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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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Just picking your brain. You seem to imply (well you actually are implying it) that some athletes are getting well known coaching with swim instruction yet swim with mistakes. So do you think its due to people simply not putting in the time in the specific swim workouts? I have no clue your background, just wondering are people potentially trying to get best bang for their buck in the 1 sport that for most people is the shortest event for them. Which I think as Fleck is saying, I think most people will see the greatest improvement by getting out and doing the work. Almost as if we are trying to over think things at times.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Kenney] [ In reply to ]
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Kenney wrote:
Though I disagree,,,,I am interested to hear your solution......................You say these athletes need feedback......These athletes have coaches, some top coaches, that do not give feedback...Seem to imply most coaches, (by this thread) do not give feedback.......................So, if an triathlete that is new and does not have knowledge, How does this said person find the rare coaches yoy are talking about. So for example me, (though happy with my swim). Have a guy here that has 3 golds. Another that won masters nationals in the 200 fly a couple of times. They would disagree with you. How am I, who is nothing compared to them, supposed to know to not listen to them but find a coach that believes what you do,,,and know it? What is your solutution?


You ask lots of good questions. So let's start with a few things. In my answers, I am assuming that you started swim training (swimming to prepare for triathlons) as an adult.

I am sure you have some good coaches to help you, but you should also know that everybody's got limitations. Being really great at something does not mean that you can understand, observe, dissect, and then teach that skill. Especially when you have a coach or someone who began swimming at a high level at a very young age. Sure, they are fast as hell at age 30, but they have no idea how they got there, they just got there naturally. Kids do have the ability when you start them very early to, with some help, find somewhat decent swim strokes. (Well, not exactly. It's just the ones that don't find efficient strokes on their own quit swimming and leave by attrition. The remaining swim club swimmers end up faster as a group and it gives the illusion that kids will all naturally find the most efficient stroke. In actuality, only some kids are able to do this.) So a coach that started swimming really early (and stuck with it) often ends up without the ability to take someone who just started serious swimming 1 or 2 years ago and fix their visible stroke problems.

But the cool thing about much of this, is that you don't need to believe me. You can independently verify what I am saying. For example, if you are swimming solid weekly yardage and don't seem to be getting the speed you have been promised, try this. Go to youtube and search for videos of elite men and women swimming the 800m and 1500m free (no swim races shorter than that, sprint swim technique is different). If you are very tall, you can favor the videos of men (elite male swimmers are typically quite tall). If you are a male of average height, I would look more closely at the videos of the women (they'll be closer to you in height).

Anyway, study as many as you can, especially focusing on what is happening above water. After you have spent a few hours doing this and have burned those images into your brain, next, try this. Get any decent video camera and have a friend (it doesn't have to be a coach) and have him/her film you above water while you swim freestyle. Have them film you from the side and above while you swim in a wall lane and they walk beside you on the deck so the camera moves with you.

Next, watch the videos of yourself and then directly compare them to what you've seen on youtube. Even with your high weekly yardage, if you are visibly doing things with your body position and stroke and kick that are obviously and glaringly different from the elite distance swimmers, then you will see for yourself that your weekly yardage has not really helped teach you good technique. If you think more yards will fix your problems, well, then try this same experiment again in 6-12 months of lots of weekly swim workouts. I can easily predict that, unless you get stroke feedback and corrections during this time from a good swim technique teacher, you will be making essentially the same stroke errors in 6 months or 12 months. Yes, even if you swim lots.

To summarize, the big thing for you is not to just find a super fast swimmer as a coach. Yes, you should find someone who can swim fast, but who also really knows triathlon, and (here's the kicker) can teach you how to swim faster. And, believe me, teaching this is not so easy to do. Sure, many very fast swimmers who have been training since youth swim great, but they simply do not know how to observe and troubleshoot your technique and then tell you how to correct it.

Over my years of swimming (for triathlons) and swim technique coaching, I have noticed that some fast swimmers who started out as slow swimmers (so they were not trained competitive youth swimmers), but then, learned piece-by-piece, how to swim faster end up being the best teachers. Because they know exactly what it took for them to "get" the fundamentals of better technique and better body position. And they will be the most likely to be able to truly help you in a way that you can rapidly comprehend, understand, and, most important, execute.

