Happy New Year

I want to take a moment to wish you and your family a Happy New Year!

In southern New England, 2014 has arrived in a fury, and we are expecting blizzard-like conditions tomorrow and Frdiay. I am glad I have a shovel!

As I am mentally preparing for the new year, and focusing on goals for 2014, and objectives for the coming months, I am excited about the opportunities that have presented themselves. I am looking forward to the year as it unfolds.

I have chosen a word for the year– CLIMB. This word will represent my goals and ambitions, my choices and focus as I move through 2014. I hope to reach new heights professionally, and provide the highest quality service to my clients, to lay ground work for future projects, stretch my limits. I have never climbed, and would like to learn. Watching climbers, I have observed the intent and patience necessary to achieve the objective. It is this, I want to apply to my life and business.

I am looking forward to the adventure 2014 brings.

What is your word for the year?

Posted in attitude, commitment, evaluating | 1 Comment

Training in the Off-season

At the end of the field hockey season, I encouraged my team to stay active throughout the year. There are some who play a sport in other seasons, and take the break between the sports and others who literally sit on the couch once the season is complete (some do this between seasons as well).

 

In this conversation, one of my players, asked a great question….. So, coach, what do we do? She further explained that she will be joining a fitness facility or the local YMCA to keep training over the winter and to be fit for lacrosse. She did this last year, but what she chose to do, was ineffective as she was not conditioned for her first practice in lacrosse season.

In my suggestions, we discussed her weaknesses overall in strength, balance, flexibility, endurance….. And other things that influence her athleticism, and then considered those things she needs for lacrosse. Since lacrosse is a spring sport, she has about three solid months of training to develop and build in her overall athletic abilities.

But what does she need? Overall athleticism. In other words, all those things that will contribute to performance as an athlete, and best prepare her for the games she chooses to play. She plays field hockey and lacrosse– what does she need for those sports (or any sport for that matter)? She also may need a mental break from school and her studies, in the off-season. Exercise creates this opportunity. The training should not be so demanding that it takes away from her academics.

In field hockey, the ball is played on the ground, for the majority of the game. The player needs to have the strength to squat low to the ground, lunge at players defensively, ability to change her body position and her direction quickly. She needs upper body and core strength to accelerate and decelerate her stick to generate and control forces through the ball (which becomes a projectile). **i love physics** In lacrosse, the ball is aerial and moved by utilizing a stick as well. She needs to be able to throw and catch the ball using the stick, and run with varying hand and body postures. She also needs to be able to sprint, change directions quickly and stop.

Both sports require speed and the ability to reproduce the speed throughout the game. In field hockey, we sprint long and short, gain possession of the ball pass it, and either follow the ball for continued play, sprint or move to reposition on the field or trot to observe plays unfolding to determine where she needs to position herself.

In her words, this athlete informed me in the off-season last year she ran on the treadmill almost daily, and yet died when lacrosse went for a two-mile run the first day of practice. (I am not sure why lacrosse went for a 2-mile run, but that is a different blog post entirely). My suggestion will be to run outside as much as possible, training on a field if possible. Ideas to train to build these sprint and transition demands include: 30-30s for a period or 10, 15, 20 minutes. (In the 30-30, the athlete is building to a sprint for 30 seconds and coming down from the sprint for 30 seconds. Work/recovery.); Random hard runs of varying lengths tossed into a 20 or 30 minute run (the hard run can be 10 seconds to 2 minutes, with a set number of intervals, and no set rest. The runs must be hard. The athlete can make it more game-like, for example: 10 second run, 15 second rest, 10 second run); sprints and recovery (set sprint time, like 10 or 15 seconds with a longer rest up to 90 seconds or 2 minutes, with a certain number of sets and reps. The athlete can run for a solid minute in between sets if she likes). In these the athlete is still training 'endurance' and the ability to play for an extended period of time, but she is not creating a habit of slogging or ugly running. The athlete can use indoor equipment on inclement days…. Running on a spinner bike, rowing, or other non running devices can create a variety and not the boredom of a treadmill.

