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3 Items to Include in Daily Workouts

Today we would like to discuss three very important items that all coaches should include in their daily if not at least weekly workouts

Let’s talk about Tarzan

The first item I would like to talk about is Tarzan.  Tarzan is used for speed purposes. The proper body position for Tarzan is with the head and mouth out of the water. Keeping hips in line with the shoulders with a controlled fast kick. Tarzan is used for developing arm and leg speed. Leg speed drives the arms so begin by emphasizing the kick.  The arm stroke needs to be shorter and faster than the normal freestyle stroke with emphasis on equal shoulder rotation. There are many variations of Tarzan to train. Two of the main drills to use are just quality Tarzan sprinting and Tarzan to easy as indicated on the outline.  “Tarzan to easy” is where the swimmer will work on increasing arm speed until they are unable then drop their head and finish easy to the wall.  When the athlete is broken down this will be very hard to do but as the swimmer recovers he or she will be able to increase arm speed for longer distances of 25’s or 50’s.

YouTube videos are here; or Facebook can be found here.

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/78/

I’d like to show a few different drills of Tarzan. First I am having my swimmer do a 25 of Tarzan where he is holding a constant rate of speed, keeping his head out of the water, shoulders square with hips in line and a small fast kick.  The next drill is 5 Tarzan strokes sprint up followed by 2 freestyle strokes down easy. The swimmer will just drop his head on the recovery strokes. Make sure the swimmers count their strokes to ensure that they start each new cycle of 5 up 2 down with the opposite arm. This will help ensure equal rotation of shoulders and help the swimmers work with both arms to start swimming.  This will translate to their breakout strokes also. Please vary this drill as desired for example 7 up sprint tarzan strokes then 4 easy strokes, etc.. We are always trying to prime the fast twitch muscles by using Tarzan. We do a lot of Tarzan during taper as well as throughout the season. It is easy to train your fast twitch muscle fibers to move at one speed with long sets, making it more difficult to retrain muscle fiber later. Always throw in some tarzan or speed work into your workouts. The last 25 of the video is Tarzan where the swimmer is working on increasing arm speed throughout, working on equal shoulder rotation as well as proper mechanics. A variation of this is on the Faster Swimming 23 week outline is called Tarzan to easy. The only difference is that I want the swimmers to start off at a faster pace and when they can no longer increase arm speed they will drop their head and finish the set distance easy.

Let’s talk about Variable Speed

We all know that racing is the drive to win close races to recover from mistakes and overtake your competition at all costs. Some swimmers have that desire and others we must try to teach. This is why adding Speed work should be very important to us as coaches. Each swimmer needs the ability to start and stop speed with their upper and lower body and I call this Variable Speed. Training an athlete and enhancing his or her ability to change speed at any time of the race is key to teaching and giving the swimmer confidence that they can race. It is a big part of our designed workouts throughout the season. You will need to change the variable speed distances and intensities as outlined weekly. Variable speed work in sets is difficult for the swimmer because it spikes heart rates when a swimmer would normally train at one speed.

For example:

A basic 8 x 200 swim set descend by 2 on 3:00 can be adjusted with variable speed work by 100. For example on the first 2 x 200’s have the swimmers work at 70% on the first 100 and 80% on the second. Descending the 200’s by adjusting the variable speed effort.  Variable speed work can be similar to Negative split as I just described in this set. The hard part is getting them to understand the actual percentage of intensities and still descend the 200’s. You can mix it up by making the swimmers go out in the first 100 @ 95% and the second 100 back in a controlled 90% by either giving them their splits, doing open turns or breaking the 200 at the 100 for a short rest interval.  This will make their set more difficult and train their muscle fibers at variable speeds.  You don’t want to get in the habit of training your swimmers at one pace thus making it harder to get into sprint work later in the practice or season.

