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terry 03-23-2011 05:01 PM

Tempo Trainer and Stroke Calibration Practice
Latest blog is third example of how to design practices based on Problem-Solving and Task-Mastery rather than how-far, how-hard.

terry 03-24-2011 02:02 AM

Today's Stroke Counting Practice - Free and Back
After posting the blog A Practice to Find Your Best Stroke this morning, I was inspired to do precisely that during my mid-day practice.

Here are my first two sets
Warmup/Tuneup 3 rounds of [8x50 Free]
In each round of 50s I repeated the same pattern of stroke counts
#1 12+13
#2 13+14
#3 14+15
#4 15+16
#s 5-8 were the same, but in reverse, so #8 was 12+13

My goal in the set was to descend 1-4 in each round, without increasing effort. I hoped to swim faster simply by adding a stroke to each lap.
On #5-8 I hoped to maintain the pace I'd achieved on #4, though subracting one stroke each lap.
I really tried to hold that pace more with precision and synchonicity than with effort.
I did first round on a 50-sec interval (very short rest), second round on 55-second interval, third round on 60-second interval.
I hoped to make average pace/50 a bit faster in each successive round.
I hit my projected stroke count on 22 of the 24 x 50s. I was also pretty consistent in descending when I intended and maintaining when I intended.
My times descended from 46-41 sec on 1st round, from 42-39 sec on 2nd round and from 40-38 sec on 3rd round.

Set #2 2 rounds of [5x100 Back on 2:00]
The pattern here was similar though range of stroke counts was narrower. Goal is to improve times while adding strokes. Hold times while subtracting.
Round #1
14+14+14+15 (57) Strokes - 1 min 45 sec
14+14+15+15 (58) Strokes - 1:42
14+15+15+15 (59) Strokes - 1:40
14+14+15+15 (58) Strokes - 1:40
14+14+14+15 (57) Strokes - 1:40
Round #2 I repeated the same pattern but with 15+16 strokes.
Times descended 1:38-1:35 while adding strokes then to 1:34 while subtracting strokes.

In the last two weeks I've done add/subtract sets with like these nearly every day in Back and/or Breast - more frequently than every before in non-freestyle sets. I can really feel my stroke timing and the effectiveness of my stroke improving noticeably as a result.

AWP 04-02-2011 04:41 AM

After a sporadic past few weeks of swimming (or non-swimming) I return eagerly with new Tempo Trainer in hand (no more loving whacks on the pool deck to get it started at one setting).
I chose Terry's recent practice 'suggestion' to re-acclimate and begin refining my freestyle technique and tempo/pacing mastery.
Here's my go from Terry's 'A Practice To Find Your Best Stroke'

50yds... 13 spl
6 x 25yds... 14 spl - 13 spl - 13 spl - 12 spl - 12 spl - 11 spl
(odd lengths w/index finger extended, even w/ whole hand)
50yds... 12 spl

'Discover' Personal Efficiency Range
10 x 25yds (with Tempo Trainer, begin w/1.3 >1.6 <1.3)
1.3(12spl) 1.4(11spl) 1.5(10spl) 1.6(-10spl)
1.55(10spl) 1.5(10spl) 1.45(11spl) 1.4(11spl) 1.35(12spl) 1.3(12spl)
I knew after hitting the wall on 12spl @ 1.3 that perhaps I began too low and would have to really concentrate on continuing to hold an equally efficient rhythm as the tempo slowed if I was going to subtract even more strokes. I could have stopped here and started again I guess but curiosity got the better of me.

Sustain SPL For Distance
4 x 25 + 3 x 50 + 2 x 75 + 1 x 100
Choosing 1.3 tempo from above I challenged myself to hold the 12spl I had on that repeat for this entire set. And as I suspected, on a couple lengths in each of the later set of repeats, added a 13th. It felt good to do so, so I knew holding such a low count wouldn't be something I'd intend to do for regular swimming but found the benefit of practicing such an exercise.

