Friday, September 6, 2013

ASCA Friday Morning - Dave Marsh

I you have never seen Dave Marsh talk, you really need to! If you are an OSCC member or are a coach in Ontario or live just outside of Ontario and have the means to come to the +Swim Ontario AGM & Conference in September, do it! Dave Marsh was an engaging speaker but did not speak much at all about the "technical" aspects of coaching; Dave spoke mostly about what it takes to build success. He addressed the reason that he decided to speak this way at the beginning of his talk - if he were to give 3 technical sets to do that he believes make everyone great, the delivery of those sets would be different at all different clubs so there would be 1500 different results. He chose to talk and tech everyone how he has build a successful structure at SwimMAC Carolina and everywhere else that he has been (these are the types of speeches that I love - and the self awareness that Dave brought to the topic gave it a much more intimate feel than the other talks of the weekend. Here are some of the notes that I took from his talk:

  •  There is growing opportunity in swimming (water zoomba, high school, more events at the Olympics & World Championships). More information available (Dave mentioned his love of podcasts... wonder if he's heard mine). Increasing technology makes our sport more interesting and more safe. What kind of opportunities to get (and keep) athletes in the water are coaches & clubs taking?

  • What do we do with all this new stuff? Creating inspirational moments and building culture that bring people to our sport and let them experience something positive and life changing. 

  • Dave had is write down the name of a coach that had a profound impact on our lives and write down 3 things that you liked about them. He then asked some people to read out the name and the words. The noticeable thing was that no one said anything about how fast that coach made them swim or anything about how they did the job (Logistics, travel, etc); everyone basically how that coach was challenging and made them a better person. I found this interesting. Not 1 person in the room said anything along the lines of x's & o's or the technical aspects of coaching. "Not the logistical stuff, it's the relationships."
  •  Winning cultures are based on relationships. Build your structure (Who are your Models Leaders Supporters & Collaborators?).
  •   Figure out where "True North" is. When Dave was at Auburn, his "True North" was beat 'Bama, because this was a difficult thing to do and would measure how the club was performing. An interesting point, competitive nature between teams is often downplayed in Canada and I'm not sure why. Maybe something to examine here. 
  • Dave had to change the culture of showing up late at Auburn. He once left for a major meet at LSU with only 12 athletes because they were the only ones who showed up on time. Sometimes changing a culture can lead to initial discomfort.
  •  Club governance is key in creating success. Dave pointed us to the Carver modal. Very interesting stuff! 
  • 4 things that Dave is directly accountable to (a way to measure his performance): 1.)support children entering sport 2.) support athletes collegiate levels: 3.) training athlete to elite levels 4.) develop elite swimming today world embraced structure 
  •  94% of coaches do other stuff. (the extras of coaching). Check out this slide.   
  • 4 keys to winning cultures. 1.) language that shapes your culture (including body tone). "I" and "My" (no good - we is a better culture word).  2.) core values (try talking about the core values)   3.) beliefs: beliefs establish culture. You cannot out perform your self identity. Belief that Team USA wins medals. 
  • What is swimming and what are our clubs doing to interest youngsters to stay involved and like it. How do we keep them engaged?  Dave referenced this Tennis commercial (Tennis makes smaller court with a smooshier ball so it is easier for younger athletes to stay involved).  How do we make swimming better and more fun to hold on to more kids? This is one of the reasons I joined the Oakville Aquatic Club this season to work with their new Sprint group. Sean Baker is thinking outside the box and trying to keep more athletes around longer. I am attracted to new ideas!OAK
I'm sure that I missed some notes in there somewhere, but the talk was phenomenal in my opinion (however, many have disagreed with my opinions this week... but thats whats is great about social interaction). Even if you're not involved in swimming, come to Toronto in September and see Dave Marsh talk. He is very good and it would be a shame to miss that opportunity.