Steps to Becoming a Pro by Harry Meisel (1998)


Published


So, to line up my talk, this is how you capture your audience. I know coaches that will do anything for a free meal or for free gifts of clothing. So, to be sure that I crossed all the -I’s I mean… dotted all the -I’s and crossed all the – T’s, I called in an expert to review my notes before I came in here. My old friend Dick Smith from Clearwater, Florida. He flipped through my notes and he handed them back and I said, well what do you think.. He said, Harry, that’s boring. He said, I’ll run up to my room and get one of my Ninja Turtle Tapes, the coaches will like those a lot better than your talk.  My friend Dick Smith.

 

Now a days you hear that a lot. Boring, especially from kids, everything is boring. So, let’s do this, if my presentation gets boring, you all call out that word BORING, all right. Now, if you anticipate I’m going to say that word BORING, you holler it out…good and loud. Let’s rehearse here, real quick. Little audience participation, on three… everybody say boring.   One– two – three – BORING. Very good… very good. Last week, one of my fifteen year olds came up and he said, Coach, what’s the work out today? I said, well same as yesterday and the day before; you pull six hundred, kick six hundred, and swim six hundred. And, he said Coach, that’s BORING. You got it. Yeah. And, I said, son – you don’t know the meaning of the word. I’ve been married to the same woman, sleeping with the same woman, for forty nine years. Now that’s boring. All right. Good thing. Now you can start taking notes, you can turn the tape on now. What?… you already have that on? Oh GOD, my wife hears that, there’ll be a divorce.  Woooo.  OK, I’ll be in trouble.

 

Speaking of tapes, ASCA has some fine tapes available, I would highly recommend them to you. They’re very helpful when you get home in doing your tests and answering the question. You put in the tape and you hear the speaker, and find all the answers there. Not only that, they’re very fine to pass to staff members, you’re colleague coaches.

 

To make your note taking easy for the contest, I’m going to use a lot of one liners, as I go along. The first step, as far as I’m concerned to becoming a professional is joining professional organization. That’s a plural: organizations. That’s the first step in the ladder. Please keep that in mind. You have to join USA Swimming for liability, membership in ASCA and NISCA, the College Swim Coaches Association, and other professional associations is voluntary. People once you join USA Swimming, it’s important that you become an active participant in your LSC meetings. That you prepare yourself, read the agenda, do your homework in advance. When you get to the meeting, discuss the issues and especially those that affect you. Do not sit back and let laymen run your business. Hopefully you have an active ASCA Chapter in your LSC, that meets prior to the annual convention, to prepare a list of candidates for General Chairman, Administrative Vice Chairman, Senior Chairman, Age Group Chairman, and highly important that you have a strong Coaches Representative on the Board. I can assure that the AMA is run by Doctors, the ABA by Lawyers, and NEA by Teachers. To tell you the truth people, I think it’s past time that we have a Coach President of the United States Swimming. I firmly believe that. I hope it will come soon.

 

Once you get involved, get your feet wet, and run for Area Representative, and then over time move up the ladder. What you have to remember is you’re the people in the trenches. You have your fingers on the pulse of American Swimming. So many of the Generals are so far behind the lines they can’t even hear the boom of the cannons. You’re the people who should initiate change.. Over the next twelve months I believe we’re going to see some major changes in our USA program as we know it today. Several suggestions from our program. One is to have locate key meets with your satellites with your branches of the teams in your areas. Take the ten & unders one Saturday and have a little meet. No fees.. no entry fees involved. Another idea was franchising. And another idea having the meets run by high school .. or older children, older swimmers, and not having the deck surrounded by fifty seven officials. I think those are good ideas. So what he’s talking about is getting down to short meets, seven innings and everybody goes home. I think that’s the place for development, is on meets of that nature.

