Tip of the Month – January

Coach Monika Says…

Including Postural Exercises to Enrich Your Training Program

Including Postural Exercises to Enrich Your Training Program  

According to medical researchers and experts in the field, postural habits of children and youth, including our athletes of course, are deteriorating to a critical stage. The increase of faulty posture is attributed to the high level activities with technology and computer work. By the way, coaches should participate in those exercises as well because: a) many of us have poor postural habits; b) increases health benefits; and c) motivates athletes, as we are role- modeling. Coaches still make corrections while participating. It really worked for me AND kept me in better shape!

For the next months, I will provide exercises that you can incorporate into your programs: 

Series 1

1. Upright Stance



Stand upright, feet parallel and slightly apart, face forward, head centered, arms extended alongside body, back straight

Note: Inhale through nose-Exhale through mouth


Tighten the core, tighten buttocks, pull in stomach, depress shoulders (pulling downward), hold 8 counts, pull shoulders up to ears, hold 8 counts, pull shoulders downward, hold 8 counts, 8-16 repetitions, and relax


Same Exercise: Perform while sitting upright on a chair, arms alongside chair to relax at the computer station as a ‘break’ or during studies!

2. Sideways Head Turn

Schlots:Users:monikaschloder:Desktop:Jan019:Jpgs:Head 1.jpeg

Refer to Exercise #1


Stand upright, feet parallel and slightly apart, face forward, head centered, arms extended alongside body, back straight

Note: Inhale through nose-Exhale through mouth


Tighten the core, tighten buttocks, pull in stomach, head centered, turn head to R, chin over R shoulder, hold 8 counts, return to center, turn head to L, chin over L shoulder, hold 8 counts, and relax; repeat, and pull shoulder up to chin on R, hold 8 counts, pull shoulder downward, hold 8 counts, pull shoulder up to L chin, hold 8 counts, pull shoulder downward, 8-16 repetitions, and relax


Same Exercise: Perform while sitting upright on a chair, arms alongside chair to relax at the computer station as a ‘break’ or during studies!

3. Body Bridge


Assume supine position on floor (on back), feet parallel and together close to buttocks (ideal 90-degress), face forward, head centered, arms extended alongside body, back aligned

Note: Inhale through nose-Exhale through mouth


Tighten the core, using arm support elevate body off floor, shoulder to knee alignment, hold 8 counts, lower body to floor, hold 8 counts, and relax; repeat, 8-16 repetitions, and relax


Same Exercise: lift R leg to vertical, keep body flat (‘lush’) on floor, return leg, 8-16 repetitions, repeat, L leg, or alternate legs

Take a Break – Trade in Technology for Music

Music Helps Heal Body and Spirit

According to recent medical research, anxiety, depression, and suicides (or suicidal thought) are increasing among youth and even children. Researchers point out that the same issues would also be present at an estimated 10 percent in the sports world. Therefore, we can assume that this would apply to our Canadian and USA athletes, who may or could be affected at one time or the other.

A large part of contributing factors is modern ‘tech tyranny’, which has literally taken over the lives of people as a control mechanism. People feel the constant urge to use their personal technology 24/7. People, young and old, are becoming or are already addicted! Look around, on streets, in shopping malls, in restaurants, people walking about or sitting with their smartphones in hand. Interesting that Facebook and Google executives do not allow their own children access to computers and smartphones, according to Fox News Interview 2018. They attend private schools where access to tech tools is not permitted! Executives have always known that their inventions would be addictive!

Here are some research facts…

As early as 2010, the study “Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in US adolescents: Results from the National Comorbidity’ reveals the following statistics:

  • Anxiety disorders were the most common condition (31.9%), followed by behaviour disorders (19.1%), mood disorders (14.3%), and substance use disorders (11.4%), with approximately 40% of participants with one class of disorder also meeting criteria for another class of lifetime disorder
  • Overall prevalence of disorders with severe impairment and/or distress was 22.2% (11.2% mood disorders, 8.3% anxiety disorders, and 9.6% behavior disorders)
  • Median age of onset for disorder classes was earliest for anxiety (6 years), followed by 11 years for behavior, 13 years for mood, and 15 years for substance use disorders.

