From Goals to Great Performances by Kris Houchens (2003)


Thank you. I have to say I was really honored when they asked me to speak at ASCA. I was real honored and I got real excited and they asked me way back in February and then about a week later it kind of hit me and oh, this is the ASCA Clinic and I am going to do a talk and I called my dad – he is not a coach but he speaks in front of large groups a lot and I asked him for some advice and he said, well, what you do is you try to get your talk in the afternoon and then about an hour before you talk you go down to the hotel bar and get yourself a shot of Tequila and that hour will fly by and you will be kind of calm and ready to go by the time you are ready to talk.

Well, a lot has happened since I talked to my Dad in February (ed. note: Chris is pregnant at the time of this talk) and needless to say, I did not take a shot of Tequila before I was speaking today. I called him back last week and I said, what do I do now and he says well, if all else fails and things look really grim, just fall down in fake labor so I promise I won’t – I won’t have a baby, but I might have a cow.

The title of my talk is “Goals to Great Performances” for age group and Masters and any level of athlete. Basically, I am just going to do an overview of a swim season. I am going to talk about goal setting, tracking progress through the season and tapering – specifically tapering older adults and then if we have time I would like to just do a comparison between the differences in masters swimmers or some of the differences in masters swimmers versus age group.

Now, I am not an expert in goal setting. Like you, I have been attending these clinics for about ten years and about everything I learned about goal setting I have learned right here so I have just taken some of the ideas that I have learned here and this is how I use them with our team. I mean, it applies to everybody. If you were here for Jim Montgomery’s talk you will realize you have a lot more fitness oriented swimmers in masters than competitive style, although goal setting will apply to everyone whether they are trying to lose weight or they would like to swim at nationals. The reason why goal setting is important is of course is because it is rewarding, it provides tools for motivation. It helps monitor progress. It helps give focus to workout and gives purpose and then in the end the best part is that it helps build self esteem.

I broke down goal setting into two types that we have done with our team – general goal setting and specific goal setting. General goal setting; a lot of your athletes in masters will have a life time goal of maybe to stay fit or maybe to swim the English channel or do an iron man. Long-term goals generally are goals that they like to approach in years or yearly and seasonally and some of these cross over just because goal setting is kind of personal. A long-term goal for some people might be that crossing the English Channel in four years. A long-term goal for another person might be just going to nationals in one year. Short-term goals can be seasonal or monthly and then we get down to weekly and daily goals and those will change every week or change every day and that gets a little more into the specific goal settings.

Goal setting – specific goal setting – a hot term for that these days is process goals and process goals are just a how to or the blueprint. They are measurable type goals – things of dealing with time specifically and can be directly related to the desired outcome and general goals and this is what I would like to focus on in this part of the talk. In your handout you should have a goal setting worksheet and there are two sides; there is a blank side that you can bring home to your club and use that for copies and on the other side is a filled out one with examples. This is a worksheet that I presented in Colorado – to the masters athletes. I have also used this with collegiate athletes in our area. I have been asked to talk and present this and also with high school athletes and basically – in the left hand column there you have a list of ideas or strategies of ways people can improve in their rates. Along the top – the top row you have the name for the columns there – an area where they will check the things that they want to work on for the coming year, a time saved for each skill. The next two columns are for the math part of this exercise which is adding up their time and then subtracting the time saved from their best time to come up with a goal time. The final column is the notes. Usually when I give out this handout I will cover up this column when I start and I am going to walk you through this next.

The blue highlighted area – I am just going to enlarge. When you give this to your athletes you can have them fill out their name of course and their best time and the stroke or distance or their stroke and distance of an event that they want to get a goal time from so I recommend, especially with athletes filling this out for the first time doing like 100 or a 50 free because it does involve some math and once they get the hang of it then they can try like the 1650 and work on that but this is a great tool and this person here –-they have got a minute for the hundred free. Underneath strategy and strokes they read through this list and like I said before, you cover up the time saved and they start to check off areas that they want to work on.

