Monthly Archives: March 2011

Dryland: Thoughts by Coach Kelton Graham

ASCA just started a focus group, comprised of roughly two dozen young, resourceful and dynamic coaches.  The topic of discussion this week — Dryland —

Here’s what Coach Kelton Graham, of Club Wolverine, had to say on the subject…

1.       Explain your general dryland plan.  (e.g., How many times per week?  How long?  What age kids?)

Coach Kelton:  Basically we start off with some dynamic stretching where we have the kids swing their arms and maybe some leg swings as well. Things like touch their toes and maybe arch their backs. Bend over and swing inside their feet and then swing outside their feet.  We do this maybe three times a week about 30 to 45 minutes ages 11 on up.  Depending on our location we like to use med balls.  I still use some of Mike Barroman’s exercises where the kids pass the ball back and forth and do chess passes, or over head tosses, between the leg tosses.  This is good for all ages, we have lighter med balls for the kids who are 11 and heavier ones for the older kids (up to 18).  We typically alternate between doing these sort of exercises and doing some core body work with a physio ball or just basic planks.  We also do pull ups and some of the older kids tend to use stretch cords as well.

I try to make my dryland follow the water portion of the season.  So in the beginning while I may be doing drills in the water and teaching.  In the beginning I am going over proper technique for maybe squats ( although I have to review this myself).  I maybe doing basic things such as sit ups and lunges etc. And just adding reps in order to build strength.  Not must need for speed yet.  And we ALWAYS ATTACK THE ABS.  We do as many ab exercises as we can in order to strengthen it.

As the season progresses, and I think the kids maybe getting bored, then I may add in the med balls and try to make them more explosive.  So mid season we may just be doing basic sets of 10,  I may ask the kids to increase the speed of them and become more explosive than before.

 

2.       Is your dryland plan for this time of year different than what you do in the fall or winter?

Coach Kelton:  Well yes and no.  Not to different than the fall, since that is also early season, but yes for the winter.  Right now, all we are doing is just dynamic stretching or just some basic ab work.  Our spring season just started today.  So we basically just introduced ourselves to the kids and that was about it.

3.       Where do you get your dryland information?  What is the best resource (e.g., book, website, person, course) you have used to improve your dryland?

Coach Kelton: Various places.  We are surrounded by colleges here in Ann Arbor. But I still like Mike Barrowman’s med ball training. I’ve  picked ideas from EMU and U of M.  Bottom and Richardson and Linn all have great ideas.  Vern Gambetta has some interesting things that he puts up on his web site.  Bailey Weathers has some good stuff.  There is even an old Scott Volkers video that I thought was really good that I some times peek at here and there. Bowman had some good stuff here that I still use.

4.       Do you have a specific dryland coach?

Coach Kelton: We’ve had some in the past, unfortunately they’ve all got other jobs because they are good at what they are doing they move on.

5.       Do you do dryland with your swimmers?

Coach Kelton: Sometimes, if I think it will motivate the kids to do a good job.  Like if I have a swimmer not doing a good job with a med ball, I may become his partner and do it with them and remind them that I am old and can still throw the ball harder than them. (That only works with boys).  Other times I may go running with some of the kids and just talk to them as we go around a track or just run through a trail of some sort, kids seem to like that sort of stuff.  Never play dodge ball with them, because they all just aim at you however.

6.       What do you want to know about other teams’ dryland plans and training?

Coach Kelton: Probably just seasonal planning.  And how do they keep it interesting?

7.       What do you want to share about your dryland plan that is not addressed in the above questions?

Coach Kelton: I think one thing that we do pretty well is that we mix it up quite a bit in order that certain kids excel at certain things.  Some of our kids are good runners, so every once in a while we may go for a run and you’ll see certain kids take off, while us coaches may be in the back with those kids lagging behind or if I am feeling good I may try to keep up with the fast kids.  Other days, we may see how many sit ups a kid can do in a minute and you’ll see another set of kids rising to the occasion and winning that competition as well.

