Blog Archives

The Top Three Reasons You Can’t Miss The 53rd Annual ASCA World Clinic

The ASCA World Clinic is a can’t miss event – each year, the World Clinic showcases coaches from the highest levels of our sport, willing to share with all their knowledge, insights and wisdom.  This year is no exception, with a lineup that includes Bob Bowman, Eddie Reese, Jack Bauerle and more.

But even more intriguing, this year, is what else is on the schedule.

Here are three must-attend talks for any coaching professional:

Councilman Memorial Lecture Series – Mr. Luis Lastra, US Navy Seals

The US Navy SEALS are sending Mr. Luis Lastra to the ASCA World Clinic to be the Doc Counsilman Memorial Lecture Speaker.  Mr. Lastra will discuss the SEALS methodology for teaching the components of composure under extreme pressure, mental and physical toughness and retaining Mission focus.  As swim coaches, we too are committed to building champions for life, and this talk is sure to provide meaningful lessons you can take home to your team.  The Councilman Memorial Lecture Series was formed in tribute to one of the swimming profession’s most revered figures, James “Doc” Councilman.  Each year, the lecture provides World Clinic attendees with a speaker from “outside” the coaching profession.  In this way, we hope to honor Doc’s concept that our best learning comes from outside our own immediate environment.

Age Group Track – Mission Viejo Age Group Staff

The Mission Viejo Age Group Staff, a combined force of young and dedicated coaches serving under the tutelage of Coach Bill Rose, will share the Nadadores philosophy and discuss how the team successfully promotes the development of a strong, well-rounded age group program that continues to produce elite 18 and under athletes.  The Mission Viejo Nadadores, one of the largest and longest continuously operating USA Swimming programs, recognizes the club development system as integral to achieving excellence.  Hear about the team’s unique organizational structure and the challenges and advantages of working within a large staff.  Learn how coaches Ad’m Dusenbury, Sarah Dawson and Bryan Dedeaux utilize coaching technologies and embrace positive teaching methods within dedicated peer-group practices.  From training sets to dryland, meet selection to motivation, these coaches will share intricate details of the very fabric that makes up the Nadadores Tradition of Excellence.

Technical Emphasis – Nort Thornton and the amazing things he’s done with breastrokers

After Coach Nort Thornton “retired” as coach of the Cal Berkeley Men’s team he stayed on as an assistant coach and focused on the breaststrokers.  The result?… His breaststrokers finished 1st, second, and fourth at last year’s NCAA Division 1 Championships.  Here is short article Nort wrote and a nice preview to his presentation at the ASCA World Clinic:  “My Thoughts of the New Breaststroke”… After coaching for fifty plus years as a head coach at the high school, country club, U.S. Swimming Club, Community College and NCAA division I levels, where I had sole responsibility of coaching the whole team on all of the four competitive strokes, I retired from the University of California at Berkeley where I have been for the last thirty-three years. I decided to volunteer to help out, and our present coach David Durden was kind enough to put me to work.   We decided that I could be the most helpful if I looked after the breaststrokers swimmers, so that is what I have been doing for the last two years.  It isn’t really work when you love what you are doing.

Don’t miss out on – register today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unique Level 2 Stroke School Presentation for 2011 ASCA World Clinic

One of ASCA’s goals is to provide unusual “looks” at the concepts involved in teaching the ASCA Level 2 Stroke School.  On Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 in San Diego, we’ll have such an unusual opportunity.

We’ll have co-instructors for the course. Coach Ira Klein will join Coach Terry Laughlin to teach the course.  These lifelong friends have two completely diverse views of teaching swimming to different populations.

Terry is the founder of  TOTAL IMMERSION SWIMMING, the leading methodology in the world to teach new swimmers, masters swimmers and triathletes to become better swimmers.  Terry focuses on balance in the water, reducing resistance and creating great swimming shapes, to move easer in the water and turn “strugglers” into beautiful aquatic athletes.  Before he started Total Immersion Swimming, Terry was an age group swimming coach of renown, and still continues to coach local swimmers near his home base in New York.  Terry will provide a very unique perspective on both the teaching process and the sequence of teaching skills in the water.

Ira Klein has coached in every USA-Swimming Zone.  He’s produced national level swimming in all of them, as well as serving several stints with National YMCA winning teams.  Ira coaches all ages of young swimmers and in addition to a short stint at USA-Swimming offices, he’s coached at Auburn University as well as club teams such as Las Vegas Gold, Santa Barbara Swim Club,  Joliet Y Jets, and  Sarasota Y.

