After-Action Report: RVM #53 with Dan Lyons

Well. That was extraordinary.

Many thanks to RINGKNOCKER Sponsor Dan Lyons (USNA ’81) for giving us the most powerful argument we have seen so far in favor of a RINGKNOCKER Subscription.

Why? Because, unless you were there last night, a Subscription is the only way you are going to see Dan’s full presentation. And if you care about human performance—whether yours personally, or your team’s—you owe it to yourself to watch every minute.

For those who don’t already know him, Dan is an Olympic oarsman who competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He rowed on SEVEN US national teams and coached crew teams at the U.S. Naval Academy and a Who’s-Who of rowing institutions nationwide. After racking his oars, Dan founded Team Concepts, which deploys an eclectic hash of science and athleticism to teach the art of flow to teams that span every specialty and industry. Whatever you do, if you do it with a bunch of other people, Team Concepts will help you find your swing.

Swing was in fact the overarching theme of Dan’s talk last night. Let’s take this a step at a time…

Most of us know flow. We find it in lots of ways: chess, golf, tennis, jigsaw puzzles. I’m a software developer, and I live in a flow state.

Swing is what happens when a group of people pursuing the same goal achieve a mutual flow state. Think about what happens in an elite crew shell: eight powerful humans are hydraulically linked into a single machine, after the first few hundred yards in a state of muscular overload and exquisite physical pain. Swing is elusive: a mindful state of grace that offers transcendence but only recedes when pursued directly. It is the ultimate competitive advantage: a swinging crew will shatter standing records and leave its rivals literally eating its wake.

Last night Dan described his own experience with swing: first as a young competitor, then as an elite rower, and finally as a coach, emulating his own mentors on the water and then transcending athleticism to introduce physical swing to teams of futures traders, flight attendants, and diplomats. Dan’s a great storyteller, and that was a hell of a story.

But what we also got were some lessons. Take these away and hit them against the wall ten thousand times:

  • Swing is a game-changer. Swing plus the ability to endure pain is a combination that creates legends.
  • On that note: get this stroke right. Then worry about the next one.
  • When you hit swing, you can’t see what the competition is doing. Also, you won’t care. Tap the outer limits of your ability, and victory is just a side-effect.

I’m not doing this justice, but you catch my drift.

Anyway: thanks, Dan! Our minds are duly expanded, and I for one am going to grab an oar at my next opportunity.

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