 

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Swim Parent Newsletter: Swim Practice and Stroke Work

March 28, 2011

News For SWIM  PARENTS

Published by Guy Edson, American Swimming Coaches Association, 5101 NW 21 Ave., Suite 200, Fort Lauderdale FL 33309

The Nature of Stroke Work: Sometimes the Perception is That Not Enough Stroke Work Is Being Done

A sometimes concern among Moms and Dads is whether enough stroke work is being done.  “All they do is swim.  I don’t see any instruction at all,” is a typical refrain.  The purpose of this short article is to explain what to expect from stroke work and to describe the different ways we coaches do stroke work and when we do it.

What to expect from stroke work:  Do you remember teaching your children to tie their shoes?  Some get it sooner, some get it later, some get it when you are not even watching.  Each gets it in their own time regardless of your efforts.  Same deal on stroke work.  We hope to see immediate improvement but it is not always there.  Patience is the key.  Thorndike’s “laws” of learning come into play here:  Is the child ready to learn?  Does the child repeat the skill at the conscious level in order to move the skill from the conscious level to the automatic level?  (Are they even operating at the conscious level during repeats?)  With some children we notice a “delayed reaction” to teaching where they apparently make very little progress at the time and then some time later, sometimes even weeks later, magically get it.  There is trial and error learning going on at the subconscious, level and it may take many repeats for things to suddenly click.  So why do coaches allow swimmers to swim lap after lap with incorrect technique?  Because, the hope is that a seed planted by the coach suddenly blossoms through trial and error learning after many repeats.

Where do those seeds come from?  There are three basic types of stroke work.  The most obvious is formal teaching where the lane or the workout group is stopped from aerobic or race pace swimming conditioning for 10 to 20 minutes and the coach explains a technique, uses a demonstrator, and then will have the athletes attempt the skill, usually one at a time with immediate feedback from the coach.  This type of instruction is commonly used nearly every day with less advanced swimmers (novice), and less frequently with more advanced swimmers.  Early in the season the coach may have the more advanced swimmers involved with formal teaching nearly every day as well.

A second form of stroke work is the stroke drill.  Stroke drills are intended to isolate a part of the stroke so that the swimmer can focus on that particular skill.  Stroke drills are often done as repeats on a low to moderate rest interval so that there is a conditioning effect as well.

The third form of stroke work is the most common – to some coaches it is the most important – and it is the most misunderstood and underappreciated by some observers (parents).  This form of stroke work is the constant reminders coaches give to swimmers either verbally during the short rest periods between swims or visual cues demonstrated by the coach during the swims.  The purpose is to move swimmers from an automatically wrong movement to the consciously correct movement; and if done enough, and given enough time, will effect a change.  Some coaches are “always” doing stroke work of this type, even though it is not always easy to observe from the bleachers.

I meet with parent’s groups regularly and I like to do this little exercise with them:  “Imagine a successful swimmer at whatever level you chose – state level, regional, national, international.  Now, let’s list the factors that contribute to this swimmers success.  Ready go.”  When I do this exercise I get responses such as, “work ethic,” “discipline,” and “commitment” —  these are factors relating to the psychology of the athlete.  We usually get 8, 10, or maybe even 12 factors on the list before we get to…”technique.”  I am not saying that technique is not important – it is – but every Olympic gold medalist has defects in their stroke.  The pursuit of the impossibly perfect stroke is futile.  Yes, stroke work IS important, but I am not sure it is the most important thing for advanced swimmers.  When we observe a coach who doesn’t appear to be doing enough stroke work, step back and look at the larger picture.  Is the child happy and improving?  If so, then life is good.

(If not, then please see the March 14th issue on “How to Talk to Your Coach.”)

 

Take on FINA

 

 

changetheworld (1)

Rebel coach starts campaign to get a say in FINA – click here for the full article from the Sydney Morning Herald

George Block, president of the World Swimming Coaches Association, sent an impassioned email to thousands of coaches in America and many more in other countries to ”change the world” if they failed to get representation on the FINA board.

 

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.)

Workout Wednesday

Every Wednesday, ASCA publishes a workout on our website — past contributors have included Coaches Bill Rose, Dick Shoulberg, Gregg Troy and others.  This week’s workout is from Coach John Collins, of Badger Swim Club, NY.

