Give the Gift of Motivation and Inspiration!


Give the Gift of Motivation and Inspiration!

What could be better than passing on your enthusiasm!

The best is yet to come!

click here http://www.brucewconner.com

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Faster as a Master Your best is yet to come!

 

 

 

 

Coaching


Mirrors are amazing devices. In my physical training, my coach and I frequently use mirrors to adjust my body position. Yet, I use mirrors in a figurative way as well. A coach is like a mirror. When we can see ourselves through the eyes of a coach, change becomes possible and probable. In contrast, trying to be my own expert has been disastrous for me. Selecting someone who can help me along my path is very important. Such a guide needs to be a good fit. I have had several coaches in my life in speed skating as well as other endeavors and no there is doubt I will have more. This coaching idea can be applied to any part of my life, the principles are universal. I trust that each coach who has come along has been the right one at the right time for my learning process.
The coach-athlete relationship needs to embody a certain synchronicity. Everyone puts out a certain vibration, and I’ve learned that following my gut and being sensitive to that feeling when picking a coach is very important. This will help the relationship grow, flourish, and be good for both of us. That is the goal in a perfect world. The real world is very different, but we must continually strive to obtain what we need.
The first question to ask when considering coaching is, “Am I coach-able?” This will be a rudimentary question for some and a very difficult one for others. I have been at opposite ends of this spectrum in different parts of my life. As a youngster, I attended a few summer camps to learn about skating and training. I had a correspondence relationship with a couple of coaches. One was Dutch and one was Norwegian. We wrote letters that took weeks to deliver. By learning as much as I could, I became my own expert. Because I developed some hard and fast rules for my training, I became unshakable in most of my ideas and was not very coach-able at the time.
Years later as a masters skater, I realized I had a lot of knowledge and expertise. I had wisdom based on my life experiences and was an expert on many things, but there was still some blockage where coaching was concerned. I was not moving forward as well as I could, so I accepted that I could not see myself as well as a coach could. I was becoming open to new ideas about how to do things, and I was now ready to listen to a coach.
My current coach says that I am very coach-able. To me, this means I am willing to hear what she has to say and try it to the best of my ability. I no longer feel that I have to justify what I am doing, just try to do it differently. This attitude has taken a long time to adopt. My ability to do so is connected to my improved self-esteem. The better we feel about ourselves, the easier it is to change. That’s what being coach-able is all about.
The coach-athlete relationship is similar to a family relationship in many ways. In order for it to work well and flourish, it must be given the priority of just below family.
Proximity is important in any relationship. Long distances are possible in coach-athlete relationships, but they can be hard. There is no substitute for looking into someone’s eyes and seeing their body language to get the feedback that a coach needs to make adjustments. Having a coach who can be on the scene is the best arrangement. When you are willing to do the work of finding and fostering a coach-athlete relationship, the benefits outweigh the costs every time.
Communication between a coach and an athlete is the only way an athlete can make progress. In order for the communication to be effective, I must be absolutely honest with myself first, then with my coach. My career in aviation has helped me to see what effective communication can do. To pass on those lessons, I will explain what I know works for me in the coach-athlete relationship.
For effective communication to take place, people must follow some essential steps. First, the idea must be verbalized. This verbalization must be done in a constructive way. The next step is timing. The information must take place when the athlete is attentive. If my coach yells something at me when I am totally focused on my performance, hearing is impossible. As a dad and soccer coach, I remember never to shout anything to the boy with the ball during a game. Talking to the boys without the ball is more effective. In addition, if the athlete is alert and attentive, then he or she has a better chance of hearing what the coach is trying to get across.
Conversely, as an athlete, I need to pay attention to what my coach is trying to get across to me. There is no harm in saying, “ Sorry, I could not hear you, say again?” or “What did you say? I could not listen till now.”
But for true communication to take place, the people involved must have a meaningful exchange. As a coach, you want some insightful response back from your athlete. If my coach tries to convey a point of technique to me, then says “Do you understand?” and I respond with a yes or a nod, she has no way of telling whether any real ideas were exchanged. On the other hand, if I say something meaningful or insightful back or if I physically demonstrate understanding, my coach knows I absorbed her point.
To sum up, it is important to communicate clearly, honestly, and when the listener is available to really listen. Then make sure that something meaningful and insightful is the result of the exchange. Everyone communicates differently. It is up to me, as an athlete, to make sure that I effectively take in what my coach is trying to get across to me. It is in my interest to have a coach and my responsibility to make the relationship work.

