Category Archives: athletes

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Thought for the day

Balancing School and Swim Practice

Nothing is more important that good performance in academic work in school for our young student-athletes.

Every practice, as children leave, and say goodbye, I say “Study hard, get smart, become an intellectual!”. Its done in a light-hearted way to remind them that after practice, that’s “what’s next” in their life, or should be.

Now we’re closing in on the end of school year, with upcoming tests and related “due dates”.

At the same time, we’re at the beginning of the long course season. The work we put in in the pool NOW, is paid off in July at various championships. Without consistency NOW, there is no payoff later on.

For the 60 years that Age Group Swimming has existed, it has been proven for literally millions of swimmers that they can uphold their commitment to training AND study well and get good grades. Its an exception in swimming when a child does NOT get good grades. Partially because there is real URGENCY to study when you can when a few hours each afternoon are taken up in training. When swimmers are NOT training, they get the attitude of “oh, i have all this free time now..i can goof around for awhile and get to studying later”. That never works out very well.

Everyday I ask children about their homework. Sometimes I hear, “I don’t have any.”  My response is always the same “YES, YOU DO.”  Get your books out and WORK AHEAD…even if you only comprehend 10-20% of what you are reading, that’s a 10-20% jump ahead rather than seeing/hearing it in class for the first time. When you’re in school, you ALWAYS have homework…open the book and “get ahead.”  Study is like any other habit….do it 2 hours a night EVERY night, and you’ll avoid having to be up and working at 11 PM or later on some of those nights……steady, consistent work is the key, in school and in swimming.

Homework EVERY DAY for all ages. Study Everyday. Swimming practice consistently as well.  Studying ahead removes anxiety and keeps the student on the leading edge of the class, not the trailing edge.

“Study Hard, Get Smart, Become an Intellectual!”  DAILY. Lets be equally consistent with both practice attendance and daily study. It’s hard work…but it’s so much better than being unprepared, anxious and upset later.

Parents, please share this with your children.

All the Best, Coach John

Coaches: Sign up for ASCA’s Swim Parent Newsletter Today

Coaches — Add another tool to your arsenal today with an annual subscription to the Swim Parent Newsletter!

The Swim Parent Newsletter is a weekly publication coaches can use as a parent education tool.  Each week we publish a topic we think will be valuable to your swim team parents.

Recent titles include:

“Do We Really Want our Children Drinking Energy Drinks?”

“Guidelines For Going On The Road,”

“2 a Day Workouts for 12 and Unders?”

“Resolving Conflicts with the Coach”

“The Praise Craze”

“The Nature of Stroke Work”

“Enough Already With Kid Gloves”

ASCA’s Swim Parent Newsletter is emailed to 44,000 families each week by the coaches who subscribe to this highly relevant parent education resource. What do other coaches have to say about Swim Parent Newsletter?

  • “Wow! Good one! Thanks!”
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  • “The Swim Parent Newsletter is amazing. My team loves it! It’s so great that it can actually be applied to any sport!”

Subscribe at the ASCA online store or call us at 800.356.2722.  An annual subscription is only $25.  Click here for a advanced copy of the next issue. What are you waiting for?  Sign up today!


Dryland: Stronger Shoulders for $2 and 6 Minutes Per Day

Grif Fig, of IHPSWIM.com, recently posted a great article on shoulder stability and prehab exercises.  Prehab – rather than rehab – is the coined term for sports injury prevention – i.e., make the body strong and mobile with functional and sport-specific exercises as a way to prevent overuse/overtraining injuries down the road.

Grif’s post shows a demo of these exercises using a flexibar.  A similar piece of equipment is the Bodyblade.  I don’t know much about the flexibar, but a Bodyblade will cost you somewhere between $50 and $150, depending on the weight/size you want.

Use is simple:  You push and pull on the pipe (basically waving it back and forth), which produces the oscillation or flex of the pipe, which then require force output from you to neutralize the speed and movement of the blade. You have to start, stop and change directions of your own body while controlling your mass.

Your athletes can get the same effect – at a much cheaper cost – through the use of PVC pipe.  Here’s what I’ve had my athletes do:

1. Go to Home Depot/Lowes/any sort of hardware store that sells PVC pipe.

2.  Purchase 1/4 inch PVC pipe at a length somewhere between 7 and 8 feet (long enough to be flexible; short enough to be manageable).  This will cost you less than $2.00.

3.  Bring to practice.  (Obviously, it’s much easier if you can store these at the pool, once acquired.)

4.  Daily, incorporate a prehab routine into your practice.  There are a multitude of routines you can follow, but I’ve had my athletes on a very simple plan that took us about six minutes per day.

- 30 secs left arm/30 secs right arm — arm extended overhead

- 30 secs left arm/30 secs right arm — arm extended in front of body

- 30 secs left arm/30 secs right arm — arm extended out to side – palm forward

- 30 secs left arm/30 secs right arm — arm extended out to side – palm down

The benefits are enormous – athletes increase core stability, shoulder stability and improve their overhead and lateral range of motion.  And incorporating these exercises with some regularity and self-discipline really does prevent shoulder soreness, pain and injury.

So, if you want less whining and “stretching” on the wall, and/or stronger and healthier athletes with far less susceptibility to injury, start some shoulder prehab – all you need is $2 for PVC pipe and 6 minutes per day.

(Note:  Although the shoulder prehab routine described above is a bit different from typical use of a Bodyblade, click here for a video if you need a little more insight as to how it all works.)

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