Training Myths

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    • #12977
      Colbybr
      Member

      This is breaking off from a discussion in the women’s forum. What started as a discussion of how many women can do 100×100 on 1:00 went into a conversation about yardage pounding programs. I decided to open up a discussion of training myths. I feel like through coaches and our own experience a lot of us have acquired some quirky ideas about what is right and wrong in training. Lets throw out some of these so called training myths and evaluate them for discussion. I’ll start with a few:

      Yardage is the most important measure of how hard a team is working: I hear yardage always being discussed as if it is the end all of how difficult a practice is “We swam 16,000 today!” or how hard a team is working “100,000 yards a week” but it really is pretty meaningless.

      A branch from that is the idea that you can’t replace swimming yards out of the pool with dryland etc. I’m sure I could think of more but I’d rather hear them from other people.

    • #43259
      DonCheadle
      Member

      In 1987 my US Coach sat down with the entire team and told us that the coaching staff was not going to pound meaningless yardage on us, that they were more concerned about quality than quantity. This was more than 20 years ago. Everyone preaches quality over quantity. IT has been this way for atleast 20 years. I think the biggest training myth is that there are some coaches out there who think quantity is more important. Coaches preach against this thinking, when in reality this thinking does not exist.

    • #43260
      wonderboy33
      Member

      Don, you’re flat out wrong. This discussion began on the womens forum, in which someone posted a practice that consisted of the following:

      100 x 50’s LCM (25 of each stroke)
      100 x 100’s LCM

      Now, where is the quality in that practice? What were the coaches doing, reading the paper? There are many coaches out there who subscribe to the old school yardage based philosophy. I’ve seen it over and over. No focus on technique or race strategy, just go swim. There was a team that merged with my club and the swimmers told me that their sets consisted of 4 x 1000’s backstroke or 2 x 3000 swim. I remember doing a 4000 I.M. when I was younger. There are coaches that grew up swimming under this philosophy and continue to coach in the same manner. It’s like any job, those that have been around for a long time are resistant to change.

      I’ve had this discussion on 3 different forums. Every time I suggest that there is no reason to pound swimmers to the point of breakdown and poor performances, I get flack. I’m not sure why you took the time to comment on this anyways. It’s about coaching and it’s not as important as losing 60,000 for a client. Big shot.

    • #43261

      Quantity over quality absolutely happens all the time, and in some cases it gets results. Look at Germantown. A typical day for them is a 10 minute stretch followed by a 10k IM for time. Countless great swimmers have come out of that system (the entire Crippen family for example.) Also look at University of Florida. Gregg Troy pounds out the yardage like crazy and it doesn’t seem to be hurting Lochte even a little bit. Before UF Troy was with Bolles and Anthony Nestie (the guy who beat Biondi) came from his program.
      Is quality always the best way? Of course not. Look at Cal and the Race Club under Mike Bottom, or look at Auburn’s sprint program under Marsh. Quality yards and strenght gains were emphasized and look at what happened there.
      Take home message is that different things work for different people. The training “myth” as you call it of quality over quantity is not always the best way, particularly for distance kids. Its foolish to try and lump all swimmers under one category and say, “this strategy will work for everyone and if it doesn’t then the swimmer must be doing something wrong.”

    • #43262
      wonderboy33
      Member

      Let’s get this straight. Even distance swimmers do not need to swim mindless yardage. You must have a different idea of what quality vs. quantity means. Quality does not mean strictly sprinting in practice as you point out. Quality means having a focus during practice. Every set needs to relate in some way to a racing situation. Swimming a 10k IM for time relates in no way to the racing environment. In addition, you can always point out successful clubs that are yardage based. For every superstar coming out of those programs, I’m sure there were countless others who quit swimming. Engage swimmers in stimulating practices and you can reach a wider range of kids.

    • #43263
      JHU84
      Member

      some of these mega sets are not ment to be yardage pounding but mental hurdles. Yardage pounding is day in day out heavy stuff. sometimes it is good to challange the kids mentally on something they never thought they could do. e.g. 4000 fly day – makes a 200 fly look easy. I think that is the purpose of these sets.

    • #43264
      Colbybr
      Member

      @DonCheadle wrote:

      In 1987 my US Coach sat down with the entire team and told us that the coaching staff was not going to pound meaningless yardage on us, that they were more concerned about quality than quantity. This was more than 20 years ago. Everyone preaches quality over quantity. IT has been this way for atleast 20 years. I think the biggest training myth is that there are some coaches out there who think quantity is more important. Coaches preach against this thinking, when in reality this thinking does not exist.

      I think you are more likely to find coaches who preach quality over quantity then have their kids doing 10,000 yard practices with a race pace set and then a bunch of aerobic sets tacked on so that they can get to 10,000 yards. I agree that the whole argument is nothing new, i.e. most “revolutionary” sprint programs today are following pretty closely the ideas for a sprint program that Sam Freas outlined over 20 years ago. I’m glad you didn’t have to deal with any yardage monsters in your day Don, but to say “this thinking does not exist” is just plain wrong.

