Newsletter , October, 2020



October, 2020



"Whether humanity will consciously follow the law of love,

I do not know. But that need not disturb me. The law will work

just as the law of gravitation works, whether we accept it or

not." Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)



Teaching the Backstroke by Coach Ernie Maglisco and Coach Tommy Jackson

5 Personality Traits That Make You Mentally Tough by Darius Foroux

Grateful by John Leonar



We would like to welcome all the swimmers and coaches to our programs for he Season 2020-2021.

The first 2 weeks in the season were hard after 7 months of not swimming due to Covid 19.

After the Thanksgiving week-end and taking time to recover you will feel ready for going back and train to get in the fitness level you were before.

If you have not find a kick board for training I have 2 that you can use. Please send an e-mail to club at:[email protected] that you got one. Swimmers in the Swim Team need to get fins and pull boys. You can order on line at Team aquatic supplies.

Please bring runners and rain jackets for Dryland . We are taking all measures to keep you safe.

This month we are going to be focus in learning the best techniques in all 4 strokes but mostly the Backstroke .



Teaching the Backstroke

by the American Red Cross, Coach Ernie Maglisco, PhD, and Coach Tommy Jackson



The back crawl is one of the four competitive strokes. It is the fastest stroke performed on the back. The back crawl is performed on the back with the body horizontal. As with the front crawl, an effective back crawl depends on good body position and body roll with every stroke.


Most of the propulsive movement of the back crawl comes from alternating arm strokes that move the body forward by pushing the water toward the feet.


Additional propulsion is supplied by the flutter kick similar to that used in the front crawl. The back crawls kick is continuous, and the feet churn the surface of the water. Body Position and Motion A horizontal and streamlined body position alone with good body roll is the foundation for the back crawl.


Throughout the stroke, your head remains still and aligned with your spine. Because your face is out of the water, it is not necessary to rotate your head to breath.

The most efficient head position is tilted very slightly toward the feet. The water line typically runs from the middle of the top of your head to the tip of your chin, with your ear underwater.


Your upper body is relaxed, but your shoulders are rolled forward so that your back curves slightly. Rounding of the back helps to keep your hips and legs horizontal and just below the surface of the water. An effective back crawl depends on good body rotation with every arm stroke.

In good body roll, your whole body, not just your shoulders, rotates around the midline while your head stays still. In the back crawl, your shoulders and torso rotate to the side about 30 degrees from the surface of the water.


Your legs kick from side to side naturally as your body rotates to each side. Rotating about 30 degrees from the surface of the water allows the arms to achieve the strongest catch position at the optimal depth. The timing of the body roll is also crucial in the back crawl.


The body rotates toward the arm of the hand that is entering the water just before it enters the water. The body rotation is completed before the hand reaches the catch position. Avoid rotating in the middle of the arm’s power phase. World Swimming Coaches Association Breathing and Timing For the back crawl, use a regular breathing pattern during each stroke. Inhale when one arm recovers and exhale when the other arm recovers.


Arm Stroke During the back crawl, your arms move continuously in constant opposition to each other. One arm recovers while the other arm pulls. Your body stays streamlined and your head steady throughout the stroke. The shoulder of your stroking arm starts the body roll at the beginning of each arm stroke.


Power Phase The power phase of the arm stroke for the back crawl begins as your hand enters the water above your head, just outside the shoulder. Your arm is fully extended. The palm of your hand is facing out, so that your little finger enters the water first. Keep your wrist slightly bent, your hand relaxed and your fingers straight.


Remember that it is important to complete the body roll before reaching the catch position. Catch The propulsive action starts with the catch. The hand slices downward 8 to 12 inches and at a slight outward angle and grabs the water. Bend your elbow so that your fingertips are pointing away from your body, toward the side of the pool like swinging a tennis racquet. Your arms stay to the side of your body and your hand and forearm are horizontal once the catch position is achieved.


Be careful not to let your arm bend behind your back. This is a weak position that can make the shoulder vulnerable to injury. Mid-pull During the mid-pull keep your palm and forearm facing toward your feet to push water backward most efficiently. Your hand follows a straight path toward your feet while your fingertips continue to point toward the side.


For optimal pull, try to minimize up-and-down movement of your arm. World Swimming Coaches Association Finish For the finish of the power phase, accelerate your hand as it follows through toward your feet. Keep your wrist extended and your palm pitched slightly downward. A strong finish is achieved by a quick push toward the bottom that maintains pressure on the water at the finish helps your body rotate.