Currently, Ira owns his own team in Sarasota, Florida and is one of the leading club coaches in the USA, with daily coaching/teaching experience in his own SwimAmerica Learn to Swim Program.

The chemistry between these two friends is magical and their teaching of the ASCA Level 2 Stroke School should be a special experience for attending coaches.

Join us for the 2011 World Clinic in San Diego, CA

Click on the link below for more information

https://www.swimmingcoach.org/worldclinic/asca2011/default.asp

Flexibility: The What, Why, and How

IHPSWIM – Flexibility Article

Many coaches and athletes perform static stretching because they believe it necessary. Many do not take the time to ask questions about how relevant it is to athletic performance. I believe that after this article you will be asking a lot of questions about how static flexibility should be used. – Grif Fig

Flexibility: The What, Why, and How

by

JC Santana, MEd, CSCS

One of the most controversial topics in fitness is flexibility.   Many personal trainers consider flexibility and stretching to be synonymous, and thus include some for of stretching exercises in their workout programs because they have always heard it is the right thing to do.   One of the most popular forms of stretching is static stretching.  Whether it is performed pre or post workout, static stretching is the most common form of flexibility training.   If one performs a Medline search for “flexibility” related research, the search will provide a plethora of conflicting studies on stretching and flexibility.  Field observations may also be equally diverse in their findings.  In spite of this diversity in theory, many educational organizations and trainers still espouse to static stretching when it comes to enhancing flexibility.

Flexibility is generally defined as “the range of motion about a joint” (1).  There is no doubt that healthy movement and proper range of motion (ROM) are necessary for normal function and optimum performance.  However, the question still remains, what is healthy and proper?  If one references any anatomy or rehabilitation textbook, one will find anatomical ROMs assigned to all joints of the body.  These ROMs are labeled “normal” and serve as references.   Traditional fitness and rehabilitation programs have been guided by these ROMs in order to provide “optimum” function.   However, applying this traditional approach allows a few very important concepts to be overlooked.

In order to provide some clarity to this discussion, we have to ask some important questions.

1)  Why are we stretching?

2)   Is flexibility related to injury prevention?

3)  Is the passive ROM (developed through static stretching) related to active ROM? OR – just because a can get 140 degrees of static (passive) ROM out of a joint, will the body provide that same range at high speeds and loads (i.e. during a functional task)?

4)  Is it healthy to statically develop a ROM that can’t be controlled at functional speeds and loads?   Is there a difference between anatomical ROM and functional ROM?

5)   Can we get flexibility through other methods of training outside of conventional stretching techniques?

6)  Which flexibility do I really need the most of in functional daily activities (FDAs) and sports, static or dynamic, anatomical or functional?

All of these questions are valid and deserve some attention.  However, getting to the absolute truth behind each question may be a different story.  Since any position on flexibility can be supported by some research, we would like to keep the discussion based on our observations, coaching experience and common sense.   I believe a simplified discussion will allow one to see flexibility from a more holistic perspective.

Most trainers stretch to gain flexibility.  There is no doubt that flexibility is important, we just don’t know how important it is.  The research from the armed-forces illustrates that the most and least flexible recruits are the most injured during boot-camp.(5)  Furthermore, all of the research reviews that have looked at stretching and injury prevention show no correlation between the two.  According to this body of work, more flexibility and stretching before an event does NOT protect one from injury.

Another aspect of flexibility one has to look at is the difference between passive flexibility (i.e. stretching) and active flexibility (i.e. functional ROM).  Working with many athletes, we have had the ability to see many different ways to develop and express flexibility.  Not all are tied into static stretching.  Based on our observations, static flexibility is not related to active ROM.   That is – the body will give you more ROM when it does not need to control speed, tension and stabilization in the ROM.  As an example, all of our fighers can exhibit more ROM through a controlled passive stretch than they can through a live kick, even when instructed to kick as high as possible.  What does it mean to us?   We interpret this as, “if you can’t stabilize and control ROM the body won’t allow you to use it.”   Therefore, our clients warm-up dynamically and incorporate full ROM training into their strength programs.  We feel our strength exercises move our clients through the ROMs they will encounter in their chosen activity.  Some research even indicates that it is the total amount of time at a given ROM is the predominant factor in providing ROM, and not the time of each stretch.   In practical terms, this could mean that 15 reps of a reaching lunge may provide the same hamstring ROM benefits as15 seconds of a sit and reach stretch.  However, the reaching lunge would provide additional stability, balance, strength, caloric burn and coordination not derived from the sit a reach stretch.    This approach to training develops all of the functional flexibility we need for health and elite performance.  All of our warm-up and training protocols inherently develop active ROM and if extreme static ROM is needed (i.e. as with our wrestlers), we make it part of our warm-up; holding the extreme position for 5-10 seconds.