Study Conclusion

These findings provide the first prevalence data on a broad range of mental disorders in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents.

Approximately one in every four to five youth in the U.S. meets criteria for a mental disorder with severe impairment across their lifetime.

The likelihood that common mental disorders in adults first emerge in childhood and adolescence highlights the need for a transition from the common focus on treatment of U.S. youth to that of prevention and early intervention.

Present Impact


It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide. Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode. In a survey of 15,000 grade 7 to 12 students in British Columbia, 34% knew of someone who had attempted or died by suicide; 16% had seriously considered suicide; 14% had made a suicide plan; 7% had made an attempt and 2% had required medical attention due to an attempt.


Unrealistic academic, social, or family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and can lead to deep disappointment. When things go wrong at school or at home, teens often overreact. Many young people feel that life is not fair or that things “never go their way.” They feel stressed out and overwhelmed. To make matters worse, teens are bombarded by conflicting messages from parents, friends, and society. Today’s teens see more of what life has to offer — both good and bad — on television, at school, in magazines and on the Internet.

Teenage suicide in the United States remains comparatively high in the 15 to 24 age group with 5,079 suicides in this age range in 2014 making it the second leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 24. By comparison, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death for all those age 10 and over, with 33,289 suicides for all US citizens in 2006.

So, where am I going with this? According to recent medical research anxiety, depression, and suicides (or suicidal thought) are increasing among youth and even children. According to research, both TV viewing and mobile phone use may contribute to the development of depressive symptoms. Implementing household rules about the duration and content of TV could help reduce depression in young adolescents. What can be done to get athletes off their smartphones or reduce their daily dose of social media?

The Alternative Escape: Music

Turning to music is an alternative. Noted gastroenterologist Dr. Kenny Davin Fine at Baylor University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School: “How music has the power to heal what ails you” (see Reference) states: “Music can be just as powerful as prescription drugs as it treats the soul, and if you treat the soul the body will ultimately positively react.” In fact, studies show that music helps surgery patients heal faster, aids in pain relief, restores lost speech, and even improves the quality of life for dementia patients. Dr. Fine, who is also a musician, offers these tips on making music work for our health:

  • Sing to yourself: be it in the shower, taking a bath, in the car… singing gets the brain ‘firing’ in several different areas: including those regions responsible for movement, language, attention, memory, and emotion.
  • Take off those earphones: listening to music gives you much of the same health benefits as singing, but you can harm your ears by relying constantly on earphones. If you have to use them, be sure the volume is low enough to hear other sounds around you, especially if out for a walk in places with traffic or driving the car.
  • Learn to play an instrument: even if you never ‘master’ that guitar, piano, or violin, playing a musical instrument is one of the best exercises for the brain

On a personal note:

I always wanted to play the piano but our family could not afford it. The alternative choice was playing the cello in the school orchestra (free lessons and instrument) and sing in the school choir, which was well known for Christmas and Easter productions.

I was so engaged playing classical pieces that they were in my head while doing workouts in the pool. I played Mozart, Vivaldi, and Beethoven to swimming sets in the Breaststroke! Well, I forgot my lap count and I got in trouble with the Head coach… and had to start all over! Nonetheless, with a song in my head, I always was a happy camper!

Many of you may not know that I have chronic lymphatic leukemia (CLL), which was diagnosed November 1989 while I was in Arizona on a sabbatical leave. I was rushed back to Calgary via car and a 24-hour ride. The diagnosis was 5 days to live. Visualization and classical music, listening and playing it in my head helped me through that period of my life while people around me in the cancer station were dying daily. I survived and held steady until 2011 when the cancer returned with a vengeance. Six months of chemotherapy 1x week, 8-hrs a day, shrinking to only 90 pounds (I am 5’ 9”), and living with my head in a bucket due to convulsive vomiting was horrendous. However, visualization of healthy blood cells and classical music got me through that episode. It really works! And what did my oncologist have to say at the 2011 cancer return: “ Well you have survived so long, surpassing records…. Now it is your turn! Nice medical statement! Yes, I have ‘beaten’ cancer for 30 years this coming November, and music is my ‘caretaker’!

