February 8th/9th

Did That Make You Feel Better?

The next time you find yourself in the middle of a freakout, or moaning and groaning with flulike symptoms, or crying tears of regret, just ask : Is this actually making me feel better? Is this actually relieving any of the symptoms I wish were gone? – The Daily Stoic

When the team I coach suffers a loss, especially the tight races that could have gone either way, I ask them to take some time to feel the loss. This kind of stress is a unique learning opportunity, and I don’t want to waste it.

There’s also something to be said about catharsis. Not many have reached the level of detachment to be completely unphased by a big sporting loss (well, except maybe for Sulik). Hence, I would much rather have the athletes take care of releasing their built up emotions than bottling them up.

That said, I also tell them that as soon as you can, get over it. Mulling over past mistakes will only serve to heighten tunnel-vision, which can/will cause problems later.

It’s always about balance.

You Don’t Have to Have an Opinion

“We have the power to hold no opinion about a thing and to not let it upset our state of mind – for things have no natural power to shape our judgments.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6.52

The book suggests to consider all the terrible things you don’t know about that you would have terrible opinions about. You are unaffected by them, since you are unaware. Hence, you realize that the possibility of not having an opinion on bad things exists, and can learn to act the same way about things you do know.

I must admit, I’m a bit skeptical of this idea. I feel I would rather focus on the idea of understanding that anything we hold an opinion on, we are the ones who gave it the value necessary to be worthy of an opinion. Hence, we can take it away.

Talking to Tyson again was a big highlight, as his experience building Wave Aquatics, and having been part of Sun Devil Aquatics in its heydays, is a wonderful resource.

  • A “performance above all” culture can work short term, but never lasts.
  • Make the key elements of your culture decided by them. All you do after that is enforce what they wanted. Motivational interviewing, anybody?
  • When you meet with the team, don’t put any pressure. You can’t solve it in a one hour session, so don’t try. Simply take the opportunity to explore the ideas and framework your athletes are looking for.
  • Once you have the general ideas, take the time to flesh them out into concrete actions. How does “being a team that helps each other out” actually play out in day to day situations? What does it look like on practice days?
  • Have a hard line for unacceptable behavior, and defend it without exception. You do not want to breed the possibility for exceptionalism.

Then, Boo presentation.

  • Boo’s philosophy on Speed Training Design
    • Planned Balance in Training
    • Prioritizing Speed Development
    • Patience & Progression
    • Absence of Gimmicks and Preconceived Notions
  • Short term Periodization that potentiate high-end speed/power sessions
  • Long term Periodization that potentiate high-end speed/power phases
  • Training the nervous system
    • Quality of work
    • Long rests
    • Manageable volumes
    • Complete opposite of what I often notice : speed work when highly fatigued
  • Related : careful how you sequence speed/power sessions vs more glycolytic/lactic work
  • Speed endurance (an ESD perspective) can also be thought of as coordination maintenance (a neural perspective).
    • Apply a sprint/float/sprint approach
    • You can maintain maxV for about 3s. Play with distance/time variables to maximize this detail.
  • Power phases can be potentiated by MxS phases, but Boo has also seen it work vice-versa.
  • The more advanced the athlete, the lower density of high performance can be done.


  • Consider planning some hard training back to back to help simulate fatigue of multi-day championships.
  • A concept that came up again : women not only can handle, but require more volume than men.
  • Biochemical analysis will always be restricted in its application until results can be gotten more quickly. Trend analysis AFTER the fact can only get you so far.

Finally, Derek’s talk on youth development

  • Only two goals to development
    • Keep them healthy.
    • Prepare them for high performance training.
    • Dylan Armstrong went through 6 years of gym work before even starting to do true maximal strength work. Think about that.
  • Take the time to write out your YTP.
    • Elite coaches rarely do so, but…
      • they’ve done it often before, so it’s more automatic
      • they recognize the fluidity of planning, so writing it down becomes less required.
  • Can be worth writing down a more macro training philosophy to help guide an organization with multiple coaches. Acts as a “cheat sheet”.
  • 6 beginner mistakes6-mistakes

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