    • #43265
      99 Red
      Member

      I don’t know about a 10K IM, but I do think that 10 X 400 IM and 4000 IM are very useful sets for the 400 IM. They are the best way to learn how to not be exhausted by the butterfly, and to make sure that you have no trouble holding your during your pull outs.

    • #43266
      wonderboy33
      Member

      So, a 4000 I.M. is the best way to learn how to not be exhausted after the first 100 of a 400 I.M., and a 2000 fly is used in order to make a 200 fly seem easy. Disappointing. I’m not sure exactly how to answer those responses as they are quite staggering. Needless to say, there are a myriad of ways to address those concerns without swimming a stupid set. Talk about taking the idea of over-distance to the extreme.

    • #43267
      Vic
      Member

      For most swimmers, doing a 4000 IM will lead to survival butterfly and a total breakdown of the stroke. This survival butterfly will become the swimmer’s normal stroke and end up being slower. Some swimmers can handle that much fly and maintain good technique, but most can’t.

    • #43268
      wonderboy33
      Member

      @Vic wrote:

      For most swimmers, doing a 4000 IM will lead to survival butterfly and a total breakdown of the stroke. This survival butterfly will become the swimmer’s normal stroke and end up being slower. Some swimmers can handle that much fly and maintain good technique, but most can’t.

      Great insight. That’s the way I was going with the topic. Bottom line: the 200 fly is painful, regardless of whether you swim it correctly or not. You don’t need to try and trick swimmers into thinking “Well, it’s easier than the 2000 fly, so this should be a breeze”. Any swimmer that goes for that needs to have their mental faculties checked out. Additionally, a 4000 I.M. is not the way to learn how to “not be tired” for the last 300 of a 400 I.M. Given that a swimmer is in shape, a focus on technique maintenance and race strategy is the best way to approach these races. I would only have swimmers swim fly as long as they can maintain technique. After that, bad habits are reinforced.

    • #43269
      Low Tide
      Member

      The only place I see for those sets is once or so a year for the “survival hurdle” mental bonus. Having those survival stories is good for confidence, but little else.

    • #43270
      JHU84
      Member

      @wonderboy33 wrote:

      So, a 4000 I.M. is the best way to learn how to not be exhausted after the first 100 of a 400 I.M., and a 2000 fly is used in order to make a 200 fly seem easy. Disappointing. I’m not sure exactly how to answer those responses as they are quite staggering. Needless to say, there are a myriad of ways to address those concerns without swimming a stupid set. Talk about taking the idea of over-distance to the extreme.

      if you are going to criticize get it right 4000 fly day not 2000 fly 5×200 fly descend, 10 x 100 fly 20×50 fly and 40 x 25 fly mixed with some drill, decends and speed. easy is used as a relative term and refering to the mental aspect. and while not everyone is the same this helped my 15 yr old in both the 100 and 200 fly. Used to fade in the end much of it mental. Now, in a close race he is coming out on top in the last 10 yards. They don’t train these sets every day, and I can’t agrue with the results for these HS swimmers.

    • #43271
      Low Tide
      Member

      Totally different training — and much better!
      I agree with the previous posters that swimming a broken down fly is good for nothing. These sets you describe are meant to spur the swimmer to keep it together, not guaranteed to force a breakdown somewhere.

    • #43272
      JHU84
      Member

      @Low Tide wrote:

      Totally different training — and much better!
      I agree with the previous posters that swimming a broken down fly is good for nothing. These sets you describe are meant to spur the swimmer to keep it together, not guaranteed to force a breakdown somewhere.

      very true the intervals are not tight and the work is on speed, high hips good turns….but still mentally knowing you can do this.

    • #43273
      silentp
      Member

      Saying “quality over quantity” is like saying think “out of the box”.

      Also, there is no cookie cutter method to making swimmers better. I believe certain swimmers need “junk yardage” while others could get by on 2K a day of concentrated sets. It’s all individual.

    • #43274
      DonCheadle
      Member

      The responses are exactly what I was talking about. 99Red said he thinks 10 x 400IM’s is a good set and someone replies “So a 4,000 IM is the best was to train for a 400 IM.” Uh, no, that is not what he said at all. If you are training for the 400 IM, you will need to do some pretty freaking hard sets. Really folks, we all agree here.

    • #43275
      Low Tide
      Member

      To be fair, 99red did include “4000 IM” in there with his idea of a “good set”.

      IMO, I think a 4000 IM only has a place as a once a year “survival” set. I can’t imagine a whole lot of good, training-wise, comes out of it. 10 X 400 IM is a different matter and has a place in training.