According to Fiorella (2016), music can have a physical effect on the body; it can can help decrease emotional distress and amplify a variety of moods. It’s said that music is one of the few activities that involves using the majority or entirety of the human brain.

ReachOut.com from Australia presents ways we can use music for mental health:

  • Incorporate music as a wellbeing strategy in your life
  • Learn about the connection between music and mental health
  • Understand the benefits of music.

It has been generally accepted that both listening to and creating music can have various positive effects on mood and mental health. Incorporating music into your everyday life can help to:

  • Elevate mood and motivation
  • Aid relaxation
  • Increase the efficiency of your brain processing

Choice of Music?

Encourage your athletes to get ‘unplugged’ throughout the day and listen to music instead. They can create their own personal music therapy in a few easy steps:

Focus: Classical music is a winner at improving focus. Music that has a tempo of 60 bpm (beats per minute) increases the efficiency of the brain in processing information. The best way to use it is to have it playing softly in the background as you get on with your tasks.

Expression: The next time you’re finding it hard to talk about or express your emotions, try turning to music for help. Creating your own music – whether simply strumming a guitar or composing lyrics to a song – can help you express and process your emotions. It’s more about how it makes you feel, than how it sounds. Remember that no one ever has to hear your music if you don’t want them to.

Social connection: Music can stop you from feeling lonely or isolated. Whether it’s sharing playlists with your friends, or meeting new, like-minded people at your favourite band’s next gig, music connects people.

Creativity: Did you know that listening to or making music allows your brain to think creatively? So, whether it’s a creative project you need to complete, or some new ways to improve your mood, try some different types of music and see what works best for you.

Relaxation: Okay, so this isn’t a huge scientific breakthrough, but it’s worth repeating: music helps you to relax. If you choose the right kind of music, change into some comfy clothes and put your feet up, it’s a safe bet that you’ll feel relaxed in no time.

Motivation: You need to vacuum the house/study/get some exercise, but you just can’t get off the couch? Use your favourite music as a motivational force. Crank up the volume on a killer tune and chances are you’ll find it that much easier to get started.

“The mind is not a vessel that needs filling…

But wood that needs igniting”…

Greek Philosopher Plutarch (46 AD-120 AD)


Fiorella, S. (2016). The power of music on students’ mental health. The Friendship Bench, November 14, 2016. https://thefriendshipbench.org/the-power-of-music-on-students-mental-health/

Merikangas-Ries, K., He, J-ping, Burstein, M., Swanson, S., Avenevoli, S., Cui, L., Benjet, C., Georgiades, K., & Swendsen, J. (2010). Lifetime Prevalence of Mental Disorders in US Adolescents: Results from the National Comorbidity Study-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A).

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10), 980-989.







Tip of the Month – December

Coach Monika Says…

Dealing with Pre-Christmas Stress

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” but also a time when stress levels tend to soar. While Christmas is known as “the season to be jolly,” it can be a significant source of stress for athletes as pressure from family members, studies, semester exams, and other conflicts rise. Some athletes or even coaches may feel overwhelmed by the excess and organizational expectations and therefore become depressed. Most of us are aware of the adverse effects that stress can have on our body as it impacts our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. The holidays may seem more like trying to meet a high-pressure deadline than having a ‘happy’ time!

