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Charlie Houchin Looks For What’s Next

Charlie featured in an article on USA Swimming’s website. Excerpt:

“I’m as motivated now as I’ve ever been, and the changes I’ve made in my life as a professional swimmer have paid off. In my training, I try to do something different each day – focus on power one day, race pace on another, threshold sets on another, etc. – all while keeping focus on the stroke.”

While excited about the opportunity to swim well at upcoming nationals and make his second World Championship team, Houchin said, just as he did at Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games last summer, he will approach the meet as the “end-all.”

He said he knows the outcomes will take care of themselves, and he will rely upon the structure and hard work that have put him where he is today.

“It’s easy to spend so much time earning a spot that you lose sight of why you’re really there: because you love swimming,” Houchin said. “I know I’m still having fun, and I’ve let the performances take care of themselves.

“Personally, I try to focus on the moment whenever possible – the fans, the sounds, the memories, the friends. Those are the things that stay with you no matter where you are or where you go.”



New Year’s Video: U2 – Until The End Of The World

To Be A Stotan

Excerpt from the writing of legendary running coach and philosopher Percy Cerutty:

“A Stotan is one who hardens,strengthens,toughens and beautifies the body by consistent habits and regular exercises,which are consciously and irrevocably made part of the life plan of the individual,as well as consciously determining that the mind will be cultivated upon such abstractions as purity,beauty and logic. Erudition,in as complete a degree as possible,shall be the lifelong aim: Truth,in relation to all aspects of life,the unending search.

Stotans will,by virtue of their philosophy,be nature lovers,with a respect and appreciation of all evolved and created things.They will appreciate the sanctity of creative effort both in themselves and in others. They will strive to understand the significance implied by reality,will be able to discern the real from the spurious.

Stotans, for all the reasons that their philosophy stands for(viz:hardness,toughness,unswerving devotion to an ideal) would look upon the sea as their pristine element and endeavor to associate themselves with their primeval source of life by going into the sea at least once per month in all seasons of the year. No practice is more disposed to toughen,both the body and the morale,than this.

Stotans believe that neither the body nor the mind can be maintained at a high pitch of efficiency unless sufficient and regular rest is obtained, and aim at a average of 8 hours sleep. Stotans shall so regulate their lives that at the end of a period varying with the intensity of the effort,each shall realize that they have attained,without conscious striving,to a state of knowledge,and a position of leadership in the community(editor:as several Cerutty trained athletes eventually did).It is axiomatic that only the pure can understand purity,only the cultivated appreciate beauty, and only the strong truly measure their strength. Therefore,only the self-disciplined can command genuine respect.

A program shall be aimed at which shall be designed to train each Stotan:

a. To withstand severe physical hardship,to accomplish feats of strength and endurance,to understand orderliness,and the true meaning of intelligence.

b.To know himself as an organism and a personality.

c. To emerge,eventually emancipated,from all dogmas,creeds and beliefs,as well as worldly and unworldly hopes and fears.

d. To habitually function upon the highest planes of thought and physical effort.

e. To place the objective of an alert,informed intelligence,and a perfected body,as primary in Life. And to arrive at the conclusion that all else will follow on.

f. To learn that on this basis the whole world,and all that it has to offer,opens out as a vision,splendid,normal and realizable.

g. To understand that Past,Futures,Fates,Fears,Death,Selfishness,Egoism,Pride,Envy,Hate,and Prejudice can be replaced by Intelligence that controls emotion,dominates destiny,manifests completeness,and exults in life.

h. To understand that in actuality,evolved man is a King,but without the trappings. That Kingship is his right and destiny. That we can make ourselves,in time,all that we would. That we honor real men but are subservient to none.

In addition,Stotans shall train themselves to withstand, stoically,personal criticism,also,skepticism as the necessity or wisdom of such a Way of Life. In this regard,Stotans soon learn they command knowledge,experience,and ability not available to the prejudiced,the ignorant,or the slothful.

There is no giving up throughout life. The first pre-requisite for a Stotan is tenacity.

To live this Way of Life can be hard. It is not for weaklings.It is the Way that is travelled by all the truly great ones.It requires strenuous effort of body and mind.”

Duke Children’s Hospital/Hyundai Hope On Wheels

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Yesterday I was fortunate to be asked to speak on behalf of patient families at Duke Children’s Hospital and help them accept a check for $325,000 for cancer research from Hyundai’s Hope On Wheels campaign. Hyundai has donated $1.4 million for Duke Children’s and more than $52 million for research to battle childhood cancer over the past 10 years.


DukeChildrens Hyundai Hope On Wheels

A big thanks to all of the Hyundai dealers in the Southeast U.S. for their outstanding and continued support for childhood cancer research!

[iX3]sports is proud to be a part of that effort. As a part of TeamNEGU and supporters of Duke Children’s Hospital, we encourage everyone interested in our efforts to support of these outstanding organizations.

If this was all just about going fast it wouldn’t be worth doing.