To illustrate exactly how we integrate flexibility into our strength training programs, we would like to share two of our favorite exercises:  the reaching lunge (RL) and the T-Stabilization (T-Stab) push-up.  Both exercises include a unique blend of strength and flexibility.  Each can also be modified to match any application.  The bottom position of the RL resembles a static hamstring stretch.  It can be performed in all three planes of motion to address the multi-planar nature of functional ROM.  The stance, speed and range of movement can be tailored to meet the specific capabilities and training goals of any individual.   The RL can also emphasize any muscle group within the kinetic chain.  For example, reducing knee and spinal flexion can increase the ROM demands of the hamstring.  This concept of “isolated integration” was first coined by Gary Gray, the father of modern functional training.(2)   Using dumbbells with the RL can provide an excellent combination of ROM and strength.  The RL progression is a staple movement in our training model and, along with other exercise, is credited with our near-perfect record against hamstring injuries.

The T-Stab push-up is also one of our staple exercises that incorporate functional strength and flexibility training.  It too looks like a chest stretch, accept with more versatility.  Like the RL it can also be modified specific to the capabilities and goal of any individual.  For example, the upper body support can be elevated (e.g. using a fixed barbell at about waist high) and the rotation reduced to attenuate the intensity of the movement.  Conversely, a lower support position (i.e. floor), the use of a weighted vest and increased rotation can provide a more advance training stimulus.

It should be made clear we do not feel that static stretching is not effective or does not have a place in fitness and performance training.  However, we have not been able to identify to what degree it is effective, if it is the most effective road to functional flexibility and performance, and where its exact place is in the training scheme.  We certainly acknowledge it as a tool in the rehab setting.  We can also accept it as a “feel good” modality and have no objections to it being used everyday for that purpose.  We often roll on medicine balls and biofoam rollers for a few minutes prior to workouts for that reason; it loosens us up and makes us feel good.  However, we do find it alarming when coaches and organization insist on static stretching as the “best” or “necessary” method of preparation, improving functional ROM and reducing injuries.   We believe the best flexibility method is still an ideological figment.

In summary, our field observations clearly indicate that static muscle compliance and active muscle compliance are not related (i.e. muscle compliance is a big component of ROM).  Our observations also indicate that active muscle compliance is more important to our fitness performance goals.   Over the last decade we have combined dynamic flexibility into our strength movements and have basically removed all static flexibility from our day-to-day training.  The results are without question; over 500 case studies show a better then 95% success rate against non-contact and overuse injuries in the absence of static stretching.   This is not to be taken as the best way to train.   It just illustrates that there may be many ways to do things right.

1) Baechle, T.R., Earle, R.W.(ed). Essentials of Strength and Conditioning.  Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2000.

2) Gray, G.W. Chain Reaction Festival Seminar.  San Diego, Cal., Sept 1996.

7) Jones, S, B. H., and J. J. KNAPIK. Physical training and exercise-related injuries. Surveillance, research and injury prevention in military populations. Sports Med. 27:111-125, 1999.

8) Knudson, D. V., P. Magnusson, and M. Mchugh. Current issues in flexibility fitness. Pres. Council Phys. Fitness Sports 3:1-6, 2000.

9) Kokkonen, J., A. G. Nelson, and A. Cornwell. Acute muscle stretching inhibits maximal strength performance. Res Q. Exerc. Sport 69:411-415, 1998.

6) Pope, R. P., R. D. Herbert, J. D. Kirwan, and B. J. Graham. A randomized trial of preexercise stretching for prevention of lower-limb injury. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 271-277, 2000.

3) Santana, J.C. Flexibility: More is not necessarily better. NSCA Journal: 26(1). 2004.

4) Schiilling, B., Stone, M. Stretching: Acute Efects on Strength and Power Performance.  NSCA Journal: 21(1). 44-47. 2004.

10) Shrier, I. Stretching Before Exercise Does Not Reduce the Risk of Local Muscle Injury: A Critical Review of the Clinical and Basic Science Literature. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 9:221-227. 1999.

