Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Links of the Day with Jocelyn Jay

Its Wednesday, so that must mean more links from JJ from BRANT...

http://ow.ly/bdQvM - An excellent article that supports Mike's last post on Racing vs. Swimming.  Too many times, athletes get caught up in putting together the "perfect swim" rather than just diving in an racing!!

http://ow.ly/baHC9 - Pool Etiquette for the Competitive swimmer.  Ideas for recreational, fun swimming, that competitive swimmers need to keep in mind!

http://ow.ly/bdDXM - How to build Resilience -  How well do you "recover from adversity"?

Malcolm Bricklin - Not swimming related, but something you might not know about Canada...

Joe Bartoch and Paul Midgley of LAC/Western on William Shatner's Weird or What on History TV.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Racing vs. Swimming

Racing is something that I do not feel that I see enough of. Generally, I watch swimmers get wrapped up in qualifying standards and forget to beat people. Here's a specific case at a very high level: Mens 200BR at Canadian Olympic Trials. 3 men coming into the finish who were all trying to keep their race controlled to what the sports scientists told them to do: stroke count, event check list, etc... but none of them looked even remotely like they were trying to make a move or even concerned about the swimmers around them in the last 50m; they were all trying to hit the Olympic Qualifying standard and swim to a certain time... problem is: you have to beat people to go to the Olympics... and the plan should be to beat people AT the Olympics. As a result, Scott Dickens made the team by winning the event. So by forgetting to be competitive and racing, they get to stay home (thanks for the insight on that race, Randy). 

Please don't misinterpret what I am getting at: I am not saying that race plans are not important, nor am I saying not to listen to coaches or sports scientists. What I am saying is that sometimes the focus is far too heavy on the clock and not whats happening around you. 

HHBF swam at the GMAC LC Invitational this past weekend in Guelph, ON. I always enjoy this meet as it is a great opportunity to race LCM but also there are tons of athletes around the same time. Heats and heats where all 6 athletes are within 6 tenths of a second apart in entry time. This is the most ideal situation to race because everyone is in range of beating or being beaten. 

I encouraged all of my athletes this weekend to "shut off the clock" and just try to beat people; then see what the time outcome was. The results were great! As I am still waiting for the official results to be posted, notable results off the top of my mind are:

Jordan Stott - huge meet with lots of time dropped in most events. Great 400FR on Friday!
Simon Olsen - Excellent RACING! 200BR was fantastic.
Jeffery Jiang - 200BR was a work of art. This guy has only been swimming for a year and had a breakout weekend.
Quinn West - Some HUGE pbs and solid racing!
Alex & Viktoria P - Both swimming with purpose and some good drive. Loved to see good pbs from these 2.
Chris Zanewycz & Loren Monhemius - narrowing in on provincial standards and positioning themselves well to get it done at Central Region Champs.
Michael Jans & Brooklyn Shelley  - dropping more significant time in freestyle events and swimming much more consistent times.
Erin Troughton - Just missed Central Regions in 100FR in her come back from injury. A lot of hard work an mental determination are paying off for her. Great to see!
Ted Mosoi - Ted seldom doesn't race, but did so very well this weekend. Some great finishes for him!
Anthony Hartsink - Great FR races this weekend and really wowed me on Sunday!
Nicole Waddick & Mackenzie Warnock - Both qualifying for Central Regions! Congrats!
Aysia Leckie - Qualifying for 200FR for provincials and under 2:20 for the first time... by racing.

Please don't stress out if I didn't mention your name; there were over 55 Blue Fins in the meet and about 300 individual events swum. On the whole, all of the groups swam very well; there were lots of PBs and new qualifying times for various meets. I apologize if I missed any additional qualifiers in the above. Official results have not yet been posted at this time and I only did the ones I knew for sure.

One last thought about time standards:

Livy Olson qualified for her very first provincials in 200FLY about a month ago but sadly her birthday is right before provincials; thus, she will not be able to go. Livy has a great attitude about this problem. Next season, Livy plans to aim towards the standards above her age class and work to get those ones. Kyle Haas went through a similar dilemma earlier in his career and it became a non issue really quickly when he decided to think of himself as a year older than he actually was.
The point is; do not let a time standard goal determine your worth. Swim careers should last a very long time. Swimming at the age of 11-14 should be the beginning, not an end point. Keep working and learn from falling short or set backs. One thing about this sport; people that stick with it develop great character!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Session Changes for GMAC LC Invitational

Please note the following changes for Guelph's LC meet this weekend. The changes are due to GMAC's response to the number of participants at this meet and trying to accommodate everyone to the best of their abilities. 

