6 great life lessons

A fantastic video from Goalcast with 3 of the very best life lessons you will ever hear on how to live..

1. Dont judge others.

2. Never be late. Its better to be an hour early than a minute late

3. Make sure your serving towel is begger than your ego. Ego is the anesthesia that deadens stupidity

John Wooden – greatest college basketball coach ever – his calling was to impact on peoples lives. Ever day he could be fund with a broom brushing the floor of his own gym.

You want to impact on people….find your broom

4. Be kind. It cost nothing to be kind.

5. If your going to do something, do it right.

Being good is not good enough if you can be better, being better i not good enough if you can be best.

How are you living?

6. Just stand. No matter how rough the seas of this life get, no matter how tough things are you dont give up you dont back down you keep standing.

Everyone fails in their life. And sometimes you even hit rock bottom but you know what, rock bottom is a pretty good foundation.

How are you living?

Love this video thanks to those who shared it and brought it to my attention.



C is for…….

This is an easy one for me.

is for


The dictionary describes




  1. consistent behaviour or treatment.

“the consistency of measurement techniques”


      2. the way in which a substance holds together; thickness or viscosity.

“the sauce has the consistency of creamed butter”

Try as I might I couldn’t think of of a way to get definition 2 into a blog on coaching. Best I could do was a tentative link to the viscosity of water 😕

So I’ll just have to go with definition 1.


Our program is built around a consistent, relentless effort. We work 8/9 pool sessions and 3/4 gym sessions and we train gets every day.

We live by the hashtag #TNDO

Now I understand the need to recover and those sessions are built into the program as and when needed. I monitor fitness and fatigue as closely as I can and back off when needs must. But, we don’t not train…..ever.


If you aspire to be world class, you have to behave in a world class way – everyday, everywhere, in everything.

It’s no good deciding to world class today then tomorrow switching off and drifting through. There There is no point trying to be world class in the pool if your lifestyle doesn’t match.

The harsh (?) reality is that we are that which we repeatedly do.

There needs to be consistency before there will ever been success.

The good news is that this is something YOU control, you can decide at any point to adopt those habits that will help you achieve your goals.

If your goals and dreams are big enough they will drive you to make the hard choices and stand out from the crowd and to be exceptional.

It’s all up to you

B is for…..

not-giant-enough-letter-bis for……

Backstroke …. maybe. I seem to have quite a bit of success with backstrokers starting with having been lucky enough to coach an athlete onto the 2008 Olympic team. Then more recently athelets who have broken every Irish junior record both long and short course on the backstroke and I currently coach the fastest Irish backstroker in history (danielle)

Bravery … possibly. I believe it takes courage to stick to your convictions. There will be times that people question you and what you do. There will be times when you question yourself. It wont all be plane sailing. However, in my opinion, it is only really possible to properly assess the process at the end, so its essential that you see it through. I have found that reflection is an absolute must when it comes to what we do. (I started this as a way to assist me in doing just that)

Belief … In what you do. If you dont believe it you will never achieve it (cheeeesy)

To be honest I could have chosen any number of things for this but I have elected to go for


How cool are these stone sculptures btw

Being balanced in swimming terms simply means being in the correct body position. cutting down on the drag. We spend countless hours working on body balance, drill after drill after drill specifically to work on the body position.


That would be a little predictable so, for the purpose of this Blog (another B), the balance that I feel has the biggest impact on my coaching is the work/life balance. How do you give the time that is undeniably needed to a career that is not only relentless or the athlete but also the coach? And, at the same time, give the attention to your family that they deserve (and if im honest, I much prefer)

Harper is 9 months old now, she is incredible, crawling around, getting into everything. At the minute Louise is still off work but, come January, when she goes back to work, I effectively become a working, stay at home Dad.

The balance has to be right.

There is no 1 size fits all answer, each of us has to find what works for them but we all need a balance between work and family life or we will never be able to stay the course.

**sometimes making the right choice is the hardest thing to do**

A is for…..

I thought that I would try to start a new series of blog posts.

‘The A – Z of coaching’

Now I should point out that I dont intent for this to be a ‘how to’ manual, or even overly in depth breakdown of how I coach. Rather, I intend for it to be a series of thoughts about elements of coaching that I feel resonate with me.

So here goes….

Ais for……..