    • #43276
      wonderboy33
      Member

      Yeah, I guess I should have automatically known what “4000 fly day” meant. I guess I should have tried to read between the lines and get the fact that it wasn’t a stupid set. Though I will argue that it’s not necessarily the reason your 15 year old has seen results. It’s more likely the overall training plan and the fact that he’s a 15 year old guy and is automatically getting stronger.

      Don, read the posts before you try to prove your point. Though 10 x 400 I.M. is certainly better than a 4000 I.M., I still don’t think it’s a great set. I suppose if you had a point to the set, it would be better. Maybe 10 x 400 I.M.’s, odd = drill/swim, even = descend. Now you have something to work with.

      Garbage yardage is aptly named. Why would some swimmers “need” garbage yardage while others don’t? Why would some swimmers need a mentally challenging set as well as a physically challenging set? Garbage yardage tends to dull everything. I’d rather work on sharpening reflexes, race strategy, technique, etc.

    • #43277
      JHU84
      Member

      @wonderboy33 wrote:

      Though I will argue that it’s not necessarily the reason your 15 year old has seen results. It’s more likely the overall training plan and the fact that he’s a 15 year old guy and is automatically getting stronger.

      It is not the only reason but if you can’t get over the mental block…and the stronger part is a given especially in fly

    • #43278
      Derek
      Member

      wonderboy is so adamant that these sets being named are garbage, but I don’t believe he has stated exactly what kind of sets would be better. Yes, wonderboy has made broad statements like “sharpening reflexes, race strategy, technique, etc.”, but what does this mean?

      I agree that “garbage yardage” is garbage – you telling us that it is aptly named is bordering on stupidity. You cannot classify something as garbage without saying what it is and then try and convince us that it is garbage. Also, you admitted that 4x400IM would be good if it were “odd = drill/swim, even = descend,” which is really admitting that yardage isn’t the problem and the title “garbage yardage” should really be “garbage details,” regardless of yardage.

      As a distance swimmer and 400 IMer, there were definitely times when I found more value in doing a long set with lower intensity over a series of 100s or 200s at higher intensity. I get the sense that you would argue the 100s or 200s at race speed would have greater value, but I think that is because you are trying to extrapolate the training that works for a lot of sprinters into a training program for distance swimmers. That won’t work, just as doing the reverse won’t work either.

      silentp brought up a great point which is that the training methods also depend on the swimmer – that is why good coaches write a minimum of three workouts per practice and move swimmers around throughout practice to optimize training for each athlete.

      So, wonderboy, if a set of 4,000 IM isn’t a good use of time, what 4,000 yard set is better and why? Or, do you completely disagree that yardage is necessary? Should we all take the Gary Hall, Jr. example and take up boxing?

    • #43279
      wonderboy33
      Member

      Well, Derek, I appreciate your attempt to parse words. If you look at Colby’s first post, he questioned the idea of yardage being the sole indicator of hard work. I don’t believe a 4000 I.M is valuable. I think 10 x 400 I.M.’s is getting closer, depending on whether there is a specific focus or not. I would break the set down into more manageable pieces with a focus. Something like the following:

      6 x through:
      3 x 50 (25 drill + 25 swim, choice by round)
      1 x 400 I.M. descend 1-3, 4-6(fly = work on chest press, negative split the back, breast, and free)
      1 x 100 free distance per stroke (hold -2 stroke count per 25)

      There you have it, a 3900 yard set. Is it easier than a 4000 I.M. or 10 x 400 I.M.’s? Maybe, depending on intervals and how focused you are on the drill work and the descending and negative splitting. I think it’s harder if you do it right. It also accomplishes more than going out and swimming a 4000 I.M. for the sake of getting in yardage. It relates to racing and encourages good technique and strategy. Have I been specific enough or would you like more sets?

      To sum it up, I don’t believe that you need to do mega-amounts of yardage. I don’t care whether you are a sprinter or not. In addition, I think the yardage needs to not be “garbage” and should be focused. Interestingly enough, I have had more success with distance swimmers than with sprinters over the years. It’s not because I have had them do a lot of yardage. It’s because the yardage they do is usually on short rest, with well-defined stroke counts and pacing (i.e. 100’s, not 1000’s).

      I guess it’s more impressive to say that you do 4000 I.M.’s in practice and it definitely works better on a t-shirt than the above set. Proclaiming that I have suggested that you train sprinters and distance swimmers the same is bordering on stupidity and completely missing the argument. I have had up to 5 practices going on at the same time, and usually 3 at any given practice.

    • #43280
      Derek
      Member

      You are right, wonderboy, I was rude to suggest that your use of the phrase “garbage yardage” was stupid. I looked at my post and can see why you responded the way you did. I’m sorry.

      I am curious if you believe that the set you described would always be more valuable than a 4000 IM or if a 4000 IM ever has a place in training. I definitely would rather have my coach assign your set than a 4000 IM, but I’m not easily convinced that your set is better in every situation.

