Bob Steele, Moderator
Panel: Ed Spencer, Jon Urbanchek
We visited a total of (in the last two and a half years) 126 teams (by a more accurate count than what I’d had). Initially, the thought was that this program was going to be for young coaches with outstanding young talent and what we are finding is that the coaches that we’re visiting are 40 and 50 years old, with outstanding young talent.
We might estimate that of the teams that we visited, maybe 15% are kids that just came out of the woodwork and all of a sudden a coach says “Damn, I’ve got something here.” But, by and large, the ground work is there because of the skill work, training, and fitness work.
So, here’s my invitation to you: Our staff invites you to evaluate yourself and/or your team on how you’re doing on these ingredients for success. These are coaches that have underclass high school kids (freshmen, sophomores, or juniors) that are in those world rankings.
Create a Ben Franklin checklist by writing two columns. One, of things you’re doing, and one of things you’re thinking about doing (as they appear on the screen or as they are mentioned here). Then put a third column down and check list when you have added things to your repertoire – your coaching repertoire.
Paradigm shifts create success. Don’t coach the way you were coached and don’t be afraid to steal things, because there is nothing new under the sun.
These are ideas that came from Richard Quick. Richard made about seven visits. He couldn’t be here today. As you know, he’s now a college coach again so I think he’s recruiting. These are Richard’s ideas, based on his seven visits:
Make swimmers responsible for monitoring the workout details (so that the coach can concentrate on more important things). Workout details might be stroke counts, how far they’re getting on underwater work, breathing patterns, and things like that. Make the kids responsible for that. If time permits, I’ll show you a form that you can use to monitor that information and have the kids be responsible for it, but have you have a report at the end of a practice. All you’ve got to do is take a sheet of paper and tape it up on a window, a hard surface, or put it on a counter and as the swimmers leave practice they record that information that you want them to be responsible for.
Coaches need to pay attention to details like stroke technique, underwater technique, turn technique and start technique. These are swimmers that are coming along that have really outstanding skills, but those coaches really work on developing those skills too. Richard said the best way to a swimmer’s heart is through individual technique work. Spend time one-on-one – face-to-face – and the best thing that you could do would be to dig a trench along the edge of the pool and you stand in the trench so that you are face to face with the swimmer. Your maintenance crew might not appreciate that.
Convince swimmers that they’re better than they think they are and not to sell themselves short. You’re the visionary and your job is to create a level of expectation that the swimmer has to aspire to and that’s something that we’ve seen in these programs. The coaches do goal-setting regularly. They do goal-setting weekly, at least with the outstanding swimmers. When I visit, we provide a quadrennial goal plan sheet so that the swimmer has to think about skill, fitness, and motivation and the things they need to do in a four year period, not just one year at a time.
So those are Richard Quick’s ideas. Next was Jim Montrella. Jim just started. He’s made seven visits and his ideas have to do with the dry side of what coaches need to do because some coaches get caught short-handed with parent boards.
Things like that make it difficult, so the first thing is to review and understand the team by-laws. Every team needs a constitution and by-laws to be a USA Swimming team. Read the team policy manual on how those by-laws are implemented. Then, make certain that the by-laws and the policies agree, and change them if they don’t. This is just working with your board. If it’s a coach-owned club you just talk to yourself or your wife, but if it’s a parent-run club you’ve got to really be on top of these things.
Make certain that you and the other coaches follow both the by-laws and the policy manual and then review the two every four years or so to make sure that they’re current with what policies may have changed (but have not been put in the book). That’s the usual thing.
Conduct an administrative retreat annually and use the USAS VVMost (Value Vision Mission Objective Strategies Tactics) as an evaluative tool. Jim said that this is really important and he comes from this from the side of having had it as a problem in his career.
Meet with the staff once a week during the day so that people are available. Now we have a lot of assistant coaches that are not available during the day and I’d say that most of the teams that I visited – I visited 56 teams – most of those teams have coach meetings at least once a month and some teams take the entire staff to dinner. They can have drinks – there are no kids around. They can hash things out, work on whatever, and have a two or three hour meeting in the evening after practice, or call practice off. Keeping the staff in tow and aware of what needs to be done or is being done is essential.
Now we are going to have Ed Spencer come up. Ed’s going to go over his views, after having made 50 visits.
First, I want to make a little comment and this basically is echoing what Pat Hogan said last night. We have a lot of people that come here and listen to lectures and whatever and then don’t end up going to the awards ceremony. I think that anybody that missed last night really missed a treat – listening to Mary T. Meagher and Janet Evans talk about their coaches, watching the coaches that got inducted into the Hall of Fame, hearing Peter Daland and Don Gambril, two legends of this sport worldwide, get up there and talk – and I really think you should probably plan that. I know sometimes things come up and you can’t make it, but I really would do it in the future. Being in this sport for over 40 years, it was an incredibly entertaining night to me.
I want to thank ASCA for this opportunity for us to get up and talk about this because we sort of felt that this program has been a little bit sort of under the rock. In other words, a lot of people didn’t quite understand it, even after we would spend 20 minutes on the phone. They still couldn’t understand why does USA Swimming want to send somebody to our program? It’s a positive, positive program. Our program is not to evaluate, critique, or find fault with or do anything like that. It’s to come in and support the program that’s there. It’s to support the coaching staff that’s there. It’s to give them ideas. It’s to give them a set of eyes that can sit back and watch workouts, listen to communication, and then throw out some ideas that could be used in the future.
A real quick story of my career – I started swimming at 7 years old for Peter Daland and I swam for Peter Daland for five years. After that I went to college and swam for Willis Casey, brother of the coach that Bob had in college. When I came out of college I really didn’t plan to be a coach. I planned to be an engineer and somehow I ended up in coaching. I was on the decks in Southern California with Peter Daland, Don Gambril, Ron Ballatore, Jon Urbanchek, Jim Montrella, Jack Simon who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last night, Don Lamont, and it was an incredible atmosphere.
These guys – all the older coaches, the more established coaches – would almost invite the younger coaches – “We’re going over to Apple Annie’s for lunch for pizza and we’re open to talking to all the younger coaches.” That isn’t happening any more. I don’t think there are any LSC’s right now where there’s that openness where you have older coaches that are willing to really become mentors. It ends up being who you swam for. It ends up with good coaches that are friends in college of yours that you get a chance to communicate with and in some cases you may find a coach in the area that’s open enough to really be able to sit down and take the time. We’re trying to make this program that program.
We’re trying to make this program so that when Bob Steele comes in – Bob Steele is somebody who can listen to you, listen to ideas, give you really frank, honest answers to what he thinks that can possibly benefit the program or not benefit the program and that’s what we’re trying to do. When the three of us got together two and a half years ago and we talked about what we were going to take to these visits with the clubs, we really missed a huge, huge point and the huge point is after 56 visits, after 50 visits, we’ve seen a lot of really talented coaches doing a lot of really cool things and we’re taking those.
We’re walking in and we’re giving information, but we’re like sponges. We’re taking that information so that we can pass it on so when I’m somewhere I can say “Hey, this is what Jeff Pearson is doing up at Sierra Nevada with Sierra Marlins. Here’s what Larry Shofe is doing down at Sarasota. These are things that I think are really working and things that you could implement in your program really well and this is how you could do it,” and that’s what we’re trying to do in this. That’s what we’re trying to promote.
Every speaker that it seems like I’ve listened to talked about mentoring – talked about asking questions of coaches that had been around for a while. That’s what we’re trying to be for you guys. We’re trying to be that kind of person that you feel you can ask any kind of question. It’s going to stay between the two of us. We’re going to give you frank answers of whether we think it would be valid or whether it would work or whether it wouldn’t. One of the things that I have seen – I’ve been to clubs that are large clubs that are municipal programs to small clubs that are coach-owned – and I’ve seen many clubs that have pool issues, many clubs that have issues of struggling with the community or with the university or whatever. So, I don’t think that we’re seeing anything that’s special.
Franz Resseguie down at El Dorado in Tucson that has Caitlin Leverenz is doing a phenomenal job under the worst conditions I’ve ever seen. They don’t even have locker rooms they can use in the winter. There’s no roof on the locker rooms. There’s no place for the kids to change – there’s hardly any place for the kids to go to the bathroom – and yet he’s developed a young lady who probably I would think has got a good shot at being on the Olympic team. So you don’t have to have ideal situations to make all these things work.
