Smooth Strokes Blog

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Coach Mat Taking A Pause On This Blog

Coach Mat Taking A Pause On This Blog

I’ve got a lot of things going on right now, all good, but way more than normal. Writing for this blog has always been and must continue to be a joy, not a chore. While my time and energy are stretched thin, I am going to take a pause to protect my positive connection with this labor of love. I will be posting again when I feel ready to.

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Accept What Is In Order To Change It

Accept What Is In Order To Change It

As a mindful athlete, acceptance isn’t about giving up motivation or movement toward a goal. It’s about assessing our personal situation in a factual, and still non-judgmental way, so that we can make better decisions about taking care of ourselves and staying on the better path toward that goal. 

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Stacking Your Movement At Home

Stacking Your Movement At Home

But what if we viewed this type of activity as an opportunity to get in a squat and bend in ways we were not getting that movement in any other aspect of our day. This is where life-stacking gets its name: we are both cooking and getting our squats in. We are doing things while also moving our bodies. So, although it may feel like a slight mental annoyance, it is actually ‘nourishing’ to our bodies.

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How Can You Improve By Not Trying To?

How Can You Improve By Not Trying To?

Non-striving is a challenging topic to incorporate into our common view of athletic training because the whole point of training is to transform ourselves from what we are to what we want to be. There seems to be a necessary element of discontent with where we are at in order to conjure the motivation to do the necessary work. But if there is any injury occurring, any conflict in body or mind we feel for the work we’re doing, that could be a sign we’re misaligned, or missing something vital. Slowing down, quieting down to observe the sensations and information of the body may allow you to see better what’s going on.

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Is It Time To Get A New (Inner) Coach?

Is It Time To Get A New (Inner) Coach?

Is it time to get a new coach? 

How has the one you’ve got been treating you?

I mean, how does he or she talk to you when things are not going well, when you are not performing as you intend? Are his or her words condemning? Is the tone harsh? Is there comparison to what others are doing better than you are? When you’re faltering does he/she try to shove you down further in an attempt to motivate you to get back up?

Is that coach the voice inside of you? 

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What Role Does Self-Compassion Have In Your Higher Performance?

What Role Does Self-Compassion Have In Your Higher Performance?

It’s easier to see how being compassionate toward others is a good idea, especially for a parent, teacher, coach, or mentor helping a loved one go through a challenging situation and become a better person. But some people really struggle with giving kind support to themselves. Some people believe that if they were not so harsh with themselves they would not be able to perform as well as they do. 

Even if self-harshness seems to work for you, the question is, at what cost? 

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Do Your Intentions For Swimming Matter?

Do Your Intentions For Swimming Matter?

It’s not that you are continually reflecting on your intentions while you are moving. But you have one established ahead of time so that you don’t get lost or waste your time. Most times you get in the car to drive, you have an intention of where you will go. You are not thinking about that intention every moment or even most moments of the drive, but you do check in with that intention from time to time, especially when there is a question about which route to take ahead. The intention guides the choices which make you end up where you planned to arrive.

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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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