Using Heart Rate

I am using the measurement of heart rate in this set to get a basic feel of how my swimmers are feeling today. There are a lot of factors that affect heart rate so this is just a guideline. I have created a set where the swimmer must maximize heart rate and created the speed work I wanted to have in today’s workout. This set was given a week after one championship meet and week before another. Prior to this workout they had two hard weight and dryland workouts and one longer aerobic swim practice. They were sore and a bit tired as they should have been.

This set is all freestyle starting with 2 x 100’s on a 1:30 send off.

The first 1:00 holding a minute pace and descending the 2nd 100 holding a :56. They are to take their heart rate immediately after the 2nd 100 for a starting point. They are taking their heart rate for 10 seconds. I want them to take their heart rate again after+/- 45 seconds to see how fast they recover. Once the heart rate drops below 20 (for :10 seconds) they will finish the next part of the set which is, 50 sprint kick followed by 2 x 25 sprint Tarzan with :20 seconds rest  then a 100 recovery swim.

They will repeat the same basic pattern two more times.

Second time starting off with 2 x 50 on a :35 second send off just making the send off immediately followed by a 100 free holding a :54 or faster again taking the heart rate immediately after the swim. Their heart rate should be above 30 or elevated from the last time taken. Once the heart rate drops below 20 finishing the set with a 50 sprint kick and 2 x 25’s sprint tarzan with :20 rest and a 100 recovery swim. If their heart rate doesn’t drop you can assume that they need more rest or they are completely out of shape.  This is very individual and knowing your swimmer will help you answer that question.  If their heart rate doesn’t drop below 20 for a couple of minutes then just have them finish the set or warm down, your call.

Third time thru they will begin with 4 x 25’s @ 100 Race Pace on a :20 second send off. Each swimmer should have an understanding of the effort needed to maximize their heart rate on this set. Then finish the set once heart rate drops with 50 sprint kick and 2 x 25’s tarzan then a 100 recovery swim.

Tarzan, Variable Speed and Heart Rate sets are some of the important items included in the Faster Swimming program.  We discussed Race Pace training in the last Journal.  If you have any questions please email [email protected] or [email protected]

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Breaststroke Continues to Change!

I think as long as we keep thinking about the best ways to reduce drag with regards to each swimmers body type this stroke will continue to morph.  As you all know there is a lot of motion in the breaststroke that creates drag and this reduction in drag will advance your swimmers the quickest in the short term.

We also need to consider how to create and maintain momentum with the recovery of the stroke and kick. Body position is extremely important and streamlined swimming is essential to achieve as much as possible.

Here are a few comments from other coaches and athletes in the sport taken from the web to help you think about how to teach and advance this stroke.  Please feel free to comment on certain thoughts or provide new ones.

Questions and Comments from the web:

How wide should your hands go on the outsweep of the stroke? The outsweep is a function of strength and speed and a rough idea is about the same as your fly pull.

Lift propulsion is,for practical purposes,sculling. You use your hands like propellers. It’s called lift as the force is similar to what lifts an airplane wing. There is a heated debate as to which is more important in swimming. I suspect you are generating more force with your new pull than you think. Try just doing the pull and see. If you are doing the heart shaped pull remember to accelerate through the pull so that the insweep is the strongest part.

Regarding lift, Bernoulles Principle is that as a fluid flows faster it’s pressure decreases. An airplane wing is curved on top so the air has to travel further in the same time on top relative to underneath. Since it is moving faster the pressure is lower so the wing rises. Moving a hand through the water at an angle can cause the water on the back of the hand to move faster than over the palm so the hand will lift. The actual situation for a swimmer is much more complicated.

I consider the entire pulling phase of the stroke as triphasic, i.e. outsweep, insweep and recovery. I would characterize the outsweep as a setup for the more propulsive insweep phase, emphasizing a more constant velocity through the outsweep. Consider the swimmer moving through sheets of parallel planes of water: During the outsweep, the arms remain straight and confined to a plane near the surface of the water (six to 10 inches). At the widest part of the stroke (which depends on individual strength) the insweep begins to take form, characterized by increased velocity through to the recovery phase.

