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Friday, 11 January 2013

Why Blog? Why Not?

(Pictured above are a few coaches and an athlete from whom I've learned a lot in my carreer as a coach.  Picture was taken at the Eastern States Clinic from 2005 -- or was it 2006?).

SwimSwam.com posted a video of an interview I did with Garrett McCaffery yesterday.  If you'd like to view it -- here it is: http://swimswam.com/coachs-log-paul-yetter-of-t2-aquatics-with-video/

The interview goes through some workouts we had done with T2 Aquatics, and if you look below the video portion of the screen, the workouts are listed. 

Garrett asked my why I am "so open" with my workouts.  My answer to him was two-fold: 1) why not?; and 2) particularly at the beginning of my time with T2 Aquatics I got some benefit from using social media and blogs to communicate to my team.  I started my first real blog as a way of communicating with my athletes and my athlete's parents, shortly after moving to Naples: See it here: www.developingthechampionwithin.com

After a while, I decided to start another blog (this one) because I felt like I wanted to put out a blog that had more "coaching tips" etc.  At T2 Aquatics, we have 5 full-time coaches, another full-time administrator/coach, and a few part time coaches as well...not to mention our Naples Swim School instructors. Many of our coaches and instructors are new to our team (in the last year), and even the ones who have been here a while can benefit from knowing more about my views as the Head Coach of the team. I felt like this sort of blog could help them with the daily decisions we all make as coaches. 

I'm really not sure how many of our parents and coaches actually read my blog.  At times, I'll email a link to the coaches, and other times I may email a link to my parents.  Hopefully they read them, because I think there is a lot of great info to be gleaned from certain posts. 

One thing I do know: putting the blog on twitter or facebook ends up expanding the readership.  I think it's great to see how many people actually take the time to read my thoughts.  Certainly, I'm not afraid of other people knowing what I do with my athletes.  Even if I did give someone a good idea, and that good idea helps another team's swimmer go faster than my swimmer....well, then that's great.  Congratulations to them.  I'm not really interested in that sort of competition, nor am I rooting against anyone. I don't feel good doing that.  I just want my swimmers to go fast.  And you know what?  For every idea I throw out there, I get at least one good idea in return.  I told Garrett about our resistance training, which has been going well....but I've been looking for a way to enhance it without totally changing what we do....and wouldn't you know that Garrett is the one who gave my next idea for resistance training.  This morning, our resistance set was perfect....a mix of what I've been doing with my athletes, and what Garrett learned from watching the University of Arizona train.  Boom!  Thanks Garrett, I put some stuff out there, and I got something back too, which is going to prove useful for my athletes. 

{This morning we did three rounds of 4x25 Kick with a chute, 1x100 kick with no chute, and 1x50 kick with fins.  It was awesome, and just what I was looking for: a way to get our kicking better, and a way to add a little bit of resistance training without overdoing what we generally do on Mondays and Wednesdays.}

I was kind of taken off guard with Garrett's question (why am I "so open with workouts").  The implication that goes along with the question about why I'm open with my workouts is that coaches who are open with their workouts are helping other coaches go faster with their swimmers. Others may not understand why I would do that sort of thing. The implication is that I shouldn't share anything because it may help someone.  And to me, that is just not the way I like to behave.  Don't we have enough pettiness in this world as it is?  Haven't the best swimming coaches throughout history shared their workouts and their thoughts at countless clinics and conversations on deck, over the phone, and through email?  Are these top coaches not the example which we should all follow?   Why don't we recognize this lack of integrity within ourselves when we wish failure upon another so that our own success is easier to attain?  And why don't we realize that negativity towards others is really the REASON our own athletes are not doing what they are truly capable of?

I wish other athletes the best.  I want my athletes to win, and if everyone out there is super fast then my athletes have to go even faster to win.  In this scenario, they can transcend their own notion of who they are as athletes, and reach levels they didn't think was possible.  Isn't that what it's all about?!



  1. Paul. Great interview with Garrett! Nice to see that picture from the 2007 Eastern States clinic as well. I was in attendance at that clinic, and just the other day was looking over some of the workouts that you gave us there. Your talks at that event have greatly influenced me as a coach. I remember back on '07 leaving that clinic thinking, "that is the coach I want to be." Some of the best lessons you have instilled in me are 'knowing how much is too much on an athlete's nerves' & structuring a workout to serve a variety of their needs. It's an art. Thanks for that. From that, to cruise speeds, to FreeIMs, your willingness to share should be a standard for us all. You not only make athletes better, but our coaching profession as well. Good luck with your program at T2 & beyond. I have no doubt you'll get the job done.

    Keep on Keeping on,

  2. "In this scenario, they can transcend their own notion of who they are as athletes, and reach levels they didn't think was possible. Isn't that what it's all about?!"

    Absolutely -- Raise the bar.