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Monday, 29 October 2012

Text-Free Driving Pledge

As swimming coaches, it is our responsibility to educate our athletes in the sport of swimming .  Often, this education is regarding swimming-related actions, for which our athletes are repsponsible.  At times, this education is regarding "hidden training" -- the actions outside of the pool that impact our athlete's lives. 

I believe that at times, it's important that we use our role as educators to help create positive habits that simply help an athlete navigate their life in a positive, healthy way.  This is not "swimming-related" stuff here -- directly.  But it's life related stuff.  And swimming is a part of life!

Just as coaches (for decades) have been talking about the dangers of "drinking and driving" -- this generation of coaches may want to consider another major epidemic affecting teens today: "Texting and Driving". 

Certainly, "Texting and Driving" is a potentially deadly habit -- and one which we, as coaches, may not be able to fully prevent.  After all, we can't control every aspect of our athlete's lives.  But personally speaking, I recognize that "Texting while Driving" is a major problem for people of all ages -- and I do have some concern that there are people on the roads today that are not fully engaged in their civil duty as a safe driver because of the lure of a mini-computer disguised as a phone.

I want my athletes to think twice -- and potentially avoid texting as a matter of lifestyle behind the wheel.  Because I consider it a very important initiative, I have 'strongly encouraged' my athletes to take this "Text-Free Driving Pledge".    Thanks to Barren-Collier HS Junior Marshall King for  composing this Pledge sheet for our team at T2 Aquatics, and for putting some detailed educational information on the sheet for our athletes.

If any coaches or athletes would like a copy of this "Text Free Driving Pledge", I'd be happy to send it to you.  Leave a comment and your email address, or email me at paul@t2aquatics.com


Recycled Speed and Ramblings about training sets

I've been getting back to a style of training set I haven't used much since 2009.  The type of set, which I'll call: a "recycled speed" set, goes something like this:

200 Free (230)
150 Free (2) *Fast, descend
100 Free (120)
75 Free (110) **Fast, descend
3x25 easy (40)

I had a few athletes do this set a few weeks ago, and I thought they performed it well.  The 150s should be descended (say, from 126 to 123); and the 75s should be descended as well -- but with a higher velocity (say, from 39.5 to 38.6, to 38.0). 

I don't really care about the 75 repeat times on this set.  75s are so short, it's easy to get 200 pace out of the athletes.  I can do ask for that any day, any time. What I do care about is the combination of the two repeats: strong 150s, AND strong 75s (add them up for a 225 yard free, or a 200M free!).   And what I really like about this recycling of repeats is the ease in which athletes tend to atttain the pace on the higher volume repeats (in this case the 75s).  It makes for a strong overall set.

Today we did a similar type set...it was a short pulling set to set up the main series.  It went like this:

150 pull (155) breathe 3.5.7
100 pull (115) Negative Split
50 pull (45) Fast

The athletes were able to go fast on the 50s, and they did the 100s negative split well also -- but the notable thing about the set was the 150s: they were able to swim them strong as well, within the breathing pattern -- and they went pretty quick on them with little effort.

On of my top female athletes did something like this: 150s (at 133avg); 100s from 58 to 55 (all negative), and 50s from 26 to 25+.  The 50 speed she was able to get was fueled by a quick tempo, which she relaxed during the breath control 150s.....but was "revved" enough to continue swimming pretty well -- but easily.  The set could have been written like this:

50 pull (45) Fast
150 pull (155) breathe 3.5.7
100 pull (115) Negative Split

It might make more sense that way!