Faster Tempo
4 @ 2 x 25yds (two lengths @ each tempo)
1.2 (14/13spl) 1.1 (15/14spl) 1.0(16/15spl) .9 (16/16spl)

Shift Focus
4 @ 3 x 25yds Hand - Hip - Toe
One length @ each focus :hand spear, hip nudge, toe flick x 4.
I repeated the same tempos as the previous segment for the focus here (1.2, 1.1, 1.0, .9)

Swim Without Tempo Trainer
6 x 25yds stroke calibration
14spl/:20 15spl/:19 16spl/:18 17spl/:17 16spl/:17 15spl/:18
Didn't quite follow the format here as N, N+1...
I actually wanted to see if I could break out of the 15/16spl rate and subtract more time on the last two lengths down to :15. after the 17spl I came in at 16spl but with the same time. Not what I intended but a good outcome, so I continued to subtract. Only time for one round so will visit this exercise again.

Speed Variation
2@ 2 x 25yds cruise/fast
My time was limited so 2 rounds only, would like to add more on this particular segment my next go.
Chose the 14spl to hold and tried to 'easily' segue from cruise to fast. My focus on the stroke length and no times. I tried to sense how I was feeling and noticed keeping good alignment and streamlined legs made a difference. Incidentally, I breathed every third stroke throughout this practice except during the stroke calibration segment.

Next, I'd like to try something similar with the other strokes

terry 04-02-2011 12:41 PM

How to Optimize a Skill: Repeat it

Originally Posted by AWP (Post 18698)
Here's my go from Terry's 'A Practice To Find Your Best Stroke'

50yds... 13 spl
6 x 25yds... 14 spl - 13 spl - 13 spl - 12 spl - 12 spl - 11 spl
(odd lengths w/index finger extended, even w/ whole hand)
50yds... 12 spl

Faster Tempo
4 @ 2 x 25yds (two lengths @ each tempo)
1.2 (14/13spl) 1.1 (15/14spl) 1.0(16/15spl) .9 (16/16spl)

Your appetite for experimentation is a model for any improvement-minded swimmer.

One takeaway from your practice that struck me as a particularly valuable lesson: In the two sets in which you repeated a task - or 'problem' - at least once, you improved your efficiency at that task with great consistency.

When you did 3 sets of Index-Finger/Full-Hand 25s, you improved your IF count by a stroke on each rep, and improved your FH count by a stroke on each rep.

Ditto the 4 sets of 2 x 25 on gradually faster tempos. On 3 of 4 tempos, your SPL improved by one on the 2nd 25. And I suspect if you'd repeated the .9 pair another time or two, you would also have found a way to strike the wall in 15 strokes there too.

Here are two suggestions for next time:

Suggestion #1 Repeat that set of 4 @ 2 x 25yds (two lengths @ each tempo) -- 1.2, 1.1, 1.0, .9
but then do it again in reverse - from .9 to 1.2 and see if you can return to 1.2 with a lower count than you started with.

Suggestion #2 Experiment with doing the 1.2 to .9 set in .05 increments instead. That would be 8 pairs of 2 x 25 @ 1.2, 1.15, 1.1, 1.05, etc.

Your post has inspired me to do this practice today - including my suggested modifications. I'll post results later.

terry 04-02-2011 12:51 PM

Do this practice with coaching and help Japan
PS: We will be giving a clinic modeled on this practice at SUNY New Paltz on Apr 13 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm with proceeds going to the Japan Society for tsunami relief. Shane Eversfield and I will lead, assisted by other TI coaches.
Details here.

terry 04-02-2011 01:44 PM


Originally Posted by AWP (Post 18698)
Next, I'd like to try something similar with the other strokes

On the Breaststroke Conference I left a lengthy post, and a set example, describing exactly this.