      Do you think that there are some people who would look at your training methods, including the set you described, and be reminded more of a spring workout than a typical distance workout? I think that there are strong similarities.

    • #43281
      Derek
      Member

      Oh yeah, and colbybr’s initial post was drawing distinction between different types of programs, not different types of sets.

    • #43282
      wonderboy33
      Member

      Derek, I appreciate your response. I think it’s a good question and one that I have worked through in my head a number of times. I don’t think that a set such as a 4000 I.M. is valuable in any situation. I remember swimming sets like this when I was around 12 years old and I was just trying to stay afloat. Now, I fully understand that there are successful coaches and swimmers that train like this. However, I think you can get your aerobic training and even threshold work in other ways. Even a 400 I.M. swimmer such as yourself would get bored and less race-sharp (if that makes sense) with 4000 I.M.’s instead of the set I suggested.

      I’m not familiar with the distinction between a spring workout and a regular workout but I assume you mean that this set may be perceived as an easier set that would be used during the “off-season”. Club coaches hate that distinction because calling our season the off-season lessens the importance of our jobs but that’s just a rant of mine. It’s true, you may look at the set and see it as easier on paper. Instead, given that there are technique expectations and descending and negative splitting involved, I think it gives you a tougher standard to adhere to. Adding tough intervals into the mix makes it very challenging. The 4000 I.M. has no technique expectations or splitting requirements so I see it as just open-ended swimming.

    • #43283
      Colbybr
      Member

      Yeah, the initial post was going for a pretty softball myth, as Don pointed out. I was hoping we wouldn’t get into a discussion of yardage but maybe I can steer us another way from our intense yardage battle with a new myth. So, open to discussion, how bout the classification of body types towards different strokes/events. Like, if a guy is big and bulky people tend to think sprinter, shorter guys tend to be breaststrokers. Sometimes coaches look at a guy who goes 47 in the 100 free but is 5’6 and judge him as having lower potential than a guy who is 6’10 and goes a 48. Thoughts?

    • #43284
      Derek
      Member

      @wonderboy33 wrote:

      I’m not familiar with the distinction between a spring workout and a regular workout but I assume you mean that this set may be perceived as an easier set that would be used during the “off-season”.

      Sorry wonderboy, that was a typo. I meant sprint workout:

      Do you think that there are some people who would look at your training methods, including the set you described, and be reminded more of a sprint workout than a typical distance workout? I think that there are strong similarities.

    • #43285

      @Colbybr wrote:

      Yeah, the initial post was going for a pretty softball myth, as Don pointed out. I was hoping we wouldn’t get into a discussion of yardage but maybe I can steer us another way from our intense yardage battle with a new myth. So, open to discussion, how bout the classification of body types towards different strokes/events. Like, if a guy is big and bulky people tend to think sprinter, shorter guys tend to be breaststrokers. Sometimes coaches look at a guy who goes 47 in the 100 free but is 5’6 and judge him as having lower potential than a guy who is 6’10 and goes a 48. Thoughts?

      I wouldn’t say “sometimes” I would say always. 90% of the time, they are right too. I think the biggest reason so much weight is put on height (combined with lack of muscle) as a criteria is just that it is so simple to judge… it’s a lot harder to judge someone’s feel for the water, their heart, work ethic, dedication to swimming, etc.

    • #43286
      Colbybr
      Member

      So how much is height a factor in potential. You always hear “Kid A is (certain decent time) in his 100 (something), and he’s 6’6!” How many of these kids live up to the expectation that they can drop a ton of time. How many of them end up looking really intimidating standing on deck but not as much in the water?

    • #43287
      wonderboy33
      Member

      @Derek wrote:

      @wonderboy33 wrote:

      I’m not familiar with the distinction between a spring workout and a regular workout but I assume you mean that this set may be perceived as an easier set that would be used during the “off-season”.

      Sorry wonderboy, that was a typo. I meant sprint workout:

      Do you think that there are some people who would look at your training methods, including the set you described, and be reminded more of a sprint workout than a typical distance workout? I think that there are strong similarities.

      Derek, I wouldn’t consider this a sprint set as they tend to be shorter, and have a high rest-ratio in proportion to the amount of work being completed. Most sprint sets have less than 500 yards of true sprinting in them, not including recovery swims. An example would be something like 12 x 25 on 1:30 (12.5 sprint + 12.5 distance per stroke). You can change the energy zone of the I.M. set I previously described by changing the intervals and the intensity one way or the other. Generally, this set would fall within the range of aerobic to high-endurance or threshold training, based on the fact that it is a longer set and a portion of it involves descending.