 

I want you to the keep this in mind or better still mark it down, change is often desirable, frequently necessary, and always inevitable. Change is often desirable, frequently necessary, and always inevitable. People changes are hard to make. People resist change, they want to keep the status quo. You have to be as tenacious as a bull dog. Bite and hang on. Sometimes it will take ten years to bring about a change. Here’s a good example, I’ll set the stage: 1968, Plantation Country Club, Louisville, Kentucky, AAU, Senior National Championships. I remember that was one of Gary Hall, broke the world record in the 200 IM. I think I’m right. And, that’s. Paul Senior, not Paul Jr. So, between the preliminaries and the finals, I attended the AAU meeting, which was the first one I ever attended: rules committee meeting. A distinguished gentleman Bill Ditman was in charge. Somehow the discussion came up on freestyle. I had the audacity I guess that’s the word, to suggest that we drop the name freestyle and substitute crawl stroke. Mr. Ditman told me that, young man the stroke cannot be applied. I said, yes Sir, I believe it can. You swim in the prone position, use alternating arms, recover over the water and use any style of kick. Well, I didn’t get very far, my proposal wasn’t eve discussed there was no second. Ten years later, almost word for word that description appeared in the high school rules… that’s in the high school rules.

 

Just recently, well not that recent, but September 1997, there was an excellent article by Cecil Colwin, very distinguished Coach, and in this discussion he’s talking about kicking underwater, they were now restricting butterfly, back stroke, and breast stroke takes care of itself. But he’s telling how the possibility we’ll have people kicking underwater for great distances unless we put in a rule in it…. unless FINA puts a rule in, we can’t put it in, we can suggest it. Once again, it’s hard to make change. So here’s the way he’s described it, and see the comparison between this and 1978: the stroke is some on the surface of the water in a prone position both alternating arms recoveries, over the water performed in a continuous sequence, left arm right arm recovery. Of course he’s advocating cutting down the 15 meter distance. Here’s the title of his write up here, Why is a stroke not a stroke? Answer: When it’s a kick. As you watch these people in the Olympics here in 1996 on their side, flying down the pool, and then coming up about fifteen meters at the end, there was no stroke, it was all kicking underwater. So, I think that’s one of the main changes that we need to make.

 

Over the next ten years, the next ten or twelve years, I was appointed and I came up with a dozen proposals. I became a thorn in Bill Ditman’s side, they castigated me in the swimming world for not going through the system. But I always had trouble going through the system, so I went around it. And, the strangest thing happened the proposals that put in, came out in the preliminaries to make decisions. About a dozen of them had Bill Ditmans name on them. Some of them were just housekeeping but others were pretty sound suggestions and I had the vision at that time, to propose those changes. I don’t want to take any credit for them, but I think what I was concerned about was the good of swimming and it took a long time coming. Just like the crawl stroke and I hope that comes in soon.

 

I’ll tell ya what, you are the people that can bring about change. You have to step up, you have to join your fellow coaches, and I hope they’re ASCA certified members, to bring about change in your own LSC. You’re the swimming authorities, not the doctor, lawyer, on your Board. If you’re a real pro you have to do more than coach on the deck. You must be willing to serve on committees, and work to keep rules up to speed as our sport changes. All this is voluntary with no pay involved. You just have to work a little bit over time. But, you’re the most qualified person to do this type of thing. Many years ago I told my wife, you do the cooking, I’ll do the coaching. I’ll stay out of your kitchen, you stay off my pool deck. And, I pass that along to a lot of my parents, I don’t want in your courtroom, I don’t go in your bank and tell you how to run your business. So don’t tell me how to run mine. I think most parents know just about enough about swimming to be dangerous. There’s an old saying, if you drown the parents, the kids would be fine. The best place to coach swimming is in an orphanage that has a school bus.