Now, how this worksheet works is that we are going to assume that whatever this person did last year to get a minute in the 100 free they are going to do again this year already so the things that they check off are the things that they are going to do in addition to what they did the previous year so if they were lifting weights three times a week last year we are going to assume that they are going to do that same thing this year and if they are, then they can’t improve on their weight training unless they have something more specific like they know they are going to raise their weight up, but you get the idea. You want to check off things that you are going to work on in addition to what you did the previous year to get the time you had before. Now for master swimmers and for older swimmers they don’t have to go off their best time. If they did their best time when they were 10 years old and now they are 18, I would get a time from them from the year or two before so you have kind of a gauge of what they are going to do. If you have a master swimmer that swam college and they were swimming 70,000 yards a week in college and in masters they are swimming 15,000 yards, you want to go off a masters time that they swam and not off their collegiate best time, in most cases.

The next column is the time saved for each skill. After they have checked everything off you would uncover the time saved for each skill and let them see how their improvement is going to come. Now, I am going to enlarge this section which is the next two rows. Add up your time for 25 years. Now since I just have the first two sections here, this is a 100 free race so their assumed improved body position time saved is 5/100 of a second X four lengths of the pool so their total time there is 2/10 and then it just goes down; body core strength so they are going to work on that this year so that is 1/10 per 25 yards – it comes up to 4/10 and you can follow this through on that. They have got their time for their minute times and then once they figure out the math they can start to subtract it from their best time and then just go down and from this top section here you can already see the time saving of 1.4 seconds as the time starts to drop off. I feel like I am going through this kind of fast – are there any questions so far?

What is great about this work sheet is that it starts to tie everything together so you come to practice you know, you may or may not want to be there, but you come to practice you have got something to think about to work on that you know is going to improve your race and you can directly relate it to the time savings that you can save. Just an overview here – I have to apologize I am not reading off my notes.

Give me a minute here, but as I am looking for what I am looking for I will just tell you a story of a collegiate swimmer that filled this out and she was a 200 IMmer and her freshman year they had a coach that wasn’t very probably a very good coach. It was at Butler University and they got a new coach and they had to come over and present this worksheet and her best time from the year before in the 200IM was 2:22, you know, maybe not so good for a collegiate athlete – she filled out the sheet and when she got to the bottom she never lifted weights and there were a lot of things that she needed to work on. She had a savings of 12 seconds. I think her goal time ended up being 2:10. Well, she went up to her coach–and it is important as a coach to review these–and her coach looked things over just to make sure that the things she checked off were things she could actually work on and things that she actually needed to do and they decided that that is pretty realistic. I mean, the set up is realistic whether she is going to do it or not is a question, right? So she filled it out and before she even hit taper last year she went the goal time of 2:10 and she used this – she had this in her locker so every time she came to practice she knew what she needed to work on and she had the motivation to work on it because she knew that she wanted to drop that time so when she tapered I think she just dropped like another second and a half off her time.

So, I have been giving this out for about four or five years and I have always tried to see how effective it is and in my own personal life, I started out doing this at Ball State for maybe a month and then I didn’t, and so then when I don’t hit my goal time I know exactly – I have a reason why I don’t (hit my goal time) because I know that I probably didn’t do the things that I did but, just as an overview, I use this worksheet to develop specific goals, a time with tenths of a second for example, highlights areas that need to improve on or swimmers need to improve on. It describes methods in the notes column on how you will improve the desired areas. You can use it for motivation for your daily grind. It helps tie everything together –where you have been – what you want to accomplish that day and the desired outcome you want to have at the end of the season and then at the end of the season it is great for evaluating how you did and then where you want to go from there so that is the first part of my talk. If you guys have any other questions on that.

Hopefully, you will be able to use this or adapt it. There may be a way for triathletes. I don’t really use it a lot with triathletes but go ahead. Yeah. it is really good for motivation – thank you very much. When I was at Colorado they had a spread sheet of the data base they do with elite athletes – world class athletes and they time their turn time and I had a slide – I saw a slide of Brooke Bennett from when she was in the Olympics in 1996 to 2000 and she had dropped 7 seconds and of course won the gold medal in 2000, but one of the things on the sheet, she saved six seconds improving her flip turn over the course of an 800 free so it does add up and so and it’s great for anyone that needs that kind of motivation. It is a lot of math, but for high school or the inexperienced swimmer that cannot tie in what they do in practice to what they do when they perform, and there are a lot of swimmers like that, this is very helpful for helping them connect the dots.

