Arlison Silva: “I don’t like to think about perfection, I like to think about improvement”



Recently, Ukrainian swimmer Andrey Govorov, 6 times record holder of the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly, and winner of many international medals has been training in Dnipro, together with his Brazilian coach Arlison Silva. Among one of his latest achievements was a race at the 2016 European Aquatics Championships in London, where finished with a time of 22.73 seconds, breaking his own national record and setting the fastest time ever in a textile swimsuit.

The sporting tandem chose to work out at the water sports Complex Meteor - one of the most modern pools in Ukraine, and the place where Andrey started his sporting career. During most of the training season, the swimmer and his coach stay in Brazil, however, while they were here, Arlison found time to talk with Smartsport.com and share his professional background.


A photo from https://www.facebook.com/ArilsonSilvaCoach

TRAINING PECULARITIES

Opinions differ. It also concerns the preparation program vision, especially when it comes to professional athletes. Some coaches work on stamina, some put the emphasis on technique, while others concentrate on speed. In each case, to achieve the desired result, there has to be mutual understanding and respect between the coach and the athlete.

Smartsport:

How different is your training program from the program of local Ukrainian coaches?

Arlison Silva:

Unfortunately, I’m not that familiar with their preparation techniques. I just know some coaches and swimmers, and can state that from the mentality and training point of view, the philosophy is different. Talking about my training program, it is totally individualized. The program is customized for Andrey in particular and based on developing both his strength and technique for sprint races. We always try to achieve the fastest swim possible.

Smartsport:

There are lots of coaches all over the world, including Ukraine, however, Andrey has chosen to work with you after a joint experience in Italy. In your opinion, what made him come to this decision?

Arlison Silva:

I think that we have found common ground, exactly thanks to the kind of vision when a coach tries get the most of a swimmer. I apply the individual approach, different from the basic pattern. The main task is to observe the needs of each individual in the team and to give the best possible coaching based on these particular necessities. When we were in Italy, Andrey had delivered his personal best. Then, when his results were not getting better, he asked me to continue cooperation, in order to get prepared for the next competition.

Smartsport:

Do you face any problems working with Ukrainian athletes? Are there any cultural divisions, misunderstandings?

Arlison Silva:

With Andrey I have no problems, he speaks English well. When I contact other Ukrainians, everybody is kind to me, people try to speak English and communicate. I always have good support, so difficult situations have never arisen.


A photo from https://www.facebook.com/ArilsonSilvaCoach

BRINGING UP A CHAMPION

It has always been a topical question, why, all things being equal, do some achieve outstanding results, while others stay frozen. How do some coaches manage to build a champion, while others only struggle to produce average Athletes? Arlison Silva has shared his personal experience with us.

Smartsport:

What do you think are the key issues in the sporting preparation of an athlete and why, being equally physically developed, some become champions while others don’t?

Arlison Silva:

In my opinion, it’s all about persistence and engagement. To be honest, physical preparation is the easiest thing to do – you just work out to be fit and have a stronger body and it’s done. It’s not the biggest issue for a champion. A winner is defined by a mind set and dedication to the working process – this is what makes the difference. It’s not easy to wake up every day when all your body aches, when you are really tired and then go to do something spectacular over and over again. It’s very hard to stay motivated enough to defeat your complaining body.

Working on the body is easy, but working on the mind is not – this is the whole point of becoming a champion.

Smartsport:

Do you spend time on the emotional preparation and motivation of athletes?

Arlison Silva:

All the time. I think this is the only way. When you are sure it’s only about your body, what are you going to do if one day you just relax? At the same time, when you are really engaged you take care of everything, your nutrition, your rest, so that you come to the training sessions, willing to do something that nobody else in the world is going to do. While somebody else would stop when things get really hard, a champion won’t. This is the main rule - when everything is tough the champion keeps going. It’s more about the mind set than about the body.

At major sporting events, everybody is more or less equally prepared but what allows the winner to come first is the ability to stand up to the mental challenges.

Smartsport:

Andrey is always away from home, in your opinion, does this interfere with his focus or, does it help him to concentrate on the result?

Arlison Silva:

When I talked about dedication, I also meant this. No matter where you are, you have to work at 100%. Every time we land in a different place, in a different country, we try to find the best way to rest well, to eat well and then to work well. It makes no difference where we go. I don’t see an athlete like him being worried about distractions. We focus on what we have to do and we get to work as soon as we land, all to a pre-arranged plan.

Smartsport:

As a coach, how do you detect and then work on the mistakes of your swimmers?

Arlison Silva:

Mistakes are part of the process. But there is a difference – when you see some mistakes and fix them as you progress, it’s normal but when the same mistake is repeated over and over again, this is a big issue, which shows you are making no headway. In this case, you have to look at it from another angle and try to do something different, try to do something more. Finding mistakes is good for the process because it means you are in search of your limit. When the limit is found, it’s time to look for a way to cross it.