The three common things, if I had to narrow it down, I had seen from the visits. I’m seeing coaches that are passionate about what they’re doing and they’re passing that passion back down through the ranks to their age group coaches, so that everybody is there with a common goal and a common reason for why they’re there. They want to make the kids they work with better. I think that that’s something that, anywhere you go – if you walked on the deck and watched Jon coach, or you watched Bob coach, or you watch any of the Hall of Fame inductees last night – you probably would see the same thing.
The other thing is, I think those coaches have created an incredible positive environment for their athletes to compete in and train in and that’s something that takes a lot of work. Scott Volkers today talked about taking out that negative part of it. If you have to get rid of it, you get rid of it. When I first got to Dynamo I had a couple of people that I just couldn’t tolerate. I mean – just negative stuff – profanity and things like that and in a short period of time they were gone. They couldn’t change. Their personalities wouldn’t let them change, so we got rid of them.
I think the third thing, and probably the most important, is accountability – making the athletes accountable for what they’re doing. I’ve said this before – and I think that most coaches agree – if we took 365 days of workouts and we gave them to a hundred coaches and in that group you included the Eddie Reeses, the Jon Urbancheks, and so on and a lot of other average coaches – you would still see the great coaches get better results from their athletes. Not because they’re doing anything different than anybody else, but because they’re making them accountable. If it isn’t done right, they do it over. If it isn’t done right they explain why it should be done differently. They’re giving them reasons for what they’re doing. I call it the sort of, the “what” is the workout, the “why” is why are you doing it? What energy system are we working on? What are we doing this for? Then “how” it should be done and I think that the more you do that, the more you hold your athlete to being accountable.
Those are the three things that I think we’re seeing, at least I’m seeing, and I look at those as the three most important things in that program.
How do you create that environment? I think there are a couple of things you can do that maybe help. I had the fortune at Dynamo to work with a coach, Alex Braunfeld, who had worked with Jon at Michigan. When I first got there, I didn’t write workouts ahead of time and then give them to the kids. I would write workouts ahead of time and I kept them to myself. I sort of wanted to be able to think about what we were doing, maybe even tweak things, or whatever. Alex, on the other hand, would walk in with the workouts and he would have every kid show up 10 minutes before practice. Everybody was on the deck ten minutes before practice. He would distribute the workouts out. He would talk about the workout, what they were doing, why they were doing it, and how it would be done. I’m sure it came from the Michigan program.
About two years out of seven that I was at Dynamo – after the second year – I adopted that philosophy. I just liked what he was doing. I liked the organization of it and in a short period of time I had kids coming up and making comments like “You know, we don’t sort of feel like it is you and us anymore, we sort of feel like it’s ‘we’.” When we meet together and we go over this workout, we’re sort of a common group. We’re one group and I think that helps create the environment. The other thing it does is it gets rid of wasted time. A lot of the clubs I visited, I’ve watched time being spent that I thought was negative time, time that was just wasted. Time re-explaining, having somebody say, now what are we doing again? When do we leave? What is that interval? When it’s all written down and it’s in front of them, it’s much easier for them to understand what it is. Plus, all of you maybe encounter people that are just visual learners. They’re just are not going to be able to hear you explain a complicated set while they’re in the water and understand it.
Now, we don’t just race through that 2 ½ hour workout non-stop. We still have after each set we would then talk briefly, maybe a minute, of what we’re going to do, but most of that was about how it should be done. Not the what, but the how. We weren’t wasting time reiterating what the workout was. One coach – good friend of mine –I talked to about this on one of the visits. He said well, I don’t want them to know what we’re doing ahead of time because they’re maybe going to sort of go through things easier or rest on things and wait for things at the end that they know are going to be really hard. I think it’s the opposite. You can explain very specifically what you want on each one of these things. You can have notes on that workout. Exactly what kind of effort you want, whether you want to have it at 100 pace, 200 pace, or whatever. Well this coach, about two weeks later, emailed me and said I decided to try what you were doing. He said, “I wrote it all out. We sat down and we had the meeting. We got in and we went through the workout. We finished the workout. I turned around and we had 11 minutes left.”
That is 11 minutes that he might have been wasting workout after workout after workout and you know that in a 4 year period if you waste 5 minutes per practice – that’s just getting the kids in, waiting for warm-up, or whatever – that’s about 8 weeks of workout you missed in the four years. That’s enormous and there’s so much you could accomplish in that 8 week period.
One thing I started doing too I think changed the environment in the workout and it’s a talk I’ve done and the talk is to the senior level of kids and it’s about how you want to be remembered. How do you want to be remembered? I take them on a little sort of voyage of a reunion that’s going to take place in twenty years and you’re going to come back in twenty years and you’re going to have your husband with you – your wife with you – your children with you and how do you want to be remembered when you walk through that door? Do you want to be remembered as somebody who had a lot of talent that wasted it? Somebody that was always sort of doing things that were in a negative way – a negative-type person – or do you want to be remembered as that great, positive person – maybe not the fastest, maybe not the best swimmer, but that person that was a real integral part of the program?
While I was at Sierra Marlins with Jeff, I was doing a talk with them and the kids were really in to it. I mean – the kids were really watching – all my mannerisms and what I was trying to explain and everything and right after that Jeff had them in the water. We warmed up and he had a test set of thirty 100’s on 1:20 and the kids were really doing a great job. Jeff had given me a few lanes to read off times and whatever, but I noticed at about 18 or 19 of the 30, kids were starting to struggle. The times were getting a little bit slower and Jeff is imploring them, one of his assistants on the other side was screaming at the kids, “Lets get better and better,” but it was sort of going to no avail. On the 22nd one, the group I had worked at was probably averaging about two or three seconds slower than they had averaged up to that point, #21 and 22, and all of a sudden in lane 1, or lane 10, this one kid screams out “How do you want to be remembered?”
It was like an hour after this talk that I gave. I turned around to Jeff. Jeff looked at me and this kid – his hand on the lane line, up out of the water, shaking his fist back and forth at his teammates. His teammates are like, big eyes, and looking at him. The times just got faster. We ended up four or five seconds faster at the end of this set than we had been and when I go to the different clubs and I talk to them and I say, you know, who had the biggest impact in that practice? It wasn’t me and it really wasn’t Jeff. It was that kid that motivated his teammates. He took the chance to make a fool out of himself to do what he did, but he had the biggest impact and I go down the line and I explained that every kid in practice every day has that opportunity. Any member of the team can be that kind of person and if you can roll those kids into that type of belief where they will encourage each other and they’ll tell kids – they’ll turn around to somebody and say look, you’re better than this. Get up here and race me. They know, and all the kids on the team know, that that is a positive thing. You are telling the kids that that’s a positive thing to create that kind of environment.
I think you can be as tough on the kids as you want to be as long as they know you’re doing it because you want them to be the best that they can be. You care about them. James Ramirez is the young man that did that and that’s another question that I ask everybody. “Who was a hero – who is going to be remembered in that program – if they had a reunion 20 years from now? A lot of the kids may remember that day. Do you remember that day that James got up and did that whatever and we went nuts afterwards? I mean, he’s going to be remembered as the person who did it and he wasn’t the best swimmer in the group, but he was the swimmer willing to take a chance and willing to be a really good teammate.
A second thing that I am noticing is underwater. I just don’t think that there’re as many programs doing as good a job of having the kids really super-streamline and really actively work on being better under-water. It seems like we’re waiting until they get to college so that the college coaches can make them better underwater. I don’t understand why. I started years ago working underwater. I had the privilege of working with Brian Retterer, saw what he could do underwater, how good it was, and when I got to Dynamo I had a young man, Peter Marshall. Immediately we started doing underwater work with the whole team and specifically with him. He ended up going to Stanford, broke the world record short course 100 meter back and it is primarily because of his underwater work. I don’t think that he’s the only one that benefited. I had a young lady who was terrible when you watched her underwater in her streamlining and I think the working on the underwater worked for her. She started going 19 underwater for a 25 free from a push-off and ended up before she graduated dropping down to about 13. She also dropped from 5:35 in the 500 to 4:41 and I think that that drop was basically because of learning how her body needs to be in position. So, you’re not just doing this to make them better underwater, you’re working to get them so that they know how to control their body while they’re swimming, while they’re pushing off, and so on.