Try these ‘Christmas stress-busting strategies’ to ease the strain, and help stress melt away:

Taking Time out:
  • Carrying the world on your shoulders and trying to achieve everything alone during the holidays can take its toll on mind and body. Enlist some help in accomplishing some of the tasks on your list, and take personal ‘time out!’
  • De-stressing can have many benefits. Focus on doing something that you find relaxing to recharge your batteries such as reading a book, watching a Christmas movie, listening to music, or treating yourself to a massage. In essence, ‘pamper’ yourself!
  • Starting the day with ‘good vibes’ in your inbox may be just what is needed. Enjoy a humorous cartoon, personal joke in your email, or a picturesque christmas desktop picture…I have a beautiful advent wreath on my desktop screen, showing 4 advent candles. It makes me feel good, lifts, my spirit, and I play the jazz version of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
  • Do a different workout activity away from your regular training routine.
  • Take a ‘break’ from social media! Facebook tends to have a negative effect on your happiness… so, log off and enjoy life outside your cell!
  • Spend time with a ‘furry’ friend or someone’s pet…pets only care about being loved and putting a ‘smile on your face’ … watch an animal documentary or movie!

The Power of Transformative Leadership

Ever wonder about the state of excellent leadership skills nowadays, as it seem to be getting more and more scarce? Actually, the current state of affairs is discouraging, dispiriting, and almost depressing – at least for me!

Leadership means different things to different people around the world, as well as different things in different situations. It can bring to mind a variety of images: relating to community, religion, or politics; and in our case, to sport organization in general or national coaches, who have demonstrated lack of moral character and ethical behaviour?
Doesn’t society keep perpetuating the myth ‘sports builds character?’

In the past years several International bodies were or are involved in:

  • Corruption: FIFA/soccer
  • Lacking long-term vision on rule changes: FINA/swimming as top swimmers challenge FINA with lawsuit
  • National governing bodies such as the US Gymnastics Federation and horrendous sexual abuse of female athletes having to file for bankruptcy
  • Canadian National Director of women’s gymnastics presently in court, accused of inappropriate behaviour from 2000-2007 (Sarnia, Ontario, reported December 14, 2018)
  • Alpine Canada facing suit for failing to protect female athletes from sexual, physical, and psychological abuse
  • Hazing scandals during 2002-2003 in Canadian Junior Hockey in Sarnia, Ontario, whereby the coach apparently was also involved spanking the naked buttocks of a new player, and senior players urinated on newcomers (reported December 13, 2018)

The words “leader” and “leadership” are often used incorrectly to describe people who are actually managing. These individuals may be highly skilled, good at their jobs, and valuable to their organizations – but that just makes them excellent managers, not leaders. We need to be careful using these terms and avoid assuming that people with “leader” in their job titles, people who describe themselves as “leaders,” or even groups called “leadership teams” are  actually in roles of leadership. A particular danger in these situations is that people or organizations that are managed by such an individual or group think they’re being led, but they’re not. There may actually be no leadership at all, with no one setting a vision and no one being inspired. This can cause serious problems in the long term.

Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. They set direction, build an inspiring vision, and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where one needs to go to ‘win’ as a team or an organization. It is dynamic, exciting, and inspiring. Yet, while leaders set the direction, they must also use management skills to guide their people to the right destination in a smooth and efficient way. The process is referred to as Transformational leadership, defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders.

According to the idea of transformational leadership, an effective leader is a person who does the following:

Basic Elements of Transformational Leadership
  • Idealized Influence. Transformational leaders act as role models and followers seek to emulate their behaviour
  • Creates an inspiring vision of the future
  • Inspirational motivation
  • Motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Manages delivery of the vision
  • Individualized consideration
  • Coaches and builds a team so that it is more effective at achieving the vision
Seven Transformational Leadership Qualities
  • A clear vision: Transformational leaders have a vision of what they want to achieve and the ability to clearly communicate this vision so that everyone in the organization/parents/athletes understands what is needed to achieve this vision. …
  • Courage
  • Self-motivation
  • Inspiration
  • Know your people
  • Set a company standard
  • Follow through

The impact of transformational leadership reaches every level of an organization. At the team level, you can find members that care, stimulate, inspire and motivate each other. Upper-level transformational leaders set an organization’s direction and vision, influencing the way the lower levels of an organization operate. Excellent leadership brings together the skills needed to do these things.