5) Thacker, S. B., J. Gilchrist D. F. Stroup, and C. D. Kimsey, JR. The Impact of Stretching on Sports Injury Risk: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 36, No. 3, pp. 371-378, 2004.

EXERCISE VIDEO

Here is one of our favorite exercises for developing functional strength and flexibility. This reaching lunge protocol was designed by Gary Gray. Click below to see the video.

CLICK HERE!


Monday, in the office, after attending a meet all weekend…

Ten Day Dryland Training Cycle – Some Thoughts from Coach John Leonard

Dryland Training Cycle

This is a ten day cycle. On the 2nd ten day go-round, on the odd numbered days, add a heavier med ball to the routine. On the 2nd go round add WEIGHT to each exercise. Same on the 3rd go-round. Same on the 4th go-round. After 40 days of training like this, we should adjust the routine to incorporate some changes and new material.  You’ll start out needing 30 minutes a day on the first couple of days, (outside of running, which can be done in the same session or at a different time of day.  But it will rapidly increase to about 45 minutes/1 hour per day towards the end of each cycle because of the increase in numbers.

Probably good to take a 2-3 day Break from dryland at the end of each 10 day cycle.

JL

#1 – Run 30 minutes steady, easy

Med ball – standing – 25 chest passes, 25 overheads

Med ball – standing – 50 figure eights – change direction half way.

Med ball – “hikes” – 10 each partner.

Med ball situps – 4 x 25 sprint speed with ball.

Pushups – normal position – 3(10-9-8-7-6) 40 per set, 120 total.

Med ball wall throws – Overhead – 25, from side 25 left, 25 right, heavy ball.

#2 – Planks – 4 positions – 2 sets – 1 warmup 15 seconds, 1 full at 30 seconds.

Pushups with feet on med-ball – 10

Situps with feet on exercise ball – 30

Pullups – 5 x 5

Pulldowns with light weight on machine – 3×30

Dumbbell alternate arm flings – 30 each arm.

Bam-bams with med ball – 3 x 50

Swim Bench – 75 recovery strokes – Turned around backwards.

#3 – Run 30 minutes – 20 steady, 10 sprints.

Med ball – standing – 30 chest passes,  overheads

Med ball – standing – 60 figure eights – change direction half way.

Med ball – “hikes” – 15 each partner.

Med ball situps – 5 x 25 sprint speed with ball.

Pushups – normal position – 4(10-9-8-7-6) 40 per set, 160 total.

Med ball wall throws – Overhead – 30, from side 30 left, 30 right, heavy ball.

#4. – Planks – 4 positions – 2 sets – 1 warmup 15 seconds, 1 full at 40 seconds.

Pushups with feet on med-ball – 15

Situps with feet on exercise ball – 40

Pullups – 5 x 6

Pulldowns with light weight on machine – 4×35

Dumbbell alternate arm flings – 40 each arm.

Bam-bams with med ball – 4 x 50

Swim Bench – 100  recovery strokes – Turned around backwards.

#5 – Run 30 minutes – 15 steady, 15 sprints

Med ball – standing – 40 chest passes, 40 overheads

Med ball – standing – 70 figure eights – change direction half way.

Med ball – “hikes” – 20 each partner.

Med ball situps – 6 x 25 sprint speed with ball. (125)

Pushups – normal position – 5(10-9-8-7-6) 40 per set, 200  total.

Med ball wall throws – Overhead – 350, from side 35 left, 35 right, heavy ball.

#6. Planks – 4 positions – 2 sets – 1 warmup 15 seconds, 1 full at 45 seconds.

Pushups with feet on med-ball – 20

Situps with feet on exercise ball – 50

Pullups – 5 x 7

Pulldowns with light weight on machine – 4×45

Dumbbell alternate arm flings – 50 each arm.

Bam-bams with med ball – 4 x 70

Swim Bench – 125  recovery strokes – Turned around backwards.

#7 – Run 40 minutes – Steady

Med ball – standing – 50 chest passes, 50 overheads

Med ball – standing – 70 figure eights – change direction half way.

Med ball – “hikes” – 25 each partner.

Med ball situps – 7 x 25 sprint speed with ball. (175)

Pushups – normal position – 6(10-9-8-7-6) 40 per set, 240  total.

Med ball wall throws – Overhead – 40, from side 40 left, 40  right, heavy ball.

