Check out http://www.t2aquatics.com for information on T2 Aquatics!

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Update from Senior Champs

Congratulations to all T2 Aquatics athletes for great performances at last weekend's Senior Championship meet. We placed 2nd in the overall team score, which met the goal we had for the competition. This is our best finish ever! It was a total team effort with points scored by many athletes -- and considering we placed 2nd by less than 20 points, every point counted. Special Congrats to Justine Mueller for winning 5 events and setting 4 US Masters Age Group American Records (400 IM twice in 4:19, 200 IM (1:57), 200 Back (1:58); to Erika Erndl for winning 4 events and setting 1 US Masters Age Group American Record (100 Free 48.03, which gives Erika a total of 7 events in which she holds a National Record); to Elise Haan for winning 3 events and setting a Florida State Record (15-16 Age Group) in the 100 Back (53.91); and to Ksen Golovkina for winning the 100 Breaststroke with a lifetime best of 1:01.8. In addition to these 13 event wins, our women's team won each of the 5 relays, all under the meet record time (with the four women mentioned above, and including Avery Mohring on the 800 Free Relay) -- including one (400 Free Relay) which broke the long-standing Bolles School record in achieving the All-Time Florida Swimming Record withj a 3:19+ 400.

As is our normal mode of operation, it is "on to the next one" for everyone on T2 Aquatics. Our Seniors are getting ready for a great summer of competition, and our Age Groupers are priming for their Championship meet -- which will take place next weekend in Sarasota. Let's go T2!!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Value of Repeating What You Say

During a swim practice, swimmers can hear the coach's instructions when their ears are above water, but not when their ears are under water.  The percentage of time an athlete spends above vs under water depends on the practice (how much swimming is being done vs how much time is spent listening to instruction and/or resting between swims).

A unique thing about swimming practice is that we tend to swim 3-4 to a lane (sometimes more).  If I have 5 lanes, with 4 athletes in a lane -- that's 20 athletes I'm coaching at one time.  It's rare that all 20 athletes are present "on the wall" (not swimming) at the same time.  This issue can affect the effectiveness of our communication toward the group.

Oftentimes swimming coach have 4-8 people who are capable of listening to us (they are resting on the wall), while we've got 12-16 people who are swimming.  This type of thing happens during the majority of a two-hour practice.  As the first 4 atheletes depart from the wall, we've got a new set of athletes on the wall.  Over and over during the workout! 

As coaches, there are times when we need to communicate certain things to our athletes.  Sometimes those things are individual to a certain athlete, so we can find the time to get our thoughts communicated (making the time, here and there throughout the workout).  But there are times when we want each athlete to function in a certain way during the training set -- and we want everyone to think in the same direction.  How do we convey this type of universal message to everyone, when we don't have each of our team members listening at one time?

When I am doing a good job as a coach, I find myself repeating the same statement over and again, so that each set of 4 athletes can hear the same thing during the critical part of the set.   The first group hears "Launch off the wall in a tight streamline", and so does the second, third, and fourth group.  The first group hears "Two more smooth, then it's on!", and so does the second, third, and fourth group. 

Don't misunderstand my assertion.  First, there are plenty of times when I think a coach needs to shut up and let the athletes work and figure it out for themselves.  I'm talking about a better use of the "active coaching time" and spreading our knowledge equally among the group. 

Second, there are going to be plenty of times when the athletes who lead the lanes hear more verbal cues than the athletes who are going fourth -- after all, the athletes leading the lanes are going faster, and on any given time interval they are going to have more time on the wall to hear the coach. 

If we care about how well all of our athletes develop -- and not just the workhorses in the front of our lanes, then we have to make sure the athletes who are not in the lead hear the same verbal cues as everyone else.  I know I'm not alone in thinking that the kid who is going third in my lanes but is 2 years younger than the leaders may in fact be the best swimmer in the group in 16 months!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Age Group Sets

I like to allow our T2 Aquatics coaches to "figure it out" for themselves in terms of coaching athletes to improve.  I believe a huge part of becoming a great coach is "figure it out" part....getting athletes age 9-12 to swim well and go fast has very little to do with seasonal planning and everything to do with daily learning and daily success.  The coach who sees the athlete every day is the one who is in charge of figuring this sort of thing out.

However, I'm going to ask our T2 Aquatics staff members to do a few simple sets this week.  These sets are:

A.10x100 Free {on either 1:15, 1:20, 1:25, 1:40....depending on the training group}

B. 10x50 Stroke (1:10) {do this one time Fly, one time Back, one time Breast over the course of 10 days}

C. 15 Minutes (minimum) of "focused" stroke work each day (this is stroke work that is done in 25 yard increments, and is done with technical improvement in mind).

Each coach is going to record average times for each athlete.....which will give us an idea about how to design some sets next week that build off this week's results.