Tomorrow, I plan to build off the set I mentioned at the top of the post.  Here are the two sets:

Free Set mid September:

1x200 Free IM (240)
1x150 Free (2) *Fast descend
1x100 Free IM (130)
1x75 Free (110) *Fast descend
3x25 easy (40)

Free Set October 30:
First, the warmup:

1x100 Free IM (130)
2x50 Free (40)*Fast, descend 1-2 and descend rounds
1x50 Free (50)
1x50 Free (40)**Fast, descend rounds
4x25 easy (40)

...followed by the main series:

1x200 Free IM (240)
2x75 Free (1)*Fast, descend 1-2 and descend rounds
1x100 Free IM (130)
1x75 Free (110)*Fast, descend rounds
3x25 easy (40)

In this set (and warmup set), I'm attempting to warm the athletes with some 50s (which has a high level of expectation, but not as high as the next set).  The 50s warmup is a "set up".  Next, I'm asking for 2x75 in a row, followed by a single 75.  The expectation is for the athletes to swim their 75s at 200 pace.  If the 2x75 are just above the athlete's 200 pace, that is ok too.  The single 75 should be right on the pace.  I don't really care about the total time....the last 50 has to be done right!  There is a big difference between a 39.4 (12.6 + 13.5 + 13.3) and a 39.4 (13.2 + 13.6 + 12.6).  The final 50 of the first 39.4 is a 26.8, while the final 50 of the second 39.4 is a 26.2 -- quite a big difference when thinking about the final 50 of a SCY 200 free!

Once the athlete is "AT" their 200 pace on the single 75, the goal is not to go faster, but to make the pair of 75s a stronger pair.  Ideally, the athletes can swim just about their 200 pace (maybe two 40 flats in this scenario), and follow it with a single 75 right on 200 pace.  I'd prefer it be done this way, rather than see a 38.2 which is preceeded by a 41.5 and a 41.1.

I know I have been rambling during this post....I hope to convey a little bit regarding my mindset toward certain types of training sets.  Certainly "figuring out" how to get athletes to do great things in practice isn't easy, and in my opinion to get high levels of "easy speed" from athletes, "set arrangement" can have a lot to do with it -- It's not just the effort of the athletes we need to depend upon! I think the recycling of distances with a consistently varying level of speed expectation can aid a focused athlete who is seeking great practice performances.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

200 Yard Free Goal Pace Chart

We did a 200 "Pace" set today.  During the set, I asked the athletes to hit their 200 Goal pace on some 75 yard freestyle repeats.  It's tough to say what those splits should be (everyone splits differently), but here's a general idea of what I look for.  I handed out this sheet to the athletes this morning.  Feel free to copy and paste, or send me a comment or email and I'll send you a clean copy sometime next week.
200 Goal Paces:                   1st 50 (dive)           1st 75      2nd 75

1:35.5                                    22.5                        36.5        36.5

1:37.7                                    23.0                        37.25      37.25

1:39.5                                    23.5                        38.0        38.0

1:41.5                                    24.0                        38.75      38.75

1:43.5                                    24.5                        39.5        39.5

1:45.5                                    25.0                        40.25      40.25

1:47.5                                    25.5                        41.0        41.0

1:49.5                                    26.0                        41.75      41.75

1:51.5                                    26.5                        42.5        42.5

1:53.5                                    27.0                        43.25      43.25

1:55.5                                    27.5                        44.0        44.0

1:57.5                                    28.0                        44.75      44.75

1:59.5                                    28.5                        45.5        45.5

2:01.5                                    29.0                        46.25      46.25

2:03.5                                    29.5                        47.0        47.0

2:05.5                                    30.0                        47.75      47.75

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Learning About Athletics Through the Study of Other Sports

Famous track coach Bud Winter coached 37 World Record Holders and 21 Olympians.  Check out his website here: http://www.budwinter.com/

On the right side of this website, you can sign up for its newsletter and receive a free snippet from a 1974 interview with John Wooden.  All you have to do is plug in your email address!

Additionally, this website offers a link to purchase a 1.5 hour + lecture by old school distance running coach Arthur Lydiard.  I bought it -- and have it on two disks.  It's a great listen for anyone interested in distance training and understanding what Coach Lydiard calls: the "tireless state".