AWP 04-02-2011 02:28 PM

Just the responses I'd hoped for and needed, thanks. I'm eating up the gears practice suggestions for breast stroke too, plus all the practice examples you've recently posted, plenty to keep me full for a bit.
I can sense, without even trying yet, that the TT will be a valuable asset there.


P.S. In fact am trying to arrange a visit on the 13th. Admittedly, the cause is strong the location near (relatively) and the price is right. Hope to see you there.

terry 04-02-2011 11:08 PM

Backstroke Version of Tempo Trainer Practice
I did portions of this practice in Backstroke today. Didn't have time for the whole thing. I want to try the parts without the TT in Backstroke too.
I doubled the distances on two of the sets.

Set #1 1 x 50 Count Strokes 32 Strokes
6 x 25 Alternate 1-Finger, Whole Hand 18-18-17 SPL for 1-Finger, 15-15-14 for Whole Hand
1 x 50 Count Strokes 31 Strokes

Set #2 10 x 50. Slow tempo 1.2-1.3-1.4-1.5 on #1-4. Increase tempo on # 5-10 1.45-1.4-1.35-1.3-1.25-1.2
I took 34 strokes @1.2, had decreased count to 28 @ 1.5 and took only 30 strokes @ 1.2 on the final 50.

Set #3 4 x 50 + 3 x 100 + 2 x 150 + 1 x 200 @ 1.25
Stroke Count was 15+16 on the 50s. I then held that pattern of 1st length at 15 and all that followed at 16 through the 150s.
What was interesting was that it got easier to maintain 16SPL the farther I swam. The main reason I could sense was that my timing on turns improved. I was turning with less effort and able to take my first stroke on the right beep more easily. I'd felt slightly rushed to break out and stroke on the beep at the beginning. Later it felt very leisurely.
As a consequence I felt so relaxed after the first 100 of the 200, that I added power/pressure to my stroke and dropped my stroke count down to 15 SPL for the last 100. That made this 200 a negative split. I saved 3 strokes x 1.25 sec (or 3.75 sec) over the first 100.
The only swim I timed was the 200. That was 3:10.

Set #4 No TT
2 rounds of 4 x 50 - 25 BK + 25 BR
I held 16 SPL swimming very easily for all 25s BK.
For BR I swam 6-7-8-9 strokes on successive 50s.
So stroke counts in each round were:
I descended 1st round 52 to 49 sec. and 2nd round 50 to 47 sec.

galax 04-13-2011 02:16 PM

Stroke Calibration ( freestyle) my report
Yesterday I've tried this schema. I like it!! But I have a question about Stroke Calibration , 6x25
  1. 18 SPL , ok
  2. 20 SPL not good target is 19!!
  3. 19 SPL ( this stint was very good fast and magically I saved 1 stroke but target was 20!!
  4. 19 good
  5. 18 same at first
  6. 17 good!!

Can I have any opinion about? Maybe I haven't the skill to perform this kind of practice ?
Thanks in advance

AWP 04-13-2011 04:06 PM

Looks good to me. Surely you've learned it takes a keen focus to hit a desired count per length but it also takes repetition, lots of repetition. How many rounds of this set did you manage? I'm also sure you'll find that with repeated practice of key sets like this one you soon begin to dial in to your ability to cycle through your personal range count and do so at will.
Maybe also practice multiple repeats at the same count ie.
3 rounds of
4x25 @ 17spl
4x25 @ 18spl
4x25 @ 19spl...
When you become keenly aware of how to manage each count then maybe increase distance a bit, say
2x50 @ 17spl
2x50 @ 18spl and so on...
If this begins to feel good you can incorporate your ability to cycle through each count within the same repeats as in the "stroke calibration" set.
Do these exercises in reverse order too and really hone in on your skills.
Thanks for sharing and good luck in your practice.
Never give up that sense of experiment.

P.S. Search out Terry's practice sets in this regard, in fact ALL; they're invaluable

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