Podcast Episode 3 – The Strategy of Support

I really believe that everything we do in coaching need support as the vital piece of the puzzle. In this podcast I explain how i got about providing support to an athlete.

 

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Planning and Preparation

Monday morning and the start of another 7 day “block” of training. Another chance to get a good crack at what is important for you at the moment. That might be re-establishing discipline and routine post big race or it might mean higher levels of accountability with a big race coming up. For those hitting Western Sydney it’s the key period now. Take it a day at a time and give yourself a chance to reflect at the end of the week. Remember to not look for perfection. Dont jump off the wagon and “start next Monday”.
 
A key skill that the best in all sports do really well is organisation and planning. Take it a step up in attention to detail and it not only takes the pressure off you but improves your ability to perform. Thinking ahead will help you. A lot.
 
Yesterday’s High Performance sporting environment of the Bathurst 1000 showed that the team’s that came out on top were the one’s that were best able to manage in turmoil. It wasn’t the ones that had no turmoil. Endurance is a game that demands planning and preparation. If you are ready for the unexpected then you will not only perform bette, but enjoy it more as well.
 
Do what the best in the world do. Plan your week to a level of detail that probably even blows your own mind. Then watch the results come.

Backs to the Wall

Backs to the wall :  

This has been a common theme of late. One I’ll expand more upon in the next podcast, but have a think about how you do your best work. When you have heaps of time ? Or when you are under the pump? 

I know the answer for me is I am way more efficient and do better work when I’m busy.

Don’t wait for the perfect phase in time to have a crack. Do it when you have your backs to the wall.

Fitness and CTL

One of the biggest misleading things on TP in my eyes is the fact that they call CTL “fitness” (the blue line on your performance management chart). The blue line isn’t fitness – it’s how much training load you have done which is an indicator of where you might sit in your fitness levels

The blue line does give you however, an indication of how you have been training. If that blue line is generally trending upwards it’s saying you are developing great consistency and we all know where consistency leads us. It leads us to success.

Perfection

Easily the biggest enemy of the athlete. Why ? Well I really want to keep this short – so the biggest reason as I see it is very simple. If we aren’t ready to do a perfect race or perfect session then we are building the case against ourselves. We confirm our “suspicions” that we aren’t good enough, we aren’t talented enough, our lives are too busy, or our bosses are arseholes.

Nobody asks for perfection other than ourselves. Drop the idea of it and watch the story you are building disintegrate.

Get yourself on the path to performance “enlightenment”. The path where we understand that the journey is the way. Similar to a Buddhist Monk. They never arrive, they just practice their craft and seek peace and enlightenment. The never ending journey to happiness and satisfaction.

The Swim

I have had a few questions lately about the swim. Its clear that the swim can be a frustrating discipline to develop. I usually like to coach these things individually as each individual situation demands different needs. A rookie has massively different needs to a pro.
How much a developing young athlete commits to the swim will definitely be different to another athlete that literally hasn’t got that sort of time to invest in big volume / frequency jumps.
There are however, a few common points that I can push :
  • It’s no use practicing more when your technique isn’t being looked after. Technique should be the dominant driver. Give me 2 focussed, attentive hours over 4 mindless hours anyway.
  • Awareness of where you are at and what you need to improve is key. You cant improve what you aren’t aware of
  • The key areas of the swim are : Good body position, balanced breathing with a good deep exhale underwater, early catch, high elbow pull, strong kick.
  • Keep your rating up at least over 32 strokes per minute. Slowing down your rating means you decelerate between strokes and it needs a lot of effort to accelerate again.
  • Be aware of your stroke count for 50m at different intensities. Pulling “harder” through the water usually ends up as wasted effort due to slipping through the water. A good stroke count starts at the high 30’s. This indicates you have a good pull. If it goes much past 50 strokes per 50m it means you need to work on your pull.
  • An early catch and high elbow pull ensures a good grab on the water. Grab that water as best you can with your whole forearm and pull your body past it. Engage your lats in that movement –
  • Don’t drop your elbow underwater … it means you are only using your hand for the pull
  • The hands should enter the water at the shoulder width and pull back under your shoulder line.
When you get the opportunity to watch elite swimmers on television or for that matter on Youtube, watch with these things in mind
  • From the front keep an eye on the line of their pull under the water. Watch their breathing patterns and head position
  • From below the water watch the exhale, body position, early catch & high elbow pull.
  • From above look for hand entry points, shoulder and hip rotation and timing of the arms
  • If you get a chance, count their strokes per 50m.
  • When they get out of the water look at their bodies and how they are developed. This will tell you a lot.

Excellence and Expectation

I had a very wise man, with a lot of experience at elite rugby union, tell me once that as athletes and humans we should move towards anxiety. If you are feeling anxious it probably means you are doing something right. It means you are living on the edge and fearing loss.

The thing you are fearing is the thing that obviously means a lot to you ! …. or you wouldn’t be anxious about it.

In the sporting context you can equate it to Grand Final nerves. You aren’t going to be calm prior to the event. You have self doubt and have little to no control over the outcome. You only have control over how well you play and how well you execute your game plan.

One of the interesting aspects of this feeling we get is that the better we perform, the more pressure seems to mount. What if we can’t live up to this new expectation we have formed for ourselves by our very own excellence? You have trained for months for this race – what if it doesn’t bring the rewards of an equally great outcome ? Was it all in vain?

The photo’s below are of two surfers on two very different waves. One is probably very anxious and one probably isnt. The big wave surfer, due to her high level of skill, is placing herself in a dangerous situation. If she gets it right she has the opportunity to be at the top of her game. If she gets it wrong she could die. The surfer on the small wave has next to no anxiety. If she falls off the consequences are less dire.

This isn’t really a story about execution of your skills. Its a story about excellence and expectation. The higher the level of anxiety you are feeling is probably a sign that you are levelling up. You are achieving greatness. You are becoming successful.

Try not to take it as a sign that you aren’t up to it. It’s in fact the opposite.

Podcast Episode 1 – What is High Performance?

Welcome to Episode 1 of the Passion for Performance Podcast. In our first week we will discuss exactly how I define High Performance and give you some insights as to how the World’s best prepare to be at the top of the game.

We also have an interview with HPT athlete Paul Humphries. Paul has come from a broad sporting history of motor sport and snow sports, ending up in endurance sports such as triathlon, mountain bikes, running and duathlons. Paul gives us rundown on how he personally has developed into an athlete where his last 12months have seen a personal best performance at every race he has competed in.

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Running Shoes

Just had a great question from an athlete. “When should I replace my running shoes?”

We can complicate this with many different versions of course but the centre of the envelope answer is around 800km. The variances to this rule would be the amount of trail running you do, how heavy you are, what type of shoe they are etc.

When we had our running night with Ryan Quintano at the run shoe shop he said one of the best things you can do for injury prevention is also to have 2 pairs that you rotate.