning about some things you can do to improve an athlete's skill set, check out this post:  http://rattlerswimming.blogspot.com/2013/02/kick-workwith-tempo-trainers.html

I have not used the FINIS tempo trainer as often as I should, but after reading this post (while racking my brain for new ideas to get my athletes to kick better underwater dolphin kick) I may invest in a few for my athletes.  Here is a link to the trainers: http://www.finisinc.com/tempo-trainer-pro.html

Check out more of Coach Adrian's Blog Postings at "I Smell Like Chlorine" http://rattlerswimming.blogspot.com 


 


Pretty cool logo, eh?


Coming soon.....I have recently acquired a FINIS Monofin, and have been using it to help my athletes figure out a more effective way to dolphin kick.  So far, it's been great.  So, I plan to post a write-up on my athletes' Monofin use -- with a few videos to go along with it.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

T2 Aquatics USA National Team Members & a little bit about our Post Grad Mentality



Congratulations to T2 Aquatics athletes Erika Erndl and Justine Bowker, and Elizabeth Pelton (Cal Aquatics) on their official selection to the USA Swimming National "A" Team! Each year, USA Swimming selects the top 6 athletes in each event, based off results from National Championship meets and International Championship meets. T2 Aqautics is one of only 5 USS "Club" Swimming Teams to have qualified multiple current athletes to the 2013 USA National Team (the others include NBAC, SwimMac, NCAC, and Mission Viejo). 

At T2 Aquatics, we are really proud of these two Post-Graduate athletes.  Each of these women were strong NCAA swimmers (Erika graduated from North Carolina and Justine from The University of Michigan), and each has continued to improve over the last two years.

When I arrived in Naples, Florida in the late summer 2010, Team President Kevin Erndl and I set out to create a "Cultural" situation where we could build not only a great Club Swimming Team that does well with 18 and Under athletes, but one where Post Graduates could thrive in the pool and out of the pool.  My feeling is that we have been writing the first chapters of this book during the 2011, 2012, and 2013 season.  Our results have been good (not great), but my feeling in that we are simply taking the first of many steps.

Unfortunatly we have only a small Post Graduate Team right now, and because of our low numbers I have started the Fall of 2013 running some combined practices with Post Grads and High-School aged athletes.  I am anticipating an increase in Post Grads over the next few months, but until then we will work with who we have!  As we increase in numbers, we will increase the times we spend sectioning off Post-Graduate athletes. 

Just in case there are Post Grad athletes out there who are reading this (or college/International coaches looking to send their top athletes to a place where they can thrive personally and athletically), here is what we can offer you:

1 -- A Team Culture that is focused on winning Individual and Relay Medals at International meets (this is my background as a Coach and I will not waiver from my goals).
2 -- A beautiful setting.  I you haven't seen what Naples looks like, here ya go:
 
3 -- A pool that we have full control over  (we decide lane space and times).


4 -- A supportive community that tends to enjoy and benefit from hiring our athletes. 
5 -- Support of International athletes.  I don't care where you are from, as long as you are planning to compete on an International level.

Here is what we expect of our Post Graduates:

1 -- High Goals
2 -- Team-Oriented Attitude.  We want athletes who support our whole team, from the Post Graduate age group down to the 8 and under kids.  This support is shown through daily interaction and palpable attitude.
3 -- Flexibility & the ability to train with anyone at times, regardless of age.

Our team website is located here: http://www.t2aquatics.com/Home.jsp?team=flt2
My Coaching Bio, with email contact info, is here: http://www.t2aquatics.com/Contact.jsp?team=flt2

Thanks to all who have read this far.  My hope is continue to develop the younger atheltes in Naples, Florida, but I am always looking for an opportunity to work with the best athletes in the World, regardless of age!


 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Mindset of Pure Performance

Recently, I've been running anywhere from 15 to 30 miles per week.  I like to get out there 4-5 times per week and do either a long run (8-13 miles), a medium run (4.5 to 5 or so, faster), an active rest set (half mile fast plus one minute walk easy x6), or some fartlek (3-5 miles, half mile moderate, half mile fast).  Sometimes I do a circuit (a few exercises in the weight room, followed by a .62 mile (1/5 of a 5K, repeat 3-4 times).