Moving on, checking progress is the middle. Checking progress throughout the season. You have a handout of a personal journal and I am going through that. Tracking progress with masters gets to be important. They don’t like to look at the pace clock a lot so the challenges that we had or the things that we wanted to do to help them track practices and get them more involved and know their times and what they do in practice –to make sure that when they are at practice they are doing things to train to race or train for what they are trying to accomplish, even if it is weight loss, they need to have their heart rate up in a certain range to be able to lose weight. If they are a triathletes they need to be working on pace, so training to race in practice is important throughout the season. In the end, if they are tracking progress it starts to build their confidence. Coming to practice when you don’t feel good and getting your times and knowing that you can swim fast when you don’t feel good – that can really boost your confidence up. Checking progress and being consistent is making sure you are always comparing apples to apples. On having goal sets or test sets that are re-occurring month to month so they can measure their progress, making sure if they wear fins on one goal set or we try not to let them do that in our program, but if they wear fins on one goal set and they don’t wear them the next time that is not very consistent so trying to keep them being able to track their progress and being consistent with certain sets and then tracking progress can help people stay motivated.

In the journal, this is also available on our website. We came up with this this past year to help us with all of those things. Just on the outside it has some instructions to set some goals to use this as a training tool and you will find that a lot of master swimmers do not keep a journal of their training and do not know what their times are and one of the problems that we have on our team is they like to compare themselves to other athletes but not to the clock which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense so this journal was to help them start to write things down so they can keep track of things.

That is just everything that is inside. We are going to go through this one at a time. To use the personal journal we have some charts and if you were in Jon Urbanchek’s talk he has the colored sheets and we actually used one of those for these – I apologize – I don’t have these to hand out but I am going to pass some around that we use. These are also available on our website. We have a percentage of effort chart and Jon had this – the one available on our web site goes from 19 seconds to 3 minutes so you can use it over a variety of distances. We have a pace chart. The pace chart you can get off the web site is for a 30 minute swim and an hour swim and then it gives you the pace per hundred of the distance of whatever they do and then a cruise interval chart and we provide too, it is two sided, cruise interval chart with ten seconds rest and 30 seconds rest and actually in the very back of your packet there is a “how to do it”
handout of – the handout that you have – is on the very back page and you can pull this out and it will– another way to explain what I am going to show you next, but basically in the journal when you open it up, the first thing is your best 100 times and we have one for each stroke.

This is the first year that we did this. Last year, but you can invent your own and have different distances that they might do in practice. One thing that I did about mid-season is I started timing people off the block when they wear their Zoomers – like during a lactate test I will have them do their laps – fast lactate with their Zoomers on – get their time and do the percentages off their fins and when they are in practice and they slip those fins on because they want to mask their effort, well now I have a time for them to hold even when they have their fins on so it’s no help for them. Just a little trick – a little coaching trick for you.

The two percentages that we use the most are the 95% or better for lactate testing and then 80% effort which is the time they should hold for most aerobic sets in practice. The next – the inside page, once you open it up on the left is a chart for tracking 30 minute swims, an explanation of cruise intervals and how to do them. It can be very complicated and confusing, but what we try to do with our athletes is explain it as best we can so they can take charge of their coaching. The more a master swimmer understands the more likely they are going to be to do it so, in this case, like in the first set, they have the total distance where they write down the result of their 30 minute swim, then using the pace chart that is available on our web site you can find out their pace per hundred and, once you find that out, you will go to the cruise chart and then there is a left hand column where you look at their pace from the 30 minute swim and then you will come across – along the top they have distances so if you are looking for like 100’s it will be the third row, you will come down and find their 100 off their cruise chart so if we go along the top, this guy in October – he went 18:25. His pace per hundred was 1:39. When he looked it up on the cruise chart he found the time 1:33. That is the time he wants to hold when he does repeats on 1:43 and generally we round those up to 1:45. He had 10-15 seconds to play with so you can always round it up so that is how that chart works and then about once a week we will have a cruise interval day where we will have a stat where we will get them do their cruse intervals.

