Breath Control – Method to the Madness by Lloyd Larsen (2011)


My name is Lloyd Larson, I’m with the Fox Jets Swim Team in Minneapolis, Minnesota, actually a suburb of Minneapolis, it’s Eden Prairie, it’s a community of about 60,000 and we’re in the Western suburbs of Minneapolis, I’ve been coaching for just over 20 years and this is my second stint with the Fox Jets. I’ve been with the team for about 10 years, I was with them for a few years in the 90’s and then now again since 2004. I think that what you should all know as I start my talk today is that I’m just like most of you, coaching a club team, parent board, renting some local pools to swim, several hundred kids, making it work everyday. I certainly don’t coach Olympians and I certainly don’t make hundreds of thousands of dollars; I’m in the same situation as most of you.

I do urge you to consider speaking at either this clinic or others, locally or in your communities; it was certainly a big learning experience for me, this is the first time I’ve spoken at the ASCA National Clinic and it’s really a way to affirm your program and what you are doing as you rediscover and have to present to others. One of the things I’m going to do today is I’m going to invite questions as we go through today’s talk. I think that while a topic is fresh in your mind, it’s a lot easier to ask a question. I realize it is a big group and you’re not going to be the only one or the first one to raise your hand. I like it too because that way we can cover something more thoroughly as we go along rather than having to wait till the end. On our team, I serve as the assistant senior coach as well as the head age group coach, so I wear two coaching hats. I coach the national athletes and assist with that group with our head coach and then for the younger kids I’m the head age group coach and I have a staff of about 10 that are with our age group program.

This presentation, you’re not all going to agree with, we’ve all been to a lot of great talks this week from Olympic coaches to coaches of moderate size clubs or somewhat large clubs like mine and everybody has a different way how to do this, this thing called swim team. So, if today, you’re hearing something that you’re like “Oh! I don’t believe what that knucklehead is saying “Totally understand. I get that at the pool all the time.” but if you do get a few things from today or it affirms your current practices and gives you that “Ah-ha” moment while you’re sitting here, it says “Okay, I’m not crazy.” Then that’s great too. At our team, we believe that breath control really permeates all aspects of training because competition requires it. Human – human beings breathe air and if you don’t work on some form of breath control, when they get into that water in the meets, they’re not going to be able to perform. How much of that you do and how you do it of course there in lies our challenge, but we believe that breath control isn’t just specialty sets, its purposeful training.

There is salesmanship that’s required for this, any of you that have coached the – whether it’s one week or 20 years knows that your athletes aren’t always thrilled about elements of breath control whether it’s mixed in to a normal training set or a drill or if it’s a specialty set where it’s just breath control as the objective, but you going to have to sell that to make sure that the athletes believe in that. And of course repeatability is going to come out in the meets. How many times that we all said to other kids when we’re coaching them at practice, got to do it right here because it’s going to come out in the meet. We’ve all said it I say it, you say it, I’m not you telling anything new here but with breath control as an aspect of training which is a more difficult piece, you’re going to have to be able to be the one to discern how much repeatability, how much implementation, how much reinforcement you’re going to need for what you ask for breath control.

As I mentioned before, this presentation isn’t a panacea, it may not work for all of you, you may believe in some of the things I say “You may not believe in other things but its how we do it.” I think that the age and ability of your swimmers certainly will determine how much of what we talk about today you feel is appropriate to implement, but what I’ve done in order to sort to find a happy balance between hold them underwater for 2 hours and just let them do what they want is I’ve really tried to learn a lot from other coaches. We’ve got a lot of strong clubs in our area and I’ve learned from everyone around me. I learned from my head coach, I learned from you, I learned from these clinics, so really what you’re going to see today is a compilation of things that I’ve learned along the way. I think if you’re going to implement good breath control habits and an ability to withstand the stress of competition, I think that you’ve go to make sure that the impact that your breath control has in your program results in some efficiencies.

The observations that I’ve made, you can see up there on the slide in all the strokes, I’m not going to read the slide to you but these are the things that we’ve seen improve with better breath control, not just in age groupers, but senior swimmers as well. I think we’ve all seen that 15, 16, 17 year old swimming who takes the double breath into the turn and comes to a complete stop and then takes the big topper and the head up coming out of the turn and comes to a second complete stop while the opponent next to him blows by. So, it isn’t just the age groupers, it’s the older kids as well. I think everybody in this room knows what the 5th stroke is, underwater kicking. It is now a huge part of competition, really always has been but now that’s really being crafted to a new level. Underwater kicking is being strategized into all the race performance analysis in USA swimming at the local level, people are timing it in practice; if you’re not working on your breath control your 5th stroke is not going to happen: that underwater kick.

