Swimming In The Smoke
The Power Of The Underwater Kick

Team Survey: Question 2 Answered

I posted earlier about our new team survey LINK and I've decided to post my answers bit by bit as I write them up in between doing other things.  I've answered Question 1 LINK and Question 3 LINK and now for Question 2:

2) How do you feel about our practices? Would you like more sprints? More distance? More core training? More drills? More starts and turns? More stroke instruction from the coaches? Stretching before and after practice? Dry land training?

I don't always agree with all of my fellow swimmers but as one swimmer once said "ab work should be left at the gym".  With that said so should dry land and stretching.  In age group workouts we did 15 minutes of dry land stretching but that was figured into our daily workouts.  With our limited pool time we don't have such a time luxury.  Sprints, distance, drills...oh my!  See my answer to the question about coaches.  This is a Masters Swim Team with responsible adults who each have a different training belief.  Each swimmer can adjust a personal workout schedule based on the various coached workouts. 

Let's talk about kicking.  Don't roll your eyes.  I'm not a big fan of kicking in workout for several reasons.  First I don't like kicking.  Second I witness too much cheating in kicking from pulling on lane lines to those who do more pulling when kicking without a Photo_swim board than actual kicking.  I'd be in favor of quality kicking instead of the mind numbing nonsense kicking we currently do.  I am a fan of Bernie's 10 minutes of kicking with bursts of fast kicking in between slower kicking.  I'm in favor of doing 4 and 6 beat kick swimming drills.  When I grow bored during warming up, kicking and drill sets I realize many swimmers on our team don't really kick when they swim.  Now all the kicking sets in the world isn't going to make me or the other swimmers to start kicking when swimming.  Hell, I never heard of a 4 or 6 beat kick in relation to swimming to about 8 months ago.  I don't kick when I swim because I was never taught how to.  Just as I couldn't swim butterfly four years ago it wasn't out of laziness it was just that I was never taught how to really swim the stroke.  So if we are going to do kick sets let's make them smart and incorporate them into the actual swimming. 

Now on the same note if I recall correctly the swim rep two years ago and the coaches agreed to a suggested minimum 500 yard kick per workout.  But on the same hand no suggested minimum pulling or drilling portion.  For a distance swimmer pulling may be even more important than kicking.  I've gone whole workouts without one single pulling set.  If the team is going to have some sort of suggested minimums shouldn't that include pulling and drilling?

As for starts and turns we do need to spend more time addressing these two important items.  Doing starts need to be more of a year around concentration.  Right now as it stands we do starts for two weeks of the year.  The first week is always right before regionals during the cold weather month of November.  Nothing is more fun then getting out on deck at 7am to do a start.  We live in Southern California with sunny warm mornings for about 9 months of the year.  Let's work on starts all year long.  Then we won't be all moaning and groaning on deck when it's 45 degree's outside.  Also relay starts.  I think the last time I did a relay start in workout was about a year ago.  It was a sprint workout on a Friday night in which a good portion of the workout was relays. 

As for turns I'm going to skip answering that and continue to do my very artistic hand stand flip turn in which I touch the bottom of the pool with my hand.  It's a very pretty turn, slow but the movement is like watching a ballet.


Oh man, that pool looks amazing, i'm try to be a pro swimmer, and your advice help me, i hope you keep doing this!!!

Use your paddles and you can turn anything you want into a pull set. Your question about the proper ratios of drill work, pulling, and kicking should see is a good one. Obviously it would depend on age, the time of season, and where in the training cycle you were but youd think there are guidelines out there. Ill have to look for them. I do know Swimming Canada advises 10U swimmers spend at least 25% up to maximum of 50%(!) of their workouts kicking. Apparently it has something to do with establishing the correct body position as well as improving overall aerobic conditioning. Thats in addition to better kicking of course. Coach Brad, who coaches the little tykes for Hyacks, says they average around 30-33% in their workouts.

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