But before any athlete should embark on any portion of cardio or training– she needs to warm-up. I like skipping, and shuffling and back pedaling, and then adding medicine balls, and walking with mini-bands around the ankles. I also have done some crawling type activities in the warm-ups. Using these in warm-ups, aids in overall preparation for sport, and specific exercises or games can be implemented to provide opportunity to develop specific needs. These activities are not necessarily 'sport-specific', but athlete specific in nature. For example an athlete may need more hip flexibility or have considerations because of scoliosis. I can spend more time working in specifics to aid in developing greater hip flexibility and strength, or keeping the athlete healthy. These are one or two exercises, activities, done well, consistently, over-time to see the changes or results.
 

And then after cardio, one can work on specific core work. Again I love med balls. Throwing, twisting, passing, catching. I include some stabilizing– and planks may or may not be performed on the floor. They may be standing or with arms overhead, balancing weight between feet and a barbell. At times, I need to be creative in considering sport, and the individual. I have even used some suspension equipment, to create and generate stabilization, balance and strength.

Lastly, circuits or complexes work well. Legs, upper body, overall. Dumbbells work great for these. Four or five, maybe six exercises…. Working on legs, for example: lunges, squats, DB hi-pulls, and skater jumps. I did these a few times with my field hockey team throughout the season and they seemed to enjoy it. Circuits are fun, yet challenging.

Not all of the strength activities performed are accomplished through circuits. These may be for a challenge or different day, or for an athlete I am comfortable training in this manner. If the athlete doesn't have the movement skill, or the strength the circuit is an exercise in fatigue, and nothing is gained. I may spend more time developing strength through traditional reps and sets, and add circuits later. I do not have athletes sit in machines to perform their movements. Each needs to be able to stand and hold dumb bells or a med ball or a barbell (I prefer dumb bells).

At the conclusion of the training session, flexibility can be addressed. Personally, I feel accomplished when I stretch after my work is done.

 

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The Puke Factor

Today, a participant in my indoor cycling class said to me……. Great class, I always know it is great when I almost feel like I need to throw up……….. SAY, WHAT?!?

It is never my goal or objective in training or coaching to push any member of my team or class participant to the 'puke factor'. It is not a pleasant place to be. And yet…. I find myself battling the image or perception that a 'good class' means a near death experience.

Why do we think this way? The 'puke factor' is similar to the 'I can't move factor.' — and yet, participants flock to classes and trainers or coaches that push so hard, pain and puke are a result.

That is NOT training. It is never pleasant to puke. And I want to be able to function the rest of the day, as well as the following several days. I am not saying one will never experience soreness or that wow, I worked hard feeling……. BUT why are we pushing to achieve unpleasant results? It makes absolutely no sense. And yet, that is what people think is appropriate.

I strive to challenge my participants, and educate these same individuals on all aspects of training. Going hard all the time is never a good thing. The body does not adapt this way. It cannot adapt. Rest has not been permitted or allotted for. Think about the programming you are executing. Are you permitted recovery within the week — hard and recovery training days, with an ebb and flow? Within the training session, is there appropriate recovery? If I cannot train the next session, something is not right in my schedule.

Personally, I need to backtrack and reevaluate the class format today and revise to eliminate the 'puke factor', amd I need to continue to educate that it is ok to recover and rest within a training session and week. Educating participants in group cycling classess is critical, as these are self-monitoring. I orchestrate and lead; participants tend to do as they do. This leads me to the next challenge: how do I better serve my clients and help in the monitoring process?

I do not want to be at the 'puke factor.'

Posted in coaching, cycling, indoor cycling, programming, spin class, training | Leave a comment

Current Issue of The AKWA Letter

The current issue of The AKWA Letter is out.

 

My article, Training with Pizzazz can be found on page 20.

 

Enjoy!

 

Posted in aquatic fitness, attitude, coaching, inspiration, water safety | Leave a comment

Making changes for you

As I am making changes within the infrastructure of my business and the services I provide to you, I have been reaching out to professionals I trust. These are my go-to people who can assist me in being a better coach. In this chatter, we are also discussing factors and verbiage choices that ensure I know my stuff, and my potential and existing clients know that I know my stuff.

 

This industry is infiltrated with egos and images and hoopla surrounding the egos and images. It is easy to get caught up in the verbiage that creates passion, or the feelings that lead someone to believe the coach has a solid understanding of what she does. Don't be sold on the rhetoric. I am guilty of this– reiterating a statement, having no idea what I am saying or what it means, or believing someone when what they say sounds good.

