Breaststroke Glide Set with Technique work

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

SCY. We used this breaststroke set to get some good technical work. On the 300, they held their line in the glide phase of the stroke for 3 seconds. In the 200, they held it for 2 seconds. The 100s were intended to be kept at a fixed level of effort, swimming with best technique and maximum efficiency. Got some good results!

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Always Working On The Details…

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We use “peer coaching” (get a partner, grab your phone, and film each other) frequently when we want to focus on a particular technical aspect and get a lot of quality feedback in a short time. Our kids do a pretty good job of it — they like teaching each other. Today we focused on finishes. Here are my instructions on what to look for:

Breaststroke “Feel” Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We did this set aimed at helping our breaststrokers feel propulsion from their pull and their kick separately and then combine them into full stroke swimming. We modified the three 150s so that they did a 50 of each instead of 150 of each as written. The second part of the set emphasized leg quickness and strength with the descending 100 breaststroke.

Race Pace and Technique Set with Video

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We use 5 lanes of our 6-lane pool during practice. We did the following circuit that used an underwater camera hooked up to a time-delayed DVR and TV. The camera was positioned to gets “head-on” look at the swimmer coming down the lane. We looked at the video immediately after each swimmer finished the 25 in lane 6. This allowed us to make some technical adjustments while still performing a challenging set. Swimmers left the wall :15 apart so that the camera could adequately film each one.

Early Season Set That Worked Well (Part 1 of 2)

Brad Herndon
Head Coach
Greensboro Community YMCA

SET ONE:This set followed up on drills learned early in the week, and was designed for COMPLEX DRILL combos and OVER-EXAGGERATIONS:
·        8x (56 min, padded interval on last 100 free)
o   Part One (IMO by Round)
§  1 x 50 Drill @ 1:00
§  2 x 25’s Over-exaggerations @ :40
§  1 x 50 Swim @ 1:00
o   Part Two (All free)
§  100 Freestyle ¾ Catch-Up Drill (Power strokes/Body Alignment) @1:40
§  100 Freestyle FAST with GREAT TECHNIQUE @ 2:00
·        Drills during this set were the following:
o   Fly: 4 press/Underwater Recovery Combo
o   Back: Triple-Scoop (early catch only, 3x skull style, pause opposite hand at highest point perpendicular)
o   Breast: 4 press/1 cycle of breaststroke/plus 1 dolphin kick after cycle
o   Free: Sail Drill with 2 second pause each phase
·        Over-exaggerations:
o   Fly: TOO WIDE on hand entry
o   Back: TOO HIGH on recovery arm above water (shoulder blade lifted)
o   Breast: TOO LONG on stretch phase/i.e. low cycle count
o   Free: TOO MUCH BOIL KICK – over-kick so much so that it is awkward to move arms smoothly
Check back tomorrow for Part 2

Freestyle Pre-Set with Deep Practice

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

We used this as a little pre-set before a longer freestyle set.  It really helped many of our swimmers get in a “good technique groove.”

“Deep Practice” is a concept we use to denote whole-stroke swimming while maintaining a very specific focus on an aspect of the stroke.  The list at the bottom was our brainstormed list of freestyle deep practice possibilities.

Rocket Off Your Walls!

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA


This one was interesting and went well. Plenty o’ freestyle.

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

The “rebound kicking” is kicking into the wall and then pushing off of it immediately with the hands, and repeating that process four times.

A photo posted by SwimmingWizard (@swimmingwizard) on Dec 6, 2016 at 5:30pm PST


How to swim the 200 free

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

This was an effort to help some of our swimmers “figure out” the 200 free.  We followed up with a set specifically designed to practice for this event.  That set will come in a later post.

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How to swim the 200 free

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A Recipe for Technical Change

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

I have been pondering recently how to best help my athletes make technical changes.  Below are the ingredients that I have come up with in order to make this possible.  I find it helpful to consider these when asking an athlete to change his or technique.  If it seems to be a struggle, it is likely one of these is missing.