 

So why do we have professional associations. There’s a multitude of reasons. For the beginning, strength in numbers. Look at the Northwest airlines pilots right now, the FDA association, they have the management over a barrel. Give them time, and they’ll get their way, or they’ll get close to their way. So, I’m not suggesting that we go on strike or anything like that. But, we work through the system, they get all our ducks in a line and we stick together, and bring about change when it’s needed. But, mainly we have associations to guide and foster our programs. Every successful organization has an Executive member administrators at the top, that work full time, running the business of some organization. The American Swim Coaches reach this point in the late 1950’s. That was in the dark ages of AAU. I don’t know if any of you are old enough to experience the AAU but it was the best thing that ever happened to us when we broke away. We needed a voice and a direction, an operation in this country. ASCA was formed in 1959, they moved to a point that an Executive Director was required to run our business full time. Bob Ousley was our first Director in 1972. He was followed by Keith Sutton by 1983 and by John L. in 1985. And, I always referred to him as the Great John L. John Leonard. Under John’s leadership, and the Board and a full time staff of excellent people, we now have a system for education and certification in place. And, Coaches can move up the professional ladder from level one to level five. If you have not started on this program I urge you to do so as soon possible.

 

The World Clinic offers the finest educational experience for new and old coaches would focus on improving on coaching capabilities of every ASCA member. I’ve always said, when you know it all, retire, sit back, and write a book. I’m seventy five going on seventy six and I haven’t reached that point yet. I learn something every day. I’m doing a number of things here at this clinic. So we all benefit from the lectures by outstanding coaches from all over the world here at the world clinic. Plus, there are some fringe benefits. We can browse the exhibit hall, look over the very latest items in swim equipment. Get first hand input from a manufacturers of lane lines, starting platforms, timing systems, and much, much more. Well I think that the big plus is the chance to go..tet un tet, if you don’t speak French that’s head to head, informally over a cup of tea. Without standing coaches like Peter Daland, Mark Schubert, Nort Thornton, Dick Shoulberg, Cecil Colwin, and many others.

 

I did that yesterday morning. I bumped into Eddie Reese and sat down and had breakfast and we talked about fine lecture by Ernie Maglischo. And exchanged thoughts there. And, that was a good experience for me. You can pick the brains of these people, they’ll welcome it, and they’ll go over every facet of competitive swimming. I recommend this especially for head coaches. Here’s a little story time people. Like Ray Buzzard, I wasn’t always a swim coach, many years ago, my first job was coaching basketball. I didn’t know a lot about the sport. So, I went out and found a few books available and I read them.

 

I don’t know how many years ago or what year it was, probably about ’52, I went to a clinic in Gainesville, Florida and, presenting were four or five of outstanding coaches in the country. At the end of one lecture, a friend of mine approached the A number one speaker, and we suggested that we retire to his motel room, with a bottle of Jack Daniels. Again, in talking he was all for that. We sat down and we talked basketball for about two hours and that was a great experience for me. I have outlined a fast break for basketball, I working on with the state group. It was very unorthodox. I thought I was originate the thing and the speaker said to me, he said son, I did that thing almost ten years ago. It works. He said, go for it.  I went for it. That year, I put it to work in high school basketball, we scored eighty ninety points. We had highs of hundred twenty, hundred eight, hundred five all in thirty two minutes of basketball. I’ll tell you what people, if it wasn’t for Adolph Ruff, if it wasn’t for his vote of confidence, I’m not sure that I would have gone with that type of ball pass. You have to get a bit of an innovator in anything you’re involved in.

 

ASCA certification. Next little paragraph there. Our certification program is to design and to identify and recognize professional coaches on a National level. Certification is based on your education, experience, and achievement since the time you started coaching. Moving from level to level has been much easier through study and clinics. You can get all this info at the ASCA registration desk. There are many, many books and tapes out there, and you can sit in your living room and run these tapes and re run them until your eyes are red, and learn something from them. Many years ago, when I brought those basketball books, they cost probably about seven – eight dollars. I figured, if I got one idea out of those books was well worth the seven or eight dollars I put in them. Course now that probably cost a bit more than that. Inflation.

 

Highly important people, read the ASCA code of ethics and conduct. Before you write your membership check and do not join ASCA if you are not going to uphold the code ethics. And especially sections A and D. They are the two most important sections contained in our code. I think that this.. I believe .. I think I’ve heard that this.. next meeting of the National Governing Body, that a code of ethics will finally come out from them that’s good. So we will have two codes of ethics to go by. Tell ya why it’s important that you know the rules and support the rules, you know the rules of something that you support them. Follow them to the letter. Know the rules better than the officials on the deck. Some in there you can push off and not be worried about. But, mainly when it comes to swimming, the strokes and that type  of thing, know them well. And, be sure to insist on swimmers abiding by the rules.