Foremost, courage is needed, as it is an important trait for change agents. Being ‘competently courageous’ can create the right conditions for action, whether the goal is to implement a new team selection process, or deal with team management issues. The key to success is a set of attitudes and behaviours that include building a ‘good’ reputation’, becoming a master of good timing, choosing one’s battles, and following-up.

To You ALL!


Associated Press (2018, December 5). USA Gymnastics files for bankruptcy in wake of Larry Nassar scandal. Retrieved December 14, from: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/dec/05/usa-gymnastics-files-for-bankruptcy-in- wake-of-larry-nassar-scandal

Barnes, D. (2018, December 13). Alpine Canada faces suit from three former skiers. Officials allege to have known about coach’s abuse but failed to protect athletes. The Calgary Herald, A6.

Conn, D. (2017, November 6). How the FBI won ‘the World Cup of fraud’ as FIFA scandal arrives in court. The Observer. Retrieved December 14, from: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/ nov/06/fifa-scandal-fbi-new-york-trial-chuck-blazer-sepp-blatter

Malone, M. (2018, December, 13). Ex-Sting coach should step away from hockey amid allegations, Carcillo says. The Calgary Herald, B9.

Reuters (2018, December 9). Top swimmers challenge FINA with lawsuit. Retrieved December 14, from: https://www.euronews.com/2018/12/09/top-swimmers-challenge-fina-with-lawsuit

Thompson, N. (2018, December 14). Coach denies naps with gymnast. The Calgary Herald, NP7.

Tip of the Month – November

Coach Monika says…



Warm-up and Cool-down: Common Mistakes

Recently, I observed a group of athletes in their Warm-up and Cool-down activities. I could not believe that coaches were standing around, talking, sipping from their water bottle and slurping Starbucks coffee. It is time to provide some guidelines in order to prevent potential injuries due to lack of effort or improper technique of exercises.


  • Practice starts the minute athletes come through the door and they should demonstrate motivation and positive attitude to learn and improve daily performance
  • During Warm-up and Cool-down exercises, attention needs to be paid to the body, rather that chitchatting and catching up with the latest news.
  • Exercises have to be performed with full range of motion (ROM) rather than superficial, offhand, random, perfunctory, sketchy, desultory, brief, careless, fast, or half-baked efforts.


  • Body position and alignment have to be correct for whatever exercise – otherwise, injuries may occur
  • Athletes can risk back injury if they arch the back while doing planks or push-ups; knee injuries are possible if athletes bend too deeply in a lunge or squat
  • Traditional ‘Jumping jacks’ are outdated – replace them with forward- backward lunge jumps
  • Sideways stretches need to be executed to both sides with equal effort
  • Forward-downward stretches for toe touches should be performed to the L foot, to the center on the floor, and the R foot
  • Hopping and jumping exercises are performed wearing tennis shoes NOT Flip flops (!) to prevent foot, ankle injuries and shin splints
  • The Warm-up consists of general exercise components (all muscles – while raising the HR) and specific ones (those muscles needed in the upcoming session)
  • The Cool-down has a psychological component with the role of lowering the HR
  • Muscles used in the prior session are addressed, and depending on need, exercises are tailored to the individual athlete: flexibility; flexibility and strength; agility, balance, etc.


  • For Warm-up and Cool-down – rotate among athletes, correct improper technique, encourage, and motivate… that is your active role rather than standing around, being passive, and seemingly less involved!

Why Us ?

Shape Young Athletes
By Having FUN!


Physical Literacy For Children And Youth
Through Fun, Fitness And Fundamentals

Available NOW! – Instant Download or 2-Disk Set

Watch the preview video below!

You will be astonished over the athletic accomplishments of these young athletes’ strength, flexibility, balance, etc.

Click here to purchase your copy today!