The insweep takes form as the inside edge of the arms (which I refer to as the blade-thumb-side) begins to take the lead. The edge extends from the fingertips to the elbow. Consider the edge to cut through the series of parallel planes with the elbows maintaining their position within the original plane. The blade therefore cuts through these planes much like a propeller, creating resistance and propulsion on the inside of the arm. Through the completion of the insweep, the swimmer finds the hands coming toward each other with the elbows trailing and ending closely together. The position of the hands at this point should be above the level of the elbows as the swimmer begins the recovery phase. Through the insweep phase the shoulders and back lift while driving forward (this is stressed so as not to create too much upward motion-thereby sacrificing forward movement). Also during this phase, the elbows remain fairly close to their original planar position.

Reduction of drag should characterize the recovery to the extent that the hands are held close together with the elbows also being close together through the forward extension. Whether or not this phase needs to occur above the surface or below the surface is not as important as emphasizing that the hands should not be lifted out of the water into the recovery phase. More important is that at the beginning of the recovery phase, the hands are at a position slightly higher than the elbows, and that recovery occurs straight forward as opposed to downward. As the arms recover, the head is maintained in a position in line with the back and settles between the arms ending the stroke cycle in a streamlined position.

Among the factors that are important to the breaststroke kick is a concentrated effort on heel speed, especially during the recovery phase. The biggest mistake breaststroke swimmers make in kicking is the manner in which they train. Very little effort is placed on the recovery phase of the kick-specifically the acceleration of the heels during recovery. The heels should be drawn up toward the hips with maximum speed and the toes are turned outward to initiate the propulsive phase. The heels should continue to be the leaders and with the heels in a position outside of the knees, propulsion begins. The heels take an elliptical path as the legs are extended-pressure maintained on the bottom of the feet. At full extension the heels come together and the completion of the kick occurs as the toes are extended to maximize the streamlined position.

In my mind, there are certain components of the stroke where timing can be evaluated and corrected. In the pull, I look to the velocity characteristics of the outsweep and insweep. I look to see that there is a relative constant velocity through the outsweep with an increase in velocity through the insweep into the recovery. During the kick and the initiation of the heel recovery, I suggest that the swimmer feel the recovery begin through the outsweep so that as the recovery phase begins, the propulsive phase of the kick occurs nearly simultaneously. In all, there should be a sense that during the propulsive phase of the arm stroke the recovery (and hence the drag phase) of the heels is occurring and vice versa.

Lastly, I look for the lift of shoulders and back to occur through the insweep phase of the stroke with the head staying in-line with the back.

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More on Taper with Video Help!

Taper time is a well thought out process of preparing your swimmers for championships.  Taper means QUALITY work and QUALITY recovery just to begin.   Race Pace, Variable Speed swimming and kicking, Understanding the process of resting legs, etc are huge components of this 7 week preparation. The outlines will spell out exactly what distances to swim and kick, effort level and rest intervals needed for each set. During taper an athlete is able to increase and maintain aerobic conditioning. This is the time of the year to emphasize exact race pace speed needed for the big swim.

I have included a few videos to help you through the process. Heart rate is a great tool to establish what your swimmer needs. Tarzan is used to spark the nervous system and work the fast twitch muscles of the whole body as well as Overspeed work.

This process and all information is spelled out on the weekly outlines included in the Faster Swimming, 23 and 14 week books. The 23 and 14 week book include the exact swim and dryland workouts throughout the taper process.

To view the videos below, please copy and paste the link into your browser.

Heart Rate Set Explanation

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/146/

Heart Rate Set Swimming

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/147/

Tarzan

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/78/

Overspeed with cords

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/111/

Pulling Cords

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/112/

Overspeed Drag and Pull

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/237/

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Successful Sport Task Management Part 1: Follow Up to 10 Principles of Athletic Success

This is a follow up to an article we posted on Facebook in January 2012. The article was titled “The 10 Principles of Athletic Success.” If you have questions, please know that we answer every email and phone call.