 

Let me ask you a question here for a minute, pause, how many out there are on their own. Put them up again, 1,2,3,4,5,6 ain’t it great. Yeah. You’re the boss. I would suggest that if you do not own your own club, in the next few years, you try and get a charter and a pool to go with it, and form your own club. It’s the only way to fly. I know of a club in Florida, that changes their coach about as often as I change my socks. In one door and out the other, and there have been two or three outstanding coaches there… one of my former swimmers, is a coach there now. I pray for him every night, that he will survive. If you’ve had your own club, I would discourage you to form a group you can seek out two or three or four of the best people, and they will bring a group together. I think it’s important that you hold the check book and you make the final decision. You work with those people and they will help you and they’ll help the club. And, you won’t be losing sleep wondering if you’ll have your job tomorrow morning, if you can get your own club. You’ll have a lot happier life.

 

Now, I’m going to move to your coaching philosophy. Every coach has a philosophy. It might be vague to him but to other it is readily visible. His thinking and actions constitutes philosophy. To this day, actions still speak louder than words. Right or wrong thinking makes for two kinds of coaching philosophies. Therefore it is vital that you develop a sound philosophy of coaching and especially in this day and time. Build your philosophy around loyalty, trust, honesty, and coaching boys and girls first, swimming second and they will be enthusiastic. If you aren’t fired up with enthusiasm, you may be fired with enthusiasm.

 

Moving on to innovation. I’m referring back basketball. By telling you I was born before the refrigerators, before heart transplants, email, penicillin, computers, and Viagra. And for some of you may think I was born before kick boards, pool floats, hand paddles, lane lines, pace clocks, and many other items that we have available today. But, going back when I started basketball, I inherited an old WPA gymnasium built around 1936, a half dozen old basketballs, and a dozen white kids that could not jump. Jump, are you kidding, these kids couldn’t even touch  the net. So, I had to be a bit of an innovator. I found over in the corner a spring board, does anyone know what spring board is. Nobody here been around gymnastic. It’s a little short thing that comes up like that, made of wood, oak I guess. You would run and jump on it and go over somersaults or go over a side horse. You must all here must be really old timers. I put that in front of the basket, and for the first time the kids could hit that, and touch the net and man that helped their confidence a great deal. So then I looked for another gimmick. I took a basketball, I went to a shoe maker and he put a strap or rather he sewed a strap on the ball and I got a piece of rope and some strips of bicycle tubing, rubber, and made a little strips for it here, and tied another rope up to a pulley. So I can place the basketball up depending on the height of the player. And, what they would do is jump up and grab the basketball and pull it down, their elbows out and fanny out with their feet apart, to block out under the basket. Then they pull it down, and when they did, then they’re ready to wheel and deal and throw the ball up court. That took a lot of practice, a lot of work on that. Then I had another brainstorm. Position under the basket, the re-bound triangle. So I put, I went to my car and I got three car mats, you know floor mats. And put one here and one here, the two forwards and one in the middle. They had very heavy rubber strips across, so I had those three fellows take their shoes off so they could go to the board and find the rebounding position by Braille. It wasn’t comfortable on their feet. So they knew their position, automatically. And, we had a lot of success with rebounding. Another thing I was working in the, what do you call it….the National Guard Armory. That’s where we practiced and the bleachers were very, very steep. And, about that wide and about that high. So I got the idea of having the kids run up and down the bleachers, had them pump their arms up and down, and their knees up and down, and got up to the top and about one step from heaven. That’s how high those bleachers were. And, they came easy carefully down the seats to the bottom. The first time we did this up and down up and down, one of the kids turned and said Coach, when can we quit. And I said son, when you fall forward, and put your hands out and can’t break your fall, that’s when we’ll stop. Run up the stairs. So, that was my Rube Goldberg innovation that I used in basketball. I’ve been kind of innovator ever since I guess.

