Take Home Points
- Time investment is a measure of commitment to anything, both in and out of the pool
- Training must be balanced. Time and place for all types of training
- Exploit teaching moments as coaches, even if it is uncomfortable for both parties
Recently, high intensity, race-pace training has been one of the hot “new” trends in the swimming world. While many coaches have ridden this wave into the current era, it is important to maintain a balanced perspective, particularly in studying best-practice throughout swimming’s evolution [see recent posts on SwimSwam Josh Davis and 20 reasons to be thankful for USRPT] .
At this year’s ASCA Conference, Greg Troy covered a wide range of topics within his controversially titled presentation “Garbage Yards and Other Things that Work.” Below are some notes from the first half of his talk, which can be purchased through the ASCA.
Though anecdote and expert opinion are low forms of evidence on the evidence hierarchy, they do merit respect when linked with real-world results. Ultimately, the goal of the sport is to get your hand on the wall before everyone else, not merely produce beautiful scientific theories!
Common theme among best swimmers over five decades: they all did a lot of swimming.
Story from 1985. Got frustrated with his athletes. 2.5 hr practices, but wasn’t getting effort in practice. They paced their efforts to survive 2.5 hours! Would be worse now with shorter attention spans.
Solution: one hour practice! Included everything in one hour (Warmup, etc). Did a lot of fast swimming and had one of best short course seasons later that spring….
But worst long course season! Athletes who were formerly great in training couldn’t get back to work when practice length increased. Took nine months to get everyone back on track
Tremendous benefit to swimming fast, but must be right time and place.
See Capacity vs Utilization lecture (Bowman)
Factors in getting better
- Swim more – volume and repetition
- Swim better – technique
- Swim faster – race specific
- Get stronger – dryland, but some age groupers get stronger just by getting older
Also….Mental approach (toughness, communication), natural skill set (genetics), heart (hard to gauge), the “X” factor (impossible to measure…Phelps, Lochte, Ledecky: they can go somewhere that others can’t go; look forward to the pain; cherish going there)
All successful athletes have good communication skills (lot of exchange between coach/athlete)
Novice athletes: kick, technique, fun (we have it backwards in USA in promoting coaches to higher level groups…need our best coaches at this level!)
Age group: if they learn the skill correctly, they will carry through life. Toughest part as college coach is changing skills learned early.
Junior: strength less priority since they will get stronger automatically. Less priority on speed at this age. Girls 12-14, give them all they can handle! This will carry them through career. Age 14-17 for males.
Senior: greater priority on swimming faster or you lose them from the sport.
Professionals: we really don’t have many professionals. Definition of professionals: put in the extra time, work. Just getting money to swim doesn’t make you a true professional. If they cut volume they take key ingredient that got them there. Strength is greater priority here since that could be the difference
It is not about volume! It is about time commitment. Very few things in life that if you put less time in it you will be more successful. (true for relationships, work, hobbies). If you put in less time, your chances of being successful are diminished.
Coaching is a puzzle. Putting pieces together is what makes you successful as a coach (communication, personality, skill set).
Keep it simple. The fewer pieces, the better off you are.
There’s not much that is new. Puzzle has simply changed with more pieces (scientific knowledge, etc). And if you take pieces out, you get different picture. Everyone wants to make a piece the entire puzzle. Different for everyone!
Puzzle is constantly in motion …and some days the pieces aren’t even there (what does athlete do when they aren’t with you?!). If kid shows up to practice after staying up till 4am, a piece of the puzzle is missing!
Tells all athletes: three people more interested in your career -> self, parents, coach (in that order)
Which of the three people knows the most about your body: you
Who knows most about swimming: coach
Who knows least? Parents. (Parents are necessary evil because they are interested but coach should teach the child to not listen to parents about swimming)
We work in a delayed gratification sport in an instant gratification society
There is no cookbook for putting the recipe together. If there was a cookbook formula, we wouldn’t be at the clinic. If it was easy, everyone would do it
Learning moments: unique opportunities for learning
Few coaches at meets take the time to explain the reason that a swimmer did something bad at meet was because they have been doing it in practice
Learning moment is right there when they are most disappointed. It can be volatile but that is when they care the most and most likely to listen
Tiger Woods keys to success: good early instruction, work habits, and repetition…in a non-aerobic sport
We work in an aerobic sport so repetition is even more key!
Most important thing you do in swimming is to swim slow correctly
Been doing 25s all out for a long time…but it is only one component of the puzzle
Do more slow swimming over the course of the career (warm down, warm up, technical work)
Always working technique (don’t work on 25s but then forget technique in 200s)
Rule of thumb: 70k per week. Its big in todays world but not big compared to 80s.
Clary, Phelps, Lochte, Piersol, Adrian, Hoff, Schmitt, Caulkins, Vanderkaay, etc….All had 12-24 mo time period where they did aerobic based work.
Greg Burgess – “I don’t have to like it but I know I need to do it”
Adrian – 80k/week in high school (one of the fastest 500yd swimmers in HS)…but would he have been faster if been sprinting whole time?
Stay tuned for part II next week!
Written by Allan Phillips is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and owner of Pike Athletics. He is also an ASCA Level II coach and USA Triathlon coach. Allan is a co-author of the Troubleshooting System and was selected by Dr. Mullen as an assistant editor of the Swimming Science Research Review. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Physical Therapy at US Army-Baylor University.
The post Notes from Gregg Troy ASCA Lecture (“Garbage Yards and Other Things that Work”): Part I appeared first on Swimming Science.