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

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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

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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
Germany

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).
 

 

Set to Perfect Your Finishes

Chris Brookover
Director – Competitive Swimming

YBCC Phoenix Swimming – Head Swim Coach

This is really short, and I am sure somebody has done it, I was just very surprised at the huge effort my kids gave yesterday at the end of practice. Best way I have found to work finishes yet.
10 x 50 @ 1:00

Broken: 37 ½ Build on :30 , 12 ½ Fastest finish possible at :30

 

Breaststroke Set #2,174

Ryan Woodruff
 
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Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

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Distance Free and Stroke HR Set with Specific Technical Focus

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

“Individual Technique” refers to specific stroke corrections that were highlighted in individual meetings with swimmers.  We were asking swimmers to have their 10-second HR at 20-24 beats after each 500.  The green portion was for the A, B, and C interval groups to ensure that all completed the set at around the same time.

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!

Working On Breaststroke Technique with the Piranhas

Ryan Woodruff
 
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Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

Our breaststrokers liked this set.  Technical focus early with some descending 200s (150s) for slower swimmers/non-breaststrokers.

Drill explanations:
R arm and L arm Br = single arm breaststroke done with the other arm straight in front of the swimmer.
3K-1P = 3 kicks-1 pull.  Swimmer does two additional kicks in every cycle, while the swimmer is in the glide position.
Fast Heels = This is just a “deep practice” focus point where we swim breaststroke emphasizing rapidly drawing the heels toward the butt.

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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Freestyle Balance and Pull Set

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

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!

This is a small technique set we did combining paddlehead drill with some one-arm pulling for balance and strength.  I liked how our strokes looked after this set.

Backstroke Mania

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

We were in need of a backstroke technique set with some moderately intense backstroke swimming on tight-ish intervals.  This set seemed to do the trick.

S-S-S means scull-scull-stroke, which is a backstroke drill that we do where the swimmer takes two backstroke sculls with a single arm (down to the armpit) and then takes a full stroke with that same arm.  Swimmer then performs the same on the opposite side.

Partner pushes: One swimmer streamlines on his back with feet on partner’s head.  2nd swimmer swims backstroke, pushing his partner down the pool.  First saw this drill here.  This serves 3 purposes:

1. Adds resistance to backstroke swimming
2. Forces swimmer to keep head still
3. Does not allow swimmers to cross their arms over their head on the entry of the hands into the water.

Today’s Breaststroke Set

Ryan Woodruff

We performed the set below with our sectional-level breaststroke group.  There are essentially two parts to the set.  The first part (above the dotted line) stresses technique with a LONG stroke and gradually builds to an up-tempo stroke at the end of the 100s.  During this first part, “TT” stands for the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro which we use on a regular basis.  Using mode 1, we have it set at 4.00, meaning the swimmer initiates a stroke once every 4 seconds.  This is usually an uncomfortably long time to glide for our swimmers (a good thing!).  We bring the TT down to 3.00 for the 2 x 150 and then to 2.00 on the 100s and have the swimmers shoot for 2 strokes during the 2.00 seconds in the last 10-15 yards of each 100.  This combination of technique and tempo sets them up well for the second part of the set.

In the second part (below the dotted line), we are essentially challenging our swimmers in two ways on two sets of 6 x 100s.  The first set challenges the efficiency of their underwater pullouts and breath-holding ability.  The second set of 6 x 100 just challenges their endurance and the integrity of their stroke.  The goal is simply to make all of the intervals and maintain stroke technique.

1 x 300 done as 75 br/25 free B5 @:20 rest  with TT set @4.00
2 x 150 done as 50 br/25 free B5 @:20 rest with TT set @3.00
3 x 100  50 br with TT@2.00/50 br build to 2 cycles per beep (1 per 1.00)
—————————–
6 x 100 @1:30
   2 with 1 pullout descend
   2 with 2 pullouts descend and not slower than first two
   2 with 3 pullouts descend and not slower than first four
200 easy backstroke @4:00
6 x 100 breaststroke swim
   2@1:25
   2@1:20
   2@1:15 Make it!

 

Breaststroke Length/Tempo Set

Ryan Woodruff
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This was a breaststroke set we did tonight that concluded with some good results.  The 400 at the beginning is done with a tempo trainer set at 4.00 seconds, and the swimmers performed one cycle breast each beep (this is long-glide breaststroke!) for a 75 and then swam a 25 easy freestyle four times through.  For the 50s, the focus shifts from stroke length to stroke tempo.  The first 25 is build, and then the second 25 is “speed drill,” essentially a head-up narrow-pull narrow-kick version of breaststroke that gets their tempo and hand speed up. The 3 x 100 s are “fastest possible average” on a big 2:00 interval.  We got excellent results with good-looking strokes.

