Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Swimming Break Through

About half of my "Intro to Masters" class are beginner level swimmers and have never done any of the other three strokes: Butterfly, Breast Stroke and Back Stroke. They were pretty shocked when I started writing butterfly drills on the whiteboard. I started them with butterfly kicking drills. They always want me to jump in and demonstrate - to let you in on a secret, my buttefly technique is lousy and I just power my way through - after 50 metres of fly I'm exhausted. Those who can't do teach, eh?
I'm nice though, I let them use fins. The women generally get the kick but the guys don't undulate enough. One of my newbies, W., just couldn't get the kick down. She couldn't get any rhythm to the kick timing and then she started doing some sort of frog kick thing. Last week I got them to add arms to their butterfly. 4 strokes single arm right arm, 4 strokes single arm left arm, then 4 full strokes.
W. was doing a monster smash on her butterfly entry and her timing and kick were way off too. But she stuck it out. I had her visualize jumping over a barrel for the entry.
This week I couldn't believe my eyes when W. pulled off a 25 metre fly looking really smooth. Her entry was graceful, no face plants this time, she was able to kick at the same time. That timing is so important. Then she was able to glide underwater with outstretched hands. She's quite small and not strong in the upper body but she still catches enough water to propel her smoothly. And she was undulating and getting her bum above the water! The lifeguard and I were blown away because we were commenting to one another on W.s Fly issues just a week before. I've been working on Alistair for three years and he hasn't made any improvements in Butterfly.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Real Men Don't Eat Tofu

Soybeans are made into paste called miso, into soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, and natto. It is also used to make products for lactose intolerant people such as myself. Here are some examples of Soy products found in my fridge:
Soy Yogurt, Soy Milk, Soy Ice Cream, and Flavoured Tofu.
I must admit that I really like the taste and texture of these products. Soy has come a long way. Thank goodness there are milk substitute products so I don't need to take Lactaid pills.
But I've been rethinking my relationship with soy lately.

There are manly foods and not so manly foods. Unfortunately soy lowers testosterone levels. Soy contains the plant estrogens known as isoflavones. Lower testosterone levels? Why would I want that - oh sure, lower testosterone levels will reduce my chance of getting prostate cancer, but I would have a lower libido and make it even more difficult to maintain the small amount of muscle that I do have.
It's not just that. The soy industry has convinced people that anything with soy in it is super healthy. The fact is that the products in my fridge are highly process junk foods that contain a lot of sugar. Miso and tamari soy sauce are really not that bad because they are naturally fermented and use organic soy beans, but modern soy products (like the ones in my fridge)are manufactured using high tech processes. They've been put through extremely high heat, pressure and chemicals. Not so natural.
Maybe I should move onto rice milk or almond milk.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sean's First Drive

At Thanksgiving Dinner last night my brother Sean confessed that he had "borrowed" my Mustang Mach 1 when he got his drivers license. I certainly must give him credit because at the time I had removed the stock seats in order to install Recaro racing seats. Sean knew that mom's car key actually fit my Mustang. Thanks for the great security Ford! So he used one of mom's keys to get into my car, put a milk crate on the floor so he had a place to sit. I suppose creativity is the sign of a genius. He then went out to Deltaport which is a really long stretch of road out to a deepwater port and got up to 160 miles/hour. Pretty hard to make the seatbelts work when you're sitting on a milk crate. I'll keep an eye on my Kompressor next time I go over to his house.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Learning How to be a Swim Coach

I coach an Intro to Masters class and my swimmers need to work on both their technique and also on their endurance. I've got a plan for the endurance part thanks to Joe Lee - he's made an excellent set of practices for me. So my difficulty is learning how to teach the swimmers the proper technique. It's obvious to me what their problems are, but I'm not sure how to correct some of the problems, such as legs that sink regardless of how hard they kick. I need a really good book for swimming techniques. The Swim Coach Bible really isn't as good as I thought. Donald sent me some great stuff from a book called Swimming Faster, written by Ernest W. Maglischo. This book is amazing, but it's fairly technical and it's difficult to read more than two or three pages at a time - any more leads to brain-ache. Swimming Fastest has some great stuff on front crawl common errors and how to correct them.
I went to Chapters Book Store to get a copy of the book for myself, but there wasn't even one single book on Swimming! The closest thing was a diving book by Greg Lougainis. Swimming really seems to have lost it's popularity. There used to be two excellent swim magazines, but neither are published anymore. I'll check the library.
Maybe I should buy Terry Laughlin's Total Immersion book. That seems to be the standard. I'm still kind of faking my way through helping them with stroke correction, but I'm getting better at it.