Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA
We did this set as a fun twist on our tradition of doing a fly Set today. The secondary goal was to expand their knowledge of times (and encourage them to memorize theirs).
One swimmer picked a category and distance. I then asked them for the correct question (this is Jeopardy, remember) to go with my answer.
For instance, if a swimmer picked “Your best times (SCY)” for 200, I gave the answer “this is your best time in the SCY 200 IM. Swimmer would say “What is 2:01.26.” If he was within the range mentioned in the picture above, the group performed the 200 as 50 kick/100 drill/50 swim all fly. If he was incorrect, we did the 200 fly fast for time and a 100 ez free.
This picture below shows which swims we ended up doing fast (red X) and which we did as 1/4 kick, 1/2 drill, 1/4 swim. The swimmer who was the contestant selected the member of the group who went next.
There are of course tons of variations you could do on this theme. I printed up our best times, team records, and world records ahead of time, but I imagine this could also be fun to do with swimming trivia.
At the end of practice, we split our group into two squads, and faced off in a team points competition. We ended up doing eight 50s, and in the last two rounds actually doubled the point values, just to increase the incentive a bit when they were really tired.
In order to keep dryland fun, competitive, and highly interactive, one thing we have done recently is have “Pictionary Dryland.” We divide the group up into 3 teams of 6-8 people, each group with a whiteboard and dry erase marker. I used this Pictionary word generator website for the clues,and show it to one artist from each team. All 3 teams try to solve for the same word simultaneously. The winning team gets the satisfaction of watching the other two teams do a dryland exercise (30 squats, 20 push-ups, etc.) immediately after that round. Continue doing rounds of Pictionary and dryland exercises as long as you want.
An extra-awesome thing has started to happen… Sometimes, a few members of the winning team will do the dryland exercise with the losing team. Coach is mighty proud when that happens!
Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA
This is a fun idea to try at practice someday just for variety. Write a set that can be done in any quantities like the one below. Start a stopwatch and hand it to a swimmer. The swimmer stops the watch randomly and whatever digit is in the hundredths place is the quantity for the first part. Repeat for as many times as you need.
Greater Pensacola Aquatic Club
I call it Accepted or Rejected and we typically do it on a recovery day. I purchased a decision coin on a swim trip several years ago. They have all kinds but this one has “Accepted” written on one side and “Rejected” on the other. It is just as easy to do a regular coin with the words printed on a sticker or just call “heads” accepted and “tails rejected.
You need several (say 20) 3 X 5 note cards. You have 2 options either write a set on it yourself or hand it out to the swimmers and they write a set on it. Once a set is written on the cards you shuffle them like a deck of cards (review cards for knucklehead submissions).
You then turn over a card and read the set.
The coin is flipped. Again 2 options, the coach flips or the swimmers can flip.
If the coin lands as “Accepted” the group does the set as written. If the coin lands as “Rejected” the set not done and a new card is turned. Another option we have done is that and “Rejected” set leads to a 100 EZ swim.
I try to keep the sets small and no more than 10 minutes but some are very short. Here are a few…
*2 x 300 on 4:30 Every 3rd Length FAST NO Free
*8 x 50 on 1:00 – Odd 25 Underwater/25 Overwater, Even Back
*12 x 25 Nasal Set on :30 Nasal Set is one breath for each number in the set so 1st 25 is one breath etc
*500 Social Kick with Fins
*8 x 25 on the :20 Get Outs – Get Outs are Muscle up (hands to feet out of water, no knees no butts on ladders) and dive in on Interval
*Pull 300 BP 7 on 4:30, 200 BP 9 on 2:50, 100 BP 11 on 1:20 – BP = Breathing Pattern
*1 Round Sharks and Minnows
*9 x 50 Breast on 1:00 3 sets of 3 #1 BR with Free Kick work Tempo, #2 BR with Fly Kick work Undulation, #3 Normal BR
*50 Underwater Goal NO BREATH
*400 IM for time
The possibilities are endless. The kids really get into it especially when a easy one gets “Rejected”
Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club
#17 – Racing A Teammate
You’ll need a teammate who is generally about the same speed as you. Do your 20 x 25 @ :30, swimming side-by-side and racing to the finish each time. The winner of #1 receives 1 point. The winner of #2 receives 2 points, and so on, all the way up to 20 points on #20. The winner of each 25 chooses the stroke for the subsequent 25, but must choose a different stroke than the length just completed AND the one before that. In other words, if you swim free on #1, back on #2, and swimmer A wins them both, then swimmer A must choose between breast and fly for #3. Done this way, there are a total of 210 points, so the first person to 106 points is the winner. For an extra wrinkle, allow each swimmer one “steal,” i.e. one occasion during the set where he can choose the next stroke even after losing the previous 25.
