issue #19, January 15, 2019
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the wake-up swim

thoughts on swimming, coaching, and more from ryan woodruff
Old pools have always been fascinating to me. This four-lane gem at Omaha South High School in Nebraska was built inn the 1930s.  Picture shared with us by Coach Jimmy Parmenter (@btaquatics_ne).
“You don't have to love the hard work. You just have to crave the end result so intensely that the work becomes irrelevant"
-Tim Grover
  This past weekend I spent my day off traveling with my family... to a swim meet. Ordinarily, I don't seek out more meets to attend when I have a day off.  But this was a special case.  One of my former swimmers was swimming in his final collegiate dual meet just a 90-minute drive away.  While I was happy to be there to support him on Senior Day, for me it was more about seeing him finish what we started.
  Reasons to coach can certainly be as varied as the personalities in this profession.  For me coaching is about helping others realize their potential as people and as athletes. The chance to show others that they are capable of achieving far beyond their perceived limits has always been my motivation.
  My career has led me to coach at the high school, club, and college levels.  Though it took me awhile to realize it, the club level is where I find the most satisfaction. Swimmers join clubs most often as young kids, and club coaches get to help them develop into young adults.  Club coaches are there for the transition from "I might be able to do this" to "YES, I can DO this." It is this transition that is so powerful to watch and facilitate.
  So I spent my off day the same way I spend many of my work days.  But to have the chance to see a swimmer complete a successful career was worth a month's worth of days off in motivation and satisfaction. -RW
loosening up
parent article

Your Kid WILL Fail (And That's O.K.) by Ryan Woodruff

The idea of failure as a requirement for future success has become a popular notion lately in the self-help genre.  In swimming, where there is always 1 "winner" and 7 "losers" in a heat, failure can seem particularly frequent. Though it can be beneficial in the long run, failure can be hard to deal with for both swimmers and parents.  Consider the following:
  • Success is not the same as winning. It is possible to succeed and not win.
  • Failure is not the same as defeat.  A swimmer can fail and still be victorious.
When your swimmer fails, it is important to not blow it up into something bigger than what it is -- a terrific learning opportunity.

How not to amplify failure for your swimmer:
1. Keep your eye on the big picture.  One swim will not make or break your swimmer's career.
2. Study how your kid reacts.  Does he or she interpret the swim as a failure? That matters far more than what we as parents and coaches think. If your swimmer seems to be looking to your interpretation of success or failure, encourage him to give his evaluation.
3. Don't make excuses for your child.  Saying things like "Well, the water here is really cold" or "If only you had someone better to race" might technically be true but this takes the control for the performance out of the hands of the swimmer and places it at the whim of circumstance, possibly creating a handicapping belief for future races.
4. If you are disappointed for your swimmer, that's O.K., but don't heap it on him or her.  Meeting internal expectations is hard.  Carrying the emotional baggage of others is even more difficult.
5. Avoid bringing up the performance of others.  One of the great things about our sport is that we have a yardstick of performance that does not depend on anyone else.

A swimmer's career is full of ups and downs, mountains and valleys. A valley is a valley because of the mountains on either side of it. You can help your swimmer get to the peak by not making a verdant valley seem like a desolate canyon.
swimming videos of the week

1. This looks incredible.  Fun ideas and a killer workout!


2. It's still a beautiful thing to watch... Phelps' butterfly from 2016:

favorite stuff from the blog
  • Boom!!! Was one of our best sprint workouts recently.  They got really engaged in racing each other and did some excellent power work.
  • Training butterfly with uncompromised technique is critical.  With narrow lanes and long-limbed swimmers, that can be tough.  This Butterfly Rhythm Set that we did on a day when part of the group was away at a meet was excellent for our flyers.
  • Coach Mike Cook of the Mason Makos has been an consistent contributor in the past year, and this week he gave two excellent age group IM sets: Quality IM and this set with no intervals.
  • Buckets are a core part of our training.  This Broken Set with Buckets was one of our recent bests.
  • Excellent kick set idea/format: Burning the Legs and Lungs
  • You can take this idea and do it a million different ways: Stopwatch Roulette
  • Sometimes I like to combine swimming and dryland in a little Hybrid Set.
coaching inspiration
"It's not what you preach, it's what you tolerate."
-Jocko Willink
Ex-U.S. Navy SEAL, Author of Extreme Ownership
That's all for issue #19. I hope it has been a satisfying week in coaching for you. My only ask is that if you find this newsletter worthy that you forward it to a friend.
If you are new to this newsletter, you can sign up here.

Happy Coaching,

Countdown to Tokyo: 556 Days
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the wake-up swim and The Swimming Wizard blog.
Copyright © 2019 Ryan Woodruff, All rights reserved.

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

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