I am not sure how to find such a talented coach in your area, but one way to start: ask every fast triathlete you know. Ask every decent age group triathlete you know. rAsk every lifeguard you meet. Ask every swim or tri coach you meet. Rinse. Repeat.

I hope this helps.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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I just can't decide... should I follow the advice of Olympic coaches or... Mr DarkSpeedWorks, an anonymous poster on the Internet... I'm confused!!!
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [The Authority] [ In reply to ]
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The Authority wrote:
I just can't decide... should I follow the advice of Olympic coaches or... Mr DarkSpeedWorks, an anonymous poster on the Internet... I'm confused!!!


It's easy.

Don't follow advice.

Listen. Think. Use your own head.



PS. We're not so anonymous. Contact info is right on the website.
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Last edited by: DarkSpeedWorks: Jan 8, 12 11:09
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [The Authority] [ In reply to ]
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The Authority wrote:
an anonymous poster on the Internet
Look in the mirror much?


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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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Above water, is that right? I agree it has some place in it, but it shouldn't be the focus. 9 out of 10 triathletes would be better served watching Janet Evans and Brooke Bennett (spelling?) than any of the elite men regardless of how tall they are or how long their arms are. If you watch some of the swimmers that Brett talked about in his article, then above the water they are an absolute train wreck. Absolute train wreck. It's not what's above the water that matters, it's what's below the water. And, the thing that a lot of ppl on this thread have not seemed to grasp is that Joel, Brett, Darren, and Paulo are talking about getting athletes to be better triathletes or open water swimmers. Being a better or great pool swimmer does not 'always' translate to being a better open water swimmer. Sometimes yes, but not always.


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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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But there are big and important exceptions. Just riding more with a very bad bike fit won't get you as far as riding more after getting your bike fit right. And even more so, just swimming more while utilizing very inefficient movement and technique will just reinforce your inefficient motor programs. You won't get that much faster, but you will move a lot of water around. But swimming more after and while you get substantial swim technique corrections can get you big gains in speed and efficiency. I know, I've seen it many times.

And, fyi, swimming technique does not just equal doing some kind of drills. No, it is getting exact feedback from a smart coach to correct exactly what
you are doing wrong.

Much smarter people than me have said, "Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice make perfect."


Perhaps this is my mistake, but I make an assumption that people have looked into the basic fundamentals of a specific activity and developed some mastery of those basics, first, before starting to put some time into it. I know this is a utopian or perhaps elitist view of things, but it would be the correct progression I think/hope one would take. Unfortunately, more than a few folks seem to skim right over those fundamentals.

I was at an indoor bike training group session with about 70 people yesterday. It was a 3 hour bike ride geared towards those prepping for 1/2 and full IM events this year. Yet, more than a few folks seemed ill fitted to their bikes and seemed to not have any sense of the importance of developing good pedal form and RPM first, before starting to push bigger gears.





Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [BDoughtie] [ In reply to ]
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BDoughtie wrote:
Just picking your brain. You seem to imply (well you actually are implying it) that some athletes are getting well known coaching with swim instruction yet swim with mistakes. So do you think its due to people simply not putting in the time in the specific swim workouts? I have no clue your background, just wondering are people potentially trying to get best bang for their buck in the 1 sport that for most people is the shortest event for them. Which I think as Fleck is saying, I think most people will see the greatest improvement by getting out and doing the work. Almost as if we are trying to over think things at times.

Of course, you have to get out there and do the work. You can have the most aero bike and best fit in the world, but if the bike is sitting in the garage gathering dust, you're not gonna be much of a cyclist. I am never saying you don't need to do the work to get fast in the water.

What I am saying: "doing the work" if you're an adult onset swimmer will not fix a bad stroke.

Yes, many athletes with well-known tri coaching support are getting shafted. These coaches are giving them super big and super detailed swim sets (usually via online coaching) and the athlete is going out and swimming the workout with a horrendous swim stroke. With the big yards, the athlete is getting very fit and very good at moving water around, but doesn't gain nearly the speed possible if they just had some quality help fixing their stroke problems.

