An alternative practice style
I have never really liked counting laps because it requires some of my focus to keep a count going, and as I have gotten faster, I can usually do 2500-3000+ yards in an hour which is 100-120 laps to keep track of.
Because I can more easily remember things like: practice for 10 minutes, I simply divide the practice into 10 minute segments and practice one thing for that. I find that this helps me in two ways: it improves my focus because I only have one thing to think about (if I go over 10 minutes, that is actually good), and it helps me keep at drills even when I would normally have been bored.
Here are two sample practices from my swim notebook (each item is meant to be swum for 10 minutes):
* Freestyle technique practice *
Dolphin (I swim these sculling facedown, and sideways)
Stroke counting at 1.1s (with tempo timer)
Balance and flipturns (zenswitch with fast flipturns)
* Butterfly technique practice *
Dolphin (mostly sculling dolphin)
Ride the wave
I love the idea of using time. I used to do that a lot when I was coaching high school athletes as well. It automatically kept everyone together. For example, if I did an aerobic set it might be:
3x200 descend (1-3) without changing stroke count at 30 seconds rest. (I can count to 3) Then I would mix it up with a variety of focal points or specific challenges. But some kids would average leaving on 2:30 and other kids would leave on the 4:00. But all of them spent 30 minutes with their heart in the same zone, working on the same things. So the workout fit everyone. I don't have to count yards or worry about kids arguing about who miss counted or cheated because they did one less.
My master's coach does the same thing. It makes practices much easier to manage.
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