I mentioned earlier that it does infiltrate all of our training, as we don’t just discuss breath control, we implement it, we do it over, if certain parts of training especially in the front end of a season and I’m going to talk about in a minute, breath control is not happening and they’re just doing whatever the heck they want, we’re going to do it again and we’ll try it over. It’s not a punishment, no one’s being taken to task but you’ve got to do it right the first time and have repeatability like we talked about on a previous slide in order to make it have value. The specific topics that I want to cover today is how to implement breath control, into your cycles of your training each season, I’m going to talk about three parts of the season that I implement our breath control expectations and then I will give you some specific sets as well as mix sets that we do. Again, they work for us; you may see some of them and say “No way I’m never going to do that.” or you may see some little nugget that you take away from you and you think it’s neat and in either case please feel free to ask me questions as we go through today. I also wanted to stress that if you want to make breath control a priority, you need to know it’s not going to be your athlete’s priority at first. You set that table, and you set the priorities for what the breath control

is. I think of course you have to believe it will result in performance, you can’t be making up a story but if you believe that working on their breath control is going to help them in the meets then I think you have to be the one that – to set the tone for expectations. One thing my college coach taught me when I first started coaching, he taught me a lot of things but one of the things that he told me early on was “A pool full of cheaters isn’t learning anything.” He can’t just write it on the board or put it on a piece of paper or make it an objective verbally whatever it is and then walk away and say “Well, I sure hope they all just take one breath on that last length short course because some of them aren’t going to do it, okay?” You’re here in this room so you’ve already acknowledged that breath control has some value, take what you like, toss what you don’t like but certainly make it a value. If you have any questions about me or my position on our team or some of the things we value, I know it’s early and I just started and some of you might be a little sleepy from lunch but – does anybody have any questions so far? Okay, let’s get into some specific topics then.

I talked about cycles, I really have three different expectation cycles each season, of course at the beginning of a season what I kind of call all the time everyone’s cycle, whatever the group expectation is the group has to do it. Now, this is true for our senior kids that I assist with as well as the age groupers. I realize that this is an age group track talk but this really applies to our whole team, group expectations and group consequences. I was in the military and in the military though the groups outcome certainly depended on the sum of all the parts, I believe that you can implement a little bit of that in your swim team programs; certainly it’s not boot camp and it has got to be fun and they are kids, but if you tie their outcomes to each other, you’ll see that you get a great effort. The other thing about group consequences is it – it can’t be viewed as punishment.

We talked about salesmanship before, you’ve got to sell it as something good for them, not just a punishment. The second and third of the season I kind of call the individual correction part and if you’re in the middle of your season, your meets have begun, most of your swimmers are demonstrating the breath control techniques that you’re looking for each day whether it be their streamlines, their strokes, the number of breaths, putting their head down at the finish all those good things we as swim coaches like. If you don’t see that at the middle part of the season, don’t hold up the training for the rest of the group, yank one or two out at a time and have a conversation about that. I think you should spot check all your sets, all your swims and even in the final third where I think they should be proficient as I mentioned earlier, a pool full of cheaters isn’t learning anything. We’re all guilty of that, I’ve looked away sometimes because I don’t want to have another conversation with Johnny about his breath control but Johnny deserves my attention. You have to have the courage to do that and then finally the last third of the season

I’m looking for proficiency, practice implementation at that point if you’ve been doing your job well and you believed in the type of breath control you’ve insisted on should be pretty consistent whether you’re doing a real tough Max VO2 set or you’re doing some EZEEN1. Whatever system you’re working in what you’ve been expecting throughout the season should be there and more importantly you should be seeing it in the meets. You get to the last third of your season and you’re not seeing it in the meets, it’s not too late. I’ve heard a lot of coaches say in the last month or the last six weeks of a season, well, I’m not going to correct that now, I don’t want to mess with their heads I – you know, I won’t be able to change it before the big meet. I don’t believe that. Two or three days out, of course, not five or six weeks, yup still working on it, all the time every part of the season, anything near a wall or block high value, streamlining, body position, balance position of the head under the arms, all of it, draining that air out of their nose while they’re underwater, all of those things your a walls or blocks have to be perfect all the time, no breath inside the flags, will train entire months for we don’t allow a breath inside the flags on freestyle. Culturally they’ve accepted that after the years and seasons and months stack-up, they just know that’s going to be that way the first couple of months: no one’s breathing inside the flags.

We just talked about streamlines and maximal kicks are going to depend on what you’re training that day, certainly if you’re doing some big stuff and you want them to work on stroke efficiency and establishing that aerobic base during the first-third, well, you’re probably not doing 15 meter underwater kick work but I’d say maximal kicks for whatever you’re doing. In [solar] [0:12:22] energy systems, 3 to 5 underwater dolphin kicks either on your side or on your stomach, whatever your preference, that’s about what we are doing for this lower stuff at the beginning. More of that with the specialty sets that I’ll talk about in a minute. I think you can repeat underwater breaststroke pullouts. I like to do a lot of that. Two or three of them, you know, we can do a set of 200 breaststrokes or 200 breaststrokes alternating with some 200 of long axis either back or free and on the breaststroke 200’s, do triple pullout for the whole thing. Breaststroke breath control, if any of you have ever done either a short course or long course 200 breast, that last turn hurts and a good way to simulate that in practice is to do two or three not just the one that they is permitted by rule.