 

Another innovation, and I just talked to a young man today, though he’s not young anymore. He had played basketball for me years ago, he lives about forty miles from here.  I called up him and I said are you still on Beach Memorial?. He said, is this Coach Meisel? I said, sure is. He wrote me a beautiful letter, a year ago this October. There was a big picnic and, some 350-400 of my former swimmers had joined in. I brought this letter with me, and his comments on wheat germ went something like this. If I had those kids on wheat germ ten years before anyone in Orlando knew what it was. If you don’t know what wheat germ was, back then. Roger Banister, great British miler, helped, one of things he did, was take wheat germ oil. He attributed that to his success of breaking the four minute mile. So, everyday half way through the work out, I’d get out some spoons, and pour them wheat germ oil, it was terrible. It was like taking Cod Liver Oil. But, the short time later I made a little pill, so the kids could get a couple pills and down the hatch they would go. I don’t know if it helped or not, to tell ya the truth. I’m not a scientist. I know we won, a heck of a lot of games. Years later I won in the third Quarter No team could keep up. We run very fast, in the second half   and,  wear the other team out.

 

Along with some simple innovations, I suggest to you that you put your logo on everything. I have two jumping dolphins. I adopted from the Dolphin Corporation out in the exhibit hall many years ago. With approval to use their logo and since this is plural I put an S on dolphin and made it dolphins and put a two, instead of a one. I suggest to you to have a logo. Whether it is an alligator or shark or what. Put that on your stationary, cards made. Put Mary Brown on there, something professional and put your logo on it. Put it on your team shirts, put it on your swimsuits, have bumper stickers made. Best advertisement, people see that and the back bumper of your car. Put it on every page of your heat sheets, your program, put it up in the right hand corner, and put a square around, a line around, run those off and then stick them in your copy machine. And, then impose the heat sheet on there. You’ve got that little thing up there on every page. Have a flying banner. You can get them, hopefully from backing from companies that make your swimsuits. I got the… I think I mentioned little tattoos from dolphin and just put them on before a meet, and that promotes team spirit. Another very, very simple thing, is pins. I make them this summer.. for summer fun, Join the Blue Dolphins Swim Team for information 647-4672. I gave three  or four Country Club Clinics, take these with me, and give them to every swimmer at the end of the clinic. If you can afford to belong to the Country Clubs of Orlando, you can afford my swimming program, I guarantee you. Some of those things cost you twenty thousand dollars, just to step in the door. You can do the same with pencils. If you have Coaches chair with your name on it, put your logo on it. You have to promote and market your team. Make an attractive flier. Put them in packs of thirty, how many rooms in the elementary school, give them to the Principal, she’ll pass them out, and the teachers will pass them out in the home rooms. United States Swimming, has some very, very fine posters. There’s a place where you can put your name and phone number, get those on the bulletin board of the cafeteria and the school hall ways. In our area the schools are very nice and they’re very, very cooperative.

 

Now if you come on a new job, or if you’re on an old one. Take stock of your equipment you have on hand. Check the physical plant, you have kick boards, pool floats and so on. All your lane lines, your pace clock in good shape, the starting blocks, pool interior need marcite. And where ever you make improvements. Make up a wish list, present it to your club President, talk to your Board. See how parents can help you. Talk to the lawyers and so on, financially made they can help you. But, almost every club has plumbers, electricians or a handy man. They can really help. We were in a brutal situation this summer, the water was ninety degrees, really wonderful to train in for an hour and a half. So, I went to a friend, for $380. we got a $600 pump, I bought some PVC pipe and got my hacksaw out and we put an aerator on the pool. In two days we got the temperature from ninety six degrees down to eighty four degrees. That lasted all summer long, despite having temperatures of hundred degree temperature up to a hundred and two. I’m putting a contract out on El Nino if I ever meet that guy I’m going to bump him off, he really made things bad.