For the next 3 email newsletters, we’ll be discussing Successful Sports Task Management.

Successful task management for a sports season has many, many facets and in explaining my thoughts I will do my best to move from general to specific throughout this series.  Taking a top-down approach helps to account for the variables involved and allows the day-to-day focus to remain on what is happening in the present; with a solid, principle-based structure that we have built on through experience (the past); and some degree of comfort we are heading in the right direction (toward the future).  This top-down approach toward planning allows the freedom to focus on the here-and-now aspects of task management.

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FOLLOW UP:

These principals function well as a base for decision making and problem-solving and lead us directly to our Purpose.  We do our best to keep things simple and concise in order to focus on what matters to our teams.

Our Team purpose is to Learn, to Have Fun, and to Compete.  We want all of our athletes learning not only sports skills to an ever higher degree but also to learn how to have fun and compete at the same time; how to train and have fun at the same time; how to balance their energies and commitments to make it all work.  We emphasize that learning is a life-long process and that there is always more to know and experience.

Having fun can be tough during an exhausting training set or a critical competition – and so goes hand-in-hand with learning.  We do what we can to make training and competition more fun than anxiety-producing.  This focus on fun is especially important at the developmental stages of sport and carries over into high-level performance far more than many perceive.  Learning the skills & rules of the sport should be made as fun as possible as well – not always an easy task for the coach!

Competing is where the rubber meets the road in sport – competitions allow us to see where our preparations have led us.  We delineate competitions into 3 categories: Developmental, Important, and Critical.  Developmental competitions are to get an indicator of where we are in our training, to practice at competing, and perhaps to try a new technique, strategy or tactic that we have been working on in practice.  Most developing/younger athletes have mainly developmental competitions.  Important competitions allow us to compete at a higher level, many times with a little added rest to get a true picture of our skills and conditioning.  Important competitions might include a mid-season Invite, a league championship or perhaps the last meet of the season for the developing athlete.  Critical competitions allow full display of all of the athlete’s capabilities and allow for top-level performances.  We peak for critical competitions, dropping back on volume to assure full system recovery and sports performances, and this peaking phase comprises a significant portion of the end-season for the higher level athlete.  Critical competitions include meets that qualify on to the next level, whether through place or on time.  And we strive not to lose sight in all of the above – competitions should always include both learning and fun at some level for the athlete to find continued success.

Our purpose for our athletes individually is simply: Training, Eating, and Sleeping.  This covers our main bases of both efforts expended and the regeneration required to move on to the next level.  The team purposes above are incorporated into the athlete’s training, which the athlete should strive to adhere to, and then also incorporate the 10 Principles as a base to work from individually at training.  More specific training task management is looked at in Part 4 of this series.  Eating can be an unnecessarily complex issue that we will address in Part 3 of this series, and Sleeping we will address next in Part 2.

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Successful Sport Task Management Part 2: Regeneration and Sleep

We look at regeneration as the ability to recover from a given session, training phase or season and then be ready to move on to the next level.  Regenerative methods can include a wide variety of specific measures (sauna, massage, Epsom salt bath, etc) and for our purpose of moving from general to specific, we will focus on the two main influences on Regeneration – sleep and nutrition (nutrition in Part 3).

Sleep is an often overlooked performance requirement.  And yes, quality sleep is a requirement for improving performance levels.  Sound sleep promotes optimal hormone production and release as well as critical downtime for both the athlete’s body and mind.  These factors that occur during sleep (not during “rest”) allow for full use of the nutrition and training efforts accomplished by the athlete, which fosters higher-level recovery (regeneration!).

Athletes simply must get enough quality sleep to foster solid regeneration.  We recommend a total of 8 plus hours per night and upward of 60 hours per week of quality sleep.  If 8 hours plus per night is not possible and the athlete is not achieving 60 plus hours of sleep per night – we strongly recommend taking daytime naps to cover the deficit.

