Saturday, October 16, 2010

Jen Button Clinic

Wow was I impressed with the expertise and panache that Jen Button brought to our club in tonight's clinic. For those parents stuck behind the glass, here is a recap of the evening...

Jen began by talking about her career and accomplishments. Coming from the small town of Fort McMurray, AB, Jen Mentioned that her club's rule that if the morning temperature dropped below -50 degrees (which it often did between October and May), practice was cancelled. Keep this in mind in the coming months when you're too cold to get out of bed and its only -20.

Jen swam with me for Dean Boles in the 1990s. She was a workhorse and often butted heads with team mates that were not working as hard as she was. She had the benefit of training with some other accomplished athletes. She got along with some and didn't get along with others. She, too, referenced Laura Nicholls who she trained with. Laura and her both wanted to make the 1996 Olympic Team very badly. When Laura made it and Jen failed to qualify, Jen was initially crushed, but then realized that she helped Laura accomplish Laura's dream and was able to celebrate that. Her point is an incredibly important one, that I mentioned the other day: We all make each other better; Therefore we all should celebrate each other's successes. This was a key message in what Jen had to say today.

Our water workout began with a general warm up and then jumped very quickly into fly kick. Jen was very good at exposing the weaknesses we all had in the water in dolphin kick. We learned some things about our core, the kick itself and the required amplitude through the water that I think made a lot of our athletes begin to understand the importance of this skill.

Further to that we worked on some kick with fins and breakouts off the wall, which again, exposed some weaknesses. I am not afraid to expose these weaknesses... in fact, that is the entire reason that Jen came to town. Our athletes do not understand the importance of this skill and the applications that it holds. Bringing in an expert to help was crucial.

We finished the workout with some butterfly drills which I'm pretty sure were exhausting. The amount of coughing you will hear the in the videos below and the looks on faces tells the story of a group surprised by how hard simple tasks can be when done slowly and meticulously.

Jen ended with some great advice below. Please take the time to watch the videos, especially if you are an athlete. The information is great and the presentation is fantasic. Jen really is passionate about what she does and offered her time to us for next to nothing. Thank you, Jen, on behalf of the Halton Hills Blue Fins!!

Note to swimmers: This information cannot just be experienced once and forgotten; the information must be used on a daily basis in your training. As Jen said, your competitor is somewhere else right now working hard on this skill... so what are you going to do today to make yourself better?