      As for the height discussion, I think it matters more at the higher levels of the sport. Because of that, I think college coaches will always take the taller sprinter over the shorter one, given that the times are similar. I was a short sprinter (5’10”) and only ran into problems when I swam against the higher levels of competition, in college and at the US Open. I would think it’s less of a concern in the distance events and some of the stroke events. I don’t think it makes sense to try to force a smaller swimmer into a short axis stroke or a taller swimmer into sprint free. They will develop into strokes naturally. Interestingly enough, nearly every asian kid I have coached or known was good at breastroke. I’m not sure the reason behind it but that’s been my experience.

    • #43288
      CaseBrst10
      Member

      @wonderboy33 wrote:

      Interestingly enough, nearly every asian kid I have coached or known was good at breastroke. I’m not sure the reason behind it but that’s been my experience.

      I’d say this is more the case with asian men than women. Kitajima is a great example of several points in this discussion, he’s short, like 5’8, and asian and a breaststroker.

    • #43289
      swim5599
      Member

      I think the point that was brought up that quality does not always mean sprinting was right on. The idea behind quality work is based on race pace for the most part, and short rest stuff as well. I agree there are a million good ways to get production out of a swimmer. Would Erik Vendt be the same today if he had not done some of those really intense long freestyle sets? I don’t know but I bet you would have a hard time convincing him of that.

    • #43290
      maverick1
      Member

      maybe we should preface our arguments with some sort of demographic for which the argument is based:

      to say that a 4000im set is completely stupid and worthless does not make sense when you consider that there’s a 10k race in the olympics these days and this could be considered a rest set with extracurricular strokes thrown in for Chip Peterson or those crazy fast open water guys from eastern europe.

      to say that a 4000im set is good for a 12 year old summer only swimmer is also crazy.

    • #43291
      Derek
      Member

      @maverick wrote:

      maybe we should preface our arguments with some sort of demographic for which the argument is based

      C’mon mav, you’re turning into a politician. You gotta say what’s in your heart – none of this wishy washy BS.

    • #43292
      wonderboy33
      Member

      @maverick wrote:

      maybe we should preface our arguments with some sort of demographic for which the argument is based:

      to say that a 4000im set is completely stupid and worthless does not make sense when you consider that there’s a 10k race in the olympics these days and this could be considered a rest set with extracurricular strokes thrown in for Chip Peterson or those crazy fast open water guys from eastern europe.

      to say that a 4000im set is good for a 12 year old summer only swimmer is also crazy.

      I neglected to acknowledge the 10k Olympic swimmer lane that must be common on all teams. My apologies. I will be sure to factor that in when I split my groups up from this day forward.

    • #43293
      maverick1
      Member

      @wonderboy33 wrote:

      I neglected to acknowledge the 10k Olympic swimmer lane that must be common on all teams. My apologies. I will be sure to factor that in when I split my groups up from this day forward.

      by your response here, the rest of the board and myself should just assume that if you ran into a swimmer with the talent to win the 10k olympic race, that you’d be the kind of coach to do one of these two things:
      -make them swim alone because you can’t fathom the other swimmers doing the kind of sets it would take to make it in the 10k, thus driving the swimmer to either quit the sport or your team
      -tell the swimmer to switch teams because you can’t wrap your head around the training plan

      i’ll digress a bit here and say this; the coaching mentality throughout the US is and will continue be the biggest factor in preventing our country from winning more medals in the 400m free, 800m free (women obviously, but i have to put it here so i don’t get called out on it), 1500m free (men, see the other side note) and the 10k.

      there was a great running coach by the name of Bill Bowerman (University of Oregon) who coached a talented kid named Kenny Moore (as well as Prefontaine and others), who came out of high school with a time about 30 seconds slower than Pre in the 2 mile. Moore and Bowerman used to butt heads quite a bit because Moore believed that every run should be done with at least 85% effort, Bowerman was a firm believer in recovery runs at 50-60% effort. Bowerman allowed Moore to train his way for a while, producing similar results to those he had in high school. Moore finally gave in and because an olympic marathoner, finishing 4th in ’72.

      Maybe it’s not that garbage yardage is the problem, it’s the way it’s being used. Anyone ever do workouts like this:

      40 min swim
      5 min rest
      40 min swim

      that’s would be simliar to a recovery run, no intervals to worry about, just timed swims plain and simple.

    • #43294
      maverick1
      Member

      @Derek wrote:

      C’mon mav, you’re turning into a politician. You gotta say what’s in your heart – none of this wishy washy BS.

      seriously, i need to get more fired up…..Call me John Edwards now, but after a few days of training i’ll be fightin’ like Hillary and Barack

      maybe my lack of anger in the forum is due to the fact that some of my hope college forum adversaries are gone, it’s on these days that i miss anchor’s crazy antics.

    • #43295
      Colbybr
      Member

      Lets take this into a new direction concerning yardage. It seems that whether its a tired cliche, as Don says, or a fact of coaching that is still prevalent, as wonderboy and I contend, big yardage is often cited as the old school boogeyman. But when did big yardage become such a big deal? Why did it become a prevalent training technique? And what exactly is the physiological argument that backs it?

