Category Archives: Baby Swim Coach Hill

MO-vember


Its that time of year again.

Time to forgo the beard i love so much and take a stand for something more important than my facial hair.

In a year when I think that maculinity and ‘being a man’ has taken some hits I worry that men will do what we generally do and not talk about what bothers us.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men my age in the UK. That is a shocking fact!

We need to break the stigma that we can feel around mens health issues and shine a light on the reality that men suffer too and that its ok to not be ok.

It is good to talk – its not just a handy hashtag.

In a time when it generally seems to be ok to bash men for being masculine in a way its not ok to bash any other group, men need to stand up and show the difference between masculinity and masogyny or chauvinism.

Men cry

Men get sick

Men have problems

Men need help

Men need to realise that they are men and ask for help

This year I became a father for the first time, a truly wonderful experience. An experience that got me thinking about my own mortality, I want to gros old to walk Harper down the aisle (in the unlikely event that she ever finds someone I deem good enough). I made a decision to be more proactive about my health.

Scariest thing? Phoning up to make a prostate exam appointment.

Second scariest thing? Going for it.

The truth however is, it was a blood test, not scary at all.

I dont have a huge circle of friends……not sure if there are even enough to form a rudimentary circle, but I know if I need them, they can be reached and will listen and, I hope, they know the same.

Again, in my experience, starting the conversation is the hard bit, but friends wont judge you and will listen and support.

Men are facing a crisis right now – WE ARE DYING TOO YOUNG

If you feel you can, help me raise a little cash through the MOvember foundation by clicking the link to my page below. More importantly help us break the stigma surrounding mens health – start the conversation

https://mobro.co/13599598?mc=1

#itsgoodtotalk

#movember

#menshealth

#itsoktonotbeok

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Wake up Men #mhaw2017


So here is a statistic for you……

The Biggest killer of men under 45 in this country is suicide!!!

Of the 6000 or more lives lost in Britain to suicide EVERY YEAR, 75% are men!

A little late but still

With all the terrible diseases we could  catch, all the accidents we could have, all the potential ways we could kill each other, men still kill themselve more freuently than any thing else.

QUESTION – what goes on in our heads, as men, that leads us to take this, most ultimate, step with such staggering regularity?

ANSWER – No one knows

WHY? Because we are stubborn and flatley refuse to talk about it

What else could it be? There is no evidence to suggest that men get hit harder than women by depression.

Rather than talk aboit it we bury our heads in the sand (or bottle) and our depression remains hidden away behind a mask and  multitude of ‘im fine’s

Its not the way we have been raised, we learn that feelings and talking about them is not for ‘real men’. Men get on with it and are ‘fine’ 

The problem with this is that we do have feelings and at times of stress they can get away from us and when they do……we are totally unequiped to deal with it.

I undetstand the stress that, as men, we go through. Maybe more now than at any point in my life. I have been through talking therapy (and I hate it), I have been on pills and wasted countless days staring at the floor, I have experienced the black clouds that decend and engolf you.

Im self employed and that bring stress and now I worry will I be able to provide for Harper, do I earn enough to give her the education she needs etc. Its ‘normal’ parent pressure i guess but it doesnt take much to see how it can snowball out of control.

The reality is that what Harper needs is her dad, and for him not to become another statistic. 

The  older I get the more I realise that its not just a nice phrase it is ‘good to talk’ 

As men we need to to do it more about all our health issues both seen and unseen


#MHAW2017

#gogreen

Parents in Sport


Our biggest regional contest of the season has just passed and, while it is no longer the main focus for the guys I actively coach, it is still the biggest meet of the year for the vast majority of young swimmers in Ulster. 

They train all season to just qualify and, hopefully, swim a personal best at this meet. Some clubs competing very well off limited pool time which made me think that we are not only incredibly lucky to have as much as we do but also very ungrateful for the opportunities that we have, but that’s for another day.

I was fortunate to be able to sit back for a lot of the meet and just watch. 

Watch how swimmers interact with other swimmers, the coaches and their parents. Watch how our younger swimmers go about preparing for competition, relax between races and react to feedback at the end of each race.

I noticed that, in a large percentage of cases, the only feedback that mattered was not from the Coach but from parents. Theirs was the first face sought out, the first reaction gauged. 

It got me thinking, as a new parent, the responsibility on parents to react the correct way is huge.

As a sports coach, I want the athletes I coach to improve, to reach their full potential, to excel in this sport. That won’t happen if there isn’t a love for the sport. Without a love for it will young swimmers get up at 04:30 6 days a week? Unlikely. 

How do we ensure that young people have a long, successful career in the sport they choose?

It starts very early, sports should be fun for kids. With all the pressure and money in professional sports  (not necessarily swimming in Ireland I must admit) its easy to forget that this is not a business for the kids involved. 

The primary goal should be to have fun and enjoy healthy competition.

People compete in sports for many reasons including (but not limited to)

1. They enjoy the competition

2. The social aspect

3. Engage with being in a team

4. The challenge of goal setting

As a parent you may have a different agenda and it is important to recognize that this is their sport, not yours.

We live in a world that is focused on results and winning, but winning comes from working through a process and enjoying the journey. As parents our role should be to emphasis a focus on the process of the challenge of taking the next step, the next stroke, the next race, rather than on the time or number of medals.

We are role models for our children, the biggest influence on their young lives. As such, we should be a model of poise and composure. As I saw at the weekend, your young athlete will mimic your behaviour in how you react to a close race or a poor decision etc. Stay calm, composed and in control at these times and your young athlete can mimic these behaviours instead of the negative ones.

Here are 3 simple tips to help us find the right balance as parents.

Refrain from ‘in-game’ coaching. During a competition,  it’s a time to let the athlete trust the training and the Coach.  Save the coaching for the Coach and concentrate on encouragement instead.

Your child needs help to detach self-esteem from achievement.  Too often an athletes level of self esteem comes from their level of performance or meet outcomes. It is vital that they understand they are your child FIRST and they just happen to also be an athlete rather than the other way round. Success or number of medals should never determine a person’s self-esteem.

Ask the right questions after competitions will tell your child what you think is important in sports.  Ask “did you win?” They think winning is most important. “Did you have fun?” They assume enjoyment is the key.

Thanks 2 Dr Patrick Cohn for the pyschology guidelines