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  #1  
Old 04-10-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Default technique vs. conditioning

This is an old theme, how to distinguish between the two. In fact, I have heard some coaches on this forum claim that there is no real distinction, that technique and conditioning have to improve together. It is hard to argue with that statement, but I claim there is still a difference between the two, and it is important. As I age, I can detect that my conditioning, not just in swimming but also in other activities is definitely getting worse from year to year. In spite of this, my swimming times for distance are not that different from what I was able to do as a young man, and I attribute that to an improvement in technique.

So, if there is a distinction between technique and conditioning, how do you decide what is the main limiting factor when you experience a plateau? A lot of people seem to be battling with this question. Some of the discussion on USRPT seems to implicitly be asking whether USRPT is improving your conditioning or your technique. I suspect that it is doing both, but the question still remains, when you plateau in USRPT what comes next? Should you refocus on technique issues or should you simply retool your USRPT workouts to demand more from your body? This question doesn't have a simple answer and it depends on where you are both in conditioning and in technique. But some objective ways of discerning where the low-hanging fruit-- conditioning work or technique work-- is would be helpful to a lot of us. In fact, it seems to me that the best answer might vary for the same person from day to day. Not sure.

I suppose another argument that could be made is that conditioning work, e.g., swimming at the edge of your abilities, is also good for technique. Again, it's hard to argue with that statement, but I think it still doesn't answer the question. Any guidelines in this regard would be welcome.
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  #2  
Old 04-11-2017
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Danny,

sounds all very familiar to me, although I'm just five and a half years in swimming. Especially getting back to my "old times" seems to become harder to impossible after a gap in swimming from year to year.

Think our (actual) real limits are not reachable in technique as in metabolic power. With more or less hard work we may take steps on an asymptotic path to in the (hopefully) direction to our thresholds...

Once Charles (what's the matter, am I the only one missing him? After the "other forum" is shut down, he should have some time "for us") did a statement: If you're not able to swim "easy 100m in 2min", you should work exclusively in technique. (I would like to add a second for every year over 60...).

With a somewhat stable (although with much opporunities for improvement) (TI-)technique we should take more of the weight in metabolic work. But we should be aware to still improve our technique or at least hold it under this load. I think it's more a personal decision if we want to work with USRPT or longer repeats. As like everywhere in swimming you'll not find the philosophers stone in the one mixture of all, very best for everyone...

Mat wrote some very intersting blogs about the TI-like work in stamina and the necessity to work in the "zone of discomfort" for improvement in stamina as in technique. (Becomes boring, because I wrote it so often, but in my opinion Mat's and Suzanne's courses do have interwoven both in nearly ideal way...)

Most important, no matter what and ho we work in the water, we should enjoy it.

Best regards,
Werner
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  #3  
Old 04-11-2017
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Hey Danny,

USRPT has been turning conventional wisdom of massive yards, volume, conditioning as priority or a path to speed on its head. Instead focusing on training the neural system at speed - conditioning is consequential which directly supports that system. I have heard coaches mock USRPT, but they were coached and have coached for years under the volume paradigm with some levels of success. But those are the same coaches that would say if a swimmers' shoulders don't hold up past 15yo, they're incapable of making it to Nationals or Olympic qualifiers. That came from my daughter's coach and I recall nodding in agreement. But that was the perception and expectation of age group kids on swim teams in the late 90's early 2000.

USRPT's failure model, I like to call it "misses" is really all about technique. 30x100's at speed you are allowed three misses - a miss meaning you missed your goal pace 3 times or 2 consecutive times. If a swimmer is slowing - no reason to finish the set for the sake of finishing the set - stop. Something is breaking down and it's not due to conditioning. The metabolic, "no pain, no gain" strategy will have you charge right through until your arms fall off, lungs blow up, imprinting sloppy form that caused the swimmer to slow in the first place.