#8.  Planks – 4 positions – 2 sets – 1 warmup 15 seconds, 1 full at 50 seconds.

Pushups with feet on med-ball – 25

Situps with feet on exercise ball – 60

Pullups – 5 x 8

Pulldowns with light weight on machine – 4×50

Dumbbell alternate arm flings – 60 each arm.

Bam-bams with med ball – 4 x 80

Swim Bench – 2 x 75   recovery strokes – Turned around backwards.

#9 – Run 40 minutes – 20 steady, 15 sprint, 5 steady.

Med ball – standing – 60 chest passes, 60 overheads

Med ball – standing – 80 figure eights – change direction half way.

Med ball – “hikes” – 30 each partner.

Med ball situps – 8 x 25 sprint speed with ball. (200 )

Pushups – normal position – 7(10-9-8-7-6) 40 per set, 280  total.

Med ball wall throws – Overhead – 45, from side 45left, 45  right, heavy ball.

 

#10. Planks – 4 positions – 2 sets – 1 warmup 15 seconds, 1 full at 55 seconds.

Pushups with feet on med-ball – 30

Situps with feet on exercise ball – 70

Pullups – 5 x 9

Pulldowns with light weight on machine – 4×60

Dumbbell alternate arm flings – 70 each arm.

Bam-bams with med ball – 4 x 100

Swim Bench – 2 x 100    recovery strokes – Turned around backwards.

Don’t miss out on the Central States Clinic!

ASCA Schools at the Central States Clinic

There is still time to sign up for ASCA Schools!   AND…There are still spots available for COACHES and SWIMMERS at the CENTRAL STATES SWIM CLINIC!

Don’t delay – REGISTRATIONS can still be mailed at the pre-registration rate until May 6!!! Door registrations will be accepted on site.

Additionally, the hotel has extended the special clinic rate until Friday as well. Rooms are still available, but they are going quickly. Be sure to call soon to guarantee yours – rooms can be booked as available until Friday May 6 at the special clinic rate by calling (630) 573-8555.

The Central States Swim Clinic on May 14-15, 2011 will be held at the Oak Brook Marriott, in Oak Brook, IL.

If you wish to register for these additional courses, please note in the appropriate space on the clinic registration form and include payment payable to Central States Swim Clinic. These courses may be attended separately or in conjunction with the clinic.

Click below to register

http://www.swimclinic.com/central_registration-form.html

Listed below is a list of ASCA Schools

*Age Group Sports Psychology
(May 12th: 1-5pm) $50.00

This course is designed to give coaches a clear and concise approach to developing their own mental training program for age group athletes. Areas covered are: organizing a program for your team and teaching methods; developing peak performance skills (relaxation, mental rehearsal, concentration) and how to practice these skills; and the teaching of life skills. (15 education credits)

*Working Successfully with Swimming Parents
(May 12th: 6-9pm) $50.00

This course is designed to provide you with “instant experience” and successful options in working with parents. Offers over 20 actual case studies and seven chapters of immediately useful, practical suggestions on how to be effective with your swim team parents. (15 education credits)

*The Physiology School
(May 13th: 9am-5pm) $60.00

The course is designed to give coaches a broad understanding of physiological principles and a working knowledge of season and workout design. Presented is the physiological basis for performance of the cardiovascular system, energy metabolism, swimming economy, type of training, fatigue mechanisms, and nutrition. Specific applications are presented including periodization of work and rest, workout design, taper, over training, strength and flexibility training. The school is conducted in simple, coach-oriented language that concentrates on conceptual understanding of the processes that lead to faster swimming and more effective training. (20 education credits)

*Creating Team Leadership
(May 13th: 6-8pm) $65.00/person

Previously ASCA has taught a class for just athletes. This course is for both coaches and athletes. Concepts to be covered will be what leadership is all about, how it applies in swimming, teaching the tools of being a leader & when to apply those tools. We will both teach the coach and teach the swimmer about leadership. This course is applicable to both real life and a swim team. It is designed so the coach & athlete can go home and educate their team about the skills of leadership.