    • #43296
      babwik
      Member

      Pounding the yardage began in the early 1970s. The reason that it was not done until then is because before that swimmers didn’t wear goggles. This was a huge impact for training because before that you couldn’t train in most pools for much more than an hour a day without your eyes burning out of your skull. With goggles you could theoretically go forever, and from the mid seventies through much of the 1980s this seemed to be how most big time programs did it. This info is mostly from old coaches telling me stories and some of what I remember from “gold in the water”, so if there are corrections to be made go for it!

    • #43297
      N Dynamite
      Member

      @Colbybr wrote:

      But when did big yardage become such a big deal? Why did it become a prevalent training technique? And what exactly is the physiological argument that backs it?

      Think about it – early on people rarely swam more than a couple thousand yards in a practice because the suits were made of wool and they had no goggles. It was too exhausting and hurt they eyes too badly to do anymore. When suits improved and goggles became readily available people did more yards at practice. The more yards they did the faster they got – they were simply in better shape, both aerobically and anaerobically. The thinking became “well, more must be better” so coaches just kept loading it on. Now, coaches are resistant to let it go – if everyone else is pushing their kids harder than I’m pushing mine they’ll beat me. It’s a fear thing – what if backing off doesn’t work? It’s not like you can take a mulligan if you lose.

      Here’s a thought – would you be willing to quit having morning practices (assuming you practiced every afternoon) if someone said the extra rest would be more beneficial than the yards, or would you be afraid that your team would not perform as well as the school across town because you weren’t working as hard (as much)? It’s entirely possible that two practices a day are detrimental (not enough recovery time, overtraining, burnout, etc) but you never hear anyone condemning them. Who’s brave enough to drop them from their training regemin?

      I’m not going to defend long mindless sets – I was a sprinter, those sets seemed stupid to me, I don’t know for sure what they do for a distance guy. However, I don’t think you can prove or disprove their value – would you be willing to conduct a study where one group does that type of work exclusively, another does Wonderboy’s plan, and a third does a hybrid? Would you be willing to potentially jeopardize your training by being part of a group that you don’t believe in (A, B, or C)? And I think that’s a huge part of it – do you believe in the training? If someone is convinced that 50’s or 100’s with short rest won’t help their distance events, that they need longer swims (500, 800, 1000 repeats) they’ll probably self sabotage and perform poorly under Wonderboy’s system. Based on the success that he’s claiming I’m guessing he has done an excellent job of convincing his athletes that they’re doing the right thing.

    • #43298
      wonderboy33
      Member

      @N Dynamite wrote:

      @Colbybr wrote:

      But when did big yardage become such a big deal? Why did it become a prevalent training technique? And what exactly is the physiological argument that backs it?

      Think about it – early on people rarely swam more than a couple thousand yards in a practice because the suits were made of wool and they had no goggles. It was too exhausting and hurt they eyes too badly to do anymore. When suits improved and goggles became readily available people did more yards at practice. The more yards they did the faster they got – they were simply in better shape, both aerobically and anaerobically. The thinking became “well, more must be better” so coaches just kept loading it on. Now, coaches are resistant to let it go – if everyone else is pushing their kids harder than I’m pushing mine they’ll beat me. It’s a fear thing – what if backing off doesn’t work? It’s not like you can take a mulligan if you lose.

      Here’s a thought – would you be willing to quit having morning practices (assuming you practiced every afternoon) if someone said the extra rest would be more beneficial than the yards, or would you be afraid that your team would not perform as well as the school across town because you weren’t working as hard (as much)? It’s entirely possible that two practices a day are detrimental (not enough recovery time, overtraining, burnout, etc) but you never hear anyone condemning them. Who’s brave enough to drop them from their training regemin?

      I’m not going to defend long mindless sets – I was a sprinter, those sets seemed stupid to me, I don’t know for sure what they do for a distance guy. However, I don’t think you can prove or disprove their value – would you be willing to conduct a study where one group does that type of work exclusively, another does Wonderboy’s plan, and a third does a hybrid? Would you be willing to potentially jeopardize your training by being part of a group that you don’t believe in (A, B, or C)? And I think that’s a huge part of it – do you believe in the training? If someone is convinced that 50’s or 100’s with short rest won’t help their distance events, that they need longer swims (500, 800, 1000 repeats) they’ll probably self sabotage and perform poorly under Wonderboy’s system. Based on the success that he’s claiming I’m guessing he has done an excellent job of convincing his athletes that they’re doing the right thing.

      Great insight. You said it all.

    • #43299
      Colbybr
      Member

      Yeah that was a great post. I can say that I coached high school last year as head and changed the team from doing 5 doubles a week to no doubles. I ran a 2 hour practice every night and tried to get the most out of it. And we were pretty successful in comparison to the previous year.