Charlie With News 4 JAX

Charlie gets some air time on News 4 Jax following his return from London.

Houchin: Swimming Pales In Comparison

If it was all just about swimming fast it wouldn’t be worth doing. Here is a brief interview Charlie did for Beyond The Ultimate which illustrates the point:

SpeedFrame: Performance Analysis Framework


Speed is a highly sought after commodity in athletics. Sports fans and journalists marvel at the speed of gifted athletes. Coaches and athletes at all levels seek to increase their speed. Clearly, a high premium is placed on speed, and speed is an important component in maximizing performance. Loren Seagrave, Chief Performance Officer with Velocity Sports and coach of a number of successful sprinters, recommends that all training be conducted in a “speed context,” even endurance training. So, the important questions are: What is it? And how do I develop it?

One of the most useful ways of breaking down and understanding speed that I’ve discovered was developed by martial artist, Bruce Lee. Through research in many forms of movement disciplines, he developed his own philosophies and training methods. These methods incorporated elements from many martial schools, both Eastern and Western. Lee broke the broad category of speed into five types: Perceptual Speed (PcS), Mental Speed (MS), Initiation Speed (IS), Performance Speed (PfS), and Alteration Speed (AS).

Using this lens to view an individual’s performance, training and development allows us to illuminate areas of where performance/speed can be enhanced. I call this model SpeedFrame Performance Analysis Framework. Through the training and development of each type of speed in the model, an individual can become faster, more efficient, more effective, and therefore perform at a much higher level. As you will see, each type of speed influences the others and any deficiency in one area will have a negative effect on the overall speed. An individual’s speed is the sum total of each of these types of speed.

SPEED = PcS + MS + IS + PfS + AS

In the following sections, we will briefly examine each type of speed and its implications for improved performance.
Types of Speed

1. Perceptual Speed

“Quickness of eye to see openings and to discourage the opponent, confusing him and slowing him down.”

The final outcome of a particular action is determined by the initial analysis of the field of competition and an understanding where the opportunities lie. An incorrect analysis will cascade throughout the course of an action resulting in decreased speed and less than ideal or even disastrous results. It is therefore essential to have vision, informed experience and instinct, with perhaps an emphasis on the later, in designing training and competition plans.

This also has implications for learning specific motor skills. The time it takes to learn proper techniques can be reduced by utilizing skill development strategies that increase the perceptual speed of the athlete. Properly taught skill drills increase the Kinesthesia or Proprioception abilities of the athlete which allow him to “feel” or perceive the correct movements.

2. Mental Speed

“Quickness of mind to select the right move to frustrate and counter the opponent.”

At this point, one is beginning to transition in to strategy and tactics. There is still a good deal of analysis to complete at this step as there are many ways to act. The opportunities lie with those who are able to select the best method of achieving a desired goal. If this decision is not correct or it takes too long, the field of competition may have changed so completely that the initial assessment is irrelevant.
All sports involve strategy, tactics, and planning. Athletes in individual events – running, swimming, etc… typically have a race plan in place prior to taking the starting line. Coaches and athletes in team sports devise plays and formations to achieve advantage and in many cases to disguise intent.

3. Initiation Speed

“Economical starting from the right posture and with the correct mental attitude.”

Knowing the right move to make will do you no good unless you are in a position to execute that move. This requires having the right people in the right places at the right time. If you are not able to position yourself or your team correctly and efficiently, your chances of success are diminished.
The second part of initiation speed is critical, perhaps the most critical – you must begin having the “correct mental attitude.” Athletes must “buy-in.” Belief is crucial. Action without conviction is empty – meaningless.

4. Performance Speed

“Quickness of movement in carrying the chosen move into effect. Involves actual muscle contraction speed.”

This is the act itself. This is where skills, developed through training and experience, are employed. Skills developed to the point of pure action without thought or training are most efficient at this stage. If they are not, then your performance will be slowed as thought interferes with act. This is where many athletes spend the majority of their time training, but this only one component of speed and performance improvement.

5. Alteration Speed

“The ability to change direction midstream. Involves balance and inertia.”

This is the point at which one evaluates the performance and its effects and makes adjustments accordingly. It is in some ways a return to the beginning of the cycle. The types of speed are not separate or discrete. They flow continuously, one into the next. If one does not have balance when attempting to change direction, you will fall. Likewise, if one’s inertia exceeds the capacity to balance, the change will fail.


This is only a brief introduction to how the SpeedFrame model can be utilized to analyze athletic performance and make decisions regarding training and development. In addition to athletic performance analysis, SpeedFrame can be used in other contexts: Organizational analysis, education, usability testing to name a few. Daniel Coyle has a post with similar thoughts regarding performance speed – How to Build Better Reflexes: Forget Speed and Focus on Information.

Friday Night Video: John Mayer – No Such Thing

Arcade Awesomeness

Found this film linked by both Seth Godin and Daniel Pink. Said it was worthwhile, “The best 11 minutes you will spend today.” They were right.

Caine’s Arcade