Workout Wednesday for 3/24/11″

From Coach John Collins

The group is high school aged, middle distance oriented, about 20 to 30 in number….amongst the group are 8 boys = between 4.26 -4.38  and 5 girls =between 4.52 and 5.00…
The workout is a post championship effort aimed at starting the long course season…emphasis on decent
yardage, breathe control, and fast kicking…800 swim, wrong side only breathing….16×50 on 45, alt by 50= single stroke R, single stroke L, 3R 3L, double arm back= 4X…….then 4X= 400 crawl pull (prefer strap and pull buoy), breathing every 5th stroke on 6 min, followed by a max effort 100 crawl k (w/board, no z) on 2 mins…….the key was to keep the 5 breathing pattern faithfully throughout, and to blast the kick…..best kids av @ 4.00 on pulls (boys)   girls slower….kicking generally @1.15 (poor kicking team) then 3×200= double arm back, dolphin k on back, back swim…10 seconds…….4X= 400 IM pull on 5-6 mins, followed by 100 k max effort fly or breast, on 2 mins…….finished the workout with a T1650 from dive   boys had to break 17:15…girls 18.15  or else had to do over…..most made it……

If you have a workout that shows your personal creativity and passion for getting the most out of your athletes, send it our way (mpittman@swimmingcoach.org).  Maybe next week you’ll be the featured author of “Workout Wednesday.”

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick? Or maybe some better advice…”Working Successfully with Swim Parents”

Check out this great webinar by ASCA Technical Director, Guy Edson – “Working Successfully With Swim Parents”

Click HERE for the webinar recording

Click HERE for just the PDF slides

And, some related parent education:

A Nation of Wimps

Originally published on Psychology Today…

No one doubts that there are significant economic forces pushing parents to invest so heavily in their children’s outcome from an early age. But taking all the discomfort, disappointment and even the play out of development, especially while increasing pressure for success, turns out to be misguided by just about 180 degrees. With few challenges all their own, kids are unable to forge their creative adaptations to the normal vicissitudes of life. That not only makes them risk-averse, it makes them psychologically fragile, riddled with anxiety. In the process they’re robbed of identity, meaning and a sense of accomplishment, to say nothing of a shot at real happiness. Forget, too, about perseverance, not simply a moral virtue but a necessary life skill. These turn out to be the spreading psychic fault lines of 21st-century youth. Whether we want to or not, we’re on our way to creating a nation of wimps.

Check out the rest of the article here:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/print/21819

The Praise Craze

Cover of "The Parents We Mean To Be: How ...

Cover via Amazon

News For SWIM  PARENTS

Published by The American Swimming Coaches Association

5101 NW 21 Ave., Suite 200

Fort Lauderdale FL 33309

___________________________________________________________________

The Praise Craze

Children are getting too much flattery and not enough moral instruction.

By Dan Mack

Even at age 12, Chris is a skilled basketball player. He scores at will for his recreational league team — but he doesn’t get many assists, because he’s a ball hog. His teammates sulk during games, waiting for passes that never come. Parents watching from courtside aren’t too pleased, either, except for Chris’s stepfather, Mike, whose pleasure in the boy’s performance is undimmed even when a parent complains to him about Chris’s selfishness. Mike later confides to the father of another player that he’s not going to talk to Chris about trying to be a more generous player. His stepson has a learning disability, Mike says, “and this is the only place where he can shine.”

Mike didn’t know it, but he was providing grist for his interlocutor’s next book. Richard Weissbourd, a psychologist at Harvard’s School of Education and the Kennedy School of Government, recounts the anecdote about Chris’s over solicitous stepfather in “The Parents We Mean to Be.” (“The Parents We Mean to Be,” By Richard Weissbourd, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 241 pages, $25)  It is just one of many illustrative stories that Mr. Weissbourd has gathered over the past two decades. He and his assistants — including two high-school students, who presumably had good rapport with other teenagers — surveyed three Boston-area high schools, conducted focus groups, made “informal observations” of families in cities across the country, and interviewed sports coaches, teachers and mental-health professionals.

What did Mr. Weissbourd’s research tell him? That nowadays “well-intentioned adults undermine children’s moral and emotional development.”  Parents have abandoned the “moral task” of rearing children, he says, and are more concerned about fostering their happiness than their goodness. Therapeutic interaction takes precedence over moral instruction; intimacy is maintained at the cost of authority.

