Paul Yetter - Building Better Coaches, Developing Better Humans
See more at https://oceanjunction.com/. Welcome to the on-deck show, a show that looks at people and organizations working to make things better for folks like you and I; every day, this morning, we have the pleasure of speaking with Paul Yetter from the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. We dive into philosophy, some technical aspects of swimming, we talk a lot about club development, and we dive into the parallels between athletic growth and human development. Great interview.
What follows is an unedited summary of our talk with Paul Yetter
"Coaches have a key impact on the development of young people through their actions, and also through time spent working with them."
Paul Yetter, Senior Head Coach at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club,was on the show.
We talk about development and the parallels between athleticdevelopment and human development.
Paul has been through several great programs, includingAuburn, Florida and North Baltimore, so give me a high-level description ofeach of them.
Paul is working with coaches to improve the coachingcommunity, and I've worked with different people.
Murray Stevens learned a lot from Michael Phelps' coach, and Murraylearned a lot from coach Bowman.
At Auburn, I learned so much about myself and the power ofoptimism, as I had so much trouble being pessimistic, and it brought on a lotof negative things.
In order to better serve his athletes, Paul started a newtradition and culture T2 Aquatics.
I want to come back to the power of optimism versus passingthe pessimism.
In the 1990s the world had its spotlight on north Baltimore.
A culture of excellence was established at the NBAC swim club.
After swimming for the Potomac LSC, Mason moved to the NBAC,where he was coached by John Mason.
I was moving from a different state to a different school andI didn't know what the tradition was rich. Beth Botsford, an athlete from NBAC,was based 45 minutes away from her home, and was a hard worker.
When I was 10 years old, I got her autograph and knew this kidwas going to be a great swimmer.
The MVAC values swimming fast and practicing, which isimportant throughout longer workouts.
NABC does a lot of "race pace" training and they doit throughout long workouts, longer repetitions.
The ultra-short race-based screening is not unique tohigh-level USA swimming teams, but it is interesting to see the technical sideof it.
Years ago Jason had the opportunity to do an apprenticeshipdown at the Queensland Academy of Sport where I learned from many top coaches.
Stephan was training with ultra-short race, pace training,which he called reverse periodization, and he wanted to get your your take onit.
In North Baltimore, the ultra-short race is something you'vealways done, so it's not a new thing.
You're ahead of the curve of swimming, we were going 9,000 to13 or 14,000 yards per weekend.
During the early 2000s, with my training group, we wereswimming several times a week and swimming fast at the end of the practice.
If you want to work on speed, do a thousand or 2000, and thenmaybe 50 moderate, 50 fast.
We take it seriously that they have to swim. So we take itseriously, and that really sets up.
At the time, the team trained at Loyola high school and wasinspired by Theresa Andrews.
After moving from Song Club to Meadowbrook, the picture of theOlympians was posted on the wall. The wall was 50 meters high.
In the 50 meter pool, athletes broke in on one side of thepool, and pictures were taken in the middle.
This athlete was eight when she saw the wall and she told Tomthat she wanted to be a part of this thing.
People at NBAC aren't afraid of going fast, and the coachesaren't as worried as they may be about the competition.
If somebody has a good practice, they don't get an elbow fromsomeone within the lane.
Grant Hackett and people like him redefined fast and what itmeans for a swimmer.
The flip of a switch and a mindset change are more importantin improving your performance than getting a little bit better each day.
NBAC had the kids training in between the old and the new.
Michael Phelps, our youngest kids, were talking with him whilethey got into the pool.
Parents of NABC kids are among the least pushy parents on theteam.
Paul's kids swam when they were seven, and my ten-year-oldslams. They're building an identity as athletes by working hard at theirsports.
A lot of people have to take care of their homework, but I thinkmy team is different.
How much symmetry can you see between Auburn, Florida, and NBAC?
When I got to Florida, the tradition was the same as when Igot to Auburn.
The Olympic record board, people on the Auburn team, and theOlympic medals are great.
We had kids that weren't swimmers that were doing their firstswim practice with their phones.
I started working with the satellite team to teach kids how toswim and to do flip turns.
Some kids could swim, but the fact that we had many new peoplemeant that we had to teach the sport.
It wasn't a true expansion franchise, but they won the superbowl in 2000.
At T2, we wanted to establish a certain style of playing. Wetook a lot of what we learned from my brother's coaching and joined it withKevin Ertell's.
Coach Hyatt and swam very well during the years that Eric andHyatt were together. She also contributed to the culture of the team.
Over time, I think my definition of success has changed, but Istill try to help people to reach their full potential.
My coaching style is a little more holistic now, and I getathletes to swim fast.
Fast swimming is a huge part of life and it is something thatyou should reflect on.
