Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Practice from Monday, 10/6/14

Monday Practice - Great Day!

I apologize for not updated this blog lately.  I have been accumulating some good thoughts and idea's through the summer and the early part of the season and I promise to start writing them down on a frequent basis.

To Start, we had a great day of practice culminating with our afternoon workout.  The reason it worked so well was that we were able to put ourselves in the right parameters, swim at the the proper speeds, and with great enthusiasm.  Keep in mind all sets look very similar on paper, in order for them to be successful, it has to get the right results and that is up to the coach to figure out on a day to day basis.

We did some dynamic stretching, dryland, and then jumped in the water to finish off our warmup, then, we did the following main sets.  We had set times and efforts that the team needed to execute and this set allowed us to do this very effectively.  When you see FAST, there is a goal time/pace that we are shooting for.

Short FR/Stroke/IM

12 X 75 @ 1:30
Odd – Fast, see pattern, Even – EZ
#1-2 = from dive 3 X 25 @ 20
#3-4 = from dive, 1 X 25 @ 30 + 1 X 50
#5-6 = from dive, 1 X 75

23 X 50 Kick
1 Fast  @ 60 – 1 EZ swim @ 60
2 Fast @ 55 – 1 EZ
3 Fast @ 50 – 1 EZ
4 Fast @ 45 – 1 EZ
3 Fast @ 50– 1 EZ
2 Fast @ 55– 1 EZ
1 Fast @ 60– 1 EZ

12 X 100 @ 1:45
Odd – Fast, Even – EZ
*May use fins & pads

12 X 25 @ 30 Warmdown
Middle 4 under :15

Long FR/IM

2 X 200 Fast @ 2:20-40
1 X 200 EZ
2 X 200 Kick FAST @ 3:30
1 X 200 EZ
8 X 200 @ 3:00
Odd – Fast, Even EZ
2 X 200 Kick FAST @ 3:30
1 X 200 EZ
 2 X 200 Fast @ 2:20-40

*IM do 1st & last 200’s IM or Main Stroke, but do the same, do the Kick’s IM 1st 100 w/o board, last 100 w/ board, middle 200’s are FRIM

12 X 25 @ 30 Warmdown

Middle 4 under :15

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Need for Joy

The Need for Joy!

In today's world we do a very good job of making ourselves busy, and even better, trying to be busier and act busier than those you live and work with.  I am as guilty as charged, when we great others and hear, "how are you?" the standard answer is a grumble and some sort of "very busy" response.  We pride ourselves on our business so much that we have a hard time finding joy, as it is easier to complain about buying busy.

I am reading a book by John Ortberg, entitled The Life You've Alway's Wanted and came across this paragraph:

"We all live with the illusion that joy will come someday when conditions change. We go to school and think we will be happy when we graduate. We are single and are convinced we will be happy when we get married. We get married and decide we will be happy someday when we have children. We have children and decide we will be happy when they grow up and leave the next - then they do, and we think we were happier when they were still at home." 

Well, how do we start? very simple, find joy today, with the people you are with, with the work you get to do, with the things you get to learn, and the world you live in.  I have some things I am going to challenge myself to get better at and hopefully enjoy each day more.  

From the prophet Nehemiah, "The JOY of the Lord is your Strength."

For more on this, I recommend John Ortberg's book, The Life You've Alway's Wanted.




Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ninety Degrees!

Ninety Degrees!


This afternoon we had a breakthrough session with a couple of my students in my learn to swim class.  I get pumped up when the lightbulb goes on and swimming becomes easier!

I love this position.  I call it 90 degree's.  The only thing I told this student would be to get her thumb of her recovering hand to lead the way and the palm flat to the water.  Biomechanically, this puts less stress on the shoulder than when the pinky gets to high or the palm starts facing the sky.

  This position is common in all great swimmers and the reason it is a key to success is this:

1. Shoulders are on top of each other and the recovering elbow is in line with the two shoulders.  This is the path of least resistance for the shoulders.  Very important to swimming with no shoulder pain.

