This is a continuation of the starts newsletter. We will continue to expand and detail every aspect of the start. There is a swim workout and the end of this article with outline explanations of how it was written.
Full season outlines are also in the 23 week, 14 week and Faster Swimming books.
Center of Gravity
When considering body position on the block we need to look at the athlete’s center of gravity. We look at the center of gravity not in a side to side (lateral) aspect, but in a front to back (anterior/posterior) aspect. The farther forward athletes are able to shift their center of gravity in relation to the point of force production (feet), the more efficient their first movement will be. If the center of gravity is behind the point of force production athletes must first pull their body forward before pushing it forward. If we all had hands at the ends of our legs we would be able to grab the block and pull, but our feet have a limited ability to grab the block leaving our legs useful only for a pushing motion. This results in the beginning pull to be done entirely with the arms which have a limited ability to produce much forward motion and lead more to wasted time and inefficiency on the block. The brief amount of time that it takes to go through a start for any athlete (even those with a slow start) only increases the need to be as efficient as possible to gain an advantage.
Many athletes understand the concept of a forward center of gravity but go about it the wrong way by attempting to lean out as far as they can. The problem with this is that their center of gravity will usually end up being farther back due to the athletes inability to maintain balance. The best way to allow for a forward center of gravity is to keep the hips high and forward while dropping the head and shoulders into a relaxed position as close to the thighs as possible. The closer the shoulders and head are to the hips from the anterior/posterior view the farther forward the hips will be able to shift without throwing off balance and stability.
If the center of gravity is placed behind the point of force production, weight must first be shifted forward before being able to apply force in a rear direction propelling the body forward. Most athletes and coaches have seen swimmers on the block who lean as far back as possible under the premise that they will produce a more powerful start. When this technique is used athletes spend half of their motion using arms for their force production before their center of gravity shifts far enough forward for their legs to explode. While it is helpful to use the arms in a limited manner to shift the center of gravity to a favorable position, the arms shouldn’t be used as a major force producing piece of the start.
With the two different styles of starts, track and two feet forward, the center of gravity in relation to the point of force production is the major difference between them. The two feet forward start makes it far more difficult to bring the center of gravity up to the point of force production. However, if a start is well trained and athletes are able to have enough flexibility, stability, and balance, there is much greater power potential in this type of start. With the track start it is very easy to place the point of force production behind the center of gravity. The rear foot is very easily placed behind the hips and allows the athlete to produce a very efficient first motion. This efficient first motion and easy body positioning have caused this start to be used almost exclusively without any consideration being given to the start that allows for more power to be produced. Don’t get me wrong though, changing every athlete’s start to a two feet forward style may not be appropriate as not every athlete has the flexibility, stability, and balance necessary to make this start viable.
Here is the first workout of 115+ from the 23 week workout. This is a very simple beginning into workouts that are written with complex details thru the season. Each week has an outline which you can follow and write your own workout or sets. The outline includes percentage of kicking in each workout, speed work, recovery, time allotted for starts and turns, variable speed intensities, race pace work, heart rate and test sets to help you adjust workouts for your athletes. The last 7 weeks is the taper written in great detail to fine tune speed, build confidence, increase and maintain aerobic capacity, train energy systems for the demands of championship meets and get your athlete ready for many weeks of fast swimming. All you have to do is administer the workout!
Here is to Faster Swimming.
Day # 1
Maintain one fly kick minimum off each wall!
3 x 200 freestyle all from a start on 3:30 / 3:00 / 2:45 descending send off
Do another start into a 25 with 3/4 fl y kick underwater to the other end
9 x 50 free kick @ 80% :05 rest between
6 x 75 25 back kick @ 80%. 50 breast drill 2 kick-1 stroke :10 rest between
( long spikes )
4 x 100 50 kick fl y/ 50 back swim 100 @ 80% effort :15 rest
200 IM kick no board variable speed by 25 @ 70%-90% effort
50 ez swim
Set # 2 – Timed turns during set
3 x 300 IM 25 kick / 50 1 arm drill swim each stroke @ 80% effort :10 rest between
4 x 100 IM swim descend on 2:00
12 x 25 racing kick partners free coaches send off
Set # 3
5 x 100 freestyle
#’s 1-3 50 kick – 50 swim variable speed by 25 @ 70%-90% effort :10 rest between
#’s 4-5 swim sub 1:00 – 1:05 based on ability 1:00 rest between
Total yardage = 4,525