Main Program

The 2011 Clinic proudly offers the following prestigious line-up of speakers and Olympians:

  • Dave Salo: ’08, ’04 & ‘00 Olympic Coach, Author, Head Coach USC Men & Women
  • Brett Hawke: 2 time Olympian, Head Coach Auburn Men & Women, Coach of Cielo
  • Rick DeMont: Assistant Coach to the South African Men’s Swim Team at three recent Olympic Games
  • Dave Durden: ‘04 Olympic & ’03 Pan Pac Coach, Head Coach UC Berkeley men
  • Jackie Berning Ph.D: Nutrition Consultant, Author and Educator
  • Brendan Hansen: Olympic Gold Medalist ’04, Bronze Medalist ’00 & World Recordholder
  • Kristy Kowal: Olympic Silver Medalist ’00, 8 time American Record holder & 1 World Recordholder
  • Lindsay Mintenko: 2 time Olympian, American Recordholder & USA Swimming National Team Managing Director

Our clinic offers you a special opportunity to be with top age group & university coaches as well as ASCA, USA Swimming Facilities Planning and USA Swimming club certification courses.

You can find more information about the clinic, here: http://www.swimclinic.com/central_details.html

Registration forms are available here: http://www.swimclinic.com/central_registration-form.html

Thought for the day

Care more than others think is wise,

Risk more than others think is safe,

Dream more than others think is practical,

Expect more than others think is possible.


Swimming Psyche Outs: How to be in control, confident and composed when faced with psyche outs (and how to use them to your advantage!).

Swimming Psyche Outs. How to be in control, confident and composed when faced with psyche outs (and how to use them to your advantage!!). Part One.Posted: 17 Mar 2011 12:08 AM PDT

by Wayne Goldsmith

“The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it but what they become by it.” John Ruskin

How many times do you hear a football player or baseballer or basketballer say something like “It was tough out there today. The other team really psyched us out”.

Sportspeople talk about the psyche out as something someone else did to them – that someone somehow did something mystical or magical that impacted on their performance.

Lots of people talk about psyching out…………..so what is it?

What is a psyche out?

A psyche out is the words, actions and behaviors of another person trying to increase pressure on you and as a result try to negatively influence your performance.

Pressure is a misunderstood concept in sport.

  • Pressure is not the race;
  • It is not the crowd;
  • It is not the gold medal;
  • It is not the opposition.

It is something you put on yourself – it is something you create: it is something you generate.

The psyche out has one goal – to convince you to put more pressure on yourself.

Even the best swimmers will perform poorly if they lack confidence and can not deal with the pressure of competition.

Think about swimming in your home pool on a warm summer morning with your friends. It feels great. It feels relaxed. It feels comfortable.

Now imagine 50,000 people sitting in the stands around the pool watching you swim.

How do you feel? Nervous? Tense? Uncomfortable? Under pressure?

Why?

The pool hasn’t got any longer. The water hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is you – and your perception that swimming in front of 50,000 people is different (and more pressure) than swimming in front of a few moms and dads.

Pressure is something you generate in response to your perception of the situation.

Why do some people try to psyche out others?

Nothing impacts on performance like pressure! The main reason people try psyche out others is to artificially create pressure by increasing doubts, fears and insecurities in their opposition and try to erode their confidence.

Remember this…………Pressure places people in positions for poor performance.

Why are psyche outs such an effective strategy?

Your attitude and your confidence determine your destiny. Anything that impacts on your attitude and destroys your confidence is potentially damaging to your performance.

The psyche out is a tool some people use to attack attitude and kill confidence to get you to increase pressure on yourself.

What kinds of psyche outs are there?

Psyche outs come in two basic forms – the Dirty Downers and the Positive Power Plays.

Dirty Downers (DD) are those psyche outs which focus on bringing people down through criticism, sarcasm and down right meanness.

Positive Power Plays (PPP) are psyche outs which give you strength and confidence without putting anyone else down.

Dirty Downers: Where do they happen?

Dirty Downers can happen any where – the locker room, at the end of the pool during warm up, in the ready room, in the marshalling area, behind the blocks…….you name it, the Dirty Downer can hit you anytime…anywhere.

Who does them?

Thankfully not many swimmers are Dirty Downer Do-ers!

Dirty downer do-ers are often swimmers who lack confidence in themselves and decide their best tactic (and their best chance of winning) lies not in developing their own confidence and self belief but in destroying the confidence of others.

Make yourself psyche out proof.

Here’s the secret……………………..psyche outs only work if you let them!

It’s not the psyche outs that are the problem – it’s how you respond to them.

Dirty downer do-ers can find fault in your appearance, your clothing, your hairstyle, your club, your friends, your family, your coach, your training program, your swim gear, your body odor, your dog………but the important thing is to learn to control how you respond to the comments and criticisms.

