Knowledge, skills and desire – The success combo

You’ve got to know what to do, how to do it, and you’ve really got to want to do it! Knowledge, Skills and Desire – the success combo

The crucial combo of knowledge, skills and desire will ensure that you’re successful in whatever you’re trying to do – whether it be driving a car, or reaching a weight loss goal. Miss out one of these elements and your goal will be unreachable until the gap is filled.

5 Tips To Avoid Drowning At The Beach

The beach is Australia’s favourite playground and we flock there by the millions every summer.

Learning to swim to survive is the most important thing you can do to stay safe in any aquatic environment – and is the #1 most important thing to learn before you get to the beach.

But, whether you’re a hardcore ocean swimmer or a graceful toe-dipper, the beach can be an unforgiving and dangerous place once you’re there.

While fun is usually at the top of our minds on beach days, so to should be your safety. Don’t get caught out this summer by taking un-necessary risks when you visit the beach.

OceanFit’s new Ocean Responsibility Code has been designed to educate you to make ocean safety your responsibility.

Keep to The Code to have fun and stay safe at the beach this summer.

OceanFit’s top 5 ocean safety tips from The Code:

1. Respect the ocean

The ocean environment is powerful, unpredictable and home to hidden dangers.

This might not be a practical tip, but it is #1 for a good reason. If you don’t respect the ocean then you will be caught out. Top watermen respect the ocean because they know of its immense power and unforgiving nature – you should respect it too.

2. Swim at patrolled beaches

Swim between the red and yellow flags on beaches patrolled by lifeguards.

This should be a no-brainer.  When you swim at a patrolled beach you have the added comfort and protection of knowing trained lifeguards are keeping watch. The flags are the safest area to swim, but if you’re on a surfboard you’ll need to keep out – in this instance just keep close.

Statistically the majority of drowning deaths occur on unpatrolled beaches during unpatrolled times.

3. If in doubt, stay out

It’s safer to stay out of the water if you’re unsure of the conditions or your ability.

When you respect the ocean this tip shouldn’t be a problem. You can avoid getting into trouble in the water by simply staying out when it’s beyond your ability, confidence or fitness levels.

If you decide to stay out, make the most of your trip to the beach by catching some rays, enjoying a coffee with a view or doing a bit of soft sand running.

4. Watch out for each other

Swim with a buddy and keep within sight and arms reach of children at all times.

No matter what your ability level always swim with a buddy. The ocean is unpredictable so you need to look out for each other. If you’re in a group do a head count when you get in, buddy up and re-count when you leave the water.

When it comes to children there’s no let off, you need to keep 100% visual contact. Hold the hands of babies and toddlers, and keep within arms reach of younger children.

5. Remain calm and raise an arm

If you get into difficulty: remain calm, float to conserve your energy and raise an arm for assistance.

People who panic waste their energy and make stupid decisions that can cost them their lives.

If you find yourself out of your depth you need to remain calm, float with your head above water and think about your options. On patrolled beaches you can raise your arm for the assistance of a lifeguard. On unpatrolled beaches continue to float, get the attention of surfers and other beach users and wait for them to organise a rescue.

Wetsuits: To Wear Or Not To Wear

As the temperature starts to warm up towards summer, the sea temperature along the eastern seaboard of Australia doesn’t warm up as rapidly, with cooler ocean currents being brought in by strong afternoon North-easterly winds that are common during this time of the year.

I’ve done a lot of swimming in the ocean at Terrigal (NSW, Central Coast) over the last 30 years and generally find the ocean to be cooler at this time of the year (14-17 degrees Celsius) compared to the middle of winter winter (17-20 degrees Celsius) because of this.

With the ocean being cool for endurance ocean swims at this time, organisers of events are often thrown into disarray as to whether or not they give swimmers the option to wear a wetsuit.

Many studies have shown that wetsuits provide advantages in speed, buoyancy, confidence, warmth and safety, particularly with weaker swimmers where the differences in time over a specific distance are more significant compared to those who swim quicker.

I’ve heard very experienced ocean swimmers mention that wetsuits don’t belong in ocean swim events as it goes against the spirit and challenge of the sport.

A lot of debate has taken place on this topic, with many believing that swimmers should be given the option to wear a wetsuit if the water is below a certain temperature.

In one ocean swimming race held at this time last year, organisers held a non wetsuit swim and many swimmers were pulled out from the water or treated for hypothermia following the race.

This was a big safety concern and fortunately nothing too serious occurred.

The following weekend, under similar conditions, competitors were given the option to wear a wetsuit and many participants did this.  Fewer people were actually treated for hypothermia because of these safety precautions that were put in place.  The small number of people treated were non wetsuit swimmers.

There are many ocean swims that take place throughout Australia over the warmer months.

Rules are varied as the events are often determined by the organisation providing sanctioning for the event. Some offer both wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions to try and entice more swimmers to participate.  In this case, the results for each division are kept separate with different awards given to both divisions.

Others, like the enjoyable, well known and popular Pier to Pub Race held in the cool waters at Lorne, Victoria each January allows all competitors to wear a wetsuit, while others held in warmer Queensland waters, are often non wetsuit swims.

Regular ocean swimmer competitor and a fellow training partner of mine, Don Boland recently invested in a wetsuit for the upcoming NSW ocean swim season, knowing that if he wanted to be competitive and feel comfortable in all events for the season, he would be needing one for a few of the races that he decides to participate in.

Competitive swimming wetsuits can vary in price from anywhere between $400 and $1200, depending on the brand, size, make, etc.

Personally, I choose not to wear a wetsuit unless I am competing in a wetsuit optional race. I could give you the reasons for this but don’t think it my job to convince people to ditch their wetsuits or look down on others if they don’t.