I do believe in sacrificing speed for technique even with the senior swimmers in that first-third and a lot of people don’t want to do that; they’ve got that stopwatch out, you want to see it fast, if they take a breath you want to look away and say that’s alright, they didn’t make it on that one wrong, you have to say something. That second part of the season I’ve mentioned about individual correction and this is where you the training does get to keep happening for those who have done it right, but now you’re going to start pulling them out, you’re going to spot check, you’re going to individually correct. Certainly with the ages of kids that I work with, I work with both younger and teenage kids, individual correction is very important; you don’t want a child or a teenager who doesn’t have the same capacities to leave the pool in tears because you’ve asked him to do something they can’t do. Do it over, I think I’ve said do it over now 10 times although I’m not keeping track on my paper like I – told myself I would, doing it over is a big part of breath control. Finding sweet spots is tough, you’re going to have to take notes on that. Regardless of which stroke or what type of turn, find the sweet spot that will work for your athletes with their breath control.

For turns, heard a great thing the other day and I’m going to quote one of our other speakers, Coach Eddie Reese. I believe he mentioned in his talk of a couple of days ago that their underwater is real good but they were breaking out real slow. I believe it was Coach Reese who mentioned that and that’s because even though their breath control and their streamlines and their dolphin kicks were great, they were out of power when they came up. Find that sweet spot and practice, so you can coach it for the meets, I can’t tell you what that sweet spot is because that’s certainly individual; you’re gauging power versus energy depletion. Off and on I filmed over the years. I like to film high value stuff from a wall or from a block with today’s technology; these things are great, they’ve got great camera so, it’s not like 10 years ago, you can use your I-touch, you can use your android phone, you can get one of those flip phones. I just got one of those last year as a Christmas gift. Those things are great and a lot of them come with bigger screens; many of you have iPads that’s just a couple of minutes and during that individual correction phase of your season, great.

You take out an iPad, that’s a nice visual for a swimmer, they wouldn’t even have to get out of the water and just lean down and show. Indoors or out, smaller screens on the I-touch is maybe not but we film and we get a lot of value from film. These are some of the practice competencies that I was alluding to – when I talked about the proficiency phase of the season that last third, you do in your last couple of big end season meets you getting ready for your taper meet, being able to breathe every other stroke on fly, on command, being able to breathe every three on your long axis including backstroke if that’s what you believe is important; there’re a lot of schools of thought about backstroke breath control. I believe it should be the same as your freestyle but maybe you don’t believe that, maybe you believe that they should be able to breathe at will; I think that you should use a breathing pattern just like you would for freestyle. That’s a long axis stroke, the kick power depletion is about the same, certainly it’s higher in back but I think that breath control is a part of backstroke as well, certainly going in and out of the turns. Exhaling in the water, how many of you here – show hands- coach ten and unders? Okay. Let’s have another show of hands. How many of you know that your ten and unders aren’t exhaling while their faces are in the water? Same number of hands just went up. We’re going to talk about some games for that here and about one slide but getting that exhalation to happen at the right place is super important.

So, if you’re coaching younger kids, get that pattern going now because when they open their mouth to expose it to the air you just lost half their tidal volume when they expose that face because they’ve got to expel and they’ve got to return what will end up being the same increment of time. We all know that they’ve got to expel and time that properly while they’re swimming. By rehearsing good breath control in practice and for that matter in the meets you will experience and the athlete will feel that inspiratory and expiratory increase, their tidal volume will increase. Tidal volume is a fancy term for how much air in your lungs. I think that you’ll tap into residual volumes and expand that capability with some of the sets I’ll show you later, but don’t think residual volume is going to be affected by daily training, not by lower energy system and certainly not if you’re doing something that’s not powerful. I mentioned some exhaling games, this is were we are in the age group track, learning to expel the air efficiently and with the right amount of timing fighting that buoyancy in that water is a good way to force that out, play make that will game them expel – expel that air when they’re underwater.

If you coach really young kids 6, 7, 8 years old, they’re going to be fearful enough as it is to hold their head under very long, so by making it a game that’s an easy way to get that habit started. We’ll throw hooks in the pool even with our age groupers or even senior kids sometimes and they all have to face away from the pool and we blow the whistle and they turn around and they’ve got to dive down and find all of those objects it becomes a contest for who can be under the longest to collect the most hooks from the lane lines or hockey pucks or anything that will sink to the bottom. The Lane Line game- my kids hate that game. I love that game; they put their hands underneath the lane line and they hold themselves under and then I’ll either dictate they have to let go or they can hold on depending on how many rounds we play and I said rounds plural and whichever team has the last person come up win some gift or prize or what have you.

The tea party that’s the one where you sit on the bottom and you have to drink a certain number of tea cups, the rock paper scissor games – how many of you played the rock paper scissors game? Not that many. Everybody knows how to play rock paper scissor, right? If you have the athletes pair up two at a time this is great for the like the last 10 minutes of a practice where – where 15 minutes where you just want to work on this capability, whoever wins gets to float up and take a breath; whoever loses has to wait down at the bottom until their friend comes back down. That person’s going to start exhaling because there’s a little consequence if you float to the surface, okay? Torpedos in the diving well, again a consequence if you come to the surface; sharks and minnows. You’ve all done that as – we don’t play where the shark can tackle or hold the opponent underwater, we’re trying to get more politically correct about that so the way we implement the exhaling capability there you can only be tagged if you’re at the surface, so they’re safe if they’re under. Yes?