Find and foster a coach-athlete relationship and the rewards will great!

Here is my coach giving me split times on the backstretch and encouragement!

Here is my coach giving me split times on the back-stretch and encouragement!

How to start your best season ever!


Book signing Road Runner Sports, Wilmette, IL Saturday 1/31/2015 11am to 1pm.

How to start your best season ever!

This is a guide to getting started to have your best training and competition season ever.

First, did you rest, reflect, and recover from last season?  Are you ready to get started for the long haul?

Next, here are the steps required.

Set your intention.  Make your choices.

Outline an overall plan.  Your goals must be specific, measurable, and have a time frame.  Look at the entire season, then work backward to your training and preparations.  Start with the framework, then get specific.  Plan by the month, week, day, then each task in the workout.  Be flexible with the plan, it will change.

Get your network together for support.  Enlist the people around you that you need for help.  Tell them your plans.

Get your equipment together.  This includes what you need to compete, and train.  Remember to include good nutrition.

Enlist a coach or schedule some camps and clinics to learn more about your sport and competing.  Study training methods of other successful athletes that you know.  Do what works.  Do not reinvent the wheel.

Sign up for the competitions as soon as possible, book air travel, hotel rooms, rental cars, etc, now.  Make the committment.

Train as if you are competing.

Stay balanced in your efforts.  Start slow and build.  Keep your priorities straight.

Remember to attend to your emotional needs, they are just as important as the physical.  Schedule, yoga, meditation, etc, to keep balanced on the emotional side.  Rehearse your competition mentally so you are prepared to execute to the best of your ability.  See yourself accomplishing your achievements. Have visible reminders of the goals you have set.

Exercise courage in starting your plan.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Start walking…

Set your intention.  Make your choices.  Execute your plan.  You will get the results you work for.

Good luck on your journey, have the best season ever!

I have posted about each one of these subjects in detail in the last several months.  Check out my archives of past posts.

Photo by Jerry Search

Photo by Jerry Search

Training Principles Part 7: Mental Training


Training Principles 7: Mental training.

“Faster as a Master” book is now available to purchase directly from me.  Go to my website http://www.brucewconner.com to order.  Barnes and Noble Nook e-book version can be downloaded now and itunes will be available in just a few more days.

I just helped my coach Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr with a masters long track speed skating camp in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the last two days.  We had 30 excited, motivated, talented, masters skaters from the midwest and east coast.  What a great time to share our knowledge and wisdom so we can all get better.  Great to see old friends and make new ones.  I love being with my skating family and people that share my passion for skating excellence!

Mental training has three aspects for me. The first is rehearsal and visualization. While I am learning a new skill I need to rehearse and visualize a good process and outcome. As I make progress I will continually rehearse whatever I am working on to reinforce what I have learned to cement the neural connections in my brain and the links to my muscles.

The next part is to make a list of positive affirmations to create the landscape of where I want to go. By creating this future picture of myself I set up the conditions for me to live into the reality I have created.

The last aspect is preparation for my competition. I will take the rehearsal and visualization and apply it to the competition at hand. This preparation starts weeks and sometimes years before and ends when I cross the finish line and stand on the podium. I have developed a routine for competition and a mantra that I repeat to myself as I approach the starting line. This is when I apply my mental training to get the most out of my physical preparation. During the race I only have control of my execution, the physiology of my muscles is already set.

Next week I will discuss “Rest” as the last part of training.

Thanks for your continued support for this blog, my website, and my book!

500 Meters race start US Single Distance Championships January 2012, Milwaukee, Wi, Photo by Steve Penland

500 Meters race start US Single Distance Championships January 2012, Milwaukee, Wi, Photo by Steve Penland

Training Principles Part 6: Stretching


Training Principles Part 6: Stretching

Book update:  I am anticipating printing of the paperback and shipping to me arriving by 9/24.  Electronic versions may be available sooner.  I will update again soon.

Stretching, or you can call it mobility, has three uses for me, warm-up, cool down, and a separate yoga workout.

The first is during my warm-up process.  I have a repeatable routine so that I remember all of my stretches.  Creat one that works for you and modify it as you see fit.

I never stretch cold muscles, ligaments, or tendons. I bring my body up to a warm temperature by jogging, biking, or fast walking, then I stretch to get full range of motion of my joints. I like to think of my muscles as rubber bands. If I stretch a cold rubber band, it might break; a warm one is more flexible. When stretching for range of motion, I will hold a pose for about 10 seconds.