    • #43300
      Colbybr
      Member

      As a young coach I like hearing all the responses hear. I think as you grow in the sport you should learn to understand the unique angles come at the sport from. Some people will bring a physiological bio-science perspective with exacting training models and the studies to back them up. Some people come at the sport will focus on the psychological aspects of the sport. Some will combine all of both. I think there’s something to learn from what everyone brings to this discussion, regardless of where they went to college, whether they’ve trained olympic trials swimmers or summer swim league. So lets keep the discussion going ok?

    • #43301
      maverick1
      Member

      here’s a myth i was never very fond of: sprinters who get to, as part of their training session, stand on the deck and hold a clipboard to write down power rack results are doing hard workouts.

      and another myth i’m not a big fan of: using the same warmup everyday will get a swimmer’s body into some sort of synchronization where they’ll always be able to perform after said warmup. My biggest issue here is that your body reacts to warmup in a vastly different way during taper than during the middle of the season, therefore i think warmup should have some variety on a day to day or at least on a training phase to training phase basis.

    • #43302
      Colbybr
      Member

      Yes, why not have the coaches record power rack results? Or a team manager?

      Re Warmup: What about the case of a swimmer who believes wholeheartedly in doing the same warm up?

    • #43303
      The Treat
      Member

      @maverick wrote:

      wonderboy is mocking derek for having a degree from a small, pretty well ranked liberal arts school, when wonderboy himself attended a small, pretty well ranked liberal arts school himself before failing out and later attending a large university. This, for all you psyche majors out there is what us common folk refer to as small wang syndrome (here an example: wonderboy would be the guy who goes to the gym and checks out the other dudes in the showers, only to find that he is not, as you would say, well endowed. The next time he returns to the gym, his inferiority complex gets the best of him and he’ll try to do too much, maybe run too fast or lift too much and makes a fool of himself).

      ok, it’s time to get back on track with these training myths, although this discussion has been more about a training myth, which isn’t really a myth but more of an opinion on training philosophy.

      here’s a myth i was never very fond of: sprinters who get to, as part of their training session, stand on the deck and hold a clipboard to write down power rack results are doing hard workouts.

      and another myth i’m not a big fan of: using the same warmup everyday will get a swimmer’s body into some sort of synchronization where they’ll always be able to perform after said warmup. My biggest issue here is that your body reacts to warmup in a vastly different way during taper than during the middle of the season, therefore i think warmup should have some variety on a day to day or at least on a training phase to training phase basis.

      i dont think any swimmer should be used as a scribe. they should be lifting, working on starts/turns/tiny details for sprints, stretching, making sure they are taking care of any nagging injuries.

      i’ve never heard of the same warm up every day myth, but i agree that warm ups need to be different from beginning to middle to end of season.

    • #43304
      Derek
      Member

      @maverick wrote:

      here’s a myth i was never very fond of: sprinters who get to, as part of their training session, stand on the deck and hold a clipboard to write down power rack results are doing hard workouts.

      But you know, it can get really cold on that pool deck just standing around. (Therefore it is really hard to be a sprinter.)

      @maverick wrote:

      and another myth i’m not a big fan of: using the same warmup everyday will get a swimmer’s body into some sort of synchronization where they’ll always be able to perform after said warmup. My biggest issue here is that your body reacts to warmup in a vastly different way during taper than during the middle of the season, therefore i think warmup should have some variety on a day to day or at least on a training phase to training phase basis.

      Using the synchronization logic, I would expect to see one consistent warmup done at practice and another at meets. The theory could also be extended to have different kinds of consistent warmups done for different kinds of practices. To be simplistic, a day with a long freestyle set would require one type of warmup while a mid distance IM set would require another. Additionally, warmup at all meets would need to be customized based on events being swam at that meet. At dual meets where a 500 is going to be swam would be different than a warmup where a 50 fly is going to be swam.

    • #43305
      Monti
      Member

      @CaseBrst10 wrote:

      @wonderboy33 wrote:

      Interestingly enough, nearly every asian kid I have coached or known was good at breastroke. I’m not sure the reason behind it but that’s been my experience.

      I’d say this is more the case with asian men than women. Kitajima is a great example of several points in this discussion, he’s short, like 5’8, and asian and a breaststroker.

      another example, Colin Lee-To of the u of Minnesota. he is about 5’6″ and is the top breaststroker but also sprinter currently for Minnesota. a lot of fast twitch muscles.

    • #43306
      maverick1
      Member

      @Monti wrote:

      nor myself and therefore have 0 right to judge anyone

      i judge you on your poor grammar

      now that we can get back to swimming myths, i’ve tried to put a few out there, but it seems like nobody will respond so i’ll try again.

      Myth: During freestyle, rotation completely onto your side (perpendicular to the surface), in both directions is most efficient.