Dani Caldwell, SUSA Stingrays
Another one we recently did to stir things up at High School practice (created by Coach Brandon Darrington) — “Revised Mountain Climbers” — we did serpentine 25’s (swim down in lane 3, back in lane 4, down in lane 5, back in lane 6, etc.) until lane 8. At the end of lane 7, they had to get out and do a dive-start on their 8th 25. One of the coaches timed each swimmer from the dive (we ran around a lot!), and the swimmer had to guess to the hundredth their time. If they guessed correctly to within 0.05 seconds, they got to warm down and be done with practice. If not, they had to start the serpentine all over again. The second round we let them guess to the nearest 0.10. The third round to the nearest 0.20, etc. It was surprising that even some of my best swimmers weren’t guessing as accurately as I thought they would, and that some of the less-seasoned swimmers were guessing correctly. It was fun for most of the kids — I don’t think those who had to repeat 7-8 times were having as much fun!
Hope that’s of use somehow!
Slot Water Polo came about when I wanted a fun game for my swimmers to play that was safe, was easy to set up, didn’t have too many rules, and wouldn’t be overly physical while still demanding their effort. It is similar to traditional water polo in several ways — it has a ball, two teams going in opposite directions, an out-of-bounds area, etc. Here is what makes it different:
1. Play with a physio ball (swiss ball). This makes the game slower and less dangerous (it doesn’t hurt to get hit in the face).
2. Swimmers wear fins. Makes for a great lower body workout.
3. Swimmers must stay in their lanes (slots). At the beginning of the game, swimmers must choose their slot and remain in it until a goal is scored. A swimmer may reach outside of his lane, but his waist may not cross the lane line.
4. The goal is a traffic cone placed on each side of the pool. A goal is scored when a cone is knocked over.
5. If one team is camping out defensively, the coach may move the cone to another lane at any time during the game. This also adds an extra element of strategy to the game.
6. For a more interesting game, play with two or three physio balls at a time.
Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA
The concept here is similar to yesterday’s post – The Guessing Game. For a sprint or non-freestyle version of the Guessing Game, I like to do 50s, and have the swimmers guess within a 0.2-second range. They also have to be within a certain range (like 4 seconds) from P200. I use the same points system as in the regular Guessing Game.
I actually had a swimmer recently who guessed his 50 time to the one-hundredth of a second exactly on his first one. He was thus done with practice and the rest of his teammates seethed.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA
This set is useful for helping distance freestylers refine a sense of pace.
? x 100 freestyle @ coach’s send off
Continue until you achieve 3 points.
Earn 1 point by guessing your time correctly within .5 seconds
Earn 2 points by guessing your time exactly to the tenth of a second
Earn 3 points by guessing your time exactly to the hundredth of a second
Swimmers may swim whatever speed they wish.
I like to use the Guessing Game during taper, typically at the end of practice. Once a swimmer achieves his three points, he warms down and is done with practice.
Tip: Be sure to turn off your pace clock or have the swimmers turn away from the clock when you send them off. You don’t want them looking at it – there won’t be a pace clock at the meet!