Moving along, just explaining this, we try to do a test set for their journal in every category – aerobic which is a 30 minute swim, VO2 test set, and then we have a lactate test set so this is the VO2 test set. This person is holding 51-53 seconds which is a better 1:1 ratio. In masters we give the same set and they will change the distance. Now this person is right on the cusp. I would not recommend the person to do 100’s if they are not going t be 1:20 or under. This person was very – a triathletes was where I got this off of so you know how they are about getting that extra 25 in, but when we do test sets we will adjust the distance but some people might be doing 50s, some people might be doing 75’s, and then others might be doing 100’s. We don’t do six 100’s versus the general set, we do five because that makes it five 100’s on six minutes which makes it exactly 30 minutes because we only have about an hour and fifteen minutes so we cut one of them out and they are masters so it actually works out pretty good.

For the course of the season we do hundreds for the most part as this individual has up here. The week that we did 75’s – that was the backstroke for this individual and when they did 50’s we were going into the state meet so there are some times when I don’t want to do a full lactate that month but generally we try to keep them where they test at. Now we do do lactate sets every week, but we don’t – the ones we record were the ones that we try to be more consistent with. Then, at the end, the very last chart that we have them record is the broken 200. In a lot of cases they won’t get their 50’ splits just because of how practice is structured – the number of people in their lane. Some of them do not want that math but they will get their time. The time that is listed here for this individual is their net times so they have the time – the broken 200– 10 seconds rest at every 50 and then we subtract out the 30 seconds and then they have a net time and that net time is a treat predictor for if they do meets; and then that is why this is included because it is a really good predictor set.

So, just to finish up with checking progress, we do it to help them read the clock and get their times and participate a little bit more in practice. We want them to know their times for different efforts and I am sure a lot of you that coach masters, they want to know how fast do you want me to go on this so we kind of help them be a little bit more responsible. When you have a practice with 20-30 people and they all want to know what their 80% is and they are at all these different levels, having them be more involved in their training and knowing what times are is very, very helpful. Keeping it real, tracking progress, like I said before. They need to go off the clock and not off the guy in the lane next to them. They might be swimming next to somebody that swam twice a week at that particular time they join so they are swimming faster than that person and then all of a sudden the person that they beat every day in practice is training five days a week and then they are getting beat and they think they are slowing down when they are not so if they can go off the clock they can keep it real.

Tracking progress makes the master swimmer more responsible. It answers the question of why are we doing this. I heard Jon Urbanchek’s talk and they have the same question in college – imagine that! And then tracking progress is just a way to help them obtain those small goals or work toward their bigger goal. I have a slogan on the screem that we had in college –- the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time–so checking progress can make the bigger deal smaller and I know that you have a handout for that so I don’t think you need to copy that.

Oh wait – this slide came out really dark so I am going to leave this up so you can copy down the things here and I apologize for that. Taper for masters swimmers – these are some of the things that I have learned – let’s see what I did with my cheat sheet here, sorry. What I did is when I first joined Mel, he had me start helping him with his taper – probably the first year that I was with this team and I was coming right out of Division I college swimming and I can tell you that first year that I helped with the taper – nobody was my friend. I really thought tapering masters would be very much the same as coaching college or age group. The things that I have listed here – I listed them in order of the impact they had when we implemented them into our taper; the first being the Stanford’s three day cycle. I was here at a clinic where Richard Quick talked and he is on a three day cycle with his taper – they go VO2 (a race pace day), and then the next day they do sprint day, and then the following day is a recovery day and then we just continue that three day cycle throughout the taper. If we have a Sunday off where they don’t swim we – I just pick it up where we left off. That had a tremendous impact when we adopted that. Before, the experience that I had is that you had to have intensity every day. You had to have some kind of intensity in the taper every day, but actually having their recovery day in there was really great. We don’t really taper our masters team anymore. We do what we call a drop taper where 14 days out we go right to 1/3 of the work load and that has been very effective. We do a standard taper for the team of 10-14 days. Now these ideas are not set in stone. This is just where we are in the progress of always improving our taper. This year, one thing that we are going to try is with our athletes that are 50 and over we are going to try to go out 21 days with them and see what happens and the reason for that is just the rest and recovery just become more important as athletes get older and that is the next thing – more rest and time to recover.