Parents - please note that HHBF has no control over these changes. With the lack of LC pools in Ontario, the short LC season, number of swimmers in Ontario and the lack of available LC meets; changes like this are not unusual. We need to be patient and accepting of changes such as these. 

Attention: ALL Swimmers & Parents attending GMAC - May 25-27, 2012


All events on Friday morning (400, 800, 1500) are doubled.

Session 1: all ages warm-up 8:45am, start 9:45am - Events #1, 2, 4 & 5

Session 2: all ages warm-up 2:30pm, start 3:30pm - Events # 7, 8, 9, 13, 15
& 16

Session 3: 13 and over girls warm-up 7:00am, start 7:45am - Events # 17, 18,
19, 20 & 21
Session 4: 12 and under girls, 11 and under boys warm-up 11:45am, start
12:30pm - Events # 122, 22, 123, 23, 124, 24, 25, 126 & 26

Session 5: 12 and over boys warm-up 4:15pm, start 5:00pm - Events # 27, 28,
29, 30 & 31

Session 6: 12 and over girls warm-up 7:00am, start 7:45am - Events # 615,
33, 35, & 36
Session 7: 11 and under girls and boys warm-up 11:15am, start 12:00pm -
Events # 38, 39 & 41
Session 8: 12 and over boys warm-up 2:15pm, start 3:00pm - Events #816, 43,
45 & 46

Links of the Day with Jocelyn Jay

Great article for coaches on keeping the "end in mind" when putting a dryland program together for age groupers. http://ow.ly/b4ASl

The importance of mental preparation or using your imagination to see what you want to achieve.  http://ow.ly/b4Bs8

Swimmer's Ear - An interesting article on what to look for and consider if having issues with your ears. http://ow.ly/b5vLu

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Movie Post

 Now that most TV shows that are worth watching have gone away on Summer Hiatus (Game of Thrones still has a couple of weeks left), you may be looking for things to watch to pass your time. I would recommend looking into some sports movies going into championship season (Central Regions, Provincials, Senior Nats, Age Group Champs). Those of you who know me well likely know that one of my majors was in film, so I present to you: Coach Mike's Top 5 Sports Movies (that you should watch some time soon) Countdown.

#5. Warrior. I watched this recently and really liked it from an aesthetic standpoint and from a sports fan standpoint. The story follows 2 estranged brothers who enter an MMA championship for different (and very emotional) reasons. The final 10min was outstanding and Tom Hardy was brilliant! Strong family and brother overtones, more of a guy movie, but still VERY good!

#4. Money Ball. I also watched this one recently and it's more the story of team building than a team success story, but it details how Billy Bean (Brad Pitt) built the Oakland A's from nothing to significance with next to no money. Strong message about team playing and about motivation to win. My favourite line from this one is from Brad Pitt's character: "I hate losing, even more than I want to win."

#3. The Blind Side.  Hard to believe that this movie had both me and my wife in tears at the end... more so because of the family community built out of love and faith. I read the book after watching this film (which was VERY different) but it didn't take anything away from the inspirational message of this film.

#2. The Fighter.  I HATE both Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale and didn't identify with many characters in this film, but I was compelled to keep watching because it was done so well. Very emotional story about a former champion boxer (Bale) who is a washed up drug addict and his younger brother who is faced with the dilemma of upsetting his family by making it big and going to vegas or staying at home and supporting his hangers on. As I said, I didn't identify AT ALL with any of this, but it was done so well that I didn't care at all and was totally into it. Bale steals the show (you won't recognize him). Exercise caution here, it is not necessarily family friendly due to substance abuse, nudity and hard language.

#1. Friday Night Lights.  I love this movie SO MUCH; I could watch it 3 times daily. I really identified with it the first time I saw it at age 25, right around the time that I returned to coaching. I always felt that all of the pushing and pushing on amateur sports had to mean more to someone else than the athletes. In some cases, the athletes aren't even sure who they are doing the sport for. This film details the Permain High Panthers in their pursuit of the Texas State Football Championship. Based on a true story, this film details the anxiety of the Fans, Parents, Athletes, Coaches and the Media during a rocky season. Watch as these athletes bond together and form a family that only athletes can truly understand. I think this should be shown at a mandatory athletes meeting prior to all major competitions! WATCH THIS MOVIE TONIGHT!

