Smooth Strokes Blog

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Why Do We Need Trust For Swimming?

Why Do We Need Trust For Swimming?

Once you have bought into a process, that means that there are stretches of time where you need to be faithful to keep doing the regular work while external results are not obvious. You need to apply trust in the process, or in other words, be full-of-faith that your persistent effort to follow the training protocol will be building unseen roots that eventually set the stage for the visible expansion of leaves and branches in due time.

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Do You Have Enough Patience For Swimming?

Do You Have Enough Patience For Swimming?

Patience is that attitude that decides that being fully engaged in the activity of this moment is more important than engaging with a memory of the past or engaging in the anticipation of something to come. It is especially important to apply when there is something unpleasant or uncomfortable about the current experience.

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SwimMastery Gains Momentum

SwimMastery Gains Momentum

In January of this year we formalized SwimMastery, LLC as a business, launched the website and conducted our first Fundamental Skills Coach Training course in Alicante, Spain with 6 coach candidates. Since then we’ve moved online and conducted five more FSCT courses, and we’re conducting our first Advanced Skills Coach Training course right now. We’ve got over 30 coach members representing 10 countries and more lined up to join.

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Should The Expert Swimmer Become A Beginner Again?

Should The Expert Swimmer Become A Beginner Again?

The Beginner’s Mind keeps the door of potential always open through learning and discovery. That creates both the opportunity to find pleasure and intrigue with the day-to-day work of training as well as the opportunity to learn and periodically find even better ways of pursuing the achievements we dream of.

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How Much Does It Matter What Others Think?

How Much Does It Matter What Others Think?

{Here is] an opportunity to reflect on how much we may be evaluating ourselves or being concerned with how others are evaluating us, and consider how that factors into what we choose to value and focus our resources and efforts upon. In what ways do these evaluations serve us? In what ways are they costing us more than we gain from them?

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Be Powerful and Be Smooth About It

Be Powerful and Be Smooth About It

The objective of the ‘catch and hold’ is to hold a point in the water with the arm and slide the streamline side of the body forward, past that point (and hence the name we give to it). To create an effective pressure zone, one that you can get a nice grip upon, there is an optimal rate of applying pressure and building it up (a rate that is relative to the intensity of motion). Press too lightly and sufficient pressure can’t build. Press too abruptly and it breaks the zone and the body part loses grip and slips through.

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Thinking About Running (Nearly) Barefoot?

Thinking About Running (Nearly) Barefoot?

A change in my contact with the ground changed the way I walk and run which changed the way my joints handle those impact forces which removed so many of the problems I had experienced as a runner and while just walking around on hard surfaces. But, as Dr. Davis points out, and I emphatically agree, making a good transition requires a very cautious, very gradually process of transition to get the foot and then the rest of the body back into proper relationship with the ground and with itself.  

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Are You Drinking Enough?

Are You Drinking Enough?

Neglecting to drink for most hours and then binge (water) drinking is not an adequate approach either, because the body is then spending most of the day in hydration-distress. Many vital functions are trying to do their normal functions under deprivation conditions. Then, when you gulp it down all at once, the body may not distribute that flood of water quickly enough before the urinary tract disposes a good portion of it. I am suspicious when I see people frequently sipping their water bottles during less-than-one-hour workout…

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Introverts Love Swimming

Introverts Love Swimming

That experience opened my eyes to the fact that it is not a rejection of people introverts are projecting when they leave the party early, but a rejection of the kind of extrovert-designed social events that dominate the menu. We know they are nice and refreshing for the extroverts, but not for us. We need a different kind of gathering, but one we rarely experience or don’t even know exist.

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Should You Take Up A Second Sport?

Should You Take Up A Second Sport?

The last six months have provided a perfect case in point for one of the reasons why I maintain both swimming and running concurrently (beyond the reason that I simply enjoy each one for their own sake)… When one beloved activity was blocked, I could shift my focus to another and maintain some form of the fitness I value and need. That second activity was already maintained in my lifestyle so that all I had to do was shift emphasis and gradually build intensity up to where it would satisfy what I was seeking from it.

