The "Why" of YCF
Why shouldn’t I use energy drinks in competition?
USA Swimming is doing a series of articles exploring energy drinks, what they contain and they’re effects on the human body. Many of us drink energy drinks without really comprehending what is in them and how it effects us. As a coach I have seen children on the pool deck with a energy drink in their hand more times then I would like to remember. For younger athletes these drinks can be very dangerous. Exponentially so when combined with extreme physical exertion. If you use energy drinks or are interested in learning more about what they are and what threats they pose please read this most recent article made available by USA Swimming posted here.
Fueling First-Class Athletes is an website Julie Burns, M.s., r.d., CCn. Founder of sportFuel, Inc. and eat like the Pros, llC, put together for the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. In it she gives easy to understand and implement suggestions for a high level athletes diet, including a helpful chart of powerful foods to fuel athletes in training. When talking about the role of food in the bigger picture of athletic training she says:
“The hours that athletes spend in practices, training, and competing place
large demands on the physical conditioning of players. The peak energy
level and power needed to compete in any sport can be maximized with a
balanced whole-foods diet focused on high-quality protein, healthy fats,
and whole-grain carbohydrates.”
Read the entire article here
“The Positive Attitude” is an article written by Forbes Carlile, Head Coach of the Carlile School of Swimming and Head Coach of numerous Australian Olympic Teams. His book, “Forbes Carlile on Swimming” was the first modern book on competitive swimming. In this article Coach Carlile talks about the importance of mental attitude both as an athlete and as a parent. He believes that success in swimming has as much to do with what is going on outside the pool as inside it stating;
“The negative fear of failure is much less likely to develop
when parents emphasize their love and compassion.”
To read the rest of Coach Carlile’s article click here.
Coach Bill Burgess has a long history of coaching outstanding athletes. He gives some outstanding advice to parents on how to approach sports and the coach/athlete relationship. The most important being:
“Make sure your child knows that win or lose,
scared or heroic, you love him, appreciate his
efforts, and are not disappointed in him. This
will allow him to do his best without a fear of
failure. Be the person in his life he can look to
for constant positive enforcement.”
To read all of Coach Burgess’ “Ten Commandments For Parents of Athletic Children” please click here.
Why Do Kids Have a Drive to Compete in Sports
Ira Klein, an ASCA Level 5 swim coach and a well known name in Central Florida swimming, wrote an article outlining the intrinsic motivations that come into play with children participating in a sport. His conclusion is that many of these motivating feelings can cause worry or stress on children which has the ability to effect them negatively if not managed. He gives four strategies for helping relieve the pressures that some athletes feel:
“1. Encourage enjoyment of the activity and
2. Encourage children to interpret comparisons
with others solely as a tool for improving.
Comparisons should be constructive and never
as simple as "they are better" or "you are not as
3. Praise must be an earned reward. As
children mature, they begin to value praise for
successful outcomes much more than praise for
trying hard. Look for specific successes.
4. Continually remind your children that ability
often changes dramatically as they mature.”
To read the full text of Coach Ira’s article click here.
Why are Officials necessary
YCF is currently in the process of finding parents who are interested in becoming swim meet officials. Some of you may have seen these individuals at the end of the pool, dressed in white, watching over the swimmers. Others may have seen these officials talking to your or another YCF swimmer. Many parents are confused or un-educated about the role these people play in competitive swimming, who they are and why they are necessary. Fred Cruciger is a USA swimming official and a long time swim parent who has written an article on the Florida Swimming website dispelling much of the mystery surrounding swimming officials. If you would like to try your hand at officiating please email me with your contact info. If you are unsure or would like to learn more about it please start by reading Mr. Cruciger’s article, posted here.
Why does my chid use technical jargon that I don't understand.
Recently J. Douglas Williams YMCA, Age Group Coach Andy Vickers was stopped on the pool deck by a parent new to the swimming lingo. She had many questions about the terminology many coaches use. Coach Vickers directed her to the USA Swimming website’s “Glossary of Swimming Terms” He felt that it would be helpful for any parent new or still getting accustomed to competitive swimming.