Why is this happening? That is a good question. I'm not absolutely sure why. For one, there are not a lot of people that understand distance swimming mechanics and can teach them to non-elites. I'm sure there are some coaches who would rather not reveal their lack of technical swimming knowledge and use the "more is more" argument to cover it up. Also, as athletes, we're used to the 'more is more' approach for running and it generally works for that sport (if you can stay injury free). But in technical sports (swimming and cycling and many others), 'more is more' by itself does not work.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Jamaican] [ In reply to ]
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Jamaican wrote:
The Authority wrote:
an anonymous poster on the Internet

Look in the mirror much?

zing!

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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Fleck wrote:
Perhaps this is my mistake, but I make an assumption that people have looked into the basic fundamentals of a specific activity and developed some mastery of those basics, first, before starting to put some time into it. I know this is a utopian or perhaps elitist view of things, but it would be the correct progression I think/hope one would take. Unfortunately, more than a few folks seem to skim right over those fundamentals.

My experience is that in triathlon this is rarely the case. It seems especially bad in the pursuit of the IM distance. But worst of all is that many tri coaches just shove workouts in the athlete's direction without working with the athlete one-on-one to fix the many fundamental problems. Often, because the coach just started the sport a few years before the athlete, and has no idea where to begin.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [snackchair] [ In reply to ]
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This reminds me a lot of some fairly recent threads on marathon training. I'm beginning to sense a pattern...

Indeed, it is a cliche, and a cliche with some assumptions, but, more is more! It will get you a long way!

Too bad selling that last 5% is such a lucrative business model...

My sense is that many AG and rec triathletes, particularly the highly motivated ones who really want to improve and are constantly looking around for ways to do that, would be surprised if they looked at the training regime of most world class endurance athletes across all the key endurance sports. If you stepped back and looked at the programs, they are all very similar at a high level. Train long and hard, rest and repeat. A key role that coaches play at this level is to act as a regulator - not telling the athlete what to do, but when to rest, and when to back off. I liked that interview with Brett Sutton a few years ago, when he was Coaching Chrissie Wellington and several other of the top LD women triathletes at that time. Sutton said to work with these women, "I need strong biceps . . . . to hold them back"!!! There is a key reverse message in there for those that want to pay attention, and in a round about way what this thread is all about!







Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
Last edited by: Fleck: Jan 8, 12 10:22
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
Fleck wrote:
My experience is that in triathlon this is rarely the case.

the fact that you keep saying "triathlon" over and over and not "swimming" totally lessens your credibility.

when you say "triathlon" you are not describing a sport or a physiological concept but a market segment and a business model.

this type of thinking is the problem with "triathletes" and ironically also the solution for them.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Jamaican] [ In reply to ]
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Jamaican wrote:
The Authority wrote:
an anonymous poster on the Internet

Look in the mirror much?

Hey dude, I am not the one taking like I am the fucking Pope of Swimming here.

The bottom line is that Mr Works is going against very good coaches when he's got ZERO CREDIBILITY. ZERO!
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [-Tex] [ In reply to ]
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-Tex wrote:
Above water, is that right? I agree it has some place in it, but it shouldn't be the focus. 9 out of 10 triathletes would be better served watching Janet Evans and Brooke Bennett (spelling?) than any of the elite men regardless of how tall they are or how long their arms are. If you watch some of the swimmers that Brett talked about in his article, then above the water they are an absolute train wreck. Absolute train wreck. It's not what's above the water that matters, it's what's below the water. And, the thing that a lot of ppl on this thread have not seemed to grasp is that Joel, Brett, Darren, and Paulo are talking about getting athletes to be better triathletes or open water swimmers. Being a better or great pool swimmer does not 'always' translate to being a better open water swimmer. Sometimes yes, but not always.

To clarify, I only suggested above the water because 99.9% of triathletes don't have access to a below-the-water camera (to film themselves). So by focusing on what is going on above the water, they can at least make a fair comparison to themselves.

Of course I agree that what is going on below the water is very important, and more important than what is visible above the water. But to say that most elite (or just damn fast) distance swimmers are a "train wreck" above the water is simply incongruent with reality. I have studied many, many videos of elites swimming distance events (800m and above) and, while there are a few rare exceptions, the vast majority of distance swimmers look great above the water and 95% are all doing very similar things to optimize efficiency and speed.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [ericM35-39] [ In reply to ]
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I'm not sure I understand your post, but I use 'triathlon swimming' to basically say 'distance swimming'. What do you suggest is better?

