So, you’ve read one of the TI books, viewed all the free videos found on Youtube, studied a TI DVD or two, and even taken a workshop or series of private lessons, or attended a swim camp. How do you put all those ideas together and actually train during the weeks and months ahead, if you don’t have a coach nearby showing you how? And, how do you go beyond the fundamentals to actually build skills and fitness together, over months and months, progressing confidently toward your bigger goals?
These were the questions I heard from students. My answer to these questions was the birth of our online training site nine years ago, which has evolved quite a bit and is now called the Mediterra Dojo.
Our Dojo supplies you with so much to support your ongoing training after a live training experience. The training plans not merely tell you to hold good form, they actually teach you how to combine skill and fitness training together to achieve truly energy-efficient endurance and speed. They may not be for every athlete out there because they actually require mindful execution of the assignments. But this is the way to get to that genuine energy efficiency you seek.
The Dojo library or resources is loaded with more knowledge and guidance on mindful and advanced training that we know of in any other place.
I am going to flip the order of this post, and put the main stuff right here at the beginning, and then, if you want to read more background, you can continue on reading after that…
(Caretta caretta is our unofficial Dojo mascot – they look relaxed and smooth, but they look slow… until you actually try to keep up with one. One flap of flipper and they say, ‘See you later, dude!”)
What’s Inside The Dojo?
Here is an index of what you’ll find inside our Dojo…
Level 1 Training Courses
- Virtual Swim Club (on a 6-month repeating practice cycle)
- Freestyle Fundamentals (2 months or more)
- Master Class 1K (3 months)
- Master Class Breathing (2 months)
- Master Class Synchronization (2 months)
- Stroke & Pace Mastery – Stage 1 and 2 (self-paced sequence of assignments)
And, we offer a thorough Video Analysis service, at a discount when connected to your membership in another course, or ala-carte.
Level 2 and 3 Training Courses
- Stroke & Pace Mastery – Stages 3 and 4 (self-paced sequence of assignments)
- Stroke & Pace Mastery – Stages 5 and 6 (self-paced sequence of assignments)
- Training Plan 100 Sprint (3 months or more)
- Training Plan 2K (4 months)
- Training Plan 5K (4 months)
- Training Plan 10K (7 months)
- Training Plan 20K (8 months)
View our Levels Of Proficiency page to understand how we organize these training levels.
- Freestyle Drill Resources (drill descriptions, focal point outlines, photos)
- 101 Focal Points (expanded focal point library for freestyle)
- Video Tutorials (to explain different parts of the stroke, misunderstandings, corrections, fine details)
- Training Podcasts (4 new podcasts each month, about 8 to 18 minutes long)
- Knowledge Base and FAQs (with hundreds of articles on every aspect of stroke and training)
- Exclusive Dojo Blog
- Practice Library (examples of all kinds of practice sets)
And, lastly I built a course called Self-Coaching 101 specifically for those advanced students who want to learn how to design your own series of practices to develop your skills and fitness together. This series could be a full cycle training plan that would take you toward you specific goals. It’s really a workshop, because it presents the principles and steps for composing in a certain order, with assignments at each step. If you do the assignments in order, at the end of the course you have your own series of practices ready to be tested out in the water.
Why A ‘Dojo’?
According to Wikipedia a dojo is “a hall or space for immersive learning or meditation.” (By the way, please join me in financially supporting Wikipedia each year to keep this wonderful service going!)
I am drawn to the attitude, focus, and dedication to excellence that is associated with martial arts training, and my vision is to practice and coach in swimming and running in this similar style. So, using that word in the name seemed appropriate.
Filling A Void
When I started coaching and hosting swim camps along the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey, I had people traveling some distance to come to me, or I was traveling to them. We’d work together for couple days or a whole week, make great progress, feel a strong connection and be mutual encouraged by the experience. Both of us would lament the end of our time, knowing they would return to a void of this kind of coaching attention and had no advanced training resources beyond what they’d already purchased or found online. They knew they could learn so much more if only we had more time together…
So, in addition to my weekly blog which I began at the beginning in 2009, I started adding a few new resources on my website as questions and needs from distant students arose. Eventually, I created a special section on the website for that growing library of articles I was writing to answer questions. Some people started asking for personal coaching, so I created a membership section where they could login and I could provide them with personalized training plans and discussion. I turned some of these into general training plans that others could follow. Eventually, I moved the training resources to a new subdomain (dojo.mediterraswim.com) to ease the load on the main site. I’ve made a couple big (for me) upgrades to the membership and registration systems since. And, in the last few years I’ve added a couple of coach partners who also use the resources with their students.
