issue #22, February 5, 2019
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the wake-up swim

thoughts on swimming, coaching, and more from ryan woodruff
This is the Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda. The same pool was featured in issue #20, but this picture is just too amazing not to share. Photo credit @lagunafinco
"Commitment separates those who live their dreams from those who live their lives regretting the opportunities they have squandered."
-Bill Russell
  One of the buzz-phrases of the coaching world over the past few years has been "trust the process" or some variation thereof.  It can be found in hashtags, on t-shirts, dry erase boards, and even tattoos (google it).  "Trust the process" is the mantra of the Philadelphia 76ers and the subject of many Nick Saban sound bytes. The idea is that we should be focused on doing the things that it takes to succeed and not constantly questioning or doubting the here and now.  We should have a decision-making framework that guides everything toward an end goal.  We (coaches AND swimmers) should believe that the final result will be there if we can just stay concentrated on the exact thing right here and now that will get us there.  The concept appeals strongly to my sometimes "left-brained" way of thinking about training and coaching. But it also gives me pause.
  Improving athletic performance is a messy endeavor. "Trust the process" implies that things should function like an assembly line... a little oil here, a turn of the wrench there, and "voila!" a finely tuned finished product. Rarely is it so straightforward. We are working with human beings, and in my case 25 teenage human beings.  Just getting them all in the water while dealing with the issues of the day is sometimes a challenge. Is it fun for a swimmer to be a product on an assembly line?
  Maybe "trust the process" bothers me because my "process" isn't as refined as I wish it was or as others' sometimes appear to be.  Knowing the perfect workout to do at practice today is impossible.  Even if I did know the right thing for Swimmer A, it definitely wouldn't be the right thing for Swimmer B.  I would write 25 workouts each day if I could, but that just isn't practical given my pool space and the current number of hours in the day.
  What to do, then? Here is my plan: (1) Challenge my swimmers on a daily basis, (2) Use my creativity and experience to guide them to the best of my ability, and (3) Transmit my enthusiasm for learning and my desire to see them succeed via my words and actions. That's a process I can trust.
- RW
loosening up
swimming video of the week

Intense cord and water work.  Good combo!

favorite stuff from the blog
parent article - "More Important Than the Clock" by Ryan Woodruff

Ultimately, the clock is how we measure our performance. It doesn’t lie, and it represents the sum of our actions to deliver our best race. Because of this, it is very easy for swimmers, coaches and parents to evaluate a performance solely on that metric. For a developing swimmer, though, the clock is only one measure of the quality of a swim. There are many other things that matter, and in some cases matter MUCH more, for instance:
  • Swimmer’s stroke technique while swimming and the ability to hold this technique under fatigue
  • Swimmer’s effort level (correlated with time, but not a perfect correlation)
  • Execution of a race plan or strategy
  • Competitive traits — not giving up, striving against tough competition, etc.
  • Execution of skills during the race - starts, turns, and finishes.
  • Number of stroke cycles a swimmer takes during the race.
These are all part of the process of becoming a better swimmer... Keep Reading
coaching inspiration
Thank you to everyone who helped us get off to a great start in our first week! We have raised $175 toward our minimum goal of $1,000 thanks to the generosity of the following coaches:
Nico Messer,
Karl Hamouche,
Tim Jenkins, B.R. Ryall YMCA Swim Team
We train in water every day.  Others aren't fortunate enough to have a clean source to drink from.  Find out how you or your team can make a difference.  100% of donations fund clean water projects through charity:water, and we will share the info about the specific projects we helped fund in this space once they are complete!
only if you like inspiration from great minds...
   My first e-book "The Quotable Swimming Coach" is still free.
Thats it for issue #22. If you have a workout, a set, or just a creative idea that you think other coaches might be interested in, please send it to me at  Suggestions, criticisms, and other random brain dumps are welcome. If you are new to this newsletter, you can sign up here or see our archives here.

Happy Coaching,

Countdown to Tokyo: 535 Days
Copyright © 2019 Ryan Woodruff, All rights reserved.

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Ryan Woodruff · 801 Wyndhurst Drive · Lynchburg, VA 24502 · USA

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