The second aspect of my stretching is after my cool down. The same routine but this time I will hold my poses for 30 seconds. The purpose of this kind of stretch is to increase flexibility, promote recovery, and prevent injury.

The third and last component is a workout designed just around stretching. Yoga is a great tool for me, so I try to do it weekly. Spending a whole hour stretching has benefits that go far beyond just flexibility, injury prevention, and range of motion. Yoga can help me open up the connection from my head to my heart, help me be mind-full and calm, and get re-charged and re-centered.  When I look forward to yoga and miss it when I can’t seem to fit it in , then I know its benefits are beyond the obvious.

I also have a daily appiontment with my “stick” roller.  By using my stick or some type of roller I can get to specific problem areas and work out soreness, promote circulation that helps recovery and increase flexibility immediately adjacent to joints.  There is some new proof that “rolling” is better than stretching for increased flexibility.  I am disciplined about doing all the above and it clearly works for me.

Next week is mental training.

Yoga pose

Yoga pose

Happy Fathers Day!


Happy Fathers Day to my Dad

Here is a poem he wrote about me when I was about 16.  The setting is a frozen lake in the upper midwest.

Thanks Dad for everything!

SPIRIT OF ’76 — OLYMPIC SPEED SKATER

Stark lean silhouette against a darkening sky
Measures effortlessly the ice in ten meter strides.
An imaginary track precisely surveyed in his mind
Guides his turn and glide strokes in mock slow motion.
Each movement carefully calculated to maximize the thrust
With arms reaching out, pulling back, swinging high behind.
Each foot under body center starts
Gigantic leg strokes too long for the horizontal torso.

Seventeen inch blades cut the ice subtly
So sharp they could easily shave the peach fuzz from his chin.
Breathing as measured as the pace stroke -and heart rhythmically beating to match. Muscles flexible in spite of the cold,
Straining to balance the relentless press of spirit.
Why does he stretch so? Who is he racing?
The other skaters are already laughing and drinking hot chocolate
Does he race Olympic ghosts McDermott and Blatchford?
Or is he chased by his own image?
And what does he hope to win? A fleeting flush of triumph?
A medal or trophy? A record someone will break tomorrow?
Or does he try to catch the goal of self respect
The lake ice is never smooth
With unforgiving cracks to keep his mind alert.
A chilling gust keeps balance honest.

Powdery shavings and grooves show other skaters have gone this way
Were all so highly motivated? Or so stubborn?
Did they feel the pleasant numbness-Not of cold but of tendons too stretched?

He counts six more full-effort laps.
Is this enough to beat the best?
Unsure, he fast-paces eight more.
A swirl of light snow blends with him at the far turn.
High flying geese seek a cornfield – not these icy shores.

Honk from a patient parent’s car calls him.
He slows, straightens, and circles to let the real world return.
H. W. Conner

With my Father Harold Conner at the rink in Salt Lake City, Utah

With my Father Harold Conner at the rink in Salt Lake City, Utah

24 Lessons From: “Faster As A Master”, Part Two


24 Lessons From: Faster As A Master Part Two

In my upcoming book “Faster As A Master” each chapter has a summarization of what I learned in the form of “Lessons:”

Here are the second twelve. Last week was the first twelve.

Each chapter has one or more stories, philosophies, and principles to illustrate my points. The statement of “Lessons:” is a summarization of what I have learned and apply to my journey of breaking down barriers and journeying toward wholeness.

Continued from last week…..

13. By enjoying the journey as well as the finish, I use goals as my vehicle forward to external and internal work toward wholeness.

14. Recognize and deal with the ego and emotions to your advantage.

15. Discipline to do bring my “A” game to everything I do, sets up the best outcomes.

16. Proper nutrition sets up the body and mind to do great work. Discipline with nutrition will pay great dividends internal and external.

17. Be coachable, find and foster a coach – athlete relationship.

18. Build the motor and learn how to apply it to your endeavor. Utilize the principles of, practice, warm-up, cool-down, volume, intensity, strength, cardio, periodization, stretching, mental training, and rest.

19. Prevention first, then apply RICE, learn from the event and move forward with changed expectations.

20. By continually reevaluating our plans and adapting we can uncover new ways to enjoy the journey and achieve our goals.

21. Competition can reveal our true selves providing growth and healing.

22. Balance is a great barometer for all parts of my life internal and external.

23. Honest mindful attention to my thinking will guide me through all of my internal and external activities toward wholeness.

24. Take the risk, keep moving with courage, practice gratitude for the journey toward wholeness.

Longs Peak Colrado

Longs Peak Colrado