2. Bottom arm is straight out in front of the body and palm is flat to the bottom.  This creates lift as the water slides under the body.  Swimmers need to keep the front of their boat as still as possible to keep the resistance away.  The sooner the bottom arm "pulls" back we add resistance by taking ourselves out of the streamlined position.  This is critical to workout or mid-distance to distance freestyle.

3.  Head is down.  I would like her head down a touch more, but she is looking towards the bottom which is fantastic.  Whether you are swimming or swinging a golf club, you have to have a long, flat neck in order for you body to rotate around your spine.

I encourage all coaches to teach the importance of this position!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Wednesday Workout - High Velocity


High Velocity

This Past Wednesday, we had a great workout I thought I'd share.


The Goal: High Velocity, not just trying hard, but true high end velocity and tempo's.

The Process:  In order to do this, it takes time, because you are not going to be able repeat high velocity efforts with any success if you don't have enough time to recover between.  When we are training with the entire team, I have found that I can successfully get about 40-50 high velocity efforts in about 60 minutes.  This week we just have 6 training for NCAA's and we were able to get 60 efforts in just over an hour without sacrificing the quality of each swim.  This is on the high end and we will reduce these from here on out.

Tools:  I use power racks and have always been a big fan of these (it is important not to have too much weight as it could affect tempo's). I use a whistle a lot.  We do 10 second sprints which are 25's for most of them, but I have found they swim differently when they are trying to get as far as they can before the whistle blows vs. just to the wall.  A good swimmer will start picking up if they are a half stroke ahead or behind and more small details than just swimming to the wall.  In other workouts, we use weights to vertical kick, the wall, anything we can think of.

How to do it:  The swimmers have to be all in.  It's all or nothing in these kinds of workouts:

The Main Set:

5 rounds of 12 minutes where each round consists of 4 minutes on the power rack, 4 X 25 @ 1:00 (sprint to :10 second whistle), and 4 minutes of a kick/swim/equipment progression.

5 rounds (60 minutes):

Power racks: first 2 round 8 @ 30 (2nd round add weight), last 3 rounds 4 @ 60 add weight each round unless coach stops you.

4 sprints from dive @ 60
*start on whistle, sprint to whistle

3rd part changes with each round:
Round 1 – 4 X 50 Kick @ 60 all out 1st :10
Round 2 – 4 X 50 Kick w/ fins @ 60 all out 1st :10
Round 3 – Kick against the wall all out for :05 + turn + sprint 1st 2 stroke cycles (4 FR/BK)
Round 4 – 4 X 50 sprint 1st :10 w/ fins & pads

Round 5 – 4 X 12 ½ sprint from mid pool, leave on whistle

Let me know if you have any questions, would love to talk.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Win the Close Races

This past weekend was our Championship meet and we saw close races all weekend long, it was a great.  I don't like when I hear how the last 25 always comes down to who "wants it more."  You can't tell me that 2 swimmers of equal talent and ability turn together at the last 25 and one wants it more or less than the other, simply not true.

Here is the trick to winning close races, I believe it is a combination of 2 things:

1.  It comes back to the team.  If you invest in the team, you will have more invested in the swim, you will have more to fight for, it will be more than just a time.  It is not who wants it more, but who has more reasons to get to the wall first.  During the season, never under estimate the importance of getting to know your teammates and making those deep connections.  They will pay off.

2.  Execution! It's not who wanted it more, it's who executed the last 25 the best.  Who stayed the most streamlined, who timed the finish the best, who's hips were higher, who had the better breakout or pullout?  That is where it is won and lost.  That does not come from who swam the furthest, but who swam the best.  Get your team to value the importance of learning the details of successful swimming.  A lot of people can swim far, it takes execution and paying attention to the details to swim fast.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monday Workout 1-21

Monday Afternoon at Calvin College

Yesterday, we had another great effort by our team.  There are more complicated ways of describing the energy systems being used, but I told the team I wanted an hour of fast/ez swimming, two ends of the spectrum, and nothing in between.  I have gone away from traditional lactate sets like the 6 X 100's on 8-10 minutes or 4 X 200 as I have noticed that although the team gives it there all, the last 3 rounds are not very "fast."  They hurt a lot, and people throw up from time to time, but the actual speeds are not close to what we are trying to do in meets.  My goal is to set up the workout so that we can accumulate as much meaningful fast swims as possible where the speed, tempo, and enthusiasm mimic a meet situation.  It is also important to note that you need to give your athletes adaquate time between these type of workouts so the body and mind can respond properly, we will do this type of set twice a week.