“Blaming peers and popular culture lets adults off the hook,” Mr. Weissbourd writes. “The parent-child relationship is at the center of the development of all the most important moral qualities, including honesty, kindness, loyalty, generosity, a commitment to justice, the capacity to think through moral dilemmas, and the ability to sacrifice for important principles.”

Among the trends that Mr. Weissbourd finds particularly harmful is the fixation of parents on building “self-esteem” (the “praise craze,” as he calls it). A psychologist he talks to tells him that by age 12 some children have been so over praised that they regard compliments as implicit criticism: Empty flattery must be compensating for their lack of talent or be meeting a need for extra encouragement. Other children become “praise sponges,” Mr. Weissbourd says. In either case, he wonders, what’s so great about self-esteem? “Though some violent children have high self-esteem, the self that is being esteemed is immature, incapable of empathy.”

“Children’s moral development is decided by many factors, including not only media and peer influences but their genetic endowment, birth order, gender, and how these different factors interact.”

Excerpt from “The Parents We Mean to Be”

Mr. Weissbourd is also dismayed by many parents who put subtle but unrelenting pressure on their children for academic and extracurricular achievement. He talks to a 16-year-old who says that his parents make an elaborate display of saying that his getting into a “high-status school” is not important to them, that they just want him to learn and be happy. “But then they pay for SAT prep courses and expensive college counselors,” the boy says. “There’s already huge pressure on me to achieve.” Parental hypocrisy and insincerity do not constitute moral guidance.

Mr. Weissbourd rightly identifies the praise craze and the achievement obsession as a reflection of parental status anxiety. It seems that the more successful parents are, the more likely they are to worry about their children’s possible failure to live up to that success. One of the author’s most arresting contentions is that the children of immigrants “fare better than their American-born counterparts” in almost every measure of mental and moral health. American-born parents would have a lot to learn from immigrants, Mr. Weissbourd insists. They are comfortable with imposing authority and discipline, and they are optimistic about their children’s future.

As a psychologist, Mr. Weissbourd is at his best when he analyzes the all too familiar phenomenon of the overzealous sports parent. In a high-school cafeteria, the author sat in on a meeting between about 30 parents and a sports consultant, who was warning them about becoming over involved. A parent raised his hand and made a confession: “I remember my son’s last day playing youth soccer. The game was over, and I remember standing out on the field and thinking to myself: ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ ” The first step toward moral education for kids, Mr. Weissbourd says, is for parents to separate their own needs from their children’s and to start regarding parenthood as an opportunity for their own moral growth.

Good advice. But parental self-awareness is hardly more than a baby step on the path toward producing tomorrow’s productive and caring adults. Mr. Weissbourd identifies some of the more daunting barriers to healthy enculturation — among them the breakdown of the two-parent family and the decay of standards for public and private behavior — but he never really gets beyond superficial solutions to these vexing social problems. Urging pediatricians to encourage fathers to attend their children’s check-ups, or suggesting that ministers “ask noncustodial fathers how many times they have seen their child in the last month,” is unlikely to convert legions of estranged fathers into engaged parents.

The methodology employed in “The Parents We Mean to Be” similarly does not inspire confidence. We hear about Mr. Weissbourd’s interviews and surveys, but the book offers few quantitative results or analyses. Much of the evidence of parental incompetence is anecdotal — even, as with the story of ball-hogging Chris and his stepfather, based on people that Mr. Weissbourd happened to run into. His stories will no doubt resonate with many readers — who among us has not encountered an oppressively sports-minded father or an Ivy League-obsessed mother? — but such vignettes do not add up to a firm sociological thesis.

Mr. Weissbourd also tends to gloss over the institutional failures that have driven many parents to passionate advocacy for their children: the failure of public schools, for example, to uphold high academic and behavioral standards. The influence of the media and celebrity culture on children’s mores and material expectations is also far more profound than Mr. Weissbourd would admit. And just who is ultimately responsible for the excesses of the self-esteem craze — parents or the psychologists and educators whose books parents read for advice?