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Keep Aiming For The Bullseye

Keep Aiming For The Bullseye

Because swimming is so complex, most of the ideals for individual features of the stroke are related to and affect other details. When you put one feature into its ideal place, it makes it easier for the other connected features to find their place. When you shift it away or have yet to correct one feature toward the ideal, it makes it harder for the other connected features to find their place. Every thing works together. As more features are made closer to the ideal and the whole system experiences more ease and efficiency.

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A Message For Those With Depression…

A Message For Those With Depression…

In many cases, depression is a warning sign that something within one’s inner world or outer world is misaligned and you’d better do something to improve alignment, whatever you can do personally. But that still does not make the depression ‘bad’ – it makes the cause of depression bad while depression (the sensations in your body) is just the warning light telling you to go look for that cause.

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Do You Have A Healthy Diet Of Discomfort?

Do You Have A Healthy Diet Of Discomfort?

The world is going to force us to change. We will either try to resist and be worn down by it, or we, with effort, respond to the changing world and direct our own adaptations in a positive direction. By putting in this intentional effort, by facing discomfort and practicing voluntary changes we can gain some strength to handle involuntary changes too. It’s not the total solution to the suffering we might experience in those involuntary change situations, but it can help us deal with them a lot better.

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The Antidote To Fear Is…

The Antidote To Fear Is…

…the body is programmed to stay alive and keep the organism safe and moving forward on its growth and development. When an alarm is tripped that means that very ancient, experienced and reliable mechanisms of survival in the body have been awakened to do what they have done well to bring our species this far. The body is working hard for each organism using the resources it has on hand, not against it. Fear is a messenger of the body not an enemy.

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Why Practice Sitting Still? Part 2

Why Practice Sitting Still? Part 2

First, you need to genuinely want to try this, out of some sense of need, interest or curiosity. I can give you some ideas for how to make this easier, but this is the one condition that is really necessary to get very far with the practice. If you try  and bump up against the initial challenges without that intrinsic motivation, you’ll not have the kind of energy to work through it and this could discourage and increase your aversion to try it again in the future. When you face challenges with curiosity rather than duty, your ability to not only endure but to appreciate those challenges goes way up. So, intrinsic motivation is a very helpful pre-condition to trying this.

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Why Practice Sitting Still? Part 1

Why Practice Sitting Still? Part 1

…nothing confronts the weakness in mental control like mindfulness-without-motion. And ‘confrontation’ is probably a good word to describe it. I acknowledge the fact that the early stages of exercising control over attention while sitting still can be very frustrating. And it will be especially frustrating for people who believe they have an attention deficit of some sort because they are already primed to believe they will have a harder time doing this than others do. I also point out the fact that those who find mindfulness-without-motion frustrating are providing evidence in that complaint that they need this skill more than those who don’t seem to suffer from attention problems.

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You’ve Swam Farther. You’ve Swam Faster. Now What?

You’ve Swam Farther. You’ve Swam Faster. Now What?

That which is easiest to measure often gets measured most. That which is measured most often gets prized the most (in one’s head, in an organization, in one’s culture, etc.). But that which is getting measured most may not necessary be what is most important. 

Distance and speed are the easiest things to measure in swimming. They are the easiest things to compete with. They are the easiest things to post and brag about on social media. Meanwhile, the subjective qualities of health, of movement, of efficiency, of sensory pleasure and flow state are not easily measured, they cannot be compared to another’s.

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Keep Going, Your Reward Is Ahead

Keep Going, Your Reward Is Ahead

Regardless of how much someone else has achieved compared to yourself, no matter how low you feel your current position is compared to others moving in the same direction, in any case where personal growth and health is concerned, it is worth the effort to keep moving ahead on your own.

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What is YOUR Kind of High Performance?

What is YOUR Kind of High Performance?

In popular culture and media, when we hear the term ‘high performance’ we readily picture something like fast athletes or fast cars. That impression comes easily because getting to a destination most quickly is highly prized in our society. But we know that getting somewhere quickly is definitely not the only thing or even the main thing many of us value most, despite what they say.

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