[Next Speaker]: Do you like torpedo?

Lloyd Larson: I – the way I do torpedos is we’ll have 2 or 4 or 6, an even number of swimmers in the lane or in the diving well and they’ll have an opponent and you make it just like a little tournament: you time them and you can get your other coaches to time where you can do them two pair at the time and whoever wins is done and whoever didn’t win has to go back go again and it’s underwater kicking. So it’s head to head underwater. Some of your athletes have other breathing issues. I’m in my late 40’s so when I swam there were no such thing or maybe I didn’t see it as the inhaler; now there are dozens on your pool deck; some of your athletes have VCD or Vocal Cord Disorder, all these breathing-malities are difficult for them to overcome. They are real. Some physiologists and physicians believe that a lot to this has got to do with nutrition, others believe that this has got to do with air quality and not just in the city areas like L.A where they’ve got smog and so forth, but regardless of the cost some of this maladys will impact their ability to have good breath control. In the last two years, the two athletes that had the worst cases, actually three if I count an older one, two age group athletes and one senior athlete that we have that have really bad asthma, if I just write a breath control set on the dry erase board at the pool, their lips start to quiver; I mean this is bad asthma. When they started jogging or doing stairs or some of what away from the pool and breathe hard, the swimming and the breath control got easier, I don’t know what that is, I don’t have a bunch of letters after my name but I can tell you, it works. Low level, they don’t have to go run a marathon but that jogging does it for them, the senior athlete a 15-year-old girl told me that that changed her entire swim practice after one season of doing 3 mornings a week of light jogging: she’s a butterflier, a sophomore in high school. Underwaters were good, they’re great now; she’s like I can breathe easier because of the jogging. Any question so far about some of those priorities or competencies or dividing a season?

[Next Speaker]: I.

Lloyd Larson: Yes sir.

[Next Speaker]: I’m always struggling with my friend you know, it just gotten me. I have to [Inaudible] [0:22:38] but I’m asking is that what are you really looking for when you give breathe, what are you trying to accomplish on the breathing [Inaudible] [0:22:46] but I want to work my math, I’m trying to figure out what happen the other day breathing [Inaudible] [0:22:52].

Lloyd Larson: I think…

[Next Speaker]: … I got for year….

Lloyd Larson: …sure.

[Next Speaker]: ..out in front of where [Inaudible] [0:22:57] I’m here.

Lloyd Larson: I think that it – when I get into my some of my specific sets and mix sets I can get more into the details and that’s kind of my next section but I can answer your question generally. We all know here when you streamline off the wall you need to have a little bit of a pause regardless of stroke and then start your underwater kicks or your pullouts. Well, if you’re going to demand from them the 3 to 5 underwater dolphin kicks like I mentioned that I demanded the athlete in a lower level energy system like E and 1 or what have you, you have to sell that. I don’t know your athletes well enough or your situation well enough to know how to sell that but that’s got to be a priority for you and it’s got to be a priority for your whole team. That’s a tough one to spring as an expectation in the middle of your team or at the top of your team or for that matter if you do that at the bottom of your team. When they’re 15 it’s over if that hasn’t been an expectation along the way. So the best piece of advice I could give would to be make it consistent up and down.

[Next Speaker]: What I understand about your saying [Inaudible] [0:23:55] hour to do how often is that?

Lloyd Larson: I’m sorry.

[Next Speaker]: I’ll [Inaudible] [0:24:00] his hand.

Lloyd Larson: Yes it is.

[Next Speaker]: So I’m always trying to find where that balance is and I understand this thing but where this – where – what ground that people are asking, when you do your press what is your expectation to that, will it be more about technique, or more about energy, more about focus, what are the specific [Inaudible] [0:24:24].

Lloyd Larson: Well I talked about the first 3rd of our session where sacrificing speed for technique was fine and as the season progresses, it’s not fine. You have to gauge that, you have to balance it; what we will do a lot of times is to test that and see how they’re doing with breath control and if they are not depleting power is to do some timing. If we’re doing some 50’s and we want to time 37 and half yards and that’s the big test for that turn are 10 underwater kicks really working for Susie Swimmer and so we’ll try the 10 and if she’s complaining that she hasn’t feel like she has the power, okay prove it to us, do five and if you’re faster, great, if you give us an honest effort and you’re doing five and you’re faster that’s okay too, if you find those individual confidences and can communicate that on an individual basis maybe during that second phase of the training like I mentioned before you can craft to the individual person.

Any other questions? Okay. We do some form of specific training set or breath control work nearly everyday but so do you. You’re doing something everyday, you’re establishing your cultural norms. For us if you swim in the age group 1 program at the Foxjets you know that it’s three dolphin kicks after each streamline off of every turn for all the strokes except breast stroke of course, you know that that’s a cultural norm. Confidence and pride will come with mastery, if a cultural norm isn’t so overous that they’re upset about it everyday. If they can do it and it’s not hurting them too bad and you’re maximizing their kicks for example in my example about kicking they will get confidence and pride in that and then you can you move on to something else, okay? Humans can’t breathe underwater and as such humans that can swim fastest will be those who can master the control of breath and more importantly the desire for breath.