 Dr. Monika Schloder Welcomes You To The Home of CoachingBest

Your one-stop for Coaching Tips, Training, and Information for the Athletic Coach

Years of teaching and coaching experience in several sports have provided me with the ability to understand the physical, mental, and emotional requirements for developing beginner to elite level athlete in several sports. The ‘knack’ to analyze sport movement, in essence, detect errors and then develop creative corrections and drills to improve, maximize, and optimize performance – no matter the sport – is one of my greatest assets.

Dr. Monika Scloder, Summer Swim Camp- Turku, Finland

Professional Activities:

  • DVD Production: Swimming; Developing Physical Literacy; Athletic Training
  • Learning Facilitator, Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), having educated nationally and internationally over 26,000 coaches to date
  • Certified Alberta NCCP Coach Developer (2016)
  • Speaker at International Congresses, Coaching Symposiums, and World Clinics
  • Master Coach in Residence, 1991-2004, for the Los Angeles based 84 Legacy of the Games (former Amateur Athletic Foundation or AAF), program developer for Inner City Minority Youth Education and Leadership
  • Author: Coaching Manuals in Swimming and Soccer
  • Co-author “Coaching Athletes: A Foundation for Success”


  • Alberta 2008 Coach of the Year
  • Recipient of 14 International Teaching and Coaching Awards
  • 3M Teaching Fellowship Award for Outstanding Teaching at Canadian Universities
  • Recipient of numerous Teaching Excellence Awards, University of Calgary

At CoachingBest.com we offer sport consulting and coaching education to organizations worldwide with an emphasis on current issues, physical literacy, athlete development, performance analysis, and improvement

Visit our Website CoachingBest.com for ‘Tips of the Week’ and sign up for the free Monthly Newsletter

Dr. Schloder has developed a series of Training DVD’s to help Coaches and Athletes
Image of all DVD product covers
















ASCA Workshop Conference and Presentation

Happenings from November

With Coach Rebecca Atchley – Dr. Schloder was an External Committee Member for Rebeca’s Masters Project Dr. Schloder’s Workshop Presentation

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Conference Photos

Happenings from September

Latest Happenings!!

 Dr. Monika Schloder at the ASCA World Clinic for Swimming, Jacksonville, Florida, Sept 8, 2014 Presenting at the 4-hour Work shop “Dry-land School for Age Group Swimmers” Coaches participate in her workshops… they don’t just sit!

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Back Arch Demo

Coach Schloder in Istanbul, Turkey Swim Camp , June 9-15

Underneath the swimmer to demonstrate the back arch position after the Back Crawl start. Not too many coaches can do this perfectly!

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Developing Physical Literacy

This highly acclaimed presentation was given by Dr. Schloder at the Canadian Sport for Life Summit (CS4L), which will be available as a movie version. Watch for the up-coming DVD: ‘Physical Activities for Children and Youth. Fundamental Movement Skills in the Pursuit of Excellence and Well-being.’

View page »


  1. Michèle Boutin

    Dear Dr. Schloder,

    We are a small competitive swimming club in Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada.
    We are interested in purchasing your DVD+Booklet called Fly Away but it is not available on your online shop.
    Could you please let me know how we could purchase it?

    Best regards,

    Michèle Boutin
    Beaconsfield Bluefins Swim Club

  2. Augusto Acosta

    I love your work!

  3. Kim Cox

    Super new front page on your website, very informative.

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Tip of the Month – January

Coach Monika Says… Including Postural Exercises to Enrich Your Training Program Including Postural Exercises to Enrich Your Training Program   According to medical researchers and experts in the field, postural habits of children and youth, including our athletes of course, are deteriorating to a critical stage. The increase of faulty posture is attributed to the …

Read more

Take a Break – Trade in Technology for Music

Music Helps Heal Body and Spirit According to recent medical research, anxiety, depression, and suicides (or suicidal thought) are increasing among youth and even children. Researchers point out that the same issues would also be present at an estimated 10 percent in the sports world. Therefore, we can assume that this would apply to our …

Read more