We try to limit diving. I try to recommend only diving on sprint day. Masters swimmers – they have opportunities throughout the season, but they won’t start to really think about their dive until taper and all of a sudden they want to do ten dives every day so we limit the diving because of the next thing. We want to eliminate anything that will make them sore. The idea is that we want to rest them and have them fresh for the meet and not to run them into the ground.

We do do speed assistance, anything with fins or paddles or a bunch of cords, we do on sprint day. Whenever possible we try to be race specific with that individual. We make sure to adjust or have the swimmer know their race strategy going into a meet. I was on the US____ once and a guy had written a post about he was at a meet and he was asking everyone around him how to swim his 200 free and he got all these answers so he was on the post the next week trying to figure out whose answer was right. So, a swimmer should know how they practice and adjust to their strengths when they race. If they are a back half swimmer in practice then they’re probably going to have a stronger end half in their race. I mean, it just makes good sense and then you always, as a coach, you want to do sets that will build their confidence. If you are going to slap long fins on your swimmer and say okay, now do the American record in your age group and see if you can beat it, better know in advance that they can beat it because if they don’t then you are going to have a hard time rebuilding their confidence so try to always have success sets in a taper.

Things that affect the taper for masters swimmers, and this is probably general across every age group, is them not understanding what a taper is and how it affects their body. Once they start to get in the middle of taper and they start to feel really strange or they are near the end and they feel really good, triathletes are great at this when they go into their meets they are tapered about two days out, they are feeling really good so they are just going to keep running or keep going. “Well, I felt really good coach so you know, I ran that 13 miles the day before I did my big thing.” So. them understanding a taper and how it affects their body – trust – having trust in their coach. If they ask a lot of questions be sure to have a lot of good answers to give them. Unpredictable training and unrealistic expectations- this is when you really switch from coach to counselor. Masters swimmers. for whatever reason. might miss a whole month of workout, not because they want to but maybe a family crisis or something, so they are out for a month and then a month later they are going to Nationals and they are really wondering why they are not swimming as fast and that is where you need to slip in as a coach and just take them in and explain to them about their expectations. You will get people thinking they don’t have to come to practice a whole lot and they will taper and then all of a sudden they will be a super star again like they were in college so the taper is not magic. What you put in during your training, that the taper is going to bring out, but it isn’t going to create it for them so.

Let’s see – what do we have here, oh these are my favorite questions I get asked every time we have a taper. I only swim once or twice a week – should I taper? And what I always ask when they ask that is what else do they do. If they have a lot of stress in their life or generally they are running or doing _____ class or doing aerobics I will say yes, you will taper and the reason why is because you are trying to get their muscles ready to go so even if they are doing it once or twice a week, but they are doing other things or they have a lot of stress in their life, I would taper them along with the team. You want their muscles to be ready and this goes to my second favorite question – I am not in shape, should I taper and I figured this out mathematically – 98% of our team is out of shape, according to them, so that means we have got over 350 swimmers on our team, only about six of them – six and a half of them or 7 are in any kind of condition to race. If they joined your team a month before nationals of course you are not going to taper them. You know, they are probably not going to be ready, but if they have been swimming with you all season, even if they are not at the level that they were in college, you need to rest the muscles that they have been training so they will be ready to go, so those are the two answers I have for the most popular questions about taper.