Find it here
Why is my mental state important on Race Day?
When Aquatics Center, Head Coach, Tom Nielsen was asked about pre/during race stragaties he recommended the article; “Swimming fast when it counts: Top Ten Mental Toughness Tips” By Dr. Alan Goldberg, Sports Psychologist.
In this article Dr. Goldberg specifically lists ten mental habits that can propel swimmers to success. One of the more counter intuitive is; “Leave your Goals home on race day.” We all know that having clear goals helps to motivate and inspire athletes, Dr. Goldberg explains why it can be detrimental to focus on them when it’s time to race:
“Your goals are a motivational tool that helps drive you to work hard each and every day in practice. They should NEVER be brought on deck with you on race day because they will weigh you down. Swimmers who think about or dwell on their goal times right before and/or during their races, make themselves too nervous and physically tight to swim fast. Remember, you don't have to think about your goal times at meets in order to reach them.”
Read the full text of Dr. Goldberg’s article here.
Why is Technique Important in Practice
When asked about the importance of technique in practice, Aquatic Director Mitzy Tighe, replied by recommending an article by Olympic Swimmer, Garrett Weber-Gale.
There is a very old and very famous saying in the world of swimming. It has been said kindly, loudly, forcefully, in praise and in warning by countless coaches, in every language. It is this: “Practice like you race”
This bit of wisdom can be tailored to fit any situation, one of triumph or failure, and is very rarely proved wrong. Olympic Swimmer, Garrett Weber-Gale talks about the importance of swimmers holding their technique through a hard set. He references a recent set given to him by Coach Eddie Reese:
“Although it can be tough to swim the goal times on the three 50s, maintaining proper technique is critical. If you watch the best swimmers in the world, their techniques never change throughout the race, even when they get tired. The way you can learn to do this is by constantly thinking about your stroke, especially on sets like this.”
He also talks about the importance of monitoring your own stroke and being able to perceive changes in it; “Try to hold a certain stroke rate… Think about taking a certain amount of breaths on each 50, or practicing your breathing pattern. All of these things will help you prepare for that third 50 of your 200. Remember, the more we get used to doing these things now, the easier they’ll be in our races.”
Read the full text of Garrett’s article
Why should athletes be concerned about what they choose to eat?
When Shawn Delifus, coach at the Aquatic Center, was asked about the impact diet has on swimming he replied: “The body is like a machine. If you don’t keep it running clean, or give it the proper fuel it won’t perform when you ask it to. Athletes need to be very conscious of the fuel they give their bodies. At YCF we do not advocate ‘diets’ we advocate athletes making healthy lifestyle choices, which stem from knowledge of what their body needs.”
He also recommended the following link for more information on the specific nutritional needs of growing athletes.
Coach Shawn Delifus from the Aquatic Center chose the article “Why They Must Fail”
Written by Rick Boucher, Head Age Group Coach for STAR Swimming, Amherst NY:
In this article Coach Boucher talks about the role of failing in the sport of swimming, and in character development. Coach Boucher believes: “…failing is a process that is needed in order to succeed.” He elaborates on the role failing to achieve a particular goal plays in a young athletes development: “It makes young athletes look at their performance at practice and reconsider if they are doing everything they can in order to become better. Swimming encourages young children and young adults to actually look at themselves and re-evaluate themselves.”
Couch Boucher identifies the fear many swimmers show at attending their first meet, or first championship or national level meet, with the prospect of failing. He argues that this is a positive experience: “They become overwhelmed with the anxiety of having to step out of thier ‘Comfort Zone’ and challenge themselves to a level they never have before. PERFECT! This is what it takes to become an outstanding individual. Not just in Swimming, but in Life.”
He also gives sound advice for parents: “Comfort your children and continually reinforce the fact that “Effort” is to be prasied and that “Failure” is part of the process of becoming great…Reinforce the fact that doing something they’ve never done before is wonderful and the chance they have been given to challenge themselves is a blessing in disguise.”
Read the full text here.