I think people get sick of their lives because of theirswimming or their athletics, or they get sick of reflecting on their own lives.
Because of the inaccuracy of your own reflection, you can'treally see how well you're doing.
I've been taught that you need to get your athletes to buyinto the sport and have an identity of being an athlete.
The practice of yoga is part of our identity, and we can startpracticing as young as 8 or 9 times a week.
It's hard to stay consistent and build confidence, but havingseen the results is good.
People build up an identity in swimming, and at the end of theday, it's the swimmer who is greater than the swimmer.
When someone is responsible for everything, it's hard tocontrol things if the person hasn't developed their personal side.
Coaches try to help athletes achieve success, but it'simportant for coaches to have a soul.
The best people are those who can swim, and you can't be astudent, a professional, or a single parent without having these skills.
All the lessons you teach in your program would apply in anormal family.
The athletes I've coached have gone on to do what many othershave done.
Students who train at the U.S. military academy are trained tobe doctors and lawyers, to become swimming coaches and to serve in themilitary.
Coaches help people see the big picture, which is somethingthey need to do on a daily and weekly basis.
You're a coach and are involved in helping other coachesbecome better and helping the swimming community. How can others help you?
To help other people reach their full potential, you need towork with other coaches to get better.
It's really difficult to coach 55 kids or 30 kids or 25 kidsin the same two-hour span.
I realized that a T2 was needed to help drive the culture ofexcellence on a daily basis.
I was like, I have no choice but to work with other coaches tobuild a culture that is similar to the culture we have within the school.
After creating a high school coaches course, Chris Ritter,founder of Ritter Sports Performance, was talking through podcasts withcoaches.
We were doing some stuff and I mentioned a course to him andthen sold it through his platform.
The main thing that I do is run these zoom calls every twoweeks with different coaches. We've had four or five guests on the show, and weeither discuss a topic or just throw out some stuff.
We talk about how to prepare for the 200 freestyle, and someof the things we talked about are X's and O's.
I think the podcast is a fun outlet and I'm getting new ideasfrom it every week.
Chris's access to this group is part of a business they run,and it's part of the hive.
Chris's website has a section calledthe hive where coachesare interviewed for an hour.
The library is a yearly membership thing, so you apply onceyou're purchased.
Everybody gets accepted into the group. They upload theirrecordings and have discussions in the group slack.
It's all private in our group, so people can link to it.
So it's deep within the groups, and I have a speed chart fromthe Queensland academy of.
I want to tell you where you need to be at 15 meters off thewall to get a certain time.
When you're talking about getting videos of your kidsswimming, you want to know how you can take the videos to another level.
If I've got a junior national, I'll start taking people to thenext level with a final instructor.
I stole the charts from other coaches and tried to get as muchinformation as I could.
Yeah, it's important that everybody understandsthat to get better, everybody gets better.
It's always about the community, it's never about theindividual, it's always about the team.
I remember several really fast swims being set, but it's otherperformances by athletes that I've coached that I'm proud of the most.
Coaches feel good when swimmers are reaching their fullpotential in the pool and in life.
To learn from experience, Brett says that working with othersand trying things is more valuable than taking a theoretical approach.
I think you're right that mentoring is very valuable but Ithink of Lydia Jacoby's coach.
Lydia Jacoby is the first Olympic swimmer from Alaska, and Ialso think back to when I first started coaching.
I don't know if the coaches had mentors, uh, but they're justsome examples of coaches that may have had mentors.
Coaches have the ability to coach athletes to perform at highlevels even though they may not have had the experience of doing the same thingthemselves.
We've shared a lot of information on coaches, the developmentprocess of coaches, the environment of coaches in North Baltimore.
Paul talks to Paul about how to become a better coach and abetter human.
What made you become a coach? What has led you to become theinsightful coach that understands the success of others?
The definition of success is pretty broad and impacts how you interactwith others.
I want to have fun and get stuff done, but I'm going to try torelax and have fun.
I try to make people feel their greatness throughout the day,as a coach and as a father.
The athletes need to know that their dads are proud of themand want them to see their power.
I want people to be able to access their power even if they'rein their thirties, forties and beyond.
As a parent or a person who walks the earth, I like to feelconnected to all living things.
Every day, chemical changes in our bodies are created by thethoughts and words we say.
I think there is something to be said about, um, our bodies,our minds and our nervous systems.
People who grow old together end up looking like each other,and that's because people look in the eyes of others.
We're trying to create an environment where people can actlike predators, as opposed to pray.
In order to create confidence within the organization, lookinto each other's eyes and mimic the look of confidence.
'''Coaches have a key impact on the development of youngpeople through their actions, and also through time spent working with them.'''