What I do doesn't really matter, but I wanted to give a visual for what is happening.  I probably don't do enough circuit training and fartlek training, and my actual routine is about 75% straight running between 4 and 8 miles.  I have a Nike+ watch that calculates my current pace, average pace, total distance, etc.  Here's the watch, it's a great tool http://www.finishline.com/store/catalog/product.jsp?productId=prod710985&NIKE&mkwid=st49OTA1D&CMP=PPC-PLA-Accessories-++SportWatch+GPS+Running+Watch&cagpspn=pla&gclid=CN-P0NigjbkCFenm7AodK0MAMw

I've noticed a few interesting things.  The things I've noticed have helped me get a handle on my running training while simultaneously teaching me about my life. 

Like most runners, I get into a zone after 10-20 minutes, and my mind begins to wander into places that I don't normally venture into....I'm relaxed, and the things that are in the back of my mind come to the forefront. 

I've noticed the type of thought I'm thinking affects my pace directly.  Here are a few examples:

*When I think about my daughter, my wife and family, or my friends -- and the fun things we've been doing, I tend to have relaxed easy speed; conversely, if I'm thinking about a conflict I have had recently with someone in my life, my pace slips and as I notice my pace slip (thanks to my watch), I notice that my posture is sagging or my tempo has slowed.

*When I think about swimming practices or competitions my athletes have been having, in which they have performed well, I notice a relaxed stride and easy high tempo; while the opposite is also true -- poorly executed practices or races will slow me down by affecting my body position and stride rate.

*When I am anticipating great performances in practices or competitions, I feel my easy speed.  This morning, I found myself thinking about our upcoming Team USA trip to Dubai and I was considering what a particular athlete, who I don't know well but have seen race many times, could possibly do....and it was so exciting that I dropped 30 seconds from one mile to another -- and that was 5 miles into the run!

*Even when I am dealing with residual fatigue and I don't have a lot of pop, thinking about the positive aspects of accomplishing an increased workload will tend to give me an extra boost (and if I stop my thought at the simple self-statement: 'I am tired' -- then I run lazy and tired).

I've noticed these things, with consistency and regularity, over the last six months.  I have no doubt that my mentality towards my training can affect my daily outcome, every time.  I can't help but think about how this same mentality can positively affect my daily life -- and not just my run.  Running has taught me what I have always known, but have tended to forget from time to time.

Many people believe that things happen in life, and how we react to those things will determine our success and our happiness.  I don't believe this to be the case at all.

I believe that we create our life: how we feel, how we act, how we deal with tough circumstances -- it's all our creation.  We affect our outcomes, every minute of every day.  Our thoughts affect the actual outcome -- in our daily life just as it is when we exercise and compete.

Additionally, our thoughts create chemical reactions in our brain that allow us to feel good throughout the day.  

This outlook and this ability to "affect life" and not "be affected by life" does not mean that people who aspire to this lifestyle live in a land of make-believe where everyone is happy all of the time, and no one gets anxious and stressed out.

You have to think about it like playing offense vs. playing defense. Both offensive players and defensive players are playing the same game, but they are on different sides of the ball; and it's only the offensive player that can score points and actually win the game.  Looking at your life from one side of the ball is quite a bit differnt from looking at it from the other side.

I believe that it is possible to take our 24 hours of the day and, through controlling our thoughts, begin to spend more time in a positive, confident state of mind and less time in a negative, anxious state of mind.  Once we start to tip the scale toward the positive, it builds....and that is when things get fun! 

So athletes, get yourself into a competitive situation -- whether it be pratice or competition, and find something that fires you up.  Get into that zone, and stay there.  If a negative or non-motivational issue comes up, toss it to the side.  Eliminate it. Bye bye. Stay on task.  Smile.  Expect great things.  Be confident by remembering your best performances.  Be optimistic that your best is yet to come.  And let these thoughts flow through you.  Greatness will appear!!