I explain this at every club that I go to – if you get your younger age-group program really working underwater, in a short period of time you’re going to go to meets and you’re going to watch all your little 8-and-unders dive in and dolphin kick and come up with a body length lead over the opposition. That’s the greatest advertisement for your club there is. I mean, everybody on the other teams are going “What are they doing that we are not doing?” You’re going to passively have people come to your program because they see better coaching and better things happening. Your kids are just consistently going to be better swimmers and improve to the point that you want them to.
I really think that there are a lot of programs that are doing too much anaerobic work right at the end of practice and then sort of saying okay, let’s go 200 and hop out. They’re getting out with really high lactate levels and it’s going to really affect the next performance, whether it’s a meet or a practice. I was visiting one program and at the end of the morning workout they had the swimmers get up and they did three 100 IM’s all-out on a dive on about 3 minutes, then had them do a 75 warm-down. He does this every Friday morning – and he is a great coach – and I said, how do your kids swim on Friday evening? He said, you know, they are terrible. They always come in and they look sloppy and they don’t feel very good and we talked about it and he said, I never really thought about it that way. It’s just a matter of shifting – do everything you’re normally going to do, but shift that really high quality work a little bit earlier in the practice and then do the work afterwards – maybe 20 minutes of work – that’s going to help clear the lactate. If you don’t, their performance in workout is going to suffer.
I just don’t think there’s as much dry-land out there as there could be. If you get a chance, talk to Vern Gambetta. Talk to him about some of the ideas, especially that the Europeans have, about dry-land and they will tell you that they think that 10-and-unders should be spending more time dry-land than in the water. That you’re going to create a better athlete that way and plus you’re not going to burn them out – especially boys. You’re not going to have them frustrated because they’re in the workouts longer than they want to be. Put them in an hour and 15 minute dry-land situation and they’ll run until they can’t move and you’ll have a lot of better 13 and 14 year old athletes.
When I was at Reno we had a situation – we got pushed out of a pool because of a remodeling. We had to move about 100 kids into a 4-lane pool. There was just no way we could keep the workout structure as it was. We literally cut the water time in half and we almost tripled the dry-land and we had – two or three years after I left – we had 15 and 16 year olds making nationals and being very successful that had gone through a three year period of swimming 30 minutes a day instead of an hour a day, but they were doing an hour and a half of dry-land.
So I think putting a dry-land program in to make better athletes for your younger swimmers is really important and I think to make your older athletes stronger, more flexible – just better athletes and have a better understanding of their bodies.
Again, I’m just going to remind everybody – I think this is a really good program. I think if you get the opportunity to be involved in this program and if you think you should be in this program and you think to yourself – gee, I’ve had an athlete in the last year or two that qualifies for that – do not be afraid to call Pat Hogan and ask – why our club isn’t involved in it. I think that you’ll find coaches that come in with the idea to help, help, help support you and to support your program – willing to sit down with a board and talk about things that maybe need to be done, but supporting the coach.
We sat down with Cincinnati Marlins and Chris Wolford wanted to start a lessons program, but just didn’t have the time and energy himself to run it. We sat down with the Board. They put in a developmental program and they’re ready to kick off a lessons program right now and it will make a huge difference in their program because they just didn’t have the base at the bottom to feed the top as it should be.
That’s it. I wait for questions. Thank you.
Okay, I have made 56 visits and when I finish my points I’m going to pull up a menu that coaches can pick from when I visit them and also kind of an agenda for a visit. I’ve got them in here – it will take a minute to pull them up. First of all – in 56 visits I may have seen only five or six where the kids are really disrespectful of the coach and they are chattering and talking when the coach is talking and that doesn’t work and when I’m going to deal with the kids, if they’re talking, I just stop and stare at them and they catch on real quick, right Tom? That’s right.
Use Olympians’ outstanding high school sets to challenge kids. ASCA had them in a newsletter recently. A collection from about ten Olympians and I provide the coach that I visit with a collection of workouts from Olympians. Each Olympian, I got perhaps 6-10 sets that they did when they were in high school. So you can go up to your high school girls and say okay, we are going to do a Natalie Coughlin set now. When she was with Ray Mitchell she went ten 200’s back on 2:30. She averaged 2:10 and it was one length underwater, one length above. Wow! It made their eyes bug out, but we got a whole collection like that and a coach that I deal with gets that collection.
Monitor daily training sets and skill feedback. As I said, all you’ve got to do is put a sheet on the wall and if I have time I’ll try and pull that up and the kids write down on their way out how they did and you just lay them on the counter, tape them on the wall and you take a green marker and you hit their name if they did a great job or take a red marker if they weren’t very good and you have evaluated them. You take those sheets home and put them in a loose-leaf binder and you’ve got your log book with what they’ve done. It’s up to the kids to do it and if you’re doing test sets that predict performance, they write down what they averaged on the test set and what it predicts. All of a sudden, they’re becoming accountable and they’re buying into what we’re doing.
Use race analysis to create swimmer information. You can go on the U.S. Swimming website, call up race analysis for any swimmer that swam at Nationals. If you’ve got a girl backstroker, pull up Margaret Hoelzer. She’s got 37 race analyses in there, going from a 2:20 five years ago to 2:07 this last February. Those are things that you can get and it will give you thirty race traits that your kids can learn from.
I visited a coach in Duneland, Indiana. First of all, the only teams we’ll visit are kids that are world-ranked which means only long course times, so short course doesn’t count. Well, I had a $700 plane ticket to visit three teams and one of the teams decided that they didn’t want me to come so I had to find a team that was nearby that had a stud, or a studette, so I could spend time with that team because I had a 4 day block and a $700 plane ticket. I called one of the coaches that I had visited and he said “Go to Team XYZ and they got a kid that is just a horse. He’s 14. He’s been 1:39, 1:49 IM, 1:49 fly, 49 second fly and he’s 14.
So I took a chance and that’s the only team that we visited that had a swimmer with short course times. He went to Senior Nationals, his first national meet. He’d never been to Juniors. He went to Nationals and made three Olympic trial cuts – just incredibly talented. His coach has everybody warm-up – by that time everybody’s there – they all stand on the blocks and he starts everybody from the blocks and blows a whistle at six seconds and they’re to be at 15 meters. That’s a daily test. So, just a neat thing that I saw and as Ed said – there’re a lot of things that we’re learning from people like you that we carry on to the next team and put in the menu.
So, use race analysis and if you’d like to, I’ve got a race analysis split sheet that I’ll email to you that you – or maybe we’ll put it in the newsletter and you can use your memory stop watch and get a lot of the traits that they’re getting off computers at senior nationals, but you can only do one swimmer at a time. Or, you could have someone else run another watch, but you can collect the same kind of information.
I don’t think that coaches, by and large, do enough SP2 training – long rest. If you do long rest training, you’ve got to put up with some b.s. from the kids when they’re in between swims. You’ve got to put up with inchy-pinchy, hanky-panky, and smacky-lips and all that stuff, but if you want them to be good – it’s cool.
You know, Jon and other panelists sat up here and said that the thing that they need to do for good 200’s is train for 400, but they gave us a 200 or a 100 training set, but what Bob said with Phelps is they go a set of 100’s alternating fast and slow on a 4 minute sendoff and that is really fast. I mean, that’s SP2. So, I think you need to do it three or four times a week. Jon says twice a week, but I don’t.
Require everyone to work toward 15 meter breakouts on swim sets and kick sets, especially fly and backstroke. Freestylers can take six kicks and then breakout or if you follow Gillett’s rule, it’s 5 or 7. Force them to stay down and if you have time go to the Counsilman contest and there’s a thing there called a streamline noodle. You put a streamline noodle wherever you want in the lane, on the lane-line. It hooks on the lane-line wherever you want it and it only sticks out half a lane so the kids can swim circles and they have got to get to that point to breakout. When I come in to a team I have got a bag like this full of stuff and to me, the only way you can get change is to force change and there are coaches that use equipment to force change. You can’t just talk about it.