One thing that sports movies do so well is capture the FAMILY like atmosphere that can really only happen with athletes that work closely together and no each other in a very unique way. I saw this relationship between athletes yesterday in our HHBF end of year party. I enjoy seeing the positive side effects of sports; it really touches me and reminds me why I do what I do for a living.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Links of the Day with Jocelyn Jay

"Create the Future you Imagine" - Our actions create our future!! Only we forge our path...our choices, opportunities and beliefs.

"Comfort vs Magic - An excellent article about stepping outside your comfort zone, allowing your "uncomfortable to be comfortable", is what creates the "magic" of success.

"Jump Start your Kitchen" - I love Garrett Weber-Gale and his Athletic Foodie website (ed. note: Garrett did an exclusive interview on this blog last year which can now be found on #coachmikepodcast. Listen to it here).  This is a great article about what you should have in your kitchen to make quick and easy meals. 

"Breaststroke Breakthrough" To break through to a new level in your breaststroke, don't hammer it, polish it. Here are 8 ways to make sure your stroke is the sleekest, shiniest jewel in the pool.

Streamlined News wraps up the Charlotte UltraSwim and news from around the world.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Celebrity Response

Last week, I posted a piece about not being afraid to be good at something. Almost immediately, I was contacted by a few coaches and athletes asking to guest post on the same topic. Being the selective guy that I am, I decided on ESWIM's Hassaan Abdel Khalik for the official response.

Hassaan was a stellar age group champion with countless records and victories to his name. This season, he put his studies at Michigan on hold in order to focus on training to make the Olympic team. Although he came short of that goal, Hassaan is still quite young. Already in his young career, he has competed on some of the highest stages in swimming and has a lot to say on this topic. Enjoy.

Hassaan Abdel Khalik:

Last week Coach Mike posted a blog about swimmers who are "too cool to be good." You know, that swimmer who is to afraid to take credit for what they rightfully deserve: praise. I have thought a lot about where this fear might stem from and I think I am getting closer and closer.

Let's use a hypothetical swimmer named Phichael Melps. Phichael is a real good swimmer. In practice he exemplifies the work ethic and determination of a workhorse. At meets he is a thoroughbred racer. As a result, he has been very successful…but he shies away from any recognition that comes out of his hard work.


Because Phichael is afraid he will be labelled "cocky", "arrogant", "douchey", the list goes on.

Well I am here to explain to Phichael the difference between being confident and arrogant. So listen up all you Phichaels out there.

"Confidence is the constant, arrogance the variable."

There is major difference between confidence and arrogance. A confident person is always in control of their outward attitude no matter what situation they might find themselves in. A person who exhibits arrogant behaviour more than likely is easily influenced by outside factors, namely performance.

Swimmers, or people in general, who emit confidence do it regardless of what is going on around them. Whether they are having an awesome meet, season, year or not, that confidence is always there. Whether they are receiving praise or criticism, they take it in. with the same calm, cool and collected demeanour. That confidence is characteristic of the greatest athletes in the world.

It is difficult to judge a person's confidence solely on successful experiences. That is why we have to find a case study where an individual achieved greatness not once, but TWICE.

Rewind to the 1990s and we can compare the Michael Jordan that achieved the first Bulls Three Peat compared to the Michael Jordan that achieved the second Bulls Three Peat. Jordan's first three-peat came on a wave of success. He led the league in scoring for four years before winning his first national title. No one doubted Jordan. He became the worldwide symbol of success. Success led to success which led to more success. That is why we cannot conclude whether Jordan possessed a champion's confidence or not.

Well, leave it to the media to question Jordan's abilities and, as always, the first time someone achieves a marvel in sports everyone asks, "Can they do it again?"

When Jordan returned to basketball after a swing at baseball (pun intended), that question was still hanging, "Can he do it again?" Jordan's return to basketball wasn't easy and there were doubters this time. People questioned Jordan's abilities. He never did. This is what separates Jordan from other athletes. Jordan's self-belief never wavered. The next year Jordan's second three-peat was underway.

You see Phichael, confidence means you can take both praise and criticism all in the same stride. Jordan used criticism to fuel his comeback. Jordan was also aware of his talents. Before every game Jordan would realize that there is one person in the stands that has never seen him and will never see him again, and that would be the person Jordan would play for. Jordan had heart. Protected by that hear was his unwavering confidence.

Now let's take a look at arrogance...

Arrogance isn't self sustaining and relies on external sources of fuel. Arrogance is only present during an individuals perceived success (anyone can be arrogant, it just depends on their definition of success). It's usually characteristic of one hit wonders or "busts".

Can I give you an example of an arrogant Great in the World of Sport? I can't. That's because arrogance acts like a fog that inhibits the victim from facing reality and truly understanding what it takes to succeed ALL THE TIME.

