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My wife is taking on the head coaching role for the swim team at our school. She's never been much of a swimmer, never swam in HS. I coach XC and track, so understand all the training principles, but no idea where to start these kids yardage-wise.
Background information on the team ( I have been running the timing system for the last few years, so I am familiar with their abilities):
The team is composed of entirely high school age onset swimmers. No young fish.
Many of them have a competitive nature, but have lacked the fitness base to succeed on the League (much less state level)
A bunch of them decided to come out a run XC with me this year, so hoping cardio levels are higher than they've been.
I let them in the pool once a week-ish during the season to a little pool work.
The season has a two week unofficial training period before official practices start, which gives as 13 weeks of training.
Where do I start them out? One of the better swimmers gave me her winter break workouts from last year, which averaged 3000 yards.
TONS of great books out there for coaching track and xc. Any strong recommendations for swim coaches?
You are going to have to break them up into groups based on ability. The strongest maybe 3000m an hour. Weaker ones less. Some will benefit a lot from stroke correction and drills.
If human dignity depends on autonomy they who have the least autonomy have the least dignity
I used to coach a group that sounds similar - I coached the non-year around swimmers - most of them being swimmers that either stopped doing club or were XC/track kids.
What I always found to be good was USRPT style stuff. I'm not sitting here praising the merits (or lack there of) of it, but keeping stuff short and quick is a great way to keep things fun, fast, and get the most out of your time.
What I found with a lot of those types of kids is that their technique isn't the best, so there's almost no point of saying "go out and swim 5x300s" or something for the sake of "endurance" when you have technique that is terrible. Doing short distances allow you to slowly build in from technique work, add pieces and then build into fast bits of work.
Happy to talk it out more, but I found that it worked out pretty well.
Ever Grateful, Ever True.
Ahh, the h.s. only swimmers and the 2nd or 3rd sport athletes who swim to keep in shape.
Those are my people! I live and die with them for my h.s. team but I love it so its lots of fun.
Here are some suggestions. Feel free to use or ignore as you see fit!
1. Do a set of time trials (50's of each stroke or so) with the team the first day or two. You'll find out right away what ya' got.
2. Break them up into lanes/groups by ability. Some will stay in their assigned lanes all season/all 4 years. Others will make progress and move up the ladder. Watch for the kids who have a good "feel" for the water. Those will probably be your best bets for moving up the ladder so to speak. Always fun when that happens.
3. Make one workout geared towards your best swimmers and adjust down as necessary
4. Keep the drills simple. Only a couple of them and don't overdue it. They'll either get it or they won't. I would suggest early in the practice and then move onto getting yardage in after that.
5. Don't be afraid to make your times and yardage easier than you think they can handle for the first couple of weeks. Many of them are not in swimming shape and need time to adjust. They will, and then you can crank up the times and yardage as needed. All my h.s. swimmers swim embarrassingly slow repeat times the first practices. By the end of the year, they are moving pretty good, keeping up with or even occasionally surpassing the club kids who swim year round. Note that some of your slower kids may not ever get much faster than the times they do at the beginning of the year. That's ok. Different goals for them in many cases.
5. As somebody else said, shorter is better. I rarely ever go over 150 yards per repeat for this type of group.
6. My h.s. only kids run the gamut from those who quite literally don't know how to dive (or really swim for that matter) to h.s. kids who have qualified for states and are now swimming in college.
7. Make it fun! Play water polo, incorporate games, relays, stupid drylands drills, vertical kicking, anything that you can think of.
The responses are much appreciated. Sound like we need to treat these kids like new jv track runners.
The advice on the short reps is appreciated.
Hoping the new coaches can push the group to perform better than they have the last few years. Our girls programs are fairly weak at the school. Changing the losing mentality has been the biggest obstacle.