We wish not only to get enough sleep but to optimize our sleep in order to be fully recovered and ready to train to a higher level.  The first step in this process is to make it dark.  Quality sleep is best accomplished in total, or near-total, darkness.  Even very low-level light stimulus can cause unwanted waking and disrupt productive sleep.  We, therefore, recommend turning off or making dark all ambient light sources – clocks, phones, radios, TV’s, hallway lights, etc.  If this is not possible or only partially so, we recommend using a sleep mask to sleep in, which will block out almost all of the light in your bedroom.

Quality sleep also involves a quiet environment.  Again, this necessitates turning off phones, computers, TV’s, etc to make your sleep environment as quiet as possible.  White noise might be OK, and this is certainly an individual choice that should be made through experimentation, whether the white noise is coming from a fan, a humidifier/de-humidifier, or a “white-noise” machine.  Another consideration for turning off all unused electronics at night would be the RFI/EMI (radio frequency interference/electromagnetic interference) noise pollution that many modern electronics emit.  If loud and/or sudden noises cannot be kept to a minimum, we recommend using ear plugs (rather than headphones which will come off during sleep far easier) which will block out the majority of noises.

Sleep consistency involves maintaining consistent sleep and wake cycles.  Our bodies function on a Circadian rhythm which has evolved over time from the rising and the setting of the sun.  Athletes should do their best to get to bed early in the evenings as any sleep prior to midnight will help establish a more natural (in-line with the sun) sleep/wake cycle.  Optimal hormone production can also be assisted by an established, regular sleep and wake pattern.

Establishing a nightly routine prior to sleep as well as a morning routine upon waking can influence your quality of sleep as well as your general health and readiness for the day (and training and necessary nutrition) ahead.  30 minutes prior to sleep we recommend reducing all intense visual stimulation (TV, computer, video games, etc) which allows your visual cortex to wind down for the day.  Helpful habits that could be included in this 30 min period would be anything to get ready for the following day (training, breakfast/lunch/snacks ready, school/work things gathered) as well as any healthy habits such as brushing teeth, showering, and making sure that there is water by the bed.  This nightly routine should include any other helpful extras as well – Epsom salt bath, warm milk, meditation – simply be sure to use whatever extra habits help you get the quality sleep required for improved regeneration!

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Successful Sport Task Management Part 3: Regeneration and Nutrition

Again, we look at regeneration as the ability to recover from a given session, training phase or season and then be ready to move on to the next (higher) level.  We covered sleep and sleep-related strategies in Part Two, and we move on to the other main influence for Regeneration – Nutrition.

As with sleep, we try to keep things as simple as possible while remaining effective in regard to nutrition (including hydration).  Eating right is simple – not easy.  First and foremost we want to keep in mind that convenience leads to success (CLS).  That means we need to plan ahead and prepare for the coming week by creating a list of basic foods; planning for meals appropriately; buying our food; preparing some or most of our food for the week; and packing our prepared foods/meals as conveniently as possible to have things ready to go for our sleep and/or wake rituals.  The simplest way to do all of the above is to have a planning/preparing/packing day each week – what we call a weekly ritual.  This all-in-one day allows the readiness and convenience of foods that you have planned for in your diet to be ready to go when you need them.  This greatly increases the likelihood of sticking to your plan and getting the best regeneration nutrition bang-for-your-buck.

First and foremost all athletes should be eating as many colorful vegetables as they can at each meal, and eating colorful fruits less often but still daily.  There are so many benefits to eating a wide variety of colorful vegetables that if we listed them all in an ad most people simply would not believe the hype… Fresh, mostly raw vegetables influence our basic health that much!  Besides the many vitamins and minerals present, there is an astounding (and ever-growing as we find out more) list of co-nutrients, healthy bacteria, enzymes and phytonutrients in fresh vegetables and fruits.  Most often we recommend fresh vegetables, and then in descending order: frozen, dried and canned – raw most often, cooked less often.  There are color-coded vegetable and fruit charts if you are not coming up with many options, with a normal breakdown of green, white, red, yellow/orange, and blue/purple.  Simple – eat a wide variety of colorful vegetables at each meal… not easy.