Adapting to age. We try to encourage masters swimmers to reevaluate their goals every five years so that is basically an age group, so every time they age up into a new age group they might want to reassess what their goal times are. Some swimmers are going to get faster as they get older and some are going to get slower as they get older and so this is kind of a net – a safety net for them. After they get over 50 we kind of recommend that they reevaluate every two years you know, so they always can tell and most of those athletes know what is happening to their bodies or what is happening in their life, like lack of flexibility or what not. Rest and recovery: become more important as swimmers get older. We tend to have a lot larger intervals and not do the aerobic kind of what they call garbage yardage, but the five second rest interval that triathletes love to do, ten 100’s on the fastest possible intervals, they get the most possible yardage in that they can get in a practice, but we try to open up the intervals so they can do more race pace and more intensity in their training and that is the next thing – Rest pace in aerobic training: and then more focus on flexibility and technique.

There have been studies done of masters athletes that have done their very best times in their 40’s and 50’s and generally that is related to technique. I have come across so many people in their 40’s that come out on our team and have never even done a drill. In fact, you say drill and they say okay – yeah – I got it and they push off and they swim as fast as possible and you are, like what did you do that for, and they say well you said drill it. Okay – so they have an opportunity or you will have an opportunity to bring these people up to date and as they get up to date they usually improve and then use it or lose it – as we get older we tend to get lazy and we do not want to do the intense workouts that the coach asks us to do, but the thing that you need to convince them of is if you don’t use it you will lose it and we don’t have as many races and I know California might be a little bit different but most masters swimmers, they are lucky if they go to one meet a month so that means that they need to get that whereas in college we used to have ______ day and then we would have a meet that weekend and sometimes three times they would be swimming at race pace so once that goes away or the less they tend to swim at that pace or whatever they are trying to accomplish, it will start to deteriorate, so this is the bonus section and I put this picture in here for all of my California friends.

This is in February – oh yeah – please. Yes, in fact I probably talk more about our swimmers’ personal lives than I do about swimming with them and sometimes I feel like I am more of a psychologist. I mean, they tell me things I don’t even want to know; always an injury or some gross scab they have – they have to show you and they are just like kids in that way I guess, but yeah, if they are open to it usually during the taper if they are swimming once or twice a week you ask them and you can tell how they are built, what their situation is, but generally yeah, they pretty much tell us if they have three kids and they are involved in sports and all afternoon and all evening long they are running around in the morning they are worn out tired. You get an idea that something is up – does that answer your question? Exactly – and they don’t always relate their performance at swim practice to something that happened outside of that practice. That is a very good point.

Gardening in the summer, we get so many people with back pain and shoulder pain at the beginning of the spring when the weather gets good and then they are now swimming well and I always ask them what were you doing this weekend and they are, “Oh, we just put it all down, 500 pounds of peat moss, or whatever. Yeah, you are going to be tired from that and a little sore. Yeah – the general rule is anything that you don’t want to make them sore – you can do it – it is very individual and we have had athletes that will lift until they leave but when they do lift we have them go – they drop down to very light weight, faster repetitions and then some of the ones, that this is their first time lifting weights at all and I would just cut them off right when taper starts, definitely, if you don’t want to deal within the ten day thing because there are things happening in their body for taper, but we have gone both ways with that. It depends on their experience. Are there any other questions on taper?

This is Indiana in the winter and outside that white stuff is snow and that is my car out there buried in it and those are all our happy swimmers – let me check the time here. We have a little bit of time to go through this. Just some studies in older adults. They have done studies saying that 20-35 years of age is the prime age for athletic performance. The 1% there (on the screen)is from 25 to 70 in studies they have done, they have had a 1% increase every year since when you are 25 on to 70. Your strength and endurance will decrease 1% every year and your VO2 Max will decrease 1% every year. These are general studies and I have to say these studies were done about eight years ago and they are collecting as masters swimming is growing. I am sure these are going to change. I am saying these – I have the reference I got these out of, too. Yeah, I was surprised, too, and I was wondering if it was an average – right. These are – there has only been one study done that I am aware of–that they did it with runners and elite runners that continued running – of the ones that continued running at an intense level they put off the decline and what I am saying is that from the studies – we are talking about 1995 is this information here and so there is room for – we all know because masters swimming has grown so much that we know that is going to change but at that time you know, there are just not a lot of studies out there about it. The one I was telling you about before – the ______ study is just the runners. They were the same people that they did and he found – I don’t know it off the top of my head, but there was less decline in the ones that had intensity in their training – not the ones just going out for a casual run, but the ones that had intensity.

