from Across the Pond
This note and the following questions are
received from a coach just North-west of London, England.
“I coach on a voluntary basis and
have a passion to ensure I give the very best to my swimmers and
ensuring that they arrive at the championships in March in the best
form they can. All help and guidance is gratefully received.”
Question #1. Variable
Speed swimming Distances/ Efforts- Does that mean to use all energy
systems ? And would any of the sets be at or near race pace? I have
perviously planned my season using Counsilman and Maglishco reference
books and am therefore familiar with EN1, En2, En3 and so on.
Answer #1. Variable
speed focuses on the ability to change speeds at will, to never
over train either the fast twitch or slow twitch muscles. Throughout
the season you will see Race Pace added into sets, especially the
months during taper. Changing the effort during sets increases work
load and the aerobic capacity quicker than grinding out yardage.
The mechanics of strokes have changed a lot as well as training
methods. This as is evident by the amount of speed at the USA High
School Level. Swimming is finally following the lead by track coaches
to train athletes for a specific event. Training yards or short
course meters is key to training speed and puts more emphasis on
starts, turns and momentum. Take what you need from Counsilman and
Maglishco as they have obviously helped swimming more than I can
give them credit for in this newsletter. We all learn from the past
just don’t get stuck in it.
Question #2. Legs
- Yardage at 50%, does that mean, if say for example I had a total
distance of 3000m for the session 1500m should be legs only? Also
does the phrase mix it up, shown on Monday of week 1 apply to everyday
with legs at 50%?
Answer #2. Do
the best you can to have 50% of kicking a day during the first part
of the season. It is hard to write in and motivate the swimmers
to do this but they will taper better and have more speed for all
events. As you know the legs muscles are big and require more training
than coaches think. I'll take less yardage and more kicking any
day. Do the best you can to be creative and do lots of variable
speed to increase the aerobic gains from kicking.
Question #3. Basic
Format - Alternating upper body and lower body by Set. Would that
mean one set pull, one set of legs?
Answer #3. Yes,
or just a swim set alternating with a kick set. Swimmers don't kick
as much as they should and will focus on upper body work during
a swim set, so I use a swim set for upper body and pulling is great
also. Work in what is best for the talent you are training.