Conduct and score a dry-land program. I’ve been to maybe 15 teams that have a dry-land program. Sean Hutchinson has a calisthenics program – it’s not scored. I think if it was scored it would be better. I went to a team in Fishers, Indiana – Southeast Swim Club – and I thought for sure that when Andy said, “We want you to come to dry-land practice in the morning,” I was going to walk in and I was going to see inchy-pinchy, grab-ass kinds of things by a bunch of high school kids. I walked in, and there are 80 high school age club swimmers. They’re doing a pounding dry-land program. It’s scored, and they got three coaches there at 5:30 in the morning.
When we go and visit we’re there at 5:30 or 5 or whatever time they start and we’re there in the afternoon, all afternoon, with all age groups and then we’re there until 10 o’clock at night with the coach and the Board of Directors. It’s not just limited to dealing with a coach, but it’s what the coach wants and needs. So, score your dry-land program.
Infuse fun in every practice. I learned from John Dussliere about Gators and N.B.B.O.’s, so I pass that on to every team I’ve visited since because it’s a great way to get kids to swim fast. N.B.B.O.’s is swimming a hundred as fast as you can and you can’t breathe when you’re swimming. You can only breathe when you’re on the wall and the fastest time turned in by a boy is 53 and by a girl 58. That includes their rest – try that one. Gators is where you go 25’s and you can’t breathe when you rest, but you can breathe when you swim so everybody looks like a gator because their goggles are out of the water, but there are things like that that you can do that are really, really fun. Rock band and race horses – all time favorite.
Then use the USA Virtual Club Championship to analyze your team. How many have ever gone on to see the Virtual Club Championship? Raise your hands real high. That is not enough. If you coach you should see it. It’s free. It’s on the website. Every night the computers re-evaluate your team, based on times that are posted and you’re ranked in the United States. Most of the teams that I visited are in the top 200, but some with not very good age group-coached programs might be at the 900 level. You see how you rank in the United States and all you do is take that graph that comes out on the first page and take a highlighter and you make a line wherever your strokes are generating less than 15% of your team points. Put a highlighting mark and then look at the age groups. Any age group that’s not contributing 6% of your points, or more, put a line and you’ll see where you need to recruit kids or move kids up. You’ll see what events your staff needs to work on and you’ll know what age groups they need to work on. So, that’s one reason for using the Virtual Club Championship. It’s also a good selling point with your board if you were 900th and you moved to 800th. We have some boards that I’ve talked to and they say their team is 250th. Well, 250th out of 2500 teams is pretty good – top 10%, but the team could be better than what it is, too. So, here’s the deal. Go onto Virtual Club Championship and print out the 25 teams that are ranked higher than you and then call those coaches and see if you can set up a dual meet. So Santa Rosa, California can swim Poseidon Swimming on the east coast. They start at 11 o’clock. So, they start at 11 and the west coast starts at 8 and they just email times back and forth, but put it in your schedule and it’s a big deal for kids. You have your own officials. You’re running separate sites. You email the results back and forth. I’ve been trying to get High-Tech, for two years now, to set it up so that it’s resolved immediately off the touch pads, but they’re thinking about it.
So, another thing that I think is important is being professional. If you go into Starbucks – no matter where it is in America – there’s a presentation there. You go to Home Depot, Lowe’s, the post office, Kinko’s – there’s a presentation there. They use the same fonts. They wear the same clothes, or something similar, and I think that’s really important for teams and I have seen it from only two teams. You go to Curl-Burke, Mission Viejo, or Mark Schubert at Southern Cal/Mission Viejo/Mission Bay – wherever he was – there’s a presentation there and I think that teams need to work more on presentation because that’s important.
Your young kids all wear the same orange shirt, and their moms are taking them to the mall, you’ve got a bunch of team shirts walking through the mall on Saturday. Tell them they can only go to the mall on Saturday if they wear their orange shirt.
Mornings are only for kids that are ready for mornings. I’ve been to programs where the kids that are there are too young and it may have been because they had a guest, but make sure the kids are ready.
Now yesterday, Mike talked about the freestyle stroke – three-style stroke and I just want to set the record straight. If you use vertical arm paddles, it helps. 16 out of 20 gold medals were won with high-elbow freestyle – the straight-arm freestyle for the sprint events, and the high elbow was everything else. Of medals, 43 out of 60 were with a high elbow stroke, so think about using vertical arm paddles. There are two being offered right now.
Get your staff to clinics and require a report and then have that coach tell you what they learned that’s new, that they’re going to implement. Have your staff be accountable for what’s new and what they’re going to implement.
Teach racing, not just training. I’ve seen that in a lot of programs where the kids get up and race. Use equipment that forces learning and correction. As I said, kids don’t do it because you tell them to – they do it because they’re forced to do it because they’ve got a tennis ball under their chin, a pair of hand paddles on, or they’re swimming on a rope. I carry a deep sea fishing rod and reel with me and the little kids swim against the reel and it’s just like a flume and it’s really funny and the age group coach gets to do it. We got a slide that showed last night of a coach doing it. It’s neat because the kid gets toward the end and then you just crank down the drag and you pull him backwards – pisses them off.
Make older kids responsible for younger age group buddies. They can be a buddy’s coach.
Permit coaches to train another squad monthly. I’ve seen coaches shift, so that the head coach goes to the 10-and-unders, the 10-and-under coach writes the practice and runs it for the older kids, or maybe runs the practice for the older kids. That’s motivating for the younger coaches, but it’s also motivating for the 10-and-unders, and a sharing kind of thing that motivates your staff.
Snorkel your mouth – that came up yesterday in a contest, right? Try to get age group kids to listen with their eyes. If they’re not looking at you, they’re not listening. Again, just stare at them.
Use age group skill drills as training sets. I’ve seen a lot of that with the age group teams with these clubs.
Conduct workshops for kids, staff, and parents – I’ll get into this later – and no parents on the deck. They can sit there, but they have to be quiet.
If I’m going to visit a team, the coach gets this express-mailed to him and he can look at this and decide what he wants done in the area of skills. About 80% or 90% of the teams I visited said “Hey look, I’ve coached these kids for ten years.” You take a chance on them or with them and challenge them, but if we’re coaching, we’re coaching together. It is not me coming in and pushing the coach out of the way. The coach is running the practice. He’s running the warm-up. I just might finish up with Rock Band or Race Horse, because I love to play that.
So the coach can pick on different things to do from the area of skills, fitness, and different training sets that appeal to different energy systems and different kinds of challenges. Then presentations on motivation – and if you were in the talk that I gave two days ago – that’s an opening talk to the parents and kids and coaches the first night. Then I meet with the coaches and we have a question and answer period. I meet with the parents and I talk about NCAA scholarships and what coaches want from parents and what parents should expect from coaches. Then I meet with a World Class kid and go through about ten different things that can motivate that kid to step up to another level. So the coach gets those things.
Here’s a typical itinerary. I went in on a Wednesday. I met with the coach for lunch and then he told me what training – well, this is all set up ahead of time – I type it all up. The coach approves it – makes changes in it and then he blasts it out to everybody. So, we swam that evening. Then we had a workshop. Then we had a morning practice – no, it looks like there was no morning practice. Wow. Then, we had a “build your own sundae” contest after the slide show and I talked to the parents. Next day – morning – 5:30 till 6:30 and so on and then finished up on Saturday morning and then met with that one great swimmer.
Anyway, that’s the kind of thing that goes on at visits, and Ed and Jim have their own routines, but I thought it might be helpful for you to see what I do. One thing that I wanted to mention on the Olympian business is an Olympian’s workouts. You can take a Ryan Lochte I.M. set and we have got one that most teams have me do. The Ryan Lochte I.M. set is two 50’s long course on 50 seconds of each stroke: 2 fly, 2 back, 2 breaststroke and 2 free. The first one is as fast as you can go and you have to remember those four times (for each stroke) and the next one is as fast as you can go, but over-kicking. You total the four times for the first fast swim of each stroke and you get that time and these kids that I visit that do that set, total, and they see how many seconds over Ryan Lochte’s time they are. So, on that set Ryan Lochte would go 1:52 – this is in high school now – go 26 fly, 28 back, 31 breast, 25 freestyle, on that set. He would go through it six times, a minute and a half rest between each bout, but you can take that set and have your kids total their time and then see how close they can get to Ryan Lochte’s 1:52. You can take it from long course to short course or whatever.