Maybe this is poor English usage, but many people forget that what swimmers do to go fast in the 100m free is very different from what is needed to go fast in the 1500m free.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [The Authority] [ In reply to ]
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The Authority wrote:
I just can't decide... should I follow the advice of Olympic coaches or... Mr DarkSpeedWorks, an anonymous poster on the Internet... I'm confused!!!

Well, his contact info wasn't precisely on his website, but thanks to the wondrous world of WHOIS & Google. Greg Grunner, master swim technique coach (at least according to himself...)

http://www.trifind.com/...hDetails.aspx?id=213

Though I will say these two were my favorites:

-Years of experience teaching complex motor skills (FAA-certified Flight Instructor)
- Technical understanding of aerodynamics (FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate)

Personally, I think I'll stick with what Joel, Brett and other *real* triathlon coaches have to say. And maybe he should go back to teaching people to fly planes. At least he'd have some accountability for bad advice there...


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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Rappstar] [ In reply to ]
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See? Not so anonymous.

And it is interesting, teaching folks how to fly airplanes without killing themselves has a few remarkable similarities to teaching athletes how to move fast in the water. You'd be surprised.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
See? Not so anonymous.

And it is interesting, teaching folks how to fly airplanes without killing themselves has a few remarkable similarities to teaching athletes how to move fast in the water. You'd be surprised.

Here's a newsflash for you: flying a plane is not a complex motor skill. The motor side of it is quite simple.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Rappstar] [ In reply to ]
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This is one of those instances where going from being anonimous to knowing somebody's name brings absolutely nothing to the table. Mr Works is still a no-name swim coach.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [The Authority] [ In reply to ]
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The Authority wrote:
[Here's a newsflash for you: flying a plane is not a complex motor skill. The motor side of it is quite simple.


Really?

Well, thanks for the update.

So what do you fly? Or what have you flown?

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Last edited by: DarkSpeedWorks: Jan 8, 12 11:50
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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Last year over 300 BFM engagements in the T-38 and F-15.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [The Authority] [ In reply to ]
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What's your total time?

How many IP hours?

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [The Authority] [ In reply to ]
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I'd only add that when you have someone within the industry, for me it is atleast helpful to know someone's name, simply so we are addressing each other respectfully. I spoke to him in PM, but from his contact info on both his website and FB page, there is no actual names on either site (that I could find). It's just having all contact directed to the company name. Which I'm not sure is just a privacy thing, etc. For me, I want a name behind the face, especially for someone within the coaching ranks (ETA: I did get his name in PM exchange and also with Rapp's google search info).

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Last edited by: BDoughtie: Jan 8, 12 13:02
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [The Authority] [ In reply to ]
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The Authority wrote:
Last year over 300 BFM engagements in the T-38 and F-15.
On Combat Flight Simulator in his basement. Internet tough guy shoots to kill, lol.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [MarkJB] [ In reply to ]
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MarkJB wrote:
The Authority wrote:
Last year over 300 BFM engagements in the T-38 and F-15.
On Combat Flight Simulator in his basement. Internet tough guy shoots to kill, lol.

Actually, the Air Force tends to agree that flight simulators are actually reasonably good proxies for seat time; they are (were) developing a video game to develop/recruit pilots for the predator.

Along those lines, I'd actually wager that someone with extensive simulator experience is significantly closer in capabilities to a real pilot than an under-qualified individual attempting to cash in on the triathlon boom by dubbing themselves a "coach" after a weekend USAT course is to an elite level coach who makes his/her living based on his/her track record of success at the highest levels of the sport.

Modern simulators/video games are a lot closer to the "real thing" than playing coach to a bunch of age group athletes who don't know any better. At least, generally speaking, the simulator/games operate under the real constraints of a physical world, albeit a simulated one. Somehow, triathlon continues to defy the rules of the business world, with the free market not yet serving to weed out those who shouldn't be in business. Then again, given the recent TARP bailout, I suppose the business world doesn't really operate according to its own rules either...


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