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More Updates, Enhancements & Commentaries

Hi All,

Well, we finally have internet at our new home. My former desk was built into the wall at our last home, so I have yet to completely set up my computer system. We are looking into new arrangements in the new aquatics office and should be set there soon as well..all in due time. I do have access to my faithful laptop and am using it to pen this update. Here are some updates I want to share with our members.

Dedicated Dryland Time Offered For Age Group 2 & 3

We will offer dryland for age group 2 & 3 swimmers 20 minutes prior to the start of the weekday sessions effective immediately. . That means, swimmers in those group can do 15 minutes before they get ready to swim from 5:40 to 5:55pm. Our goal is to eventually have a dedicated person and space for such activities. For now, we will utilize the deck space and start out with the group abdominal and plyometric routines we have introduced the past couple of weeks. These are safe and effective movements that can be done with our current staff as supervisors.

Please note that this is not required. More on that later in this post.

What Are Those Things?

I had many people come up and ask me about the pulley system we began using lately. In short, it is a system that offers constant resistance which can be used in a variety of ways, some of which are below:

  • It can be used for stroke technique as the swimmer must constantly find the “hard” water to continue to move forward. It has always amazed me how many swimmers comment on how they found the “dead” spots in their stroke after using pulleys.

  • It is the most stroke specific ways to gain Local Muscular Endurance (LME).  Most coaches use pulleys and “Power Towers” for in-water muscular strength gains (short, explosive movements with a lot of rest) While that is important, gaining real muscular endurance by pairing lighter resisted swimming over time can reap major rewards from an endurance standpoint. Out of the water simulators, like a swim erg, simply can not replicate the millions of minute factors that occur in water when the human body performs each stroke. Pulleys do.

  • As mentioned above, pulleys can be used for in water strength gains. I have developed a Block System that we will be implementing with many of our athletes soon. Again, it is swimming specific and reduces the chances for injuries that can happen in a gym setting

  • They are FUN! OK...sometimes they can be a true challenge, but overall, the swimmers love using the pulleys.

  • They are ageless. Novice swimmers can reap the benefits of learning proper technique, national level swimmers can use them as a major training aid and seniors (adults) can take advantage of them as well. Parents, we hope to offer some classes that combine pulleys and functional fitness movements in the future. Please let me know if you have an interest so I can gauge how much of our time and resources to put toward that effort.

 

Part Of This Complete Breakfast

When I was a kid, I loved watching the Saturday morning cartoons. Of course, it was after a long early morning swim practice! Many of the commercials were pushing popular kids breakfast cereals of the day. Cap’t Crunch, Count Chocula, Honeycombs, etc were on Saturday morning TV vying for kids to fall in love with their particular brand of processed flour and corn sugar. It is not the point of this post to talk about nutrition, so I will go on :)

At the end of each amazing :30 second “adventure”, featuring some cool cartoon character fuel by “Brand X” cereal, the announcer would come on and say. “Part Of This Complete Breakfast”. The “complete” part was the healthy stuff (fruit, juice, wheat toast, etc). My long winded point is the pulleys are part a complete training system. I look forward to making them an even bigger portion of the “meal” as we continue to reshape our offerings here at Blue Wave.

Pumpkin Meet Entries Due

Today is the final day to enter the GTSA / City of Tampa SPEEDO Meet, aka the “Pumpkin Meet”. If you are on the fence if your child should go, I encourage you to attend. This is a mid season meet which will allow the staff to gauge how the swimmers are adapting to the new systems. If you are not sure about events, etc, leave a note for the coaches when you accept the invitation to attend on our team’s website.

We are here to help your child meet and exceed their goals. Watching them compete is essential to make that a reality. At Blue Wave, we try to keep the number of competitions to one per month. If your child misses one, it might be 8 weeks before we see him or her in a competitive situation. When we do see them, it might be a tad late to make the corrections needed to compete at their best at the end of the season.

Things happen. We know. If you can make it, try to. Besides...this is one of the most fun meets on the schedule. It is also local and is a timed final event (so it won’t be a twelve hour affair).

H.S. Western Conference Meet

Blue Wave is a year round USA Swimming organization. That said, we have swimmers who compete within other organizations as well. One of the most common, is FHSAA, which governs Florida high school swimming.