Quality and Technique

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach, Parkland Aquatic Club

SCY
We performed this set to get in some high-quality yardage while also spending some time on specific technical elements of our freestyle

20 x 400
odd fastest possible average @ 5:00
even easy @ 6:00
Follow these specific instructions on the easy swims:
#1 and #11 – Breathe every 3 strokes
#3 and #13 – Kick at least 4+ dolphin kicks off every wall
#5 and #15- Open turns with great streamlines
#7 and #17- 25 breathing right/25 breathing left
#9 and #19- Finish every 25 with a perfect touch

For an  I.M. option: Do the fast swims IM  @ 6:00 and go a 300 (instead of 400) easy @ 5:00.

21-Cycle Swims

Dani Caldwell
SUSA Stingrays, St. George, Utah


21-Cycle Swims
SCY
Short set we do with HS kids…
8 x 21 stroke cycles — stop when you reach 21 cycles, begin from that point on the next one
Rules:  you must continue stroking or streamlining off the wall — no side-glide or other forms of “cheating”
Some of our older boys were getting to 125 yards the other morning!  It was interesting how “into it” they got — they turned it into quite a competition.

MoCo 50s

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club
coachryan@ncacswim.org
SCY

MoCo 50 = MOmentum COnservation 50

A MoCo 50 is an exercise in body position, streamlining, and efficiency. The idea is to conserve your momentum (keep it for as long as you can!) by using terrific body position. Here’s how to perform a MoCo 50:

1. Dive off the blocks with your best streamline.
2. Glide until you come to a stop (no kicking).
3. Immediately sprint into the wall and turn at full speed.
4. Streamline and glide until you come to a complete stop.
5. Immediately sprint into the wall with a perfect finish.
6. Slowest time and/or least distance swum wins!

The Perfect MoCo 50 = 1 stroke swum into the turn and 1 stroke swum into the finish).

Can you do it?

Fly On the Wall

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club
coachryan@ncacswim.org

SCY Here’s a fantastic fly set that will get the swimmers going fast while preserving technique and motivation for the end. They will spend some time on the wall, however.
Use the Goal Pace Spreadsheet to determine P100 (100 race pace)times.

100 x 25 @ :30
For the first 96, do the following 8x:
#1-5 drill (#1 – 3R-3L-3cycles, #2 – w/br kick, #3 – w/flutter kick, #4 – clap drill, #5- triple kick drill)
#6 – Swim at P100
#7-9 Swim smooth at race cycle count
#10 – Fast swim at P100
#11 – easy kick on back
#12 – Fast swim at P100

#97 – 100 are all fast swim at P100

Configuring the 25s as I have listed above will allow the coach to stay at one end of the pool and time every race-pace 25.

Twenty Ways to Do 20 x 25 – #6

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club
coachryan@ncacswim.org

#6 – Improving Breaststroke Tempo

In my opinion, kicking speed (specifically the recovery portion of the kick) is the limiting factor for most swimmers when it comes to breaststroke tempo. Speeding up breaststroke tempo thus must start from the legs. This set focuses primarily on kicking foot speed, and then works briefly on the pull, then finally on overall stroke tempo.

20 x 25 @:30
Perform the following sequence 4x:
#1-3: Br kick w/board & tempo trainer at Threshold Tempo
#4; Br pull w/ flutter kick, focusing on fast arm tempo
#5: Br Speed Drill (narrow pull, narrow kick, fast hands and heels)

Feel the Pressure

Ryan Woodruff

As depth increases, so does water pressure.  Having a feel for the subtle changes in water pressure can help a swimmer (particularly in fly and free) time the breakout stroke for maximum efficiency.  This set is designed to help a swimmer “feel the surface” from underneath for better breakouts.

6 x 50 @ 1:00 with Stretch-Cordz Long Belt Slider

Swimmers are partnered up.  One person in the water, one on deck pulling them in with the cords.
1st 25 is always steady swim against resistance
#1 and #2 – Active streamline glide (no breath) at ~ 3 feet depth
#3 and #4 – Active streamline glide (no breath) at ~2 feet depth
#5 and #6 – Active streamline glide (no breath) at ~1 foot depth
Rotate partner positions so that each performs set

Swimmers should be encouraged to feel the upward “suck” of the surface as they approach the 1-foot depth.  Noticing this feeling in a racing situation aids in breaking out at the proper depth.

3 x 50 @ 1:00 with Stretch-Cordz Long Belt Slider

Swimmers are partnered up same as before.
1st 25 is always steady swim against resistance
2nd 25 Perform 3+ one-cycle breakouts, diving back under the surface into a streamline each time.  Practice breaking out “on plane” each time.
Rotate partner positions so that each performs set

10 x 25 @ :30

Perform 4+ streamlined dolphin kicks, one breakout cycle, and then dive under the surface and repeat as many times as possible each 25.