 

Things you can do yourself, get your office… your pool office jazzed up. Get out a paint brush, put in a little over time, put a shelf up, and put your trophies on. Get help from the kids, Our Winterpark High kids are also Blue Dolphins. Two weeks ago, painted all our bleachers, in school colors. If you just ask, you’ll be surprised at the help you’ll get. Back in 1972, I started the Blue Dolphins Swim Team. I had twelve youngsters, five of my own, by the weeks end we had twenty kids in the program, we grew up to about forty. That’s when Skip joined me and took over the Senior Program. They had four lanes on that side of the deck, and I had four here. And, pretty soon, the lanes were so loaded, we were going one on the wall, you stay here – you stay here – and these three swim, and these two when someone comes in you have to go. We did 50’s with two on the wall. Two kids stay, three’s a crowd, you’ll have to swim. Because you can’t swim eight and ten and twelve kids on especially in butterfly, up and down the pool. So, what we did, we took the Brown’s College blue print, that was my pool back then, and we knocked out the ginger bread. We got down to the bare necessities. A young builder from Georgia Tech and, he was looking for work, and he built the pool for us. Got a member of the school board, he was very helpful. If we needed a one and half horse power pump, somewhere between twelve and 1am, he would find it for us, somewhere in the school room. By hook or by crook… oh another thing we did, we got approval from the County School Board. To this day, the Winter Park High School pool is the only high school pool in Orange County. You know, we’re the only major city without a 50 meter pool and those idiot were talking about having the Olympics in Orlando, without a swimming pool, that will seat 10,000 people. That’s… that’s small isn’t it? I think we have 13,000 out there already. So, you know, you have to  do a little bit of thinking of what you’re getting into before you spend a hundred… two –three hundred thousand dollars of tax payers money to put in a bid, when you have nothing over here to work with. So, anyway we built the pool, and from then on our program really.. really took off. The kids sold five hundred forty six by six tiles that went around there. You could get your name put on, and that raised $13,500. Our program continually fed into Winter Park High School, and as a result something like nineteen State Championships. I couldn’t tell you how many All Americans, NISCA All American swimmers. This year Winter Park High will be very strong especially in girls. I would hope… hope they’re State Championship again. The boys are quite strong too.  So keep on looking for better ways, for better stroke drills, for time, for better items of equipment, and better facilities. Your opportunities people are unlimited. As to what you can accomplish, it just takes leadership, a fertile mind, persistence on your part, and also hard work.

 

Does anyone remember the Exer Jeannie exerciser. Two old timers in the back of the room. Gosh. I.. I developed…don’t even know the word anymore.. a power rack for you strain at this station you move to this station and strain. It was the thing that was easier than bar bells I guess. And, I developed that thing that you could pull the bars out and put them at different heights. And, it was fair I guess I did some good with it, I’m not sure. When the extra Exer Jeannie came out, I said ahhh this is a little bit better. I got in touch with Dave Miller, he was the huckster…he was an unbelievable personality, if you don’t know it’s a little tube with a rope through it, and you could pull on this end here, and you could pull on the other end and you couldn’t move that thing. Well, the idea was, that you had a strain, just like in a dead lift for ten seconds as hard as you could pull and then you could ease off.. You could leg press, you could cling and, that was a pretty good program, you could do triceps exercises, and biceps, and lap pulls and so on. I had a board and I bore a hole through it and put the rope… kids would get on their knees and put their hands up here…and pull for ten seconds and strain then you could bring them down and somewhat resembled the movement of a crawl stroke, butterfly, and so on. Then along came a thing called the Exer Jeannie. It was very strange, but the uncle of the developer lived right in Winterpark Florida and, he walked in my office and I kind of felt sorry for him, because he didn’t even know how to use it. But, I figured it out in a hurry. I said wait a minute this thing’s pretty good. So I put my Browns college physical fitness program, I had thirty or forty boys in a class, four or five class  a day, and I put a circuit in there. It was great. I had a rowing station, and I eventually got a shell, the seat you know that goes back and forth. I had it like this, then too I got oars and cut them off, and put the rope through. Then you could strain, then you could release and pull. Or, with a mini gym you could go back and forth, back and forth. There’s all kinds of fancy rowing machines on the market now. But, that worked out quite well. But, suddenly it hit me. You know, that light bulb went on up here. Get in the horizontal position and, put those two units right here, and away we’d go. So, I snuck in late at night in the girls dormitory, in a closet, I found an ironing board: wooden ironing board. Try and find one of those in this day and age. I put foam rubber over it, covered it with neliouim tacked it on, had a bench to lie on. And, you don’t swim like this, holding on to bar bells. So I made two paddles, and put a strap on them, and then you could pull and duplicate the stroke. I had an All American butterflyer, a young lawyer from Winter Park , come over at lunch time. I said try this bench, he said this is great. I wish I had this when I was at the University of Florida. You have the idea. So, anyway it’s a long story. I made a deal and got other involved. Because no one knew me, but they knew the others. And, saw the advertisements years ago, that had Doc’s endorsement of the swim bench. My first clinic was in Las Vegas, in 1974, that was in December, back then. I got on the stage, and demonstrated the swim bench, went out to exhibit hall afterwards and a whole crowd around and the thing took off. But if nothing else people, the swim bench brought about a tremendous amount of research in our swimming programs.  I think Nort Thornton must have written about half a dozen articles, and of course brought about much debate, I must say was a good answer on everything. But, it certainly did bring about a revolutionary thinking on consistent exercise.

