Education of a Coach Issue#2

June 22, 2022

Joe Dillon holding hand weights for the article Education of a Coach Issue#2

Before I continue to share my “new” updated lifestyle or way of life, I want to clarify where I am coming from.

I was born in 1944. I was 12 years old when I got my first full-time job. I learned to swim when I was 9 years old. Each summer after that my parents bought me another set of 9 lessons at the Clyde Devine Swim School.

The summer before my freshman year in high school, Clyde Devine asked me if I wanted a job teaching swimming. Thrilled, I said yes immediately.

After a trial period, I started making 25 cents an hour. I rode my bike the 5 miles from my home to the swim school. I got there early enough to hose down the pool deck and clean the bathrooms and the dressing rooms. I taught my first lessons starting at 8am or 8:30am and finished around 6pm 6 days a week. I life guarded on Sundays.

That was my start as a coach. A good coach, an effective coach is a combination of a teacher and an encourager or motivator.

As a swim teacher back in the mid-1950’s, most of my students were 5 or 6 years old. I taught these young children how to swim and I encouraged them.

For the majority of these children, the number one obstacle to their learning to swim was fear. Fear of the water. I began to teach them how to swim by teaching them how to hold their breath, put their face in the water, and blow bubbles.

Sitting on the steps in the corner of the shallow end of the pool, I taught them how to put their hands together, take a big breath, put their face in the water, blow bubbles and glide-float 1 to 2 feet to me. Then I would have them take another big breath, put their face in the water and glide-float back to the steps.

As I held them with their face down in the water, in the glide-float position, I could feel how stiff their bodies were with the tension of fear. I continually told them in an encouraging voice how well they were doing and that everything was going to be fine. I slowly gained their trust.

I had nine 30 minute lessons to teach these young children how to swim. Over time, I learned that until they trusted that I would not let them go or let anything happen to them, and that the water would support them, they would not be open and receptive to learning how to swim. Until they relaxed and let go, they were never going to be a ready student.

I would often spend 6 or even 7 lessons having them float-glide to me and gently float-gliding them a few feet back to the steps. I praised them, positively reinforced their nice, easy, relaxed, face-down float-gliding back and forth to and from the stairs in the shallow end of the pool.

Once I felt the fear-tension release from their little body, I could quickly and easily teach them to swim in a couple of lessons.  

Once the young child relaxed, they quickly realized how fun and enjoyable gliding in and under water could be.

Then I would add flutter kicking to their face-down glide-float. They would quickly be able to face-down, float-glide flutter kick across the width of the shallow end of the pool.

Then I would add arms to their flutter kick. Now they were swimming face-down with a smooth, relaxed kick and arms. When they reached the other side of the pool, they would come up with a big smile on their face. A face full of the joy of accomplishment and pride in a new set of skills.  

Then I would add coordinated breathing to their freestyle stroke. Within another lesson, this little 5 or 6 year old would be comfortably and confidently swimming the entire 30 foot length of the pool.  

By the end of 9 lessons, this child had learned to love to swim and enjoy the water. And, of course, they were now 100% safe in the water.

Through a process of gentle, unhurried, clear instruction and warm encouragement, they had learned to love and enjoy swimming for life.

I taught swimming full time every summer all through high school. In the process, I became an effective coach. My directions became more clear and my encouragement became more sophisticated. Since 1979, I have given hundreds of talks across the United States and Canada. Over the years, I have coached hundreds of Inner Circle clients. The fundamental process I learned teaching swimming is both similar and profoundly deeper with decades of experience.

The first step is always earning trust – like helping a young child overcome their initial fear of the water.

Am I a good (effective) coach? Is my information accurate and useful? Safe? Am I encouraging? Does my process (the Joe Dillon Difference lifestyle) help people become leaner, healthier and more energetic?

This is why I spend so much time sharing the developmental history of the human body. Your body. To help you relax, let go of your skepticism, and embrace the process.

Of course, there is that initial leap of faith like the little child putting their face in the water and glide-floating me. But once you realize you no longer have that frantic sugar-hunger, you begin to relax a little. As your clothes begin to get looser and your body composition results improve (tangible proof you are burning fat and enhancing your lean body mass) you relax a little more.  

A major epiphany for many clients is the first blood panel results after 90 days. Blood panels do not lie. There it is in black and white. Your triglycerides dropped. Your good cholesterol (HDL) went up. All your inflammation biomarkers improved. You realize you are involved in a safe, effective process.

You realize how effective it is to start your day with a JDD shake. To kick start your recovery with a JDD shake right after your Heavy Hands workout. To share JDD shakes with your high school athletes. You start to grasp how lean, healthy and energetic you can get with the Joe Dillon Difference.

Next time we will talk about sugar and mismatch diseases. What do I mean by “mismatch disease”?

When evolutionary biologists study hunter-gatherer cultures today like the Hadza’s in Africa, they discover that their favorite foods are meat and honey. The difference is the Hadzas have to walk 15-20 miles a day just to get enough to eat. And honey is a very rare treat.

A deadly combination is hunter-gatherer tastes in an industrialized food world of high fructose corn syrup and proinflammatory soy bean oil.

You will learn how mismatch diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia are preventable.

Until next time, thank you for your business and your support.