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Teaching The B.A.S.I.C.S.

Written By: Donny Mata

I want to first start this off by thanking Streamline Teams for selecting me to share something with the rest of the swimming community. If there is nothing new, at the very least, I hope there is just reassurance that all of you coaches are doing the right thing and doing a great job leading the next generation of swimmers.

Growing up listening, observing, and watching great athletes do what they do best - the one thing that I found was always a constant, was the fact that they all had and understood that working at the basic fundamentals and disciplines were necessary to their success. As a kid, Kobe Bryant was an idol of mine and you would hear stories of how he would work one basic move over and over at game speed for long periods at a time. A reporter asked him, “Why do you work on that simple move, you’re Kobe, the greatest player in the league?” Kobe responded back to him, “Why do you think I’m the greatest?”. I chuckled in amazement of how confident, or cocky, that response was. However, it was at that moment I realized that trying to do everything without a pure foundation, leads to inconsistencies and results that aren’t repeatable. Building a foundation from the basics is a philosophy that I believe every coach understands. Continuing to go back and slowing down some practices to reinforce those basics I think gets forgotten at times because we are so enamored with trying to advance and progress our athletes towards the next fastest technique.

When I first got into coaching, that quote by Kobe Bryant was one that really stuck with me. It was an idea I wanted to base my philosophy on for coaching and have now used for over a decade. In our sports, our jobs, and our lives, we all know there are basic fundamental disciplines that we all must understand and apply in order to be successful at whatever it is that we are doing. If there are basics we don’t understand, there are chances we could be actually working against ourselves in the process of progress.

As a coach, I have developed the B.A.S.I.C.S. and teach our athletes the understandings of what it means with our team philosophy. There is nothing secret to it, just concepts we want our student - athletes thinking about in and out of the pool. I hope you all enjoy the B.A.S.I.C.S. and can take something away from it. Thank you!

BALANCE | Having a sense of balance in life is a factor that is important to who we are. Finding balance is the understanding that things will coexist with each other like the yin and the yang. There is a misconception that everything needs even time for balance but balance will be found with contrast, not equality. Because balance does not protect you, it limits you.

ATTITUDE | Your attitude is the key towards unlocking your potential. Training your brain’s mindset and perspective to see the positive in all outlooks and outcomes is a skill that requires daily practice. A lot of how we think and the decisions we act on are a direct result of our attitude. If we can shape our thoughts with confidence and understand that positive is productive and negative is neglective. Our attitude. Our decisions. Our life.

SACRIFICE | The hardest part of having priorities. When it comes time to achieving goals, the needs have to take precedent over the wants. We must learn to sacrifice something for what we want, rather than making something we want our sacrifices. Sometimes the biggest sacrifices can lead to becoming the best decisions in our life because that sacrifice of comfort helps us grow ourselves.

INTELLIGENCE | Our daily actions are the real measures of our intelligence. Making decisions with critical and logical thinking over emotional thinking tends to have better results and outcomes. Intelligence comes with the want to of learning and then learning how to apply in day to day. Being intelligent doesn’t always mean just getting good test scores and grades, but rather the understanding of how to handle the task at hand.

CHALLENGE | The challenge to better ourselves every day should be the first goal. Challenging yourself and others to progress will only raise the standards of everyone involved and around. There is a never ending evolution for improvement if we go out and compete for it. Being comfortable in the uncomfortable is where the competition happens daily because every day is a challenge to better yourself from the person you were yesterday. Learn to take as many of the L’s from the Losing Lows and turn them into the L’s of Learned Lessons and then start leading the lines.

SIMPLICITY | Keep things simple. There is no need to complicate things when the basic foundations work. Trying to take on too much or do too much usually leads to unwarranted stress and anxiety. It is usually when things become too complex that there is a loss in sight of what the foundations are. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication because it isn’t about its bareness but rather the achievement of maximum effects with minimum means. There is excellence in simplicity.

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is a natural consequences of consistently applying the basics and its fundamentals.” - Jim Rohn

Coach Donny Mata recently took over VJO aka Vallejo Aquatics Club (CA) in May of 2022. Growing up swimming, Donny had various stints in college at the University of Hawaii, Diablo Valley College, and University of Pittsburgh. It was during these years that Donny developed his passion and philosophy for Coaching. Coming right out of College, Donny got right into Coaching and working with Athletes all the way from the Summer Rec. Swimmer to High School and even Junior College Athletes at Diablo Valley College where Donny was their Sprint Coach from 2012 - 2017. During his time coaching, Donny has worked with a CCCAA State Championship Team in 2015 and Multiple Record Holders with DVC, a California High School State Champion with Carondelet High School in 2015, a CIF-SJS Sections Championship with Granite Bay High School in 2022. Donny’s goal is to take the knowledge he has gained from all the different experiences and become a premier program to help the swimmers on VJO accomplish goals and become better people through the process.

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