Saturday, October 6, 2012

5 Things I Forgot That I Knew

Sometimes I look at old workout books that I have and I remember things.  Things that I knew, but that I forgot that I knew.  Some years I was better than others with notes, but I still remember things that worked well and other things that didn’t.  After looking at some old workouts for a few minutes here are 5 things that I forgot that I knew.  I still do these things, but looking at old workouts makes me think that maybe I should do them more often because they work well!

1.) Simple Is Always Better.  (Unless you are playing a focus game)
Young swimmers like simple.  They can understand it.  Sure they may complain that it is “boring”, but that is where the coach has to jump in and make it interesting, engaging, and exciting.  If it is simple it is easier for the coach to manage the group and easier for the swimmers to understand what is being asked of them.  Everyone wins.  The challenging part as a coach is making a simple set exciting - but that work is worth it.

2.) Diving 25’s Are Awesome For 9-10 Year Olds.
This isn’t just because of the diving work, but for everything involved.  The climbing out of the pool and climbing up on the block and jumping off of it is dryland in a way.  Streamlining at high speed, racing breakouts, racing finishes, talking and laughing with their friends between repeats.  It is something different and a full body workout.

3.) Grade Swimmers.
This can be a simple 1,2,3,4,5 scale.  For 8&Unders you can talk about what stroke you are performing (Breaststroke).  Ask what would give them a score of a 5?  Ready position.  Streamline.  Pullout.  Stretch on the stroke.  Nose down on the stretch.  Two hand touch.  The swimmers go across the pool and you can grade them.  Do multiple repeats and keep grading swimmers.  Be tough, but fair.   If they only do some of the skills needed then they should get a 2 or a 3.  You should be able to coax them into focusing on doing a good job.  For older kids you can ask them to grade themselves on an entire set or practice, then you can also grade them.  Compare scores.  Maybe just asking them to grade themselves honestly without telling anyone what they think their score is will be enough?

4.) Sometimes There Is No Substitution For A Good Chat.
When you have a group of developing swimmers sometimes you need to chat about how to do a set.  How to perform the set properly, what skills are you looking for, what paces should they be trying to hold.  Part of being a great 9-12 year old swimmer is learning not only what descending, building, and negative splitting are, but sharpening their skills while doing those things.  Pulling kids out of the pool and having a 10 minute talk every other practice could be the best thing for them!

5.) Writing Times On A White Board Can Be A Great Motivator.
If you write swimmers repeat times on the board it makes them more “real” in a way.  If you make the swimmers remember their own times so you can write them -even better.  It will help them not only remember what their times are, but care about their times.  It doesn’t always have to be fast swims.  Maybe they pick a speed and try to do that?  Maybe they are aiming to go within 5 seconds of their best time?  Another thing you can do is write motivational times on the board.  Or paces for them.  What is a AAAA time?  AAA time?  BB time?  What is a Sectional time?  What is the Championship Meet time?  All of these are reminders that time is important and it reminds them that they should be setting and pursuing goals.

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