Now you might be thinking, "I can now start owning up to what I have achieved in the pool and I will never be called arrogant?"

Yes, but you will still be called arrogant. Why? I'll save that for next time.

At least now you know the difference between confidence and arrogance. So for the future, don't be afraid to be confident.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chalotte UltraSwim

This meet begins today and is always FAST!! Stream it online HERE.
Psych sheets HERE.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Links of the Day with Jocelyn Jay

Article on Dana Vollmer - How many of us have had to deal with injuries, nutrition challenges, obstacles, setbacks? Most athletes at some point in their career have had to deal with something? Has it deterred you from your goals, or have the challenges built character? This article on Dana Vollmer documents all the setbacks and disappointments she has had to endure, and she is now picking up steam on her quest for a berth to the 2012 US Olympic Team. http://ow.ly/aLfCu

 Amanda Beard - Will she make 5...her journey to a possible 5th Olympics is very different this time around... Her priorities have shifted! A very interesting story detailed in her new book.
Part 1:
  Amanda Beard, Chasing 5 - The Road to London
Part 2

Winning on the bad days too!! Are you a career champion? We never know our limits, so why give in to something that we have no knowledge over...the path! Marnie McBean - http://vimeo.com/39865175

One of the great pre-Olympics commercials:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Michael Phelps on 60 Minutes

Here is the video from 60 Minutes for anyone who missed it last night. Great story; I love Michael Phelps, regardless of how he performs this summer. Please watch.

Note: This video details that Michael Phelps's training dropped and only recently came back up for the Olympics. If you're going to use him as an example of why you should be allowed to reduce your training, I will only agree after you train like he did for 16 years.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Too cool to be good...

Okay: Rant time. This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while, but I can't keep this buried any longer. Since when is having ambition or being good at something uncool??? I see this all the time with Ontario Swimmers (even some of the high performance ones) who deny that they're good at something or get sarcastic about it ("Ya, I'm really good." or "Ya, I'm going to work really hard on that"). 

I'm not sure if this is a generational thing or if its an Ontario thing; but its there. A lot of teenaged kids are afraid of being labeled "successful" or "fast. Are they too polite to accept this? Maybe they don't want to rub anyone's face in their success.... but guess what; while we're busy denying our success, Michael Phelps has a video game celebrating his*. Cultural thing? Maybe.

*(Another curious side bar to this topic is that no one is afraid to talk about how good they are at Call of Duty... hmmm).

Please do not confuse what I am saying; being a poor sport or rubbing someone's face in your success is not okay either. But simply acknowledging your success is not wrong. Acknowledging that you want something that you work at for several hours/week is not wrong. 

Parents of today: Teach your children how to take a compliment. Maybe this is something that we should teach in school. Teach your kids to be happy when someone else does well and encourage them to take a compliment.

I think it's my duty to say this, since no one else is: 


Don't hold yourself back because you're afraid your success is going to be uncool. Don't hold everyone else back around you because you're embarrassed about your aspirations. Success breads success. It's your responsibility to accept success and push it's limits. ITS ALRIGHT TO BE GOOD!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Links of the Day with Jocelyn Jay

As part of my expansion of this blog, I am trying to get regular contributions from other coaches. The point is to drive up interest in the blog, but more importantly, to have a wide arrange of interests and ideas represented here. Quite simply, this is not about me, its about sports. Jocelyn Jay is one of those coaches who always finds interesting things on the internet to share with everyone else. I have asked her to submit some links once/week for your enjoyment and education.

Jocelyn (originally from Brantford, ON) returned to the Brantford Aquatic Club as a coach in September 2009. Previously to coming to BAC Jocelyn was the assistant coach of the Comox Valley Aquatic Club in BC for two seasons as well as the masters coach for three. Before moving to BC Jocelyn was the assistant coach for the Northwestern University's Women's Swimming and Diving program in the Division 1 US collegiate system. Before joining NU she was an assistant coach with the mighty Etobicoke Swim Club in Toronto.
Jocelyn enjoyed a decorated swimming career of her own. Representing the Brantford Aquatic Club she was a Canadian National Team Member from 1990-1993. She then went on to represent The Ohio State University Women's Swim Team were she was named Big 10 athlete of the year in 1995. In September 2004 Jocelyn was inducted into The Ohio State's Hall of Fame in honour of her swimming achievements.

We welcome Jocelyn to our volunteer contributing staff. Enjoy, everyone.


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You make choices every day.  What choice are you making today - to be average, or to be great? ~Vern Gambetta

Bryon Davis - Hard vs. Easy