The power phase ends with your arm straight and your hand below your hip. Recovery Start the recovery from the shoulder, lifting your arm from the water, hand first with your wrist relaxed and your palm facing inward. Your thumb leaves the water first. This arm position allows the large muscles on the back of your upper arm to relax. Keep your arm straight but relaxed, move your arm almost perpendicular to the water.


Body roll helps to make this easier. Midway through the recovery rotates your hand so that your little finger enters the water first. Kick The back crawl kick is similar to the flutter kick used in the front crawl. The kicking motion is a continuous, up-and-down movement that begins in the hips.


The kick is very important for body position because it helps maintain stability as the body rolls. Throughout the kick keep your knees relaxed and your ankles loose and floppy. Keep your leg nearly straight in the down-beat. At the end of the downward motion, bend your knee in preparation for starting the upward kick.


In the back crawl, most of the propulsive force generated by the legs comes from the upward kick. After bending your knee, whip your foot upward like kick a ball until your leg is straight and your toes reach the surface.


The size of the flutter kick (distance the legs move up and down) depends on the length of the legs, the degree of hip and ankle flexibility and the pace of the stroke. A kick that is too large will create greater form drag and cancel out any added propulsion. The kicks should be forceful and steady.

Most swimmers use a 6-beat kick for each full arm cycles. However, the cadence depends on the individual.


5 Personality Traits That Make You Mentally Tough

By Darius Foroux

Not everyone needs to be like Michael Jordan


Mental toughness means you’re good at dealing with the demands of life. It means

you can perform under pressure. I’ve been researching this topic extensively since

the start of this year. I found a 2019 study that looked into the relationship between

different personality traits that determine our mental toughness. The authors studied

professional athletes and found five personality traits that were predictive of success in sports. While these findings are not very solid or applicable to daily life, I found

their list of five personality traits highly useful. We can use these traits as a guideline for gaining more mental toughness. In this article, I’ll share my take on the traits that made athletes mentally tough.


Ego-Strength I love that the authors of the study brought up the relationship between ego and mental toughness. In my opinion, ego is a tool that we shouldn’t suppress. In the study, they define ego as “A measure of one’s capacity to handle setbacks, criticism, and rejection.” If you score high on ego-strength, you’re less affected by failure and setbacks. If you score low, you are affected by failure, criticism, and rejection. And you’ll have a hard time bouncing back. In recent years, the ego has received a lot of negative attention. We’ve seen public displays of hubris and ego from famous figures.


Ryan Holiday even wrote a book called ‘Ego is The Enemy”. I like that book because it shows the dangers of having a big ego. But we can’t ignore that ego can also be useful. In fact, the study mentioned above shows there’s a relationship between mental toughness and ego-strength.


Here’s the lesson I’ve learned: Don’t be afraid to embrace your ego. Be more like Michael Jordan, and less like Lance Armstrong in his prime. The former used his ego-strength to win, the latter used it to destroy and manipulate others. No matter what happens in life, you must believe in yourself. This is not woo-woo or self-help BS. Self-belief is the foundational characteristic of a good competitor.

World Swimming Coaches Association We all fail in life. We all lose. We all face rejection and criticism. But none of that should destroy our will to keep moving forward. Level-Headedness


Mentally tough athletes remain composed in stress-inducing situations.

This is a critical trait of mental toughness. When you’re confronted with a situation that raises your heart rate, you want to avoid an emotional response. I naturally rank low on this trait. I often got emotional during stressful situation. But at one point, I got tired of it and committed to controlling my emotions.

Take it from me, if you want to be more composed, you can. You simply need to practice it. I extensively journal about keeping my composure, and I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m getting better.

No matter what people say to you, what happens to you, or what kind of situation you’re in, you should always remain level-headed. Reacting emotionally will only harm you and others. Stress-Tolerance This trait is about your ability to deal with high stakes. How do you deal with possible negative consequences?

For example, if you have a high stress-tolerance, you’re fine with taking the final shot in a championship game. You take the shot knowingly you probably will get an avalanche of negativity over you if you miss.

I also see people with high stress tolerance in finance. Let’s say you manage millions of dollars of other people money.

You can’t worry about the negative consequences too much because that will paralyze you. This is the concept of stress tolerance.

Now, in this case, I do think there’s a natural predisposition. Some people have no issue with making those types of calls. Others don’t want to be responsible. That’s not good or bad. Not everyone needs or wants to be the person who takes the final shot.