One effect of parents’ over-involvement in their children’s’ lives has been the demise of those arenas of childhood that were once inviolably the province of children themselves: unsupervised play, neighborhood baseball games and other settings where children first exercised their moral imaginations and were forced to cope independently with their own shortcomings. Parents who lament this turn of events may welcome Lenore Skenazy’s “Free-Range Kids,” which, like Mr. Weissbourd’s book, argues that adults should not always try to protect children from failure. (“Free-Range Kids,” By Lenore Skenazy, Jossey-Bass, 225 pages, $24.95)

Ms. Skenazy, a humor columnist, believes we should give “our children the freedom we had without going nuts with worry.” She lampoons safety-obsessed parents who see a threat-filled world, from metal baseball bats and raw cookie dough to Halloween-candy poisoners and kidnappers. She advises turning off the news, avoiding experts and boycotting baby knee pads “and the rest of the kiddie safety-industrial complex.”

“I really think I’m someone like you: A parent who is afraid of some things (bears, cars) and less afraid of others (subways, strangers). But mostly I’m afraid that I, too, have been swept up in the impossible obsession of our era: total safety for our children every second of every day.”

Excerpt from “Free-Range Kids”

Ms. Skenazy gained a certain national notoriety after she wrote a column about allowing her 9-year-old son to ride the New York City subways by himself. Even parents fed up with our child-coddling culture might blanch at the thought of turning a third-grader loose on public transportation. But Ms. Skenazy will find plenty of supporters for her contention that, in a world where the rights of chickens to roam freely are championed, it’s time to liberate the kids.

——————————————–

This article appeared in the Wall Street Journal.  Ms. Mack is the author of “The Assault on Parenthood” (Encounter).

Speak Up!

 

A timeless debate…”Quality vs. Quantity”.

How much is too much? We want to know how your club/team trains…more yardage? Less Yardage? Looking for info for a research project.

Coach John Douglass (Assistant Coach; UW-Milwaukee Swimming and Diving) is doing a research project looking at relationships between training yardage and swimming success. If you think you can contribute to the data collection process, or have information to contribute, please contact John at johndouglass53223@yahoo.com.

Don’t Miss Out on the Clinic of the Dakotas!

April 29- May 1, 2011

Butler Machinery Education Center

3401 33 ST S

Fargo, ND 58104

Sponsored by North Dakota and South Dakota Local Swim Committee, American Swimming Coaches Association, FINIS, Speedo and Epic Sports

Presenters

David Salo – Head Coach of University of Southern California and former Head Coach of Irvine

Guy Edson – American Swim Coaches Association Technical Program Director

Randy Julian – USA Swimming Sport Development Consultant

Mike Stromberg – Head Coach of Falfins Swimming

Schedule

Friday, April 29

1:00 – 4:45 Starts, Turns, and Finishes – Guy Edson, ASCA course sponsored by FINIS

5:00 Registration for those not attending Starts, Turns & Finishes Course

5:30 – 6:30 Coaches Roundtable:  The current state of swimming in the Dakotas. Moderated by Randy Julian, USA Swimming

6:45 – 8:00 Preparing a Club Swimmer for College Swimming – David Salo

8:15 Team Growth:  Ideas and Tactics You Can Use Today – Mike Stromberg

Saturday, April 30

8:00 Coffee
8:30 – 9:30 Training Philosophy – David Salo

9:45 – 10:45 Sports Psychology You Can Actually Use – Guy Edson
11:00 – 12:00 Breaststroke – David Salo

12:00 – 1:30    Lunch

1:30 – 2:30      Dryland Training Ideas – David Salo

2:45 – 3:30      Test Sets and How to Use Them – Coach Salo

3:45 – 4:45    Questions and Answers with Coach Salo
5:00 – 5:45      Age Group Dryland Training in a Parallel Universe – Guy Edson

Sunday, May 1

8:30 Coffee
9:00 – 10:00 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches – Guy Edson

10:15 – 11:15 Coaches Roundtable: Making Swimming Better in the Region.  Moderated by Randy Julian

Clinic Registration Form

Hotel Information

Expressway Suites 877.239.4303

4303 17th Ave. South – Fargo, North Dakota

Ask for Swim Clinic Rate

Clinic Application Form and Fee:  $85.00 payable to NDLSC

ASCA Course Fee:  $30.00 payable to ASCA

Additional Clinic Information

Mike Stromberg

719-963-8355

mikes@falfins.org

Additional ASCA Information

Guy Edson

800-356-2722

gedson@swimmingcoach.org