I attended my first Western Conference meets in many years yesterday. I was happy to see the older swimmers in an actual competitive environment. So many have made major strides in a very short period of time. I am looking forward to the rest of the season so I can learn more about each swimmer so I can be a better coach for them in the season’s ahead.

 

“Administrivia”

 

When I was teaching college classes I would start of each semester going over what I called “Administrivia”. The administrative aspects of teaching (in a classroom or poolside) are, frankly, my least favorite aspects of the professions. I do know, however, know how important they are to a well run classroom or swim team for that matter. Since my arrival, I have been highly focused on the athletes, their training opportunities and how we can offer even more educational sessions for all involved in the program. Now, it is time to take care of some of the other aspects running the team. Let’s start with training equipment.

 

Equipment Orders

Coach Dan and I are going to go over the equipment needs for each training group today.  We will have a order form ready for each family by the end of the week.  We will post ordering procedures and deadlines soon as well.

I try to limit the amount of “required” equipment we ask each family to buy to a minimum. Before the Holiday season, I post some other items that,while not required, would be nice for the swimmers to have and use occasionally.

 

“But We Can’T Stay That Late”

Earlier in this post I mentioned that we will be offering more in terms of dedicated dryland time for the Age Group 2 & 3 swimmers. Since I have had limited internet, I have not had the opportunity to share my thoughts on all the increases.

We Do Not Have Any Minimum Attendance Requirements. Period.

I know this flies in the face of conventional swim team thinking, but we are trying to create something unconventional here. My goal is not to have a swimmer meet a minimum standard. My goal is to educated them (and their family) on why it is important to come as much as humanly possible, especially if their goals are high. Ask for 90%, you get 90%. Teach someone the importance of being their every day and, if their goals are in line with that need, they will find a way to make it happen.

I get it...part of a complete breakfast, right Rich?  Yes. There are other interests in children's’ lives today. It can be a struggle trying to fit it all in.  School is a major component since most of our children will not be professional swimmers, even while participating in college swimming, they are considered student-athletes, right?

When a swimmer and parent come to me regarding how to balance the demands of competitive swimming with their other interests, it always come down to goals and expectations. Why are you here and what do you to accomplish? Once we establish that, we can agree to a schedule that meets the individual’s needs.

While it can be a challenge to train at a high level, it gets done each and every day by swimmers all across the country. It takes more planning, more effort and the ability to make goals and choices that reflects those goals...and isn’t that what we want to instill in our children; especially as they become adults? Being a committed, high level swimmers has lasting benefits; in and out of the pool.

It is hard being a committed high level athlete, but the lifelong rewards far outlast the crowd’s cheers. There isn’t a month that goes by that a don’t get a message that starts with, “You probably don’t remember me but...”. It is usually an ex swimmer telling me how the hard work and dedication help them in their current career or tough life situation...and I remember each and every one of them :)

We will offer those who seek it and opportunity to learn and train at the highest levels.  We will do so in a manner that is specific to their needs and understand their current physiological and physiological stage of development. We will try to give them the tools, attitudes and knowledge needed to achieve their goals...and we will do it in a fun, caring manner.

But we are not just here for for those looking to be a National Teamer...

I believe in a Big Tent philosophy. I think swimming can help a youngster get in shape as well as help a motivated competitor challenge themselves at the highest levels. While we will offer more than most clubs, we will also create an environment where you can come to the sport on your terms.

Sometimes, kids get pushed out the sport because of a team’s high requirements; sometime the swimmer is simply not ready to commit to a higher standard at that particular moment in time. I would rather find a more suitable training situation for their needs and keep them in the sport. Perhaps one day the “light will turn on” and they may become something special. I have seen that happen many times over the years.

Whether you are here to make friends and stay in shape or your goals are to compete on in the international arena, we are here for you.

 

Wrap It Up, Rich

Well, now that I have internet, these posts can be more frequent..and, hopefully, shorter :)

I joke about my long posts, but I feel they are valuable; especially while we strive to create our new team culture and mindsets. I like to post frequently so we can broadcast our message and mindset to our members as much as possible. This, in my view,  will help ensure that we are all clear on the direction we are taking as a program.

Thanks for being a part of the program. We have come a long way in a short amount of time. I look forward to more great things on both sides of the Bay soon.

See you at the pool - Rich