While Jon is getting set up, how about if Ed and I just entertain some questions that you may have based on what we’ve said so far. Someone give Jon the Michigan-Oregon score, please. I think that football coach at Michigan is going to be cleaning out Jon’s horse stalls.
How about some questions? Well there’s one great set from about 8 Olympics of Olympians in the ASCA Newsletter. It’s already out. I have a whole collection if you’re interested. I can fax it or I can just put it in the mail to you at home.
No, it’s USA Swimming and you go into “coaches” and then you hit “race analysis” and you need a password because moms and dads do not get that stuff. You sign up for a password. It will take you through the steps, but then you can call up any swimmer. You just have to make sure you know how to spell their name because if you don’t spell their name right you’ll get nothing.
Is T.J. Day here? T.J. Day had a visit two years ago and he had a girl that was a 1:06 backstroker and she went 1:01.8 in Japan. That’s two years of work and the recommendation to T.J. was to get some of these kids out of this pool, it’s too crowded. They had like 40 kids in a 6 lane, 25 yard pool. Spend time with the really good kids and take care of these other kids, but don’t have it be so crowded. Do more anaerobic training and do monitoring. I’m not saying those things made the difference because Jennifer Connolly did it herself, but T. J. really had great swims after that, after the visit.
Sometimes we’ve gone to meets with teams. Visit the team, and then they’re going to a meet, and so you go to the meet with them. Or, you meet them at the meet on Saturday or Sunday and then go home with them and start on Monday. So there are options there too.
I don’t even think I said that, but, if I was a coach I’d try to get my parents to understand – and my recruiting process to understand – is that we are a team – a team made up of boys and girls. We need boys in all the age groups to win meets, just like we need girls. I’d cap the girls, because right now we’ve got 73% girls and whatever, 20-something men. A lot of the teams are like that too. I have seen two teams that are overloaded with boys, but the rest are overloaded with girls. I just limit and make sure there were spots for boys and I would recruit boys. I would make sure that they knew they wore jammers because Speedo briefs are the mentality, the vision they have of swimmers. They can wear jammers and the boys should train together separately, a couple of days a week at least. The boys train from one end and the girls train from the other end and I don’t mean older boys/older girls, I mean every age group. That’s just the way I feel.
You score dry-land with a number of reps, amount of weight. You can create reps and give points to a number of reps or if you only do 5 you get one point, but if you do 50 you get 10 points and they score. You can do boys against girls on reps and if you can have the girls lift separately from the boys you will have more performance from both groups. I went into St. Louis – Mary Liston’s team – and she had just started her dry-land program and it was just based on counting reps in one minute bouts, with a minute in between and alternating partners at each station and just went through a circuit, but there was no scoring to it. All of a sudden, she decided that scoring would help. You can do freshmen against sophomores, against juniors, against seniors. You can set it up any way you want and on Saturday morning have a reps contest. To me, the weight that the kids use doesn’t have to be heavy weight. It should be resistance greater than water. That’s what I try to do. Now with sprinters in college it is a little different.
I went into Center Grove and they had a girl, Michelle McKeehan, who went 1:07 or 1:08. She won the 100 breast at Pan-American Games and he said, come to the morning weight lifting session. Again, I thought I would see kids just doing grab-ass at 5:30 in the morning and I was anticipating a waste of time. I walked in – they got 40 high school aged kids pounding heavy weights, recording how much they’re lifting and how many reps they do. They’re using the football team’s weight room – just really, really neat.
I only made about 13 or 14 home visits before I got kind of pulled away from the Master coaching job to help Schubert out a little bit. I think Ed mentioned that some coaches sometimes respond like – why do you come to watch me? Why do you want to come to our club? Am I not doing a good job? That brings me back to a great memory. Three years ago when I first saw Kate Ziegler swim at Santa Clara and she swam a pretty aggressive 1500 the first day, going out very fast – about as fast as her 400 was later on in the meet. I walked over to Ray Benecki. I introduced myself. I told him I was very impressed with Kate Ziegler’s swim and etc. He wasn’t warm, but it’s okay. I called him later. We would like to come over and visit your club. He said am I doing something wrong? I said no! I would just like to come share some ideas with you. I would like to see what you are doing and so he agreed. I came in and we became the best of friends. I’ve been back on deck quite a few times as a revisit and enjoyed it very much and I’m still enjoying our friendship.
Some other clubs I was very lucky and fortunate to go to. USA Swimming would not pay for my expensed to go to North Baltimore, but Paul Yetter said he would like me to come over. North Baltimore paid for my first visit there and we had a great time with North Baltimore.
The way I picked the athletes I wanted to visit three years ago is I looked at some of the talent. I thought I had a pretty good eye for talent. Most of the time, I did pretty good at Michigan. I tried to find the right people to come to our program. So I went to North Baltimore and obviously Kate Ziegler already was a pretty good swimmer. Dan Madwed is over there. Then I went down to Chip Peterson, another distance rated top swimmer. I was a regular at Fullerton Area Swim Team up here in Fullerton, California because I still have a residence here. I often come to Southern California. Those were the programs I had renewed visits on a regular basis.
I would like to share with you what I do when I appear on deck. I’m what Bob would call…I’m on the wet side of the master coaching. I have a program I like to sit down with the coaches – the entire coaching staff – and we go through some ideas which I think might be beneficial. I usually will tell them, either take it or leave it. All you have to do is push the delete button and go on, so if you don’t like it that’s fine. Everybody has been very helpful in cooperating with me.
Ed was talking about leadership and what happened. I can relate an example. This summer we did a set – I think it was twenty 100’s at 1:30, long course meters – that was kind of designed for distance-oriented people. Erik Vendt had to hold 58’s or we don’t count it okay? Well, we’re going until you go 20 at 58’s okay? I think this had to be with a flip, maybe. I forgot now. Some of the other boys were going in and Michael had to this set too, like it or not. So he was kind of cruising along about 1:03’s, 1:02’s, 1:-01’s and he said it hardly felt like it. But, the point I was going to make is that pretty much at the end – after about 12 or 13 and Erik was struggling – Michael would keep yelling over to Erik, encouraging him to keep going. Even though Michael couldn’t do it, he kept other people going so I think leadership is extremely important, especially if it is coming from your peers. I can be up there yelling or Bob could be up there yelling or Peter could be up there yelling “Keep going,” but when they hear it from another teammate… When the set was over I overheard Erik thank Michael for helping him to get through this so I think it is very important.
These are some of the people from the last Olympic Games that were part of Club Wolverine. As you know, Club Wolverine and the new management is a lot better than it used to be. I must agree. I think Bob Bowman has done an unbelievable job coming into the program and taking over some of these characters up here and continue helping them to grow. I’m still helping with the program, but Bob is the boss. I’ve never been the assistant coach, but you know one thing about being the assistant coach: If the team does well, you get some of the credit. If a team doesn’t do well, you know who to blame. So, it’s fun to be an assistant coach.
What I do, once I appear on deck. What I did here is I have three programs. I have middle distance training which could take hours to talk about, which I did a couple of years or three or four years ago here. I have a distance training program. I have an individual medley training program. What’s missing here? Sprint. Well, I never paid attention to the sprint program, but what I am most satisfied in my 40-some years of a career, is that the University of Michigan is still #2 on the all-time NCAA Championships list for 50 and 100 yard freestyle. Did I make that clear? I’ve never paid attention to the 50 and 100. We basically train for the 200 and we ended up having some darned good 50 and 100 people. We had a discussion earlier today about how we improved the 200 freestyle in America today. I’m not talking against the 50 and the 100 freestyle. 50 years from now there won’t be anything over probably 100. It’s going to be 50 and 100 and everything is going to be open water.