I realize the user interface of the Dojo could be even better, but I am reaching limits in time and attention as it gets more complex. After all, I still have to teach, create new content, and plan/advertise events to pay the bills. But what it lacks in sophistication, it makes up for in shear quality and depth of content because of how I have continually cultivated it, week-by-week, over the last 9 years. There is simply no other place to get this volume and depth of specific swimming knowledge in one place (in print, electronic, or online) and that I am aware of. With limited time and energy to give, this is what I’ve kept my creative emphasis upon, to provide as much support to my students as I can.
Live Attention Is Superior
If you have reasonable access to someone you like, the live learning and ongoing attention you can get with a certified coach is usually going to be far better than books and videos and online materials. I definitely encourage you to go for live training experiences when you can.
The Dojo is not intended to replace or compete with what you can get from live training with a certified coach. It is not intended to teach you how to swim from the start. It does not replace the original TI books or videos that Coach Terry created. Rather, it is meant to support you after you’ve had those initial learning experiences, and take you even farther toward your goals than you may be able to go on your own. When you are ready for that you may find a lot of additional support in an online training service like ours.
Self-Guided Or Coach-Guided
We provide two levels of membership in our Dojo to help students transition from live coaching attention to self-guided practice:
- Self-Guided course memberships at $20-$30 per month, where you can access your course, the instructions, and the library without necessarily needing a coach to guide you and help you make decisions for yourself.
- Coach-Guided memberships at $80 per month, where in addition to the course and library, you have an open line to your coach to report on your practices, ask questions and receive weekly guidance on making decisions and fine tuning your practices according to the feedback. This higher price reflects the time the coach sets aside each month to read your reports and questions and dialog with you.
For those going through one of our training courses for the first time, we would prefer to have them follow a coach-guided course so we have an opportunity to help them internalize the basic training principles. Once students have some experience with our practice patterns and are becoming familiar with the principles, we are eager for them to start guiding themselves through the training plans.
Everyone who attends our local training courses – Pool Comfort and Freestyle Lesson Series, and Private Lessons – is given a membership to the Dojo as part of that training package. There we post the notes for each session, publish video analysis reports (as needed), connect them to the appropriate training course, and give links to any of the library materials that will help them work on their particular skill projects. The Dojo has become a powerful extension of our live training experience, supporting our students for the months ahead.
What About Writing Books?
Yes, there is more than enough here in the Dojo and on the Smooth Strokes blog to fill books and books.
I agree that there are advantages to composing things into physical books (I am a serious book-lover), and I will reserve the option of doing that. But I have several reasons for wanting to build these resources online and keep them there for now.
The main reason I am reluctant to create a static book is that we (as in I, my colleagues, the swim coaching institution, and physical/sports science in general) are constantly learning, and I want to be able to correct and update materials as I receive new insights. I am continually putting our content to the test, and find room for improvements often, which I can immediately make in the Dojo. In contrast, once a paper book is published, its an inconvenient process to stop circulation of the old version and replace it with a new one. It understand it’s quite frustrating to see something go to print and then soon after, see things you wish you’d said differently!
So, I am motivated to stick to a central, digital, online library because I can instantly update any of the content, in just one place, and it is instantly ready for everyone who may access it. This limits circulation, but it increases quality – and I am foremost about producing quality.
Another is that much of the content in the Dojo is modular. I can create one article with instructions or explanation then use a link to that single article in several of the courses. All the courses are referencing the same library of instructions and knowledge. And, every time we post lesson notes for a student, we can insert links to any description, tutorial, diagram in the library. It’s all in one place ready to be mixed-and-matched for a wide variety of purposes.
The solution I am working toward is a living-book, an app actually, which you could download onto your phone or tablet, which is then instantly updated any time we make an update in the main library itself. For example, any edition of the training plan you have on your phone would be immediately upgraded to the newer version.
Like that idea?
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