But when it comes to mental toughness, we don’t want to rank very low on stress tolerance. World Swimming Coaches Association I find this an important aspect of living a good life. I use ideas from ancient philosophy to avoid fear and worry.

Stoicism is great for that, and so is Mindfulness. Whatever happens, never allow fear of negative consequences cripple you. Energy/Persistence In the study, they describe this as “A measure of one’s potential to sustain a high level of activity over extended periods.”



To me, this is the biggest challenge in life and work. Too often, our energy is up and down. As a result, we can’t be persistent, even if we want to. But most things in life require long-term effort before we see any type of payoff. Think of learning a skill, getting a degree, building a career, writing a book, creating a movie, etc.

All that stuff requires energy and persistence. In my experience, consistency is the most important thing.

It’s not about how fast you can go or how good you are at something. It’s about persistently making progress. You want to “chip away” at something. Look at it like destroying a wall. Destroy it bit by bit without wearing yourself down. If you go at it with force, you’ll only get tired — even with a sledgehammer.

The key is to manage our energy so we can stay active and persistent in overcoming our challenges.

Thoroughness This used to be one of my biggest pitfalls. You know how people often talk nonsense on job interviews? “My biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist.” Yeah, right, genius! In my experience, far more people are the opposite.

We can all be more perfectionistic and thorough. I used to rush everything and often overlooked details. To some degree, I still prefer to move fast in life. Last month, I created and launched an online course in five weeks.

That process usually takes twice as long. World Swimming Coaches Association But mental toughness is not only about doing your job — it’s about doing it well. And to succeed at anything in life, you need to be thorough.

You don’t get points for doing a sloppy job. Now, the issue is when we take things too far. But again, is there such a thing as doing a too good of a job? I don’t think so.

If you look at successful people in sports and business, you see people who have an eye for detail. One of the most famous examples is Steve Jobs.

He was notorious for perfecting the inside of their products — parts that we, as users, would never see. Same was true for Apple’s manufacturing facilities. Everything needed to be spotless. It’s a trait. It’s a way of looking at the world. People like Jobs never settle for anything less than great. I love that and take a lot of inspiration from that mindset. Take on Challenges People often ask me, “But HOW can I improve these traits?”

Here’s my honest answer: There are no universal answers. There’s no blueprint to mental toughness. It’s not math. No one can say, “Do XYZ and you’ll be mentally tough from now on!” In my experience, awareness of these traits is enough the get the ball rolling. So if you’re looking for clear directions, I wouldn’t waste my energy too much on that. Ultimately, none of these traits will guarantee success. That’s not what this is about.

I used the above traits to describe several aspects of mental toughness.

Every person has their own goal and path in life. Not everyone needs to be like Michael Jordan. Mental toughness is also not about outcomes. It’s about challenging yourself and becoming a better — more complete — person. I hope these traits gave you enough areas to focus on. I recommend picking one or two traits you want to focus on in daily life.




by John Leonard


We have heard it many times but can never hear it too often.


There is no possibility of any other virtue until a person has GRATITUDE.“ In today’s world, gratitude is clearly in short supply. Like most things, it begins in the home (and I consider my team an extension of our homes). My observation is that today, many parents are far too eager to be FRIENDS with their children. I think this is a serious mistake.


Children need parents to be parents, not friends. Parents set boundaries. They allow their children to grow by permitting them to do things (CHORES). Yes, ALLOW THEM to do chores, not for an allowance, but because they are a part of a FAMILY. Doing something that helps Mom or Dad is an honor, a privilege, and a CONTRIBUTION. On my team, so is swimming. It’s a privilege, not a RIGHT.


It is a PRIVILEGE to be coached (at any age, including 70) because it means someone thinks enough of you and believes enough in you to invest time into your improvement.


Respect is demonstrated by someone’s willingness to “invest in you.” Children need to be grateful for the unconditional love and support of their parents (and I hope, from their coaches).


Parents need to model that quality of being grateful for what you have, not unhappy about what you perceive you may lack. If we are breathing, we need to be grateful.


Coaches are grateful for children to coach. They fulfill our lives. We are grateful to parents for putting their trust in us to do so. If the child lacks the quality of gratitude, they can never have respect, nor can they EARN the respect of others. It’s not a new lesson, but its one we all should remember and act on each day.


Thank you for bringing your children to us to be coached. I am grateful.


All the Best,


Lidia Menzies, Director of Swimming