 

 

Incidentally, back in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s, I had six units myself at Browns College and my kid trained on them, up to twelve years of age, thirteen, fourteen & above. We had a lot of success as ten year olds, four boys that broke the National Record in relays. At eleven and twelve we had the number one age group swimmer in the USA, his counterpart was someone name Tracy Caulkins. Pretty good combination. We had four National records in relays, that lasted for about ten years, they’re all gone now. I kind of think that maybe my swim bench helped those kids, either that or just plain great coaching, don’t you think?

 

All right. Going onto the untapped twenty five percent. During my forty eight years as a coach, my approach to physical conditions that have never wavered. What I try to do is get the untapped twenty five percent out of each of my kids. I urge you do the same thing. Let me explain my statement. God have given us a great body, incredible, you watch Michael Jordan, you watch Mike McGuire. Any great athlete. If you watched Buddy Lee the other day, he was fantastic on the jump rope. I use that heavily in my program and it’s tremendous doing what our physical education programs no longer do, it’s a shame. But, we have a wonderful body, and can accept that without question. But, there’s an equally accurate statement. But, one to which most athletes do not whole heartily believe, and that’s that the human body,  this miracle machine we have, seldom develops  to its’ capacity. Physical Education recognized the truth of this statement. They find that the reluctance of athletes that accept this fact. They tell us that most athletes develop their bodies only twenty five percent of capacity. Think about some of the kids that you work on, on a daily basis. Some athletes reach the fifty percent level. Very few hit the seventy five percent level. Only the champions develop to a higher degree, seventy five and above. Our Olympic swimmers, among those people who have developed the seventy five percent level. They reach the untapped twenty five percent level. I continually stress to my swimmers the importance of passing the seventy five percent mark. I’m convinced the physical condition is the most important aspect of competitive swimming. So, it’s important that you get your kids in top condition, but it’s even more important that you have them in better condition than kids their swimming against. There’s no easy way to the top, you just have to be willing to pay the price. I’m going to quote Ben Franklin, “no pain – no gain”. Benjamin Franklin. You have probably seen it and though some swim coach wrote it.. …So, I think that he was, Ben Franklin was the real Father of American Swimming.

 

