Sunday, January 27, 2013

Breaking New Ground

As is the case with many of you, we are constantly searching for ways to get our swimmers to reach and stretch for new places, territory they have yet to experience. One of the ways that has brought some success lately is our use of intervals. Interval training has been around forever. Yet when we go to clinics we see a lot of the same thing in terms of how they are used. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since we always are curious about how different swimmers/coaches use intervals for their own brand of success.

When we look at how our swimmers look at intervals we have noticed something interesting – at least to us! John can go 100’s on the 1:20 pretty well, holding negative splits and progressions (descending times) nicely. However when you change that to 1:15 he falls apart rather quickly. He either is a) not conditioned well enough and/or b) not confident enough to step out of his comfort zone. Doesn’t matter which it is, therein lies the problem/challenge. How do we get John to break new ground?

First step is to let go of convention. John doesn’t need to be able to go 20x100/1:15 or even 10 of them. What he needs to do is 2 or 3 to begin with and then swim an easy 200…and go multiple rounds of that. He can come back next week and go 3 or 4, then 5 or 6…you get the picture.

Or how about this? Have John pick an interval faster than 1:20 that is of his choosing…but drop the need to progress by 5 seconds. What if he chose to do 4 on the 1:18? All he needs to do is a little math and he can take care of himself. First one leaves on the 0, second one on the 18, third one on the 36 and fourth one on the 54. See if he can get on the wall before the 12 on the last one. If he does then he has successfully done 4x100/1:18. The next step might be the 1:16, then the 1:14, then add a couple more repeats…you get the picture.

We guess (but don’t really know since we aren’t scientists nor do we have the measuring capabilities) that there may be some small differences in the physiological changes as the intervals drop but what really changes is John’s confidence level and to our way of thinking that is much more critical. As John begins to believe in his ability to make change, break new ground, he KNOWS that he can swim faster. And a swimmer who knows s/he can swim faster is going to do exactly that. And that is an important part of competitive swimming – duh.

We have three guys on our team right now who can go 4x100/1. Their next step is to go on the 59 and or go 5 on the minute. You can see how there are several permutations of this line of thinking. We have one girl who can do 2x100/1. Her next step is 3x100. And so it goes.

Another way to assist them in breaking new ground is how we use our goal sheets. You will see below that we have them look at much more than simply their target for the shave and taper meet. The whole idea is to build confidence while simultaneously building capability…or maybe we need to build capability first and from that comes confidence. It doesn’t really matter which comes first (think chicken and egg!)…what ultimately counts is new and higher ground.

Goal Setting Winter/Spring 2013

Date_________________ Swimmer_____________________________________

EVENTbest timegoalbest un-shavedgoalbest practice pushgoalbest wkot divegoalbest 100 kickgoalbest fingoalother

Attendance: which days will you swim? AM ________________

Dry land: CAVE_________Pilates_________YOUR OWN GYM______NBA SUPPLEMENTAL__________

If you made one or more of your goals times in the fall what contributed to your success?

If you missed one or more of your goal times what contributed to your falling short?

What will you add to the team this winter?

Signature __________________________________________________________

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