Just moving on – another study that they had done was technique training methods and swimming facilities are the reasons some individual swimmers are achieving personal best well into their 40’s and 50’s so coaching masters can be very, very exciting and even exciting in younger swimmers. We had a 26 year old who was a 200 flyer in a Division III school, go her best time by over ten seconds on her team last year and I tell you – seeing someone that excited and she is very young and we were very impressed. I know 60 year olds that have done a PR in his event and a 70 year old that has done a PR in an event and that is lifetime, so those facts are going to change, I think over time. That’s just going over what we had talked about. training can lessen the impact of aging on performance and that is some of those studies I was telling you about is what they came up with. I think the important thing to realize is that intensity of training also and in our program our philosophy we try to include more race pace and intensity training where they are getting their heart rate up in their swimming race pace and allowing for more rest so they can recover and in that way they are staying in better shape and they are delaying the onset of the things that can happen when they get older. It would be like walking casually versus jogging or running as someone gets older. The walking is going to be good for them, but if they want to maintain a high level of performance they are going to have to get some intensity in there. This is the resource that I have gotten from those studies. Oh, the book is from 1994 actually, so this has been almost ten years then. Go ahead – it depends on what day it is because we do – we have an hour and 15 minutes in our program. If you saw Jim Montgomery they have an hour for their program. We probably have about, going by days I guess, we probably do two days that are strictly aerobic like no intensity and probably two days of VO2 and a day of sprint and the sprint day is half aerobic probably on that day.

Question: yeah, right – we did a thing last year –we started super Tuesday where we do more for our distance – triathletes where we just try to do all aerobic that day and we did it on Tuesday so that the triathletes could put it into their training and then this year we moved it around. It is very exciting – yes, well some people are afraid of that and they shouldn’t be afraid – so you can’t please all the people all the time, but yeah, we do try to trick them into joining our fun days that we do things so, yeah, we move it around now because we have that problem now where at some locations we are just Monday, Wednesday, Friday and other days we are five days a week so we do need to move those days around so everyone gets it in and we are making sure everyone gets at least some. Right – and that is a good point – not knowing if the triathletes – triathletes we convinced them all about taper and a funny story that we have is that we had the 10-14 day burn to the end of the year triathlon and one guy liked it so much the next year he was in taper all year long so now we got him reined in and he is doing well so that is a good thought, anyway.

I just have one more part here and that is the differences between coaching a masters versus age group – more rest and recovery. Back here to the gentleman – I just thought of something else to your question – like how much aerobic because our workout is so short we generally have a long warm-up, about 1,000 yards before we get into a main set of intensity because they are older and we need to make sure – and if they show up late or they don’t get in on time so that affects that number too so I wanted to let you know that about aerobics. Anyway, these are some of the differences and those of you out there that Coach Masters or coach age group, you might offer some other ideas of the differences but, for us, these are the things that I tend to notice. We need more rest and recovery with masters swimmers, less aerobic training, more race pace type of set. We work on technique, but I guess I should say there is more opportunity ________ strokes in masters swimmers. They tend to get injured more – masters swimmers do, but not necessarily from swimming and the thing is the person working on the weekend in the garden comes in – swimming is going to irritate a lot of injuries they get outside of the pool and it is going to take them longer to recover. The Rice philosophy often with our team – the best part about masters is there are no parents – well sometimes they are parents, more opportunities for you to make contact with adults that might help you with your program or even – if you are running two programs like an age group program – on our team we have people that help us with fundraising and help us run our social events. We have a guy that does our website for us as a volunteer. We have a lady that runs our newsletter as a volunteer and these are all resources of people on our team that we use to make our program better–so that is good.