I do want to talk about a little story, today I want to give you a story. Last year I had an interesting conversation with one of our senior swimmers. This young man is – in his mid teens he just went under 5 minutes in the 500 so he is a solid short-course swimmer; his long-course 400 meters isn’t as strong. He’s in probably in the high 20’s or low 30’s in the 400 meters but he is a solid A double A middle level teenage swimmer for a 15, 16 boy. I had a conversation with him this last year on the pool deck during that individual correction phase that I mentioned, in the middle of the season and I asked him what his issues were with breath control because this was a young man who couldn’t do it I’ve got to breathe every stroke. I’ve got to take a double breath into every turn, swimming with his face straight up, not just the one goggle breath like we were all taught. I mean this guy was looking at the stars and that – rather than get on him about it and have him do it over, I finally decided to really ask him and tried to do it in a way that he really could give an honest answer without just saying what the coach wanted to hear. And the swimmer confessed to me that he was unwilling to work on his breath control; he said it out loud, I’m not willing to do it, and then as such during tough sets or completion, he always broke down to the level of simply getting through it to find his next breath. That’s a pretty big confession for a 15-year-old: I’m so tired I just don’t care anymore, I just want to find my next breath. This wasn’t a swimmer with asthma, no VCD, no Vocal Cord Disorder, no inhaler, no issues, he was simple unwilling to work on it and he was admitting that he was a survival swimmer.

My question to the group, I’m going to challenge you with this question and then we’re not going to do a show hands for this question but I’m going to challenge you, are you a survival coach? Are there moments at practice where you were like, well, I’m just not going to get on him or her or I’m just going to let it go? You’ll have kids come through your team just like one of our swimmers. He’s going to be with us for 2 more years, survival swimmer, looking for his next breath. So when we go through these training sets today and we focus on stroke and skills instead of breathing, specific sets or mixed sets instilling some pride, some confidence in that is important so if the athlete isn’t just looking for their next breath all ages will breathe but you do need to modify and some of the stuff I show you, you may have athletes that can handle a lot more, some of them can’t handle as much but whatever you implement, whatever you expect, make sure all the kids don’t end up just looking for their next breath. One of my favorites that I borrowed from another coach a number of years ago is the 20-25 set.

Again, if you ask the age group 1 kids at Fox Jets what’s the 20-25 set they’ll tell you it’s 20-25 trying to hold your 500 phase without a breathe, no turns, obviously you’re getting to stop at each 25, great short-course yard set. At first they’re going to go 14 or 15 seconds and say “Boy, I bet I can go 5 minutes in the 500”, well, you’re 11 and I don’t thinks that’s going to happen so why don’t you ease off a little bit so you can make the breath control and learn to put your head down at the end of every length. That’s the side benefit of it, that’s 20 finishes, we do them on 40 seconds, you may need to do them on a minute, you may have senior kids who do it on 30 seconds. Like to do a decreasing amount of easy free followed by reduced breath for fly again that’s set of 4 times through at 75 of free breathing every 7 not a lot of breaths there but you can breathe 3 times on fly on 1:30 then every 5 on freestyle and then only 2 breaths of fly coming in; now you get a little bit more rest but you’ve got to put your head down a little bit more, then finally the last 100, 75 breathing every 3 strokes which by the way is a cultural norm for us.

I know a lot of you train that way, so do we, breathing every 3 is the normal breathing pattern on the Fox Jets in practice but you can only take one breath on that last 25. We do emphasize some element of speed for those flies but they don’t have to be told that because they’re going to pick it up. I like the 3-2-1 2-1-1, that’s one of my favorites. I did that one in college, 75 where you go 3 breaths, 2 breaths, 1 breath. Medium effort 80 percent on 1:20 for a 13 or 14-year-old AAA swimmer, that’s about right, then your 50 free, 2 breaths, 1 breath. Now you’ve got to pick it up on 55 seconds and you’ve got to pick it up so you have enough time to catch your breath before that last 25.

You get 1 breath and you probably think “Why didn’t you go zero?”, if you zero on that last one, that 30 seconds interval is not going to happen, they wont be able to take off on a 3-2-1 75 when you come back at least not my kids .8 times through that’s 1200 yards. The 15-100 this is the set we do a lot in the morning, NB4 no breath for 4 strokes of each turn then 5-100 no breath for 3 strokes off each turn and then 5-100 no breath for 2 strokes off each turn. In this case, this one just gets harder, harder and harder with the interval crunching down with it, you can open that up where the interval goes the other way and have a stronger performance expectation. I like the [rope trope] [0:32:34] – I’m sorry, questions?

[Next Speaker]: Were all those 4 sets requiring one breath?

Lloyd Larson: No, this type of specific short course set I usually will do one in a practice sometimes two if I’m feeling extraordinarily crazy; if we did all four I think enrollment would go down but we can do – I’ve done two in a practice but not four. Yes, sir.