Next, we want to be sure to eat a complete protein at each meal.  Complete proteins contain all of the required amino acids to effect optimal repair and recovery.  We break down muscle tissue during hard/heavy training and complete proteins provide the necessary building blocks to help regeneration proceed after this training.  One serving of a complete protein would equal any of the following foods about the size of your hand or your fist: eggs, meats, fish/seafood, and dairy.  Try to include a serving of protein at each meal, and as with vegetables and fruits above, include variety as best you can.

Along with protein an important building block for optimal regeneration are healthy fats.  We recommend including healthy fats daily, hopefully, some healthy fats with each meal.  Healthy fats include coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds, butter and cream.  Healthy fats slow digestion, help control insulin levels, help rebuild and repair damaged tissues, as well as supply an important energy source.  An effective nutrition plan can not overemphasize the inclusion of these fats on a regular basis.

Water is vital to not only athletic performance but to our lives.  We recommend that athletes drink plain, clean water most often.  There are instances when non-calorie drinks such as coffee and tea are OK as well, and again – for the most part, athletes should be drinking plain, clean water.  A green drink (with vegetables, fruits, flax, coconut oil, etc) is a solid addition to a daily nutrition plan as well and could account for one of your daily meals.  Besides the green drink just mentioned and the workout windows described below, almost all of your fluids should be calorie free – plain, clean water.

Workout windows describe the area on either side of or during training.  This window of opportunity allows for protein, carbs, and fats to be used immediately not only for energy for training but also for immediate repair from training.  We time this window from about 1.5 to 2 hours prior to training to 30 to 45 minutes post training.  Before practice, we recommend a balance of clean carbs, proteins, and fats.  During training we most often recommend plain, clean water – and should training last over an hour and/or be exceptionally hard we recommend some type of training drink (Gatorade, Accelerade, etc).  Post-training we recommend some type of protein and carb combination to speed recovery and to avoid most fat and fiber at this time since these both slow digestion, and we want to get nutrients to our muscles as quickly as possible after training.  An easy and popular post-workout drink is chocolate milk, and there are several others that provide a quick source of protein and carbs (Accelerade, Gatorade Recovery, etc).  Experiment at practices to find out what works best to regularly help your performance (both training and recovery), and then use these same strategies for meets.  Do not complicate things at meets – what works for hard practices will work for meets.

Some probably think that we have forgotten the most important of all macro-nutrients – carbohydrates.  The above vegetables and fruits do contain some carbs, but vegetables especially tend not to have too many calories.  Well, in our opinion additional carbs are a little over-hyped.  Carbohydrates are fuel only – whereas protein is a mainly a major building block, and fats are both building blocks and a concentrated energy source.  Additional carbs would be most grains (breads, rice, cereals), potatoes, corn, and sugar.  In our view these additional carbohydrates should be looked at as activity-dependant, meaning you should eat as many carbs as needed to cover your training needs and no more.  In high-volume, hard training phases this may be a lot of carbs, and conversely, during the off-season this would be not-so-many carbs.  Individual experimentation should guide your efforts in finding what works best for your performance (as well as your waistline) in regard to additional carbohydrates.

There is no magic to eating for performance, just a simple set of guidelines to follow consistently.  Make correlations as you can between performance and nutrition, as well as weight and performances (weight being guided mainly by nutrition).  Temptation and inconvenience tend to be the biggest enemies of nutritional success, so follow the advice above and keep things as simple as possible with effective, convenient meal strategies that suit your tastes and lead you to improved performances and increased regeneration.

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Core Rotation Questions Answered with Video

One of our friends recently had questions about core rotations and core training.  This is the information we sent him:

Core rotations are simply rotating through core exercises for a given amount of time.  For example

Core rotations – 4 min, switch exercises every :30  could just be a series repeating – for instance, alternating pikes and ride-the-bike, or could be a bunch of exercises and look like:

:30 flutter kick

:30 kick outs

:30 ride the bike

:30 pikes

:30 Russian twists

:30 sit-ups

:30 plank

:30 sit-up get-ups

Use what works best with your team – the real effectiveness will come in progressing in exercise time and difficulty, and the effort given by the swimmers.  Some video links follow at the bottom with a bunch of core work ideas.  Please copy and paste the links below into your browser.

