Book Review: "Conquer the Pool: A Swimmer’s Guide to a High-Performance Mindset" by Oliver Poirier-Leroy

by Ryan Woodruff

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has put together a fantastic tool with Conquer the Pool.  I got a copy right after our team concluded a successful long course season.  One of our swimmers was having trouble re-setting her goals and finding motivation to start the new short course season — and this was a swimmer who I would previous have rated as among our most driven.  I handed her the book and asked her to read it and do the exercises.  The book is laid out in such a way that it guides the athlete through a process of self-discovery and self-examination. 

Here is what my swimmer had to say…

“I really liked how it helped me understand what kind of athlete I mentally.  There were parts where I read a description that sounded like me… I showed it to my mom and she said ‘That’s totally you!’.  I liked how once I figured out how I am thinking, and talking to myself the book showed me what to do about it.  It definitely helped!”

You might be wondering… How did this swimmer do after using this book? She had a fantastic meet in December with a bunch of big time drops and a meet where most importantly she stayed mentally strong throughout.

In short, I highly recommend that every swimmer get this book.  It is best geared toward the athlete who is at least a teenager.  Coaches — you should encourage your athletes to get a copy or even thinking about getting one for every swimmer on your team — it is that helpful!

Learn More and Order Your Copy Today

BOOK REVIEW: "Power & Towers & Swimming: The Guide" by Jake Shellenberger, Head Coach at Liberty University

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

This past summer I had the opportunity to share the pool deck with Jake Shellenberger, Head Swim Coach at Liberty University as his squad and mine both rented time at our local outdoor 50m pool.  I would occasionally pick his brain on training, and we had many interesting discussions on a variety of topics, so you can imagine my eagerness when he told me he was putting together a book.

His recently completed “Power & Towers & Swimming: The Guide” is a rich, detailed book on how to use some of what he deems the most valuable “toys” a swim coach has: Power Towers and Power Racks.  Shellenberger explains his power-based training philosophy that crystallized during his time as sprint coach at Penn State and during a particularly formative summer as an understudy at Frank Busch and Rick DeMont’s 2007 Arizona squad that would go on to win double NCAA Championships the following spring.  Shellenberger has brought that learning to bear since 2009 at Liberty with much success, and distills it very transparently and extensively in this book.

His very organized thought process is reflected in the 11-chapter construction of the book.  He leaves no stone unturned in outlining how to make make Power a part of the training for EVERY swimmer on your squad, regardless of distance or stroke orientation.  At Liberty, Shellenberger and his Assistant Coach Jessica Barnes have every swimmer train on the Towers multiple times per week, and the book provides many real-world examples of how it has helped his swimmers improve.  They don’t just do short 25 yard blasts with the Towers, but plenty of drilling, kicking, and other power-based training, each of which has its own devoted chapter.  The book doesn’t just explain what they do, it gives exact sets that you can use directly or adapt for your team.

As a club coach with a background developing swimmers with a hearty dose of training, I expected “Power & Towers & Swimming” to be in the vein of much of the recent USRPT dogma.  I was pleased to find Shellenberger’s treatise much more nuanced than I anticipated.  His examples and distilled wisdom were extremely valuable and thought provoking, and have made a significant impact on my thought processes about how I train my swimmers.

Regardless of training philosophy, this book will have coaches pondering new ways to help swimmers get better, and is a MUST for every smart swim coach’s library.

Buy “Power & Towers & Swimming: The Guide” here.

Read Coach Shellenberger’s blog here.

Follow Coach Shellenberger on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Liberty Swimming and Diving here