Let’s move on. All this is going to be on ASCA website, right? Am I correct? So I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this. I’m going to run through this. This is kind of a fun group. The majority coming to this category – middle distance –they are pretty good. Not very good in the sprints because God did not give them the fast twitch fibers. The other end of the continuum, as Dave Salo calls it, the 1500. Dave calls a 1500 – 50 is a short sprint and the 1500 is the long sprint. So this is kind of a fun group to work with. Obviously, Thorpe is no longer around. You know the way you attack this middle distance basically, either the 100, 200, 400 angle, or you’re coming in from the other end of the continuum, with Hackett and so many others and people like Klete Keller. He absolutely can do a 50 and doesn’t want to do a 1500 so he ended up being a 2 and a 4.
These are characteristics I enjoy seeing. People who obviously like to train, nice stroke rate – kind of like to see nice long stroke – I don’t really like the high turnover type of people in this department. Definitely like to have a 6 beat kick. These are a few people we had in our program – you can pick this up later.
I kind of design my workouts through a threshold, which I’m going to come back to in a minute.
You guys might enjoy seeing this easy way to design a workout for that. Within that, we have all these categories. Based upon what the threshold is, we can assign pretty good training paces. This is probably the most ideal area to work if you want to have any kind of endurance improvement, especially this area and this area. Anything below that is probably not optimal for improvement. Kids might like it, but I don’t think you’re going to get the total benefit. If you make it a long set, it better be economical. Based upon that threshold, we can also come up with some pretty good race paces okay?
VO2 Max is basically a race pace. Now, as you can see, it’s pretty high intensity. It usually doesn’t go anything more than a 200. You can go anywhere from a 75 yards or 150’s – also about 200 meters – that is a pretty good training tool. You get a pretty good heart rate on this scale. Pretty close to, maybe, 10 under for most college age.
Some of the things I’ll talk to you about today are related to college-aged, or maybe Junior National level, male swimmers. It suits a lot of the females extremely well, but as you know, females can often swim faster than boys, based on what their threshold is. They’re able to hold faster paces in workout so we can make some adjustment for females. This would be just a pretty good example for just a typical workout for somebody who’s training for a 400 meters.
You dive in and try to see if you can (this would be probably closer to the taper time – probably the last four or five weeks before you start the descending for your taper) try to go out in a 1:52, with not a very hard kick. Remember, it has got to be a controlled kick. Anybody can go at a 1:52, probably, if they really try hard. Remember, you’ve got to continue on. When the 3 minutes is up, this guy’s going to have a one minute and 8 second rest. He’s got to kind of mimic the middle hundred, right there, between a 2 and a 3 and then he’s got to come back and go as hard as he can coming home. If you add this up, you end up around 3:40 or under. We expect about 4 or 5 seconds under your goal time. This is a pretty good training set. It’s only about 1600, but I think that it’s pretty demanding.
This is another one of these – we are talking about VO2 MAX. We like to train at race pace. Our workouts are not that long, but we expect them to swim fast. Very seldom do we go two easy practices, but if you’re training someone for the 200 freestyle, this is a great set. You can incorporate this into yards or meters. I think this is designed for yards. You have a dive on a 1:30, going out at 200 pace. Again, it’s controlled – not over-kicking and not sprinting. You’re keeping a long stroke rate – you have a 1.5 – 1.6, or if you are using per minute you can figure out what that takes. Then, you come back and you do the mid-hundred over 200 – let’s say a 48 flat – using a little bit more legs in there. Then, coming home, those two – you can do a goal from a push or from a dive and coming home as fast as you can. Most of our kids, they probably go 22 from a push easy and you add this up and this would be a 1:32. This kid could probably go a 1:36 shaved and tapered.
Bob talked about SP2 okay? I don’t use any of this terminology. I make my own terminology for a lot of this. We’ll call it green and the reason we call this green color code’s because that’s pretty often that you can actually after #3 or 4 or 5, if you try real hard, you can get up and start puking. Make sure you just put it into the gutter, that’s all we ask. That’s okay to puke, but we just don’t want anybody to swim through it. This is really good. I think I find this for middle distance training is so very accurate – like the correlation here – if you hit the times we expect you to hit, it has like .94 – .95 correlation.
If you look at 53, this was designed for Tom Malchow when we wanted him to go under 1:55 for the 200 fly. You go maybe six 200’s and give him at least 5 or 6 minute rest, enough rest for the pulse to come back down to close to 80 or 90 or below. We assumed he – he never did a dive, taper and shaved 100 meter butterfly – but he has done a couple of 54’s so I figured lowest that he could go was maybe 53 flat. From that we expected him to go 92% of this time so he had to hold 57.6 and often Tom will give it to me. Let’s say go six 100’s with 8 minutes or 10 minutes, depending on how many heats we had to have, so it really doesn’t matter. What matters is I want to hold that time. This is the time and I don’t know how many times Tom hit that right on the button. It is not a descending set. You don’t start out going a 1:01 and end up 55 or 59. We’ve got to be within a half a second of the target time and if you double that time right there, that comes out to 1:55.6 or 1:55.22 in my math. His best time was 1:55.01 and he did that at least twenty times in his lifetime, poor guy. Never went under. Perhaps if he would have gone in training 56.5’s, I would have guaranteed you he would have gone a 1:54, but we never saw that.
A similar philosophy applies for the 200 freestyle. Let’s take a look at Thorpe in his golden days. About 1:44.1 I guess was the world record and that person should be able to go about 1:49.7 in practice. Give him plenty of rest so that he can go that fast so maybe all you’re going to do that day is to warm-up and go six 200’s. That’s fine, but if you can give me all those 200’s right there, I go to Vegas and I’ll put money on it that you are going to go about a 3:40 flat. I’ll put money on it. So if a kid wants to go that fast, well, I believe it. If the kid’s only going to go a 1:55 or 1:56 right there – that’s pretty good you know – you can go probably a 1:50 or 1:51, that’s about it. You can’t dream of going this – its not going to happen. You demand it.
If you can, use a 200 also, training for the 1500. If you use a 200 for a 1500, that’s about 92% right there so someone who is a 1:50 200 freestyler should be able to go just a little bit under 15 minutes if he trains. Let’s say go 10 or 12 200’s or 8 200’s, something like this, and can hold that, well he should be able to go. So, that gives them something to shoot for in practice.
We don’t do a whole lot of this, but it did quite well in a program in the sprint events. Sometimes we do it just for fun at the end of practice. Quickly I will run through this. You’re going to pick this up eventually from this website. Our program is under new management – Bob Bowman – but it’s not a whole significant change from Bob and Jon. I did pretty much the same. Right now we’re about the third week, the second week back off a lot of training is done – just skill development – there’s no heart rate over 150 – at least not in the pool. So that’s pretty good.
Once we got through that and then we start introducing some anaerobic training, aerobic training paces all the way into anaerobic stuff. That would take you right on until the end of November and we are usually going to a major competition like a US Open around December or a collegiate meet at about that time. It’s a good preparation. Then the next cycle we start again with about three weeks of aerobic training. This is about Christmas time. We also have a training camp during that time – either two or three weeks of a period and then we come back and the next ten weeks is just hard-nose. You hit everything. Once you get to this level you don’t have to do a whole lot of aerobic work any more. All you have to do is about twice a week and I’ll show you how.
This is a typical taper in the collegiate season. I’m going to show you roughly how the summer starts. In the summertime, we jump right into everything because we don’t give our kids any break. You know, once we’re finished with NCAA’s and right back into the program. It’s pretty much all long course work. Maybe spend about three weeks just to get back into the long course training – under a 150 heart rate –and then here we start getting right into it. We will not permit our athletes to get out of shape or they will not be our athletes. This is what we’re doing. This is basically the cycle. The taper, typical middle distance taper, I’ve used in my program. Bob is in charge now, but I don’t think it’s any different now than it was before.
We have morning and afternoon workout right there. We start 21 days out from a major competition, so you are talking about two 6000 workouts and then just a little bit less. To keep coming down until two 4000 workouts and then a 3000 workout and the last couple of days just do two workouts – about 2000 – just warm-up and maybe a little bit more for some people if they swim longer races. That would be the daily cycle for these people.
We do a pretty good amount of threshold work right in mid-season. About 3000 meters and then I’ll show you roughly how we do that.