Championship Core Training

#1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU0jqP4radE&list=UU0zptkU-mFCY-G-5iE_r0HQ&index=94&feature=plcp

#2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9gwH829DdE&list=UU0zptkU-mFCY-G-5iE_r0HQ&index=93&feature=plcp

#3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnnS0xgARMM&list=UU0zptkU-mFCY-G-5iE_r0HQ&index=92&feature=plcp

#4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUO_ew7OnlQ&list=UU0zptkU-mFCY-G-5iE_r0HQ&index=91&feature=plcp

#5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB3ihY8zcE0&list=UU0zptkU-mFCY-G-5iE_r0HQ&index=90&feature=plcp

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A Variety of Video Explanations

From time to time we get questions about a variety of swim related topics. The following videos were created to pair with our Monthly Workout subscription, which you can find here. If you have any questions, post it below!

WALL CORDS VARIATIONS

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/184/

TURNS WITH CORDS

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/185/

IM FREE WARM UP EXPLANATION

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/172/

IM FREE WARM UP SWIM SET

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/173/

KICK SET EXPLANATION

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/174/

KICK SET

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/176/

SPRINT FREE FLY SET EXPLANATION

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/177/

SPRINT FEE FLY SET

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/178/

TOP STROKE SPRINT SET EXPLANATION

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/180/

TOP STROKE SPRINT SET

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/181/

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Practicing Simple and Basic Concepts

I have been teaching a lot of adult lessons lately and it has reminded me of some very simple concepts that we as coaches most likely overlook and assume that our swimmers understand. Take some time during warm ups to review even with your best swimmers.  I review all of these concepts with my team this week and will need to continue to stress these concepts repeatedly.

1. The ability to rotate the whole body.

Most  swimmers can’t rotate properly.  Start the swimmer on their stomach having them rotate to the side, then on the back, back to the side and completing the whole circle to the stomach. If swimmers can’t rotate with proper form maintaining proper body position then how can they rotate their shoulders and core properly in the freestyle stroke, all the while working on the timing of the breath?

2. Timing of the breath including when to initiate and when to fully exhale and inhale.  This is the biggest mistake by many swimmers including some of the most accomplished swimmers. This is the hardest to teach to adults and younger swimmers. Here is one example of breathing with freestyle.

FREESTYLE: Timing of the breath and proper breathing is the most important concept toinstill. The first thing a swimmer must be able to do is learn how to exhale all air while the mouth is in the water. This will enable you to concentrate on inhaling while the mouth is out of the water. A lot of swimmers take too much time to exhale and inhale during the breath, when the mouth is out of the water. This creates a slow breathing process, throws off timing and body position by turning the head to a non-streamlined position creating drag and usually affecting the hips. The breathing process begins during the catch of the stroke and is completed at the front end of the pull. If you see your arm during the breath then you are breathing late. 

Timing of the breath is the most important beginning to freestyle. If you learn this it will eliminate many errors in mechanics. For example: If a swimmer doesn’t kick or the kick slows during the breath then the breath is too late. If a swimmer has a hip swing it could be due to the breath and lack of head control. Make sure the swimmer is finishing the stroke in the proper place as to maintain the rotation of the arms. Why is this so important for freestyle? It is the only stroke you breath to the side.

3. The ability to relax and float. Teach your swimmers how to float vertically. While teaching adult lessons this is the first thing I teach.  You can’t progress a swimmer unless they are able to relax.

4. Teaching swimmers how to kick with the whole leg while keeping the ankle relaxed.  Teach how to kick starting from the core, there is a slight bend in the knees during the kick but the legs are led by the foot.