A Dirty Downer Do-er is trying to get you to lose confidence and get you to create pressure on yourself by making you feel inadequate in comparison to them.

Forget comparing yourself to other people – compare yourself with how close you are to your own full potential.

Some of the best (and worst) psyche outs:

A few leading swimmers were asked to talk about the best and worst psyche outs they have ever heard. Here are some real beauts!

“Is that swim suit really small or have you just put on weight lately”

“Are you still swimming? I heard you gave up a long time ago”

“You look really tired – are you ok?”

“Those goggles are really old. I can’t believe you still wear them”

Regardless of the psyche out – remember the secret – the psyche out only works if you respond to the pressure it is trying to create!

What they say and what they mean………………………….

Often the Dirty Downer Do-er will give hints about how they really think and feel in their psyche outs.

If they are feeling a bit flat, tired and fatigued, they might try to hit you with a “hey you look tired and worn out” comment.

Listen to what they say but also listen to what they mean:

For example:

They say: “I have been doing 10 sessions a week and I am in the best shape of my career” .

They mean: “I am not really sure how i am going to go today”

They say “We’re swimming through the meet. We’re not even tapering for this meet”

They mean: “I need an excuse in case I don’t swim well today”

They say:“We’ve just done a hell week”

They mean: “I am really tired”

They say: “We’re doing 50 miles a week”

They mean: “I am really tired”

They say: “I’ve just done a huge pb in the gym”

They mean: “I need to make you think i am stronger than i really am”

So………what do you do when a Dirty Downer Do-er strikes??????????????

Read Part Two later this week which starts with Ten things you can do to respond to a psyche out-er!

Wayne Goldsmith

The Champions on Your Side


Resistance is the enemy to great work, says author Steve Pressfield. But with enemies come allies. Consider, who and what will push you through the dips and help you do the work that matters.

Here’s an excerpt from Do the Work about the champions on your side:

1. Stupidity

2. Stubbornness

3. Blind faith

4. Passion

5. Assistance (the opposite of Resistance)

6. Friends and family

Stay Stupid

The three dumbest guys I can think of: Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill. Why? Because any smart person who understood how impossibly arduous were the tasks they had set themselves would have pulled the plug before he even began.

Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur’s indispensable allies. She must be clueless enough to have no idea how difficult her enterprise is going to be—and cocky enough to believe she can pull it off anyway.

How do we achieve this state of mind? By staying stupid. By not allowing ourselves to think.

A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.

Don’t think. Act.

We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.

Be Stubborn

Once we commit to action, the worst thing we can do is to stop.

What will keep us from stopping? Plain old stubbornness.

I like the idea of stubbornness because it’s less lofty than “tenacity” or “perseverance.” We don’t have to be heroes to be stubborn. We can just be pains in the butt.

When we’re stubborn, there’s no quit in us. We’re mean. We’re mulish. We’re ornery.

We’re in till the finish.

We will sink our junkyard-dog teeth into Resistance’s ass and not let go, no matter how hard he kicks.

Blind Faith

Is there a spiritual element to creativity? Hell, yes.

Our mightiest ally (our indispensable ally) is belief in something we cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or feel.

Resistance wants to rattle that faith. Resistance wants to destroy it.

There’s an exercise that Patricia Ryan Madson describes in her wonderful book, Improv Wisdom. (Ms. Madson taught improvisational theater at Stanford to standing-room only classes for twenty years.) Here’s the exercise:

Imagine a box with a lid. Hold the box in your hand. Now open it.

What’s inside?

It might be a frog, a silk scarf, a gold coin of Persia. But here’s the trick: no matter how many times you open the box, there is always something in it.

Ask me my religion. That’s it.

I believe with unshakeable faith that there will always be something in the box.

Passion

Picasso painted with passion, Mozart composed with it. A child plays with it all day long.

You may think that you’ve lost your passion, or that you can’t identify it, or that you have so much of it, it threatens to overwhelm you. None of these is true.

Fear saps passion.

When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion.

Assistance

We’ll come back to this later. Suffice it to say for now that as Resistance is the shadow, its opposite—Assistance—is the sun.

Friends and Family

When art and inspiration and success and fame and money have come and gone, who still loves us—and whom do we love?

Only two things will remain with us across the river: our inhering genius and the hearts we love.

In other words, what we do and whom we do it for.

Thought for the day…

“If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.”  – Henry Ford.