 

I have challenged myself and those I work with to understand the why behind the doing. And in this, I am stepping away from the rhetoric and defining my own path. I am defining the training I will provide for my clients and class participants. I am teaching and coaching and continuing to learn through this process.

 

The result: I do things differently. Training is athlete centered and coach-driven. I am reevaluating my services to ensure that it is about you. Protocols are completely and utterly designed for you, to help you meet your goals.

 

*I am currently going through these changes! and may experience growing pains. Bear with me as we do, and reach out if you have ideas/direction that may be helpful.*

 

 

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My field hockey team plays Nauset today…….

We play Nauset today…. For their homecoming…. It's our fourth game of the season.

As I write this. I have butterflies in my stomach. Not as many as our first game and home opener, or as flurried as the week our starting goalie was sick.

Today's butterflies have a calmness, concern as to whether or not all those skills we have been working on will be visible on the field, or will we resort to the so-called comfort zone. Will we play wide and be spread-out in the field? Will we play our game or wait for Nauset to play theirs?

It has been a tremendous month that has brought us here, as we continue to grow and learn and shine as a team. I have those butterflies as I am the orchestrator, the commander, the driver of the ship. These athletes execute the game plan. The game execution is my test, and determines where we need to continue to work as a team.

So, my field hockey team plays Nauset today. We are going to Rock!

 

*Intimidating goal-keepers*

 

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Summer is Wrapping Up……

Reflecting back, I wonder where summer went. Honestly. It was a great summer. Daily trips to the beach, work with a camp as their in-house lifeguard, swim lessons galore, and I was complaining about the sand in my shoes, shorts and swim suit.

But for as great as it was, I missed out on some things….. Friends who promised to get to get together had conflicting schedules or forgot to get back to me. I only made one trip to Newport and no trips to P-town…..

I networked, and built new relationships and did some dumb things and lost a client or two. Yes, I did some dumb things. But I learned from it….. And how I need to treat my clientele, like I expect to be treated. I am not making excuses, but there were times this summer I was utterly exhausted and overwhelmed. I have been developing strategies to create opportunity for rest, and better manage my responsibilities.

As I move forward into Fall season, I am looking forward to networking and creating new opportunities and being sought out. I have learned from this summer. I am using that experience to be better at my service to my clients.

Through all of this, I am defining me and my goals and objectives. In this, I am excited to help my clients achieve their goals.

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The swimming pool

I took this caption from a recent article in an open-water swimming magazine. The community of swimmers and non- swimmers for that matter forgets that there many other factors involved with swimming in open water than just swimming. This is a reminder that the pool may not prepare you for such.

 

Posted in coaching, open-water swimming, swimming, training, water safety | Leave a comment

Contribution to the AKWA Letter

Here is the current issue of the AKWA Letter, the membership publication of the Aquatic Exercise Association. My contribution is on page 15. Enjoy the read.

 

 

 

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A Kids Sprint Triathlon

On Sunday, 21 July, I volunteered to work at the New England Kids Triathlon, held at MIT. Children, ages 6 to 14 participated in a swim, bike and run…. For fun!

There were 781 participants in this event. And it was empowering to see kids with little to no-experience, to kids with all the techno-gear participating and doing a different event.

There was representation from various clubs, YMCAs and other organizations throughout New England. *i love this t-shirt*.

Depending on the age group, kids swam 100 or 200 yards. The staff at MIT was great; there were lifeguards in the water with the kids, ensuring their safety. They swam in a snakelike fashion, passing under the lane-line to the next lap.

 

 

 

After completing the cycling and the run, kids were given a finishers medal after crossing the finish line. *Just like the grown-ups*

 

I loved that the event was not uber competitive, and whether it was a child's first or fifth race, each could be challenged within his/her abilities. Some were there to try something new; while others had done several triathlons. It was very possible that some future world champions or Olympic contenders were in this event. And it was just fun seeing the kids competing— and even more cool, for the kids to wave when they recognized that it was you who put their numbers on their bodies.

 

I am looking to volunteering again next year. This was a very well-run event.

 

Posted in competing, kids triathlon, volunteering | 1 Comment