At the end of this, I believe if wearing a wetsuit will get more people to try the great sport of ocean swimming, I am all for it.

What do you think?

Do I have swimmers shoulder? How to diagnose your shoulder injury

Swimmers shoulder is inflammation in the tendons of the muscles you use to swim.

These muscles become inflamed from repetitive strokes, whether that be in the pool, or the ocean.

The more powerful pulling muscles cause an imbalance with the straightening technique muscles and this imbalance can cause the tendons to become inflamed from pinching against the bone surface.

Swimmers shoulder symptoms

There are two different types of swimmers shoulder, and determining which type is very important as it will guide your treatment and rehab.

  • Type 1– is pain on the pull through phase, when the hand is in the water.
  • Type 2– is pain on the recovery phase, when the hand is out of the water.

The most common reasons why swimmers shoulder occurs is poor technique and fatigue.

Poor technique leads to using the wrong muscles to swim.

What happens is that the larger, more powerful muscles cause the smaller rotator cuff muscles to fatigue quicker as they have been working harder to stabilise the shoulder.

When a muscle fatigues it is at a greater risk of injury, and as the swimmer continues to train with fatigue they cause further damage and inflammation.

Using large hand paddles in the pool or too much resistance causes poor technique and requires muscles around the shoulder to work harder. Again this causes increased fatigue leading to damage and inflammation.

Overtraining causes shoulder muscles to fatigue. Quite often, the tired athlete takes more strokes to complete a lap or an effort, due to a loss of efficiency. This increase in number of strokes causes technique to suffer increasing damage and inflammation.

The most important thing to note about technique is that everyone can swim efficiently with good technique when you are thinking about it, rested and fresh. It’s what your technique is like when you are under pressure training and racing that makes a difference as to whether you will get swimmers shoulder.

Swimmers shoulder video lessons

Why You Shouldn’t Self-Diagnose Your Injuries

People tend to think that previous athletic experience is more important than knowledge when it comes to injury rehab and performance.

One of the biggest frustrations that so many physio’s have is when someone comes in for treatment  with a self-diagnosis saying that they know what is wrong with them because their coach, their parent and sometimes even their neighbour told them that they had had or seen the same thing and so therefore it had to be this or that.

Choose Personal Experience Over Professional Advice At Your Own Peril

Whenever I hear this, I tell the individual a story about a young rugby league player.

He was playing in the junior divisions of a very popular NRL team.

The player sustained a cork in the muscles around his shin and came off the field.

The coach said he was soft and that plenty of players played on with corks.

He couldn’t run and so stayed off the field.

This team didn’t have a Doctor or a Physio, and the coach said after the game to just ice the cork as he’d had plenty in his day and he’d seen plenty of his players have them as well and that it would settle really quickly. So the player went home.

However the pain was so bad that he went off to an emergency department.

He was triaged in the emergency dept. and the nurse told him it was just a cork and that there was going to be a long wait to see a Doctor so he called a few players and his coach and asked for their advice.

They said he would be fine, so he left the emergency department.

The pain didn’t settle and so he returned to the emergency department the next day. This time there was no real wait to see a Doctor.

What follows is what nightmares are made of.

The Doctor was shocked he had waited so long to see someone. He was also shocked that the team didn’t have a Physio and that he hadn’t been rushed to hospital after he came off the field.

From there the young player was rushed into surgery where they did everything to try and save his leg. Five hours later he emerged from the operating theatre with a below knee amputation.

In short, corks to the lower leg have a high risk of causing compartment syndrome. The muscle bleeds from the impact and can’t escape. This pressure builds up and blocks the blood supply to the surrounding areas. Without blood, the surrounding areas become ischemic and die.

So what went from a relatively common footy injury, ended up costing the young player his leg.

There were many problems in the chain of events, but the main problem was that people were placing personal experience over professional advice.

This is an extreme case, but a valuable lesson.

Your shoulder pain, neck pain, ankle, knee etc isn’t necessarily the same as your neighbours. So get it checked out by a professional before you do anything else.

Correct Swimming Technique Comes First

We see so many keen swimmers completing lap after lap of highly inefficient swimming technique. Their aim is to improve and get faster.

But what we see is struggle and fight, sometimes fear response kicks in, the look of ‘oh my god, will I get my next breath’.

Rather than swimming, it looks like a serious of survival breaths linked with some frantic arm and leg movements!! Sound familiar?

Exhaustive, inefficient swimming that lacks sustainability over any reasonable distance!

However, we know that…..

“If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you always got.” 
-W.L. Bateman

If your stroke is within certain limits of efficiency, and has the key elements of balance, streamlining and propulsion then you have the capacity to improve your speed and overall performance, thereby reaping the benefits of the strength and endurance you have gained during your training sessions.

The key is to get stronger and faster but never lose your technique.

In every swim workout session and with every swimming stroke you need to make sure you focus on your technique, no matter how tired you are or how hard the training might be.

So let’s introduce you to some basics.

Total Immersion (TI) Freestyle Demo – Terry

What words spring to mind when you watch Terry swim?

Correction Swimming Technique

The building blocks to easy efficient swimming come from being ‘aware’ in the water. Awareness come from relaxing and releasing tension, which in turn comes from our first goal of attaining a ‘balanced body’ in the water.

Here are some TI concepts to get your head around!

  • Decrease energy waste, instead of increasing energy supply
  • Let conditioning happen, while you practice efficient swimming
  • Swim fast, rather than hard
  • Learn ease, before focusing on speed or endurance
  • Balance will make the biggest difference by far on your swimming efficiency
  • To learn even simple skills the brain must sense that the body is supported and stable

This week, when you swim. Ask yourself if your body is balanced in the water? (an unbalanced body would feel like your feet and legs dragging through the water)