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INTRO: Proving Traditional Practice Techniques with Science Know What You’re Doing and Why. An Ongoing Discussion

There is a lot to consider when planning workouts for your swimmers and we are going to address many of the issues listed in this newsletter in the weeks to follow. Pool space, practice time constraints and length of the training season make it very difficult to incorporate all the following aspects that are needed to add to your daily, weekly and seasonal plan. It will call on all of us to rethink how we coach each of our swimmers.

What is the appropriate yardage amount needed daily and during each phase of a season?

Why are coaches so worried about yardage numbers?

Why do coaches feel there is one formula for success for the whole team?

How do you know when you have reached enough yardage/work for each swimmer to succeed?

Are there really aerobic and anaerobic phases of swimming?

Do we train fast twitch and slow twitch muscles differently during the season or do they work and recover together all the time?

Do we train males and females differently?

How important is recovery in swimming and what exactly does that entail?

Is recovery time different for each stroke, upper body and lower body swimming?

Does recovery happen all the time and how important is recovery?

When is it time to stop training your swimmers each day?

How does dryland and weight training affect the demands of swimming and how do you incorporate this into your training?

Do we totally understand all the energy systems used during each set, repeat or practice?

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Is the energy system functioning sport specific?

What percentage of kicking is needed during each practice and each part of the season?

We all understand that hard work equals success but it is time to be more specific. Training has to be Race Pace specific and must simulate the exact demands physically and mentally as in competition. Recovery must happen all the time during practices and we need to understand it better and express this to our swimmers. The amount of recovery and kicking during practices will lower yardage and a reason why a lot of coaches don’t spend time incorporating these important parts of training.

What does taper mean to you? Why is resting a swimmer scary? If we understand the science behind it then our minds should be at ease. A lot of coaches treat taper as a short part at the end of a long season of hard work. Developing strength, speed and power should be developed all season long and emphasized during taper. What really happens during a taper or should we approach tapering differently?We understand the basic concepts of work and recovery equals growth in speed and power but do we really understand the exact science behind it?

All the above mentioned issues are physical so what are the mental factors in training? It is a lot more than just pumping up your swimmers and motivating emotionally. There are a lot of physiological and neuromuscular patterns to consider. We all understand muscle memory so how about the mental aspect of repeats and how it works in regards to workload and recovery demands.

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It is time to step up our reasons and understanding why we incorporate sets in our training. We need to really understand workload needed for specific race pace work, the interval or send offs needed to maintain work, recovery needed for repeats within a set and between sets, etc..

These are the topics we’ll tackle of the next several months. I encourage all of you to participate in this process each week with feedback and experience. I do know that I will learn more about our great sport.

Thanks for your interest in Fasterswimming.com

Brad

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