I hope that everybody’s holidays were excellent, fun and relaxing. And so now that we’ve had 2 weeks of Christmas shortbread, egg nog, candy canes, chocolate and general lethargy, what can we expect in the pool?
It turns out its simple – you can expect the coaches to focus this next week on the skills and / or training aspects the swimmers lost the most of during the break. And this will be different for each group.
At one end of the spectrum, we have our Entry level swimmers, where the technical aspect is always the most important. In fact, just working on technique provides an adequate and sometimes vigorous level of conditioning. And so the Entry focus for this next week will be to review the key technical aspects of each stroke. Hopefully the swimmer’s minds will be refreshed from the break, and we can dive right into improving those strokes.
At the other end of the spectrum, we have our serious Senior swimmers. Technique is always important to the more mature swimmers, but the emphasis is far more on fine tuning of strokes than stroke concept introduction. And so we’ll add a small amount of additional emphasis this week on lost technical skills. But only a small amount. A far larger amount of time will be spent on physical training.
Novice and Junior swimmers fall in between Entry and Senior, and so can expect a mixture of technique and conditioning work.
If you remember my last blog, the serious swimmers were challenged to follow through on ten home-based dryland sessions over the holidays, with the idea of increasing core strength and swim specific muscular strength through extensive cord work. For those swimmers who met this challenge, they will come back with some serious strength development, and will just require some work to regain lost conditioning. For those swimmer who skipped the dryland, they’ll regain lost conditioning, but will find themselves behind on strength. Nothing I can do about that.
One of my first coaches, Dr. Paul Hauch, of London Ontario was also one of the most influential. He had a brilliant understanding of how to train athletes without resorting to insane regimens or insufficient sleep. But he also stressed to us the importance of not missing practices. He believed in the square law rule of missed training. Miss 1 week, and you’ll regain your conditioning in 1 week (12 = 1). Miss 2 weeks and you need 4 (22 = 4). And so on. At some point the square law rule falls apart. After all, it should take far less than 52 years to regain lost conditioning from missing 52 weeks of training (522 = 2704 weeks = 52 years). But you get the idea. And this is why we added 3 workouts over the 2-week break. These workouts plus the dryland should effectively mean we can regain any lost conditioning in 1-2 weeks, while the increase in strength gained from the dryland makes us faster almost right away.
So what can swimmers expect when they come back?
Technique work for the lower levels, conditioning work for the higher levels, and a combination for those in between. Will they be tired after practice? You bet! Will they continue to have fun during all this? Yes, thats always a priority for us at the Tritons.
Welcome to 2014. Let the swimming begin!