A photo posted by SwimmingWizard (@swimmingwizard) on Nov 10, 2016 at 8:00pm PST


The 10 Sculls

Coach April Cheadle

Head Coach Bainbridge Aquatic Masters
Asst. Coach Bainbridge Island Swim Club
I’ve benefited from your Webpage, and thought my fellow coaches might enjoy an activity that I’ve used with both my Masters and Club athletes here in Washington state.
These are the 10 stationary sculls
The sculls are all done in the deep end, with the goal being to keep your head up, your feet from kicking, and your core engaged while transitioning from one position to the next without a break.
It really can be quite exhaustive, and it focuses on developing an awareness of how to move with and against the water. The club team guys found that doing the sculls in order from 1-10 and reverse back down to 1 as fast as they could produced a heart rate over 200.
There are many combinations you can do with the sculls. Some of my favorite patterns after the teaching phase of the sculls is completed, would be to go through the current date 3x as fast as possible using the corresponding sculls for the numbers, i.e. 9,2,8,1,6.  Or call out birthdates and cycle through those using the sculls.
A longer set would be to go sculls 1-10 and reverse back to 1, followed by 2×50 swim @ :45
Then 1-9-1, followed by 2×50
Then 1-8-1, followed by 2×50

Then 1-7-1, followed by 2×50
Until you’ve patterned all the way to just 1.

Just some feel-based surprising aerobic work than can be done with the entire team regardless of ability.


How to Do an Awesome Breaststroke Pullout

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

Did some drawing before teaching our youngsters the basics of breaststroke pullouts today.  The mention of food at the bottom is a timing device I learned from Martyn Wilby during my time at the University of Florida.

PUSH OFF THE WALL…”Apples, peaches, pumpkin pie”…PULL DOWN…”Strawberry Shortcake”…KICKOUT AND SWIM!

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More Fr/Bk Tech Work

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

More free and back tech work. Archer drill for free is one of my favorites: Pause with one arm extended in front, and the other hand paused with a high elbow mid-recovery. For Archer 1, pause just after the hand exits the water. For Archer 2, pause with the hand hanging loosely near the shoulder. For Archer 3, pause with the hand above the water in front of the shoulder, just above the water.

One of the best ideas I ever had (or maybe stole)…

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

I probably got this idea from somewhere, but it is pretty simple so maybe I came up with it myself…

Want to use video to help your swimmers improve their technique? Great — buy an iPad and start filming.  But there is a better way…

If you coach teenagers, they probably all have a camera phone.  Have them pair up. Give them a prompt on what to work on (i.e. examine freestyle breathing technique, looking for horizontal head position) and give them 10-15 minutes to film each other and give each other feedback.  Peer Coaching!

The benefits are many:
1. Tons of feedback for EVERY swimmer in your group, something that would take an individual coach hours to do by himself.
2. A chance to use a rapid feedback loop in a way that isn’t easy to do in a normal workout.  Do it…watch it… do it again, better… watch it… do it again better still.
3. The teaching swimmer learns as well. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn.
4. Team bonding! Swimmers enjoy working together and helping each other improve.

I promise you… give this a try and you will love it.  If not, I will give you a full refund of your purchase price for this post.

Broken Swims with Individual Technical Focus

Lukas Mundelsee
SG Schwimmen Muenster

Psychology tells us that people are more motivated if they have the chance to be involved in decision making processes. I think it is a good idea to apply this principle to a certain degree to our swim practices. In this set the swimmers could choose on which they focus in particular for a block of 3 broken 400s. They liked it and I felt they are more motivated to really concentrate on what they have chosen on their own compared to if I had chosen a focus for them. ([P400]+4” means they should swim 4 seconds slower per 100m than their 400m race pace).

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Editor’s Note: The Swimming Wizard’s goal is to publish at least one set, practice, or idea EVERY DAY for all of 2016! To keep it interesting, we need your help! Click here to help us achieve that goal by submitting one of your sets!

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