[Next Speaker]: Just trying to clarify the 4 time [Inaudible] [0:33:01] you get 2 breast and fly – 2 breast and fly if I remember it.

Lloyd Larson: Yeah.

[Next Speaker]: It means breathing in the 7th on the free.

Lloyd Larson: That’s right. Okay. Rope training most of you probably have at least one pool that you train it where you’ve got a life line, the buoy line, the balloon white rope that hangs in the middle of the pool and we have one at both of the – or two of the three indoor facilities that we use. We’ll put the rope in, we’ll drop the rope in pool most facilities it’s half way, if it’s not half way for you then you need to figure out which way is the shorter way and which way is the longer way and then make your cultural decision about what you’re looking for. At one of our pools, it’s a little further away from the starting end and that’s perfect, we will do some 25’s where you’ve got to clear the rope and then break out or if we want to do the 50’s we’ll start at the deep end from that starting block end and then when they come into the rope they can go under it but they’ve got to flip and come back. You’ll see a variety of sets here but you will see one common theme and that is 800 is above the distance we will do sometimes a thousand, sometimes 700 but we find, we don’t get a lot of value from using the rope when we’ve got, anything more than 800 or 1000 yards for a set, okay? So eight 100s with the rope in on 2 minutes, not rough at all, they get to stop at each turn. So – but that means they’re going to have a 12 and a half underwater yard streamline every time. Could do 50’s the same way and what I find when I do the 50’s, that’s actually harder.

Hundreds are long enough that I got to give them a little bit more rest but they get a lot more inhaling and exhaling during that 20 or 30 seconds of rest or 40 seconds if they’ve gone pretty fast that they won’t get when they do those 50’s. So I’ve got to be a little careful with the 50’s 32-25 is just a longer version of what I talked about with my 20-25 set but when I do 32 or 40 or 28 of them I’m not really looking for the speed, it’s to practice that many under waters. When you do that many underwaters, it becomes a cultural norm. The sets at the bottom, the 50’s, the 75 or the 100 with no wall breaks and now you’re doing flip turns. You will only get about 3 or 4 strokes from a bigger kid maybe 5 or 6 from a younger kid when you’re doing a flip turn so you’re down to maybe two breaths or three per length, that’s really tough, you may need to use zoomers for that, you may need to cut the number of reps in half, do 8 then stop, increase the interval whatever, you’re going to have size up your team and figure out what works for you. These kinds of sets here with a rope in, this is going to be middle 3rd – middle 3rd or latter 3rd of the season. This stuff is not going on upfront, got to get a little bit more base-working first.

Any question about those? Okay. Long course obviously not as much about the walls but about the number of breaths and where you take them. If you’re already doing no breaths inside the flags like we do, you’re working on your walls and your breath control already when you’re in your 50 meter pools. I like to keep score, some of you call this golf where you add your time to your number of breaths and then descend that number for your hundreds; if you’ve got swimmers that are smarter than my swimmers, they can add their time plus their strokes, plus their breaths, we haven’t found anybody yet that can do that on our team. We’ve tried and that’s why my sister tells me I have a five head instead of a four head because I lost my hair and we don’t have anybody that could do all three. I love breaths only, that’s great. You’ll be surprised how fast they swim if you do breaths only.

You tell a swimmer even age 11, 10, 12 years old swim medium, we’re going to do some 100 meters today on 2 minutes, I am like great I’ll swim medium and you know what? Count your breaths so let’s descend how many you take and on your first one, you can’t breathe more that every 3 strokes like we normally do in training. The interval makes them swim fast enough so they can’t cheat. They start descending the number of breaths, you’ll have a kid come in the at end who will go “8” you know, and mean while they sped up, it’s great. I also like going breathing every 9, breathing every 7, breathing every 5, breathing every 3 as a continuous pattern 9,7,5,3 over and over again throughout at the 100. Great for changing speeds. We’ve all stood at the – at the side of the pool deck at a big meet with arms in the air and stopwatch flying and papers everywhere trying to get them to change speed. We’re shaking the lap counter; we’re trying to get them to go faster. This does it right here. You can see them pick it up as they go through their 9 and 7. Fins and paddles at race pace, love it. Twenty five underwater kick, you can even have the paddles right on them or going hard. They come up then they swim the rest of the way. You could do it vice versa, have them swim for 25 then drop their heads down and kick the rest of the way in. Hold your breath a 100 pace, awesome. If I had the time in my morning long course a time, we only get 90 minutes for our age groupers.

We get 2 hours for the older kids but only 90 minutes. If I had more time, I’d do this set like twice in a day. Any other questions about that? Some sets have mixed objectives, there’s going to be some breath control as well as some kicking, as well as some swimming, some of its race pace, some of it’s not. This first set I patently stole from one of my assistant coaches who I think learned it at Auburn, I think he had the swimmer hold on to the wall, kicking hard, making that foam come up 3 feet or 2 feet or whatever you say at your club and then you blow the whistle after 20 seconds and you’ve got two groups going, so they’re at each end of the pool, kicking hard, blow that whistle, okay? The one group pushes off and does a no-breath fly swim. The other group at the other end, they push off and they do an underwater kick, so like cross each other, great use of space if you’re a big team in a small pool. You’ll notice that interval is 1:20 and it’s large, after you do this set a couple of times, you’ll know why it’s 1:20 it’s a tough, tough set.