These are some of the things that we do for power work. Using quite a bit of parachutes, stretch cords – we do a lot of negative work and positive work and that means you swim against the cord and then if it is meters, you go 25. If you’re really tough, you can stretch it to 35 – especially with the black cord – the kind we use. Then, somebody will haul you back in as fast as they can. This is a real good way to train for speed work. You have working some power development and you also get a feel immediately. Turn around and come back and feel the speed, what it feels like going that fast through the water.
The afternoon workout we will have on Tuesday – general work – the warm-up. The first hour we usually have some general work and then we jump into the main set and that would be a good example of typical active rest type of work. We go three times 300 in the freestyle, plus 100 free, so basically you go 3 X 400 – you go a 300 free, and once you come in (short course yards) you go the first one just cruising – 3 minutes. It’s a good idea to give them a ceiling, even in college. Doggone it. These guys might come in at 3:12 if you don’t tell them I want it to start under 3 minutes. So, give them a ceiling. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter what level they are. They kind of loaf so always give them a ceiling. As soon as you come in – you come in at three minutes – we will go 100 easy at 1:30. When 1:30 is up – the next one – the 300 is going to be a little bit faster and the third one will be that much faster.
We can do the same philosophy right here for the 200s. You start at 1:55 and get down to 1:40 or 1:38 with the better college-age swimmers. Then do the same thing with the hundred. Start out at 55 and then we would like you to end up at 47 or 48 on the last one and then you come back doing another round of faster 50s. You go 50 easy on a 50 second sendoff. Then, you go a 50 at the race pace. The way it’s going to be, the first four in this round, you add one second to your race pace 50. If this is long course meters, this would be someone who would like to go around 1:44 (between 1:44 or 1:45). The first four you go 27’s, the next four are going to be right on his pace and the last four are going to have to be one second under race pace. So it’s going to have to be in the 25s. Anywhere in the 25s is good – 25.1 to 25.9. That’s a damn good workout. You can adjust it. You do not have to do A, B, C, and D. I mean, you can just do B, C, and D and sometimes you work it around, but this would be a good way to work on race pace for the 200.
This would a Wednesday and I think I showed you an example already for a VO2 MAX type of workout. This is how the weekly cycle – kind of how we go: Monday and Thursday usually kind of distance free. We usually have the middle distance people train with the distance people, except maybe they go a little bit less on Tuesday and Friday. We’ll do some kind of an active rest type of stuff. You can alter it, you can change it. Then on Saturday – Wednesday p.m. and Saturday – we do some kind of V02 stuff.
We’re done with the middle distance. Let’s go into distance. These are some of the people that we had in the program. This has not been updated – probably we have some faster swimmers. This is how the distance cycle would look Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, right there. That would have a pretty long threshold set with these guys. Obviously, because they’re distance swimmers, you can create a workout – a good 3-5,000 or so and then Tuesday that would be active rest type of stuff. That means they can go the set I just showed you – go 300’s or 400’s, but always follow it with something easy so you go hard and then easy. This way you can get some of the lactic acid converted back into the Krebs when you go some easy swimming.
I’m going to run through this real fast. Again, you guys are going to get this eventually. This will be a good example for a threshold workout for someone whose threshold, long course meters, is 1:06. Threshold means…well that’s what that means, threshold – the dividing line between aerobic and anaerobic work. If you can pinpoint that area where the blood lactate levels off (respirations are the same, heart beat remains the same) so that is 1:06. That would, could be, Tom Malchow in meters. This was a set we would expect him to do on a Monday afternoon workout so it works for aerobic endurance.
I think Bob was talking about somebody doing the 30 X 100 in freestyle – this was 1:30. This was yards and just before Chris Thompson set the American record which is still standing. Larsen almost got it. According to Dave Salo, Larsen had one too many nights in a bar. If he spent one less day in the bars, he would have gone that 8/100’s faster, but unfortunately you can’t take it back. This is Chris’ average. He averaged 51.5 and he only has two fast twitch fibers in his entire body and both of them are in his eyelids. That kid has got one pace – one speed – that’s about it. It doesn’t matter if you give him 10 seconds rest or 40 seconds rest, he pretty much goes the same. We figure that he should be able to hold about a second over this time for a 1650 and this is what my prediction was. That son-of-a-gun didn’t quite make it, but he came pretty close. That record still stands. You just have to do it. If your kid is only going to go 53 flat and if he’s dreaming of going 14:30 – keep on dreaming and wake up with a dream.
For Chris, this was the 2000 Games, actually. The last 21 days he was still going 8,000. 12 days out we’re still going 7-7. Eight or nine days out we’re still going about 5 ½ – 5 ½ and then 4 and 4 and 3 and 3 and for whatever reason, it worked for him. It worked for him every time and this is the body type he has. When you have athletes at different levels, well perhaps you have to adjust the taper.
Now I would not recommend that for a female. I do have some female swimmers, like Hayley. I would keep her up here and about 7 days start coming down real fast. Females kind of lose that real fast – their aerobic endurance – it goes fast.
I showed you this already. This is kind of a training tool for distance, but what I really did, I just looked at all the people who have a pretty much 24 in the fifty and hundred type of swimmers in the world and look at what percentage – what is it they can hold for a 1500. That’s where I came up with the idea. 91% or round it off to 90% or close to that’s what they should be able to hold at a 200 time. That means if you’re a 1:50 freestyler, you can only go so far. If you’re 1:46 you can go a faster 1500. We’re looking at about 15 or 20 swimmers. This is the mean, this is the average. That means some people go 90, others can go 93. This is ballpark so your dreamer, if he thinks he is going to go 14:34 and his best time is 1:50 for the 200 meter freestyle, you keep on dreaming and you go fishing. You ain’t going to go to Beijing, and I won’t be going either.
So, if you’re training for a 400 freestyle then you’ve got to be able to go about 95% of the 200 time, like it or not. This is physiology. This doesn’t change. This is the same ever since we came out of the ocean, you know, pretty much the same. Actually, we’re getting worse.
I think I showed you this picture before. We don’t have to do this again. These are just how we attack breaststroke. You can’t fake it. There is no way you can fake it in long course. Short course you can get away with that. You know, with the three dolphin kicks and the pull-downs and all that crap. In long course, you can’t do this. Both Dolan and Namesnik – and Marcel Wouda, too – all three of these guys were probably from the old school of Jon Urbanchek. These two are now more with Bob since Bob came on board. Even Michael – Michael only improved 3 seconds from a 4:09 to a 4:06 and all three seconds was where? 1:13.8 to 1:10.7 – that is breaststroke – so it is something that usually is their weakness. If you want to be a good breaststroker you have to eliminate that and obviously some of these traits they have to have. If they don’t have any of these traits they’re going to be mediocre and so-so, but both Dolan and Namesnik – and Marcel. Marcel Wouda eventually ended up to be a 1:01 breaststroker at long course and Namesnik and Dolan both went from 2:24 to 2:14 or 2:13 for that and how they did that is interesting.
All 400 I.M.’ers in our program train – Erik Vendt is basically a distance freestyler and what we did, every Tuesday, was a sprint breaststroke special. So Erik and Marcel and all these guys I used to have, every Tuesday is going to be breaststroke. You go over there to lane 7. You be a breaststroker. You do whatever the breaststrokers do that day and it helped them. It really improved their breaststroke. Then on a Friday, you’re going to be a backstroker because in my mind the two most important phases of I.M. are the middle 200 – the back and breast. Anybody can swim fly, no big deal. Anybody can get home freestyle, but you’ve got to do it in the middle. You can do this in the program. You can pick these things up. These are actually training sets we often did.
Bob does a lot better job with weights than I ever did in Michigan. I mean, Bob’s weight workouts are strenuous and demanding and it’s a must. You can’t miss – that’s another workout. Well, not for the NCAA kids. They are highly recommended, or your name is going to be wiped off in the media guide. It took you guys a while. Skip is a great guy. I like to tease him with that and these are things we do.
I think medicine ball is probably the best way to keep the upper. If you want to hold water – nothing better than a medicine ball. You can do just about everything with medicine balls. Holding water is important. It is all from here to here. If you are Michael Phelps, it goes from here to here to here to here. He has got extremely long torso and goes all the way down here and that is God-given.
