Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thursday Morning @ ASCA - Mixed Bag

Although a few talks sparked my interest this morning, few were as interesting to me as John Davis last night (who, by talking to many coaches who disagreed with my write up and assessment, was met by mixed reviews).

This morning started with a talk from Graham Hill, coach of Olympic Gold Medalist in the 200FLY, Chad Le Clos. I found Graham very sincere and a good speaker, but talks like this always leave me with little to take away... mostly, Graham's message centred around the concept that Chad is a very talented athlete and an anomaly and he cannot treat his other athletes the way he is able to treat Chad. This is the interesting part, because Graham had offered a couple of Chad's main sets to the room; what percentage of the audience missed the message that Chad is an anomaly and/or that chad is not an age group swimmer? How many coaches are going to kill their athletes while not understanding what that set is designed for or understand why Graham designed it the way he did and when he uses it?
Amongst the notes I took from his talk were as follows:
  • Is it awkward to talk about beating USA's (and swimming's) hero to a bunch of American coaches? How do you not come off as arrogant or patronizing? Graham did a good job at handling it.
  • Goal setting as the Head Olympic Coach was important to Graham. His goals were to establish RSA as a top swimming force in the world & to try to make swimming a number 1 Olympic sport in RSA. Where do Canada and USA's goals line up with this internally? I honestly do not know the answer to this question - I do know, though, that many of Canada's (and Ontario's goals) are focused on world performance; I don't hear much talk about what happens here at home.
  • Chad trained for 400IM until he hurt his groin and changed his goal after seeing Michael Phelps win 8 golds in 2008 to "beat Phelps in the 200FLY"
  • Chad was not allowed a cell phone except from 11am Saturday morning until 7pm Sunday night. Graham said that Chad was too distracted and spent too much time messing around on social media and watching videos and not enough time resting & sleeping. How many athletes are willing to make that sacrifice?
  • Graham enjoyed working with Chad because Chad did not take things personally. Many other athletes think that coaches are picking on them and do not understand a coach/swimmer relationship properly.  Do you're athletes know that when you criticism them that you are not criticism them as a person?
The next talk I visited was Matt Kredich talking about awakening your energy systems. Matt asserted that your nervous system is in control of all energy systems and the limited factor was your brain protecting you from catastrophty. I do not disagree with this and subscribe to his philosophy. Sadly,when that happens, I do not take many notes. I did however note that Matt's thoughts on teaching and preparing the nervous system to act more easily and readily towards body positions was right in line with mine. Once I realized that I was basically watching one of my practices in his presentation, I took a washroom break.

Shortly after I ran into +Glenn Mills and ducked into his setup for his talk about Maximizing Pool Time Through Visualization and Evaluation. I also met Jeff Commings from The Morning Swim Show and chatted about news and media. Then, I sat down to listen to Glenn. Glenn has always been on the cutting edge of providing great visual aid products to coaches and swimmers and his newest product (yet to be launched, I believe) is the best yet. Glenn is launching a new service to prepare athletes ahead of time, You can schedule and plan your workouts and have the athletes watch everything ahead of time and come prepared. This product also has a mobile version which works with phones so feedback is also available at the pool and "sendable" (is that a word..?) to selected athletes in your group to view and review in the privacy of their own home; all from the click of a button. Very cool!

I wanted to purge all of my thoughts on the morning quickly during lunch and get back to it. More later...