If you want to make it really tough, if your kids are already doing this stuff and they can handle it, make it a flip turn after the kicking. The next set, one of our coaches who is here with me at the clinic this week said that I’m supposed to say the name of this so I will say the name of it, this is the set that we call the alternator on our team, this is where you alternate two different activities. Fifty fly where you must breathe every other stroke, that’s on a minute, pretty easy, right? Followed by 25 no breath kick also on a minute with a board head down, all the way across, for older kids this is not as hard, they can handle it, you can either crunch the interval down or you can add another ten reps; younger kids about a minute is about right for that 11-12 single A double A swimmer, that’s about what they can handle. Ten rounds is about a moderate amount – if you’re doing like six rounds, that’s pretty easy but I think when you start getting over ten or twelve rounds, you’re going to have folks that suddenly have to go to the bathroom. This other set here at the bottom, I heard from a coach from last year’s clinic and so I borrowed it and you have a long group and short group, if you’re in a six lane, 25 yard pool the short group runs along the long way of the pool, the 25 yard part on the wall, okay?

Short group – I’m sorry the short group is the one that’s on the width, this is on one – either lane one or lane six, the long groups the ones that are doing the 25’s, they do the no-breath fly or no-breath free, while the short group is only kicking underwater, they’re going six lanes across which for most of us a standard size pool is going to be how many feet, you all know how wide your lanes are? Most indoor facilities are built at 7 feet and if you’re swimming in a really cool pool or at a university you’ve got 8’s or 9’s but most of you’ve got 7’s we; have 7’s. So it’s going to be 42 feet; we’ve got a foot of gutter on each side, makes it 44. So your short group can do real nice powerful underwater kicks; you can do ten of those and then switch, take a break and you have the kids who are doing the short way underwater kick, they go to one end or the other then the other group peels off and goes all along lane one and now they do ten; any questions about those? This first

set of 25’s, you can do six you can do two, you can do thirty, it doesn’t matter. The big deal on this set is that they don’t cheat on the air exhalation; this is a great set to tap in to that residual volume that I talked about before. They hold on to the side of the wall, you find some sort of sound device, a hook, a backstroke flag pole you tap on the gutter, they blow out the air and the standard we use on our team is when I can see your bubbles I tap the side of the pool deck. From all of your studies in school you know that sound travels faster in water so as soon as they hear that tapping and I’m satisfied that enough air has come out, they push off in a streamline position and they swim the rest of the way without a breath and that sounds really tough and it is but they will start tapping in to that residual volume during a set of those and they will find “Hey, I can do that.” I’ve had age group kids who at first were starting to get nervous when they saw it and after they do two they’re “Man, I can do that,” that’s a fun one to do. The ten fifties, free breast, I think many of you’ve seen that set before.

I put some twists on it, don’t breathe inside the flags when you swim in so none of those nice big gulps of air before you do your flip turn, then you come back breast stroke, the first one, two pullouts, the next two, three pullouts, the next three four pullouts and the last four fifties five pullouts. Course, setting cultural expectations like we talked about the pullouts can’t be – like they’re getting an electric shock, okay, they can’t go in to this okay, you’ve got to make sure they’re full pullouts and that they are worth their time and I think also watching your interval the first time you try this is important as well; again that’s a mix set, that’s great for their pullouts, great for the breaststrokers as well as their breath control. I’ve got an X next to those two hundred and four hundred repeats, so you can do as many or as few as you think are worth it.

I call the set pairs and sides, two swimmers next to each other maybe we’ll have three pairs, six kids at the head of the lane, first two push off five seconds later the next two push off and then five seconds after that, the final pair push off, okay six kids swimming in pairs okay? Flip turn and now they got to kick under pairs coming behind them. You can do 50’s or 100’s with that and then you have to switch. The leaders, when they get to their increment, they stop and they have submerged wait, so if I’m doing it in 50’s like I’ve shown you here, the first pair does, their first flip turn, and they kick under their other two pairs, they finish the fifty, they touch the wall and then they just sink down in the corner of the lane, while the next two pairs go and then they fall in and go last; any questions about those? Okay. On Foxjet’s one of the things that we like to do is we like to talk about sets with each other.

I think I mentioned two of the ones that I had before, I stole one of them from one of our assistant coaches and then the other one I heard from last year’s clinic and one of our best practices is to share a set with each other and I like to run things by another coach to get input, so today I’d like to do the same thing; we’ve got about ten minutes left in our talk today so what I’d like to do for the next five minutes is have you talk to your neighbor about some set that you do, you don’t have to be up there, it could be something totally different, whatever, a set that you do that’s really awesome, that you like, compare notes and then if you feel like sharing, raise your hand and we’ll share with the rest of the group. If we have time for more than one, we’ll do more than one, go ahead.