To start, we did 10 minutes of dynamic stretching with poles and mats, 10 minutes of boxing with a partner (this could be the best thing we do), and 10 minutes of Med balls both light (10 lbs. and heavy 40 lbs.)  We do some power cleans with a throws that work really well.

About a 1000 yards to warmup after that, nothing fancy:

Main Set:

6 rounds:
4 X 25 @ 20 (1st 25 from dive)
100 EZ @ 2 minutes or there abouts
2 X 50 @ 45 
100 EZ @ 2 minutes or there abouts
1 X 100 @ 1:30 FR with fins & paddles
100 EZ @ 2:30ish

Notes:
* I had my strokes/IM's do the 1st 25 and both 50's stroke as it made sense in their event lineup.
* The 25's were extremely fast, almost everyone was under race pace speeds, this is the 100 that the team said hurt the most as well.
* The 50's were all P200 or better except for a few that were really cooking.
* The 100's swum very well also, most of the team was right near dual meet times.
* 1800 yards of very fast swimming 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hell Week

I grew up with a fear of Christmas break or as many swimmers call it "Hell Week," as we would start adding up our yards (laps) in the hopes of going further than any team in recent history.  That turned into a sick appreciation of having gone through a swimming ritual that every swimmer must go through and as I made the move to a coach, I even began my career passing many of those fears and workloads on to my swimmers.

 

I have changed.  Unfortunately, I have understood how training works on a scientific level for quite some time, however, we are creatures of habit, and what worked for me, or what my coach did, must be the right thing to do, right?.  Stepping out and changing something is much harder than falling back on what most do.

Also, I got to a point where my teams were coming out of the Holiday's so tired and worn out that they were not able to swim practices at a high level, getting sick, accumulating injuries, and their overall health was taking a hit.  It seemed like we were taking the month after the Holiday's just trying to get to taper, rather than being in full control and executing some great workouts.  It is important to know that my teams were willing participants, we were all on the same page, as we were doing what everyone else is doing, so it must work, right?

If you are a coach or a parent heading into the Holiday's, think about these things:

1.  "Tough" practices can be completed, but you also have to give them time to adapt and recover from those practices.  Mental Toughness is always used to justify these practices, however, the athletes mindset turns to just completing these sets which is much different than the race itself.  Be mindful of what you are trying to accomplish with your team.  How a set is swum is much more important than how far or how hard it is to complete.  If work is too hard, an athletes ability to recover will be impaired, negating the possible benefits of the training effect. Unlike a type of fatigue that develops training effects, these holiday sessions often push far past the benefits of any desirable training effects.

2. Take time to teach over the Holiday's.  There is so much that goes into fast swimming and there are so many things to fix when I watch a typical high school or college swim meet.  Use the extra time to teach something, fix something, teach your team to do something better.  Now is the time to teach proper mechanics on the starts, turns, stroke mechanics, how to warmup, warmdown,........

3.  The logic behind these holiday camps are often explained with anecdotal evidence that claim to test a swimmer’s limits physically and mentally. It should be noted that often what a coach says and what is completed at training is not necessarily what is done by the swimmers (Stewart & Hopkins, 1997).

4. It should be noted that there has yet to be any scientific literature that promotes the idea of drastically changing a training plan due to a holiday. Coaches must remember that the objective of training is “to progressively and systematically increase the training stimulus to induce superior adaptation and, as a result, improve performance” (Bompa, 2009).