5. Ankle flexibility or pointing the toes without flexing and using the ankle are key. You can always locate a swimmer with tight ankles and see it in their kicking. Usually they do a lot of scissor kicking or straight foot swimming. Teach swimmers how to stretch the ankle and relax the foot during the kick.

6. Teaching momentum

Momentum:  Maintaining a proper streamline and being able to time your breakout into your swimming is key to fast swimming. If you ever do anything underwater and feel yourself slow down then you have lost momentum. Momentum will be different for each athlete based on body type, flexibility and skill level. What and how you do your underwater mechanics and how you breakout into your swimming all effects momentum. 

7. Teaching body position the 4 H’s, Hands, head, hips and heels. Teach your swimmers to do this perfect from the beginning!

Streamlined position: The hands should be crossed hand over hand, some people teach a crossover grab. The biceps should be pressed upon the ears with the shoulders and chest stretched out as much as possible. The head will not be tucked chin to chest but in the same position it would be in as if you were walking. The midsection and hips will be in line with the thighs and feet following directly behind. The legs must be in the same plane as the hips thus reducing drag. This is the basic streamline (spike). Hands, Head, Hips and Heels in line. Once this has been achieved you may begin your breakout by starting your first stroke. Judging the depth of the water is essential for a good breakout by maintaining momentum.

You will be surprised what your swimmers don’t know.

Good Luck

Brad

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Part 5: Repeating Race Pace Sets

This article is a basic summary of those posted past newsletters from this study. Please remember these basic concepts while incorporating the workouts provided in the most recent newsletter.

How often do you need to repeat specific race pace sets for optimal training?

This study recommends 8 weeks to 3 months based on the ability of the athlete. If you document all your sets you will know when to increase the distance of the race pace set or decrease the rest interval as outlined in the last newsletter. Try to repeat the specific race pace set at least 3 times with approximately 36 – 48 hours between before making any changes within a week or two cycle. The brain will establish successive refinements of the patterning with the technique and energy that will occur in a race. Each successive cycle of repeats will have increased demands on the swimmer establishing the aerobic adaptation needed in swimming.

The refinement of race pace technique must also be a major focus of training as well as the mental aspects of racing. This must be worked into the training cycles as well as recovery. Please research the macrocycles of training listed in this publication. Basically, cycles of increased fitness levels will tend to have less recovery alternated with a cycle which emphasizes technique and mental skills.

The science behind this type of training proves that swimmers can peak multiple times within a 6 month period with benefits not achieved by a 4-6 month period of traditional training with considerable demands before a taper. Tapering is so much more than a short rest but an extended period of time where all aspects of the past newsletters are incorporated. There isn’t one formula and coaches need to know their athletes for optimal training. “There is a distinct difference between a two-hour training period and a two-minute race.”

Maintaining race pace work creates the energy demands and energy systems working together as they would in a single race. I will expand on energy systems to the best of my ability in future newsletters.

Just remember that swimmers must understand how to swim each race you are training.

If a swimmer uses the anaerobic energy system first in a race by usually being to aggressive then the race will be performed at less than optimal performance. Remember that your race pace training must match exactly how you want your swimmers to swim the race in a meet. Be as specific as you can in practice. Obviously exact times for specific distances must be repeated as well as stroke rate, flip turn speed, kicking distances off each wall and start, etc..

“Whether or not coaches are willing to alter entrenched coaching behaviors to provide a program that will benefit racing-oriented swimmers remains to be seen. A commitment to follow directives provided here in a disciplined manner is almost a requirement to see changes in coaching effectiveness through to a final, rewarding culmination. The practice sessions that stimulate the techniques and energizing properties for various races will be very different to traditional swimming training.”

All feedback is welcome.

This article is created from the readings of Swimming Science Bulletin Number 39Produced, edited and copyrighted by Professor Emeritus Brent S. Rushall, San Diego State University Swimming Energy Training in the 21st Century: The Justification For Radical Changes Brent S. Rushall, Ph.D.,R.Psy