Thursday, April 11, 2013

Seahorses Stomp out Social Issues

This month we have been discussing BULLYING.  This is something every kid has been involved in.  They may have been bullied, been a bystander, or have been the one bullying.  We learned a lot of interesting facts (sad facts) as well as some strategies on what to do if we see bullying or are being bullied.

Frequency of Bullying
  • 1 in every 4 kids K-12 are bullied
  • 160,000 kids stay home EVERY day for fear of being bullied or made fun of
  • Of all 50 states, Illinois is the THIRD worst in bullying... right behind California and New York

My goal is that our swimmers become the kid that can do something- they become more than just a bystander but an advocate.

Going back to the month of FEBRUARY- when we did our research on our inspirational people with disabilities... Malorie Grennan came to visit us on Monday. She spoke to the swimmers about her life. Malorie was a member of the Sterling Stingrays, she joined when she was 12. She went on to swim in both the 2004 and 2008 Paralympics and was ranked globally in her division. Malorie has cerebal palsy but didn't let that be an excuse in her life. Malorie now works as a social worker and is an advocate for children. We are so appreciative that she could join us and speak to us. I think she spoke into each one of those kids and was a perfect transition between the two social topics we've discussed this year..... Disabilities or differences... and Bullying. This is a perfect intro to welcoming new swimmers to our team. MSSC is currently working on an anti-bullying policy as required by USA Swimming. You will be seeing that online and in your mailbox in the next few weeks. As parents.. PLEASE talk to your kids about this. DON'T ASSUME they get the talk at school, because they do.... however, you are their biggest inspiration and the most important person in their life, they need to hear it from YOU. Together we can instill values into our youth, who are our future leaders of tomorrow.

Here are some talking points:

Bullying Definition

A boy is bulliedBullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Types of Bullying 

There are three of the four types of bullying:
  • Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
    • Teasing
    • Name-calling
    • Inappropriate sexual comments
    • Taunting
    • Threatening to cause harm
  • Indirect or Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships.  Indirect or Social bullying includes:
    • Leaving someone out on purpose
    • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
    • Spreading rumors about someone
    • Embarrassing someone in public
  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
    • Hitting/kicking/pinching
    • Spitting
    • Tripping/pushing
    • Taking or breaking someone’s things
    • Making mean or rude hand gestures

Where and When Bullying Happens 
Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.

Monday, April 8, 2013

When Conditioning Fails....

Back in the water after 2 weeks or even a month off, in swimmer time equals PAIN.  Your body feels unnatural.  One of my swimmers said it's like they are a blob in the water.  Even a week off in swimmer time = slower times and reconditioning. 

When conditioning fails.  No not the kind you put in your hair.  When physical conditioning- preparation, practice, commitment to the sport, fails.... whether you were sick, broke a bone, suffered a loss in the family, off season, different sport, or lack of commitment... THAT is when technique will get you through.

When conditioning fails- rely on your technique.

What does that mean in hindsight????

Work on your technique first.  Make sure you are doing it right.  From Polliwogs on up- I've always said technique over speed.  I don't care if you can do it fast, I care if you can do it right. 

With technique will come.....  SPEED.

So- back to the basic Mondays are designed to break it down and to retrain those bad habits and form good ones.  We break down one part of a stroke and focus on it.  Sometimes it's your tight streamline and underwater dolphin because we've gotten lazy off the walls.  Sometimes it's the catch and reach in freestyle because we aren't maximize our potential.  Sometimes it's breaststroke kick because we aren't whipping and squeezing.  We are focusing on technique because with it will come speed.  Even Michael Phelps has something to work on when it comes to his technique.  That's the thing about technique it's constantly evolving or changing and so are you.  SURE there are things that are always constant.  Tight streamlines... that is NEVER going to change.  But all this talk about butterfly kick after a breaststroke start just supports that statement.  Your body is constantly changing and with change comes an awkward stroke that will need adjusting.

Any parents reading this remember what it's like to try to start working out after days, months, (cough...) years (cough, cough).  Your body is out of shape but your mind isn't. 

Another note before closing.  We have some NATURAL swimmers on our team.  This means it comes easier to them, their body takes over and naturally has a good-great technique.  However, without hard work, it will only get them so far.  In the younger age levels they will be fine... but when they start aging up or getting older, without hard work, they will not excel and will fall behind the pack.

Support your swimmers in the next couple of weeks.  Explain to your athlete the importance of hard work and technique- NOT speed.   Hard work will pay off, but with results comes some aches and pains and more importantly time in the water doing it right.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lung adaptations!?

Check out this article on swimmer's lungs!!!  

USA Swimming article

Also...  Not only is your personal smoking bad for your own health, it's negative effects on your swimmer's lungs and health is daunting as well!  Think twice before lighting up....