I could have went for Aerobic (or Anaerobic for that matter), then I thought maybe Attrition was a better word, a word that ment something to me personally. By attrition I was thinking the relentlessness of the grind, but when I looked up the meaning of attrition it said

the process of reducing somethings strength or effectivness through sustained attack or pressure

(kind of the opposite of what a coach does or tries to do)

But thats not the attritional bit for me, the part that gets tiring , the part that can reduce you effectiveness is maybe the relentless nature of sport, the no rest til we’re done approach, the no compromises.

But those things are the things I like about sport, they are the reason I coach, I like the honest of it. I guess I dont find it attritional at all really. So back to the drawing board….

Then it struck me….. Attitude.


In the squad system we have adopted in Larne, the difference between being in the Junior National squad and the age group program comes down to attitude.

I dont believe in talent as a concept, I believe that everyone have the potenial to achieve all they wish to in life if they work towards it.

It wont be easy, there will be challenges, there will be failures along the way. How close you get to achieving your goals depends on how you react to these things…….and that comes down to attitude. 

The right attitude makes athletes coachable, and it makes coaches approachable. 

Your attitude impacts on every area area of your life, your performance, relationships and everyone around you.

We have a choice every day, we can choose to have an attitude of self-encouragement and self-motivation or we can elect to have one of self-defeat and self-pity, we all face this choice and the important thing is to remember that its not what is happening to you that is important but how you respond to those things. (easier said than done)

is key to success










Man Up

So, it appears everywhere I turn lately, men are getting a hard time, or, more specifically, masculinity is getting a hard time.

Masculinity is a set of attributes, behaviours and roles, generally associated with boys and men. It is both socially defined and biologically created.

The attributes we generally associate with masculinity generally fall into 2 groups

  1. The stuff we wrongly think is exclusive to men
  2. The stuff that really is exclusive to men (but which doesn’t do us any good)

In this first category we put things like courage, stoicism and a competence in traditionally manly tasks. The only problem here is that, having seen my wife give birth, this category is nonsense. In the second we put what we can probably best refer to as ‘emotional reserve’ but is really ‘emotional incompetence.

I believe that, inherent in the way a great many of us have been raised, a key feature of masculinity is an inability to answer the simple question – “what’s the matter”

As a man it feels somehow less masculine to be able to say, “actually yeah there is something I need to talk about”

Masculinity has somehow been turned into a negative thing.

Who says that men can’t cry?

Who says men can’t open up and talk about their feelings?

Who says that doing either of these things make anyone less masculine?

Surely being able to openly discuss your feelings takes a great deal of courage!

lets talk

I’m not suggesting that men should cry at the drop of a hat, that would annoy everyone, but being able to talk honestly about things that are affecting you is something that everyone should feel they can do.

Everyone has problems at some point in their life – its normal

Everyone goes through things that they find tough – its normal

In a world where the largest killer of men under 40 is suicide it is high time we reclaimed the word masculinity, embraced our differences, opened up about our problems and talk to each other.

I have been through some pretty dark times and, in my experience, your friends don’t judge you the way you fear they will. The hardest thing to do is take that 1st step and start the conversation but once you do you realise that you are not alone, that people do care.




There are people out there who care and can help, if you want someone to talk to check out CALM


Parents in Sport Week

Date :- 2nd – 8th October 2017


This is week is parents in sport week

The primary focus of parent in sport week is to highlight the valuable role parents play (and the positive influence they have) in ensuring that young people develop to their full potential and enjoy their time playing sport. Parents play a pivotal role in sport and young people depend on their support and encouragement.

I have, in the past, possibly been a little tough on parents (see my last post maybe). If this is the case then it is only because, as a coach of a youth team, I know 1st hand how important parents are in the development of their children. I witness the positive influence many, many, great parents have on their young aspiring athletes.

I understand the power a negative word or a negative outlook by parents has on the dreams and ambitions of many children.

Larne Swimming Club is an athlete centred, coach driven program designed to help every child reach their full potential in a safe and encouraging environment.

This would not be at all possible if it wasn’t for the tireless work that goes on behind the scenes by a small number of parents who sit on the committee and run the administrative and financial sides of the club. These parents set aside the personal ambitions they have for their own children to help the club develop every child within it. The coaching team is very ably augmented by a team of parents who come on poolside to help deliver the best program possible.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every volunteer parent who assists with the smooth running of the club, without you youth sport in general, and Larne SC specifically, would cease to exist.


I would also like to thank my own mum an dad for everything

Adventures in Swimming

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