There’s an article, people, that’s on the front desk registration, where all the books are on sale. This is by Dr. Jim Councilman, dated Montreal 1971, The X Factor. People this thing is as valid today as it was in 1971. I urge you to get this article and read it. I picked it up a while ago, and I said, I remember that. The wheels went around. There’s some statements in here by Doc, that are just tremendous.. just tremendous. The other day I mentioned in my talk on stroke drills, that we continually see, young coaches run up and down the pool screaming and hollering kick. Sometimes up here kick. I’ve even seen them go like this… it reminds me of an usher in my church that’s always going like that. Yeah, two seats in the front row. But, I had a parent one time, that when his daughter was on the starting block, he was outside the fence,… hanging on the chain link fence… and started to say take your mark, shoot the gun. As soon she started there, he’d scream and holler kick, kick, kick. So, I wonder does anyone ever holler pull… pull…pull? Forgetting about the motion where you get most of your propulsion come from your arms and shoulders, not from the kick. So, please if I’m at a swim meet, I want to see you run up and down the pool.. you haven’t done the job Monday through Friday… you’re wasting your time on Saturday. Kids can’t hear you …. their heads in the water, they can’t see ya. Parents do the same thing. I remember one parent in Jacksonville, had a very adamant person. And, he was running fifty meters up and down the deck. And, there was a lounge chair in the way, you know what happened. She went over the lounge chair. So be careful. I have even seen some coaches fall in the pool. Most embarrassing. Doc goes on and on about the X Factor and he gets it down as the ability to see what’s being done and doing it. The perfectionist usually does not make a very good coach. He’s too busy taking care of the little details, and seldom gets to the heart of the matter. He says that a good coach must be a good organizer, and very highly important.. I’ve always poo-poo’d this… must be a good psychologist, a good motivator. I think I’m the organizer, I’m going to put more time I think now in my late years into the psychologist. I love this one. I believe stroke mechanics are extremely important, but at the lower levels. The best mechanics… the best stroke mechanics, Men and Women, in the US are the lesser known coaches in the local programs. Get that. The best stroke mechanics. He explains that a lot of coaches are very fortunate they get prime material, and despite their lousy coaching, a good product comes to the top. So, please go by and get this. I wrote down a note here, about communication. That’s highly important. John Leonard wrote an article not long ago and he didn’t know many colleges in the country that had a course in communication on the coaching level. That’s very important, communication with kids, you have a language that they can understand. You also have to communicate and I think I’ve heard, oh gosh – Ira Klein, this morning about communication with the parents, and that’s important. But, one thing that Doc pointed out in here, keep the parents off the deck. I don’t go in their office, and I don’t go in my wife’s kitchen. So keep them off your deck.

 

I call this section it’s not in here, but give ‘em hell Harry. Harry Truman. I am a little bit salty, I like to see my coaches in a decent pair of shorts and pants, and a decent pair of Keds on… some kind of shoes that are acceptable and sandals. And, a company shirt, Blue Dolphins Logo on the thing. I had one of my coaches who wears that shirt and a tie. That young son-of-a-gun is getting a lot of compliments from the ladies, and I’m jealous, and I’m going to give that a try and see if I can get some compliments from parents on the deck… a shirt and tie. Also, it’s important to as a pro to communicate with the community. You can do a lot of that through your sports people, your sports writers. We have an excellent one in Orlando, you just fax something to him and he’ll get it in there, and I find that’s a lot easier than calling

 

him up on the phone, and he has it in black and white in front of him. He can help you a great deal. We just made a merger with the Team Orlando. Anybody ever been to the ODY , the Orlando International Y. It’s a very fine facility. I was the first team there. It was the Justice Aquatic Center then and right next door is the Radisson Hotel, so the kids can stay in a hotel, I come down for meets, and they could come down at Christmas time and train there. I made that deal, up in Chicago, at one of these world clinics. And, stepped in there as the Justice Dolphins. Things went along for about a year, and then the finances got a little bit shaky. In the beginning, when we sat down to make our deal, they said what do you need. I looked at Bob and he looked at me, and I said a thousand dollars or ten thousand dollars.. but the owner Mr. Jesse said, could you do with a hundred thousand dollars. I think we can get buy… what do you think So, we had swim benches in there, we had every item you can think of, we had mirrors so the kids could see themselves swimming away from the mirror at backstroke. Everything you can think of. Very shortly thereafter, we got the bad news… I got the rumors that the place was going to go bankrupt, so I started easing out, and four days before it hit bottom, I got out of there. The owner went belly up. Seventy five million dollars. Luckily his father bailed him out, he had a couple race tracks down in Miami, and that’s one of the sad story. So, people I hope this has been beneficial to you.  GOD bless you.

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