Okay, I’m shutting up. Alright – my last one Bob – thank you. One book I would recommend – it’s my two good friends, Nort Thornton and Dick Hannula. They talked me into writing one chapter in their book so I highly recommend it. I think chapter 30 or 31 – read that. That’s about breaststroke training and it’s the best chapter in the book. The reason this is good is because it’s 29 or 30 coaches’ ideas. It’s not Maglischo or Counsilman or whoever writes a book. Urbanchek – I never wrote the book. I wrote one chapter and I said “Never, ever again am I going to write another chapter for anything!” I’m not interested in writing chapters. Plus, I never had the time because I didn’t want to leave the deck that long.
If you’re waiting for the DVD…it’s coming – probably next century. You can get all this information – a little bit more about how to design threshold workout once you dig into that you can open it up. It has macros in it so you have to reduce the level of your computer otherwise it will not open up. If you have any questions you can always go to that email address. I am more than glad to help you with that free of charge. I am not in the money-making business. Thank you very much.
I would like to mention that Jon is a threshold guru and he’s got great software that he gives away free. I visited about 15 or 20 teams where we’ve actually taught the swimmers how to run the threshold software and if anybody does threshold test sets and wants an easy way to design training paces and use it for workouts, Jon has got it and it’s free. I have given it to so many coaches that I visited. They were sorting through handbooks to figure out threshold paces when all you have to do is put in the kid’s name, what they did on the threshold test, and hit the computer key and boom – it all pops up. That’s available to you if anybody does thresholds. Jon has it set up so you can use swims from a straight 200, 300, 400, 500, 2000, or 3000 or sets of 400’s or sets of 300’s. All you do is put in the kid’s name and what they swam on it and hit the…once you establish a threshold pace then you just…this will save you a lot of time sitting on the toilet so you can figure out what that set is going to be.
This is a set we have up there right now. You go 400’s, 300’s, 200’s, or 100’s – purple pace on it like that. That was designed for some of the kids in our program. We figured out what the threshold was and then I decided – well okay, we’re going to do this workout today and obviously then you tell them. Well, you give me three 200’s, three 400’s, four 300’s, five red pace, 8 blue paces, and 12 50’s, whatever. They know how fast they have to go. They don’t have to ask you “How fast do you want me to go coach?” Well I’ll tell you. Right there – it is right in front of you. Just do it. It’s very simple.
Now that’s one workout and you’re tired of it. We’ll erase that and we’ll work on it, okay? Let’s see, on next Thursday we’ll do something different. Let’s skip the white and pink, that’s worthless, like I told you. The only thing that’s really worthwhile is the red, blue and the purple. On that particular day you go 300 reds – the pace is a little bit faster now – that’s pretty damn fast. They’re going to get a pulse – 180, or so, on that one, and 170/180 on that one. Now, let’s do some 150’s and let’s do some 100’s, and that’s the workout. It would take you that much time to sit on the toilet seat and strain. Just don’t write it on the toilet paper okay?
So it’s very simple and now you get it. Now, if you have a really highly dedicated group and they want to swim a 3000 straight which is tougher and tougher nowadays to get anybody to swim, but we were able to this last summer. Peter, were you there? Is Peter Lynn still here? At the middle of the summer last summer we put in a pretty good – I want to shut it off there – but this is what Peter did for a 3000 straight, okay? That’s what we got – that’s basically the threshold pace average for a 3000. You take a 3000 – 3125 divided by 30 bam – that is your pace and from that pace then we can determine what kind of training you want to do. If you want white, red, or blue – whatever you want – this is what you need to do. Based upon that, it would tell me that Peter should be able to hold – if you look at his purple pace for a hundred (there is 56.4) – he should be able to go four times that time which would give him 3:43 something. 3:44 flat and I get 45, okay? He is a little bit off. The same thing goes with Erik Vendt. This is a good way to determine if Peter ever wanted to swim a real good 1500, but he is no longer a 1500 man – he should be able to go under 15 minutes. Erik Vendt was pretty good on that. Erik was right on. He was able to hold 56.6 for 400 meters which he ended up going 3:47 and he was able to hold just under 5 minutes for the 500 which is 4:59 for each 500. As a matter of fact, he swam that like that. He was 59 and 58 and I think he descended to 58, 58, for each 500 – 4:59, 4:58, 4:58. This is a good way to perhaps determine that.
Now you got someone who is lazy and is not going to give you a 3000. Well, you can do a 400 average. Give him eight 400’s and see the average they come out to. This is Erik Vendt beating everybody on that particular one – 4:10 average. I also gave him 1:03.8 for threshold, so that’s good. Let’s say some kids don’t want to go that far – they can go a 2000. I’m going to shut up in a second here.
If you’re going to do a rep pace – any kind of threshold work – you gotta give him a minimum of 10-20 seconds rest. If you’re doing a test, I usually give them more. Our object here is not to have anybody fail. We want them to do well so you give them anywhere from 20-30 seconds rest. Let’s say you’re going four 400’s sendoff on that. Better swimmers will go around 4:10 to 4:20 pace and you get the average of the four hundreds – then you put it into this column here. 4:10 – 4:12, these are actual times we did last summer. Then, to determine their threshold and then from here we can put the timing to the first workout manager we did. So you put the threshold in and you can design a workout any way you want it. It doesn’t matter where you’re going to get the results.
You have a high school swimmer. They’re swimming yards so what you’re going to do is the same thing. You got a kid that goes a 4:24 right there, that was Chris DeJong. His threshold for yards is 58.4 and if you want to design workouts for him for 58.4 this is what these workouts are going to be like, so it is very easy.
The point I was going to make is this – this is the 400 freestyle so you can use the 400 freestyle also to determine what the threshold is. You go to a meet early in the summer – let’s say you go to Santa Clara or Mission Viejo early in the summer in June. Some kid goes a 3:49. That was Andrew Hurd. That’s his threshold and then you can design workouts for the next three or four weeks. You can work off of that and then you go to the next meet and the kid is going a 3:47. Obviously his training paces will change.
Then, you’re going to have somebody – “ain’t going to give you nothing, coach” – I am not going to go hard at anything. You will probably find some. Here it is – here’s the funniest one. Harry High School Hero – some Harry High School kid is not going to give you any kind of test. Now, you can catch him in a dual meet and he goes 1:49. Now he’s a 1:49 high school swimmer and at 1:49 would give him a 1:05 threshold. Now you can design a workout for him, based upon that. So you can catch these kids. Any meet time – when you put it in – they got a whole bunch of files. The least accurate is the 200. The most accurate is a 3000, but if you can’t make him go 3 – make him go 2. If he can’t go that – then give him go ten 300’s or ten 400’s or grab a 500 time or a 400 time and it will give you the threshold and then all you have to do is just plug it in.
Chris Davis is up in 5 minutes, the 100 freestyle, I think. Amanda is not a sprinter. I have seen her do a lot of training for a 400 and a 200. She could be awesome, so that would be interesting to see what Chris has to say about how she’s going to handle this next 289 more days. That’s until the Trials, by the way. Thank you for your patience.
Last night we had a coach win the Councilman Creative Coaching Contest and she was unavailable last night so I would like for Jenni Shamburger to come up here and then I have one more thing. We had like 130 entries and – Jenni’s workout – you need to go and see before they close it at 4 o’clock. It’s called a backwards workout or as it’s been affectionately termed now, “The Bassackwards Workout”. It is quite funny.
The other thing I wanted to mention was Jon has got great software. I have emailed it to probably 40 coaches that I’ve visited and some have taught their kids how to go into the software and create their own training paces. I heard that by doing that, they buy into the 3000, the 2000, or the set of 300’s and they’re more into what you’re trying to do. One of the things that the coaches I visited really need to work on is some kind of threshold monitoring as the season goes on. Kids need to know why they’re doing the 3000 and the fact that what you’re doing is really assessing their level of fitness and then creating training paces off of it. It’s really simple off this software so what I would like to do is offer this: If you would like to see how this works, I will put my computer out there and you can play around with it. I can email it to you if you give me your email address and Jon has all this stuff. At any rate, I’ve got directions on how to use this stuff too. If you give me your email address I will send it to you and if you want to play around with it I will put the computer out there and you can use it.
Thanks a lot for being attentive