    • #43307
      silentp
      Member

      @maverick wrote:

      Myth: During freestyle, rotation completely onto your side (perpendicular to the surface), in both directions is most efficient.

      I think this is even more true on backstroke where it’s been the norm to preach swimming backstroke on your side for many years now. When you watch the top swimmers, they hips don’t rotate hardly at all, but the upper body is the part rotating. Does anyone know why? It always made so much sense to be rotating and swimming on your side… perhaps just because it’s how I was taught.

      Didn’t the Australians change the thinking for freestyle of swimming on your side?

    • #43308
      Monti
      Member

      Back to the question of swimming freestyle on your sides as being a myth? I actually do not believe this is a training myth. While it is true that the hips do not typically rotate as far as the shoulder do, without the torso rotating, I have found that a swimmer is not able to properly align their body in the water and achieve full extenion. The best swimmers I see on the club level have very good shoulder/torso rotation especially in distance events. Sprinters I have noticed rely less on shoulder rotation and more on arm speed on the pull and on their kick.

    • #43309
      Monti
      Member

      I undedrstand the high elbow position point, however, with developing swimmers I do not believe in teaching that above rotation/arm extension. I currently have a 9 year old boy on my team who has the perfect elbow/hand position example, however, because he does not have the strength and power obviously that a phelps or even high school age swimmer has, this causes him to bounce in the water rather than slice through with rotation. With full rotation often will come the elbow/hand postion.

    • #43310
      Colbybr
      Member

      Flexibility is also an issue. If you have stiff shoulders its impossible to recover your arm properly while keeping your legs parallel to the surface.

    • #43311
      silentp
      Member

      This may be a dumb question, but I don’t coach and only did for 1 summer after high school, but why would you teach 1 thing to developing swimmers, then change it when they get older? Wouldn’t these hurt their development when they are older because they learned and through repitition, grew accustomed to a certain style of swimming? If so, then perhaps we could teach the way they should be swimming when they are older. It might make them slower when they are younger, but faster when they are older, which would probably be more important. If not, then I am wrong, but at least I will know why.

    • #43312
      wonderboy33
      Member

      @silentp wrote:

      This may be a dumb question, but I don’t coach and only did for 1 summer after high school, but why would you teach 1 thing to developing swimmers, then change it when they get older? Wouldn’t these hurt their development when they are older because they learned and through repitition, grew accustomed to a certain style of swimming? If so, then perhaps we could teach the way they should be swimming when they are older. It might make them slower when they are younger, but faster when they are older, which would probably be more important. If not, then I am wrong, but at least I will know why.

      silentp (if you’re not a part of mav’s shun), that’s not a dumb question. I wouldn’t say that you should teach something different as they get older. Instead, core rotation is to be built upon. After perfecting the hip rotation, other things can be tweaked. I don’t think you should teach less hip rotation because you’ve seen a few elite swimmers do it one way. Yet, hand position is secondary to core rotation.

    • #43313
      maverick1
      Member

      @silentp wrote:

      Wouldn’t these hurt their development when they are older because they learned and through repitition, grew accustomed to a certain style of swimming?

      In terms of the stroke, we’re talking about letting them point their fingers slightly inward for maybe 2 weeks, at ages 10 and under, (i should have prefaced this before since i was talking about elite swimmers previously in the discussion) before we attack phase 1 of the stroke again.

      when it comes to freestyle stroke priorities, high elbow was higher on the list than hand position, we felt that it was ok to slightly overlook the hand position in order to give the kids a chance to learn in steps instead of blocks of technique.

    • #43314
      wonderboy33
      Member

      Monti, could you ask mav to explain exactly what he means by turning the fingertips inward for a period of 2 weeks? I should have asked you to ask mav for clarification before I said it was ridiculous.

    • #43315
      Monti
      Member

      @silentp wrote:

      This may be a dumb question, but I don’t coach and only did for 1 summer after high school, but why would you teach 1 thing to developing swimmers, then change it when they get older? Wouldn’t these hurt their development when they are older because they learned and through repitition, grew accustomed to a certain style of swimming? If so, then perhaps we could teach the way they should be swimming when they are older. It might make them slower when they are younger, but faster when they are older, which would probably be more important. If not, then I am wrong, but at least I will know why.

      At my club, we teach the same philosophy to every swimmer. Although often times we get transfers of senior age kids from other clubs so more of a tweaking is done to their stroke because they were taught a different philosophy and at the older levels it is more difficult to overhaul a complete stroke. At the end of the day, it is up to the swimmer to adapt their stroke and fix things. If a swimmer is not open to technique work, then that fall on them.

    • #43316
      Derek
      Member

      Please continue. Sorry about locking the topic, but I felt it needed to be cleaned up. The wonderboy vs. maverick (and others) posts have been moved to their own topic.

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