I don’t know why I put this on here – more flexibility with _____________________ of swimmers. You might think differently – I think that masters swimmers have mood swings. A lot of times – my thing is I always try not to get in their way until after their workout is over because then they are usually a lot more calm about whatever stressed their brain and so that is what I mean by that – you do not take things personally with them – get in – get warmed up – cool off and then you start to _____________. For kids, I don’t know that the kids that I have coached in the past have been that moody and it goes along with stress. Masters swimmers are generally carrying a lot more stress into the pool with them than age group swimmers are. This is my plug for my boss – great resources are available for coaching the older swimmer and I have two websites on there. Our web site, of course, we have all these great charts you can download and then has lots of opportunities to get information on and this is the end. I think I made it with a few minutes to spare so if there are any other questions

The collegiate athlete and once you have triathletes in your program for a number of years, maybe 3 or 4 years where they have an opportunity to get a good aerobic swimming base and they are actually improving and their technique is good – when you get to that point you can sell triathletes on coming into the program – just have them talk to that guy. As for collegiate – ex-collegiate athletes that come in that know more than a masters coach – that is my favorite. I don’t know how the other coaches on our team feel, but I used to coach at a Division I level so when they come to me I just enjoy that a lot. Generally, two things can happen; first, they probably won’t pay attention to you and they will want to change the intervals on you or something like that added in and sometimes I will let them and then for us on our team, our Saturday workout is that we only have one location where we get all the people from all the sites at one place and we have X-collegiate athletes that have bought into our program that will show up there and what they love to do – those athletes. they love the rest because then they can race each other so then this kid that just joined the program thinks he is a hot shot, I just bug them about coming Saturday, oh you are going to come to Saturday practice and there are other guys like you who swam college and you can bond and so they show up and they get their butt kicked – they cannot even keep up. I mean, they won’t even make it through the main set because they are trying so hard to keep up and even with the extra rest–and then they don’t bother us anymore.

They fit right in, but they take some persuading and the workouts aren’t as long and you can sell them on the heart rate side of it: “Look, you are not going to be able to get in the yardage you need to get in like you could in college to lose weight or whatever it is you are trying to do to stay in shape, the intensity in getting your heart rate up is the way you want to go. It will be over with faster and it takes less time and the results are good.” We have one athlete that – because I was skeptical when I started coaching masters and I did this – I had to say even for myself – I didn’t really think a race pace idea was very good. We have a guy on our team that is 26 years old, was out of school, swam the 400IM and he was swimming about 70,000 yards in college, full weight program. They had a big log they had to carry around in their dry land and like run up stadium steps and all this crazy dry land that they did, joins our program – he is in med school – real erratic training behavior – lucky to swim four workouts a week, went to Nationals, swimming with us for two years – went to Nationals and was 3 seconds off his best time in the 400Im so that right there sold me right there and then that training at race pace intensity does work and it does work for stroke too and I attribute his loss of speed – his three seconds to probably the breaststroke leg where maybe his legs needed more weight training or he lost a little bit of muscle tone, but after that happened I was sold. So, there are some that will be stubborn but you know, you get a couple that are successful and just hook them up with the stubborn one and they will just stomp on them during your practice and then that takes care of it I think. “What’s the matter John – why are you stopping?”

One thing in our program that I like–we have everyone on the same interval and we have fast people in the lane, but we don’t have what you would call the animal lane. We adjust the distance that each person swims, but the intervals always stay the same so we start together and we finish together and two things happen on our team because of that: one is it is a lot more social. There is a lot of cross socialization between like the slower swimmers get to know the faster swimmers and second, our faster swimmers are not really ego driven. They don’t feel a need to prove themselves. They don’t feel like they have to go, even though they know they can do repeat hundreds on 1:05 – they don’t have a need to do that. They like to race. They like the rest and they like to race better and they don’t get an ego trip proving to themselves they can finish their workout and be out the door with their work clothes on before the slow lane is even finished with workout. We do not have that on our team so it is a real nice atmosphere to coach in and to be on, I think. Are there any other questions? Okay – it’s over. Thank you very much for coming. Everyone stayed awake, thank you.

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