A photo from https://www.facebook.com/ArilsonSilvaCoach

FACILITIES RESEARCH

For successful training sessions, apart from a good coach and motivated athlete, there is one more essential component needed – the appropriate training facility. Due to a lack of essential data, it has always been hard to find a choose the right training base. Coaches are forced to check all the possible details and look for elusive information, in order to make sure their chosen option is a good fit. Today, we can marvel at the innovative global online service Smartsport.com, which offers an automated booking system, featuring lots of sporting facilities that have accommodation within walking distance away from them. We find out about the organization process required for a world-class athlete.

Smartsport:

Do you participate in the research and organization of training camps and sports facilities?

Arlison Silva:

I always plan the schedule of training sessions and competitions. Then I discuss it with Andrey and he negotiates with the Federation. I don’t always have a choice of base, however, I always check everything. I check the food and the hotel. When I know the base we are going to train at, I find it on google maps and check what is around, how far it is from the hotel.

Smartsport:

What are your special demands for the training facilities?

Arlison Silva:

When I choose a training camp for a long period I pay most attention to the gym where we have to do the off-water training sessions, it’s always my biggest concern. It’s not easy to find a good gym for this kind of preparation. Athletes like Govorov work with heavy weights and it’s not easy to find a good place where you can easily work with them. You have to drop the weights on the ground, it is really noisy and the floor surface has to be able to handle it. We face this problem wherever we go in the world. A pool is easier to find, you just have a swimming lane, a starting block, and bingo – you’re ready to train. But when it comes to a gym, it’s hard to find a good one. Furthermore, the facility has to provide sports medical support like physiotherapy, massage, etc. There is one more important issue for me as for a coach - health insurance for swimmers and staff! Health care must be thought out.

Smartsport:

Do you think that SMARTSPORT.COM could help you to find the perfect location with appropriate facilities?

Arlison Silva:

We have already worked with SMARTSPORT.COM in Windsor, Canada, last December. On that occasion we didn’t really need a gym heavily because the competitions were coming. However, the staff was very friendly and helpful, satisfying all of my requests. The phone agent had called me as soon as I arrived in Canada and stayed connected by WhatsApp during the whole trip. If I am not wrong I worked with Anastasia! /Smartsport.com: Anastasia Moiseenko is a part of Partnerships Team/

Smartsport:

How do you find the gym here in Meteor?

Arlison Silva:

It’s ok but as usual, it could be better. Every time we work we have to ask everybody to leave the room because people are think we are going to break everything. The area where the athlete works has to be separated from the general public area. This is always is a big concern of mine. A coach is a term, used not only in the sports sector. Literally, the word is defined as a person whose job it is to teach, organize and improve skills. In other words, being a coach means being a teacher, but what makes a good teacher?

Smartsport:

What is your vision of the perfect coach?

Arlison Silva:

First of all, I don’t believe in perfection. Everybody is always growing and improving. When you think that you are perfect, you will go nowhere and this is not a good idea for an athlete. We always look for improvement. To be a good coach you have to be always improving and keep your eye on the learning process. Everything you are living is a learning process, my staying here in Dnipro is a learning process as well. I’m learning how to be in a place where it’s hard to communicate, I can’t read the streets signs, I can’t talk to strangers because only a few know English, yet alone Portuguese! I think you have to learn from your difficulties and be ready for this. When things are difficult, it’s not right to just stop and complain. I’m not the sort of person that complains at all, because a difficult situation for me is a sign of learning. I don’t like to think about perfection but I like to think about improvement. For me being a good coach, means being always open for learning.

Smartsport:

What are the short-term goals you want to achieve together with Andrey Govorov?

Arlison Silva:

The 50 m butterfly world record is our next main goal. We are also planning to work on other events for the Olympics in Tokyo. It could be the 400m butterfly, maybe 400m freestyle. If Ukrainian men’s team improves, maybe we can think about the 400m freestyle relay race. I think we have enough time to work on this.


Summing up what has been said, we have to state that sport contributes, not only to a particular individual, but to the society in general. The victory of one athlete is a victory for the whole country, which is achieved thanks to the contribution of many people at different levels. Bad organization may destroy the years of sporting preparation when the facility is chosen incorrectly or it doesn’t meet expectations. The expert team at Smartsport.com, which has had actual experience in sports, has already done the research and arranged an online database of the most attractive facilities appropriate for professional athletes of various disciplines. The company is a whole new vision on the organizational issues of the sports trips, helping to ease the process and saving time. On the way towards its mission to make sport organization simple and accessible, Smartsport.com has already gained the support of sporting federations and national teams and this is only just the beginning of a globe-spanning path.


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