[Speakers Discussing] [0:47:57]

Lloyd Larson: Okay. Everybody compared notes? Does anybody out here feel like they’ve got a really, really sweet breath control set that they’d like to share with the group? You can come up here and tell and then I’ll tell the group, I’ve got the microphone on anyway so you don’t have to present it, anybody got one? Nobody’s got one? Come on up. Or do you want to present it right there, go for it.

[Next Speaker]: [Inaudible] [0:48:33]

Lloyd Larson: I’m sorry?

[Next Speaker]: [Inaudible] [0:48:38]

Lloyd Larson: That’s awesome. The coach said they had some run with the same breathing pattern as he’s going to look for in the water, do you have one designated or?

[Next Speaker]: They called him to swim but [Inaudible] [0:48:58].

Lloyd Larson: Okay, so you have them run pretty short increments then, fifty, hundred yards whatever and then try to do it again, is that based on foot falls where their feet – I mean, how many paces, or how many breaths total?

[Next Speaker]: [Inaudible] [0:49:21]

Lloyd Larson: Now that’s a good one, let’s give him a round of applause. I never heard breath control for the run and swim, that’s great. [Applauses] Anybody else have a goody like that they want to share? No? Okay, oh I’m sorry, go ahead.

[Next Speaker]: [Inaudible] [0:49:44] 20 one hundreds or 30 one hundreds.

Lloyd Larson: Okay they do twenty or thirty, one hundreds okay.

[Next Speaker]: Three minutes…

Lloyd Larson: Three minutes, wide interval.

[Next Speaker]: …and they have to – they have to – the skills they have hold for each 100…

Audience: they have to – the skills they have to call for each 100 is they have to streamline across the flag.

Lloyd Larson: They have a streamline pass the flags.

Audience: they have to breathe – no breathing for 5 strokes.

Lloyd Larson: no breathing for 5 strokes.

Audience: Breath every 3 all the way through the hundreds.

Lloyd Larson: Breath every 3 the whole swim.

Audience: 2 stroke no breathing in, 2 strokes no breathing of the turn.

Lloyd Larson: 2 strokes in and out without a breath.

Audience: But they still have to streamline pass the flags.

Lloyd Larson: Okay. Streamline pass the flags.

Audience: Is done most and then no breathing flags to the end.

Lloyd Larson: No breathing flags to end.

Audience: If anybody in the groups stuffs up you had what?

Lloyd Larson: If anybody in the group – I’m repeating what you’re saying because they couldn’t hear there.

Audience: Anybody in the groups stops ups? The whole group adds one to the set.

Lloyd Larson: Ah.

Audience: If the whole group make it, you take one off.

Lloyd Larson: Group mistake, group consequence.

Audience: Yes. so if you’re doing 30 100’s [Inaudible]] like that, so I will give you [Inaudible] [0:51:01] to 25 but you could end up doing 40 or 41.

Lloyd Larson: Do you reward backwards if they make it do we start – okay so if they make it…

Audience: [Inaudible] [0:51:09]…

Lloyd Larson: Okay.

Audience: …when I mean, everybody pull the skills you take one off.

Lloyd Larson: That’s good.

Audience: Anybody in the group stops up you adds one on.

Lloyd Larson: Okay. No I like that one. Yes ma’am?

[Next Speaker]
Audience: [Inaudible] [0:51:24] skill set are being called seek the bomb [inaudible] [0:51:30].

Lloyd Larson: Seek the bomb?

Audience: Uh-huh.

Lloyd Larson: Okay.

Audience: And they do like this I didn’t know [Inaudible] [0:51:37] and they start [Inaudible] [0:51:39].

Lloyd Larson: Okay.

Audience: [Inaudible] [0:51:41] is not the single and you need to tell the kids they are really great and they can take a break, refresh their breath.

Lloyd Larson: Absolutely.

Audience: They [inaudible] [0:51:49]

Lloyd Larson: Her…

Audience: Not for just [inaudible] [0:51:50]’

Lloyd Larson: Her exhaling game is one called sink the bombs with younger kids where you’d put their face down and they’ve got to blow out their air until they can start sinking down. That’s excellent, that’s a great exhaling game. Yes, sir.

[Next Speaker]
Audience: We do a [Inaudible] [0:52:07] 8x50s on a minutes.

Lloyd Larson: 8x50s on a minute.

Audience: A short course of [inaudible] [0:52:17].

Lloyd Larson: Okay short course meters.

Audience: And the objective is no breathing for 5 meters in and 10 meters of plus 3 strokes.

Lloyd Larson: So no breath 5 meters into the turn, 10 meters out of the turn.

Audience: Plus there’s – while there 3 strokes they’re going to do a pick on 3 strokes.

Lloyd Larson: Okay.

Audience: And that has to be done race speed.

Lloyd Larson: Okay.

Audience: First four they reduce their breath count like 3-2-1-0 in second before they [Inaudible] [0:52:48] so the breath count is little over a second.

Lloyd Larson: Okay so you reduce the breath on the first 25 start with and then when you flip it over it’s the second half of the set.

Audience: Second four.

Lloyd Larson: Second four. Very good I really enjoyed giving this talk today I appreciate the opportunity, I want to thank the ASCA for giving me a chance. Enjoy the rest of your clinic thank you.

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