Here's a great piece on Michael Andrew at age 14 when he was just becoming known. His parents (also elite swimmers from the "volume period") found a better way to keep him engaged and continuing to improve without beating him up with massive yards and conventional training methods: https://www.si.com/more-sports/2013/...swimmer-go-pro

Stuart
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Old 04-11-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFEGb View Post
If you're not able to swim "easy 100m in 2min", you should work exclusively in technique. (I would like to add a second for every year over 60...)
You mean, there might still be hope for me? LOL
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Old 04-11-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
USRPT's failure model, I like to call it "misses" is really all about technique. 30x100's at speed you are allowed three misses - a miss meaning you missed your goal pace 3 times or 2 consecutive times. If a swimmer is slowing - no reason to finish the set for the sake of finishing the set - stop. Something is breaking down and it's not due to conditioning. The metabolic, "no pain, no gain" strategy will have you charge right through until your arms fall off, lungs blow up, imprinting sloppy form that caused the swimmer to slow in the first place.
I'm so glad you posted this. I probably read it, but missed this point up to now. In this sense the USRPT approach is remarkably akin to TI in that despite its seeming hard core physical approach (to someone like me, at least) it is highly technique driven, and it rejects a "no pain=no gain" approach unless good technique is maintained during any "painful" i.e. hard exertional practice.
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Old 04-11-2017
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Sclim,

Quote:
You mean, there might still be hope for me? LOL
For us. We've just hold our slower times and become old enough... LOL...

Best regards,
Werner
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Old 04-11-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Guys, the problem I have with USRPT is a little different from what you describe. When I fail, does that mean I have to stop swimming? I don't want to stop swimming! I only get about 3 or 4 hr/week in the pool and that time is the best time in my week. I don't want to have to walk away from it, just because I failed in USRPT before they closed the pool and kicked me out.

So I suppose one response to this problem is that if I fail before they close the pool and kick me out, then that means that I chose my USRPT goals too aggressively and I need to back off. OK, but there is a need for some sort of iteration here and during that process I will be wasting my valuable pool time!

Any advice for me?
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Old 04-11-2017
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Haa! No just stop the set, not the day. I generally have swimmers reset after three misses, do a few easy laps, get their posture back in line, balance, timing, etc - then continue. And it may also include adjusting tempo and spl to a level they can sustain or within the edge of their skill level; maybe swimmer was too assertive with their goal or race tempo. But that's kind of the idea to be outside comfort zone. Maybe first time fail at 10 rep, next day 15, next 22, and so on.

This is just how I use it which is more USRPT intro than adhering to their specific plan. But I believe any plan is tailored to each swimmer and can be flexed to work well with a group.
But this is only when working speed and sustainability. Swimming at all tempos slow and fast, adapting to many conditions, always challenging the neural and physical system is where the majority of the time is spent.

Stuart

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 04-11-2017 at 11:40 PM.
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFEGb View Post
Once Charles (what's the matter, am I the only one missing him? After the "other forum" is shut down, he should have some time "for us") did a statement: If you're not able to swim "easy 100m in 2min", you should work exclusively in technique. (I would like to add a second for every year over 60...).
Hi Werner, I too remember this statement from Charles and it has haunted me ever since then! I have often wondered about this and what Charles would tell me if he could see me swimming. Is my technique hopelessly flawed or am I just so extraordinarily weak and ill conditioned that it's a wonder I don't drown?

The only way to get answers to these questions is to seek him out in Montreal and demand that he give us swimming lessons. We should perhaps go together to give each other moral support. Maybe this summer, when they are swimming outside in Montreal?

He also told me once that I should ignore all advice about butterfly from anyone who can't swim 200 m fly without stopping. Perhaps he's right, I don't know.
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Old 04-12-2017
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Danny,

Quote:
Hi Werner, I too remember this statement from Charles and it has haunted me ever since then! I have often wondered about this and what Charles would tell me if he could see me swimming. Is my technique hopelessly flawed or am I just so extraordinarily weak and ill conditioned that it's a wonder I don't drown?
Last but not least as in all parts of swim, we have to find our own path where to strive at and where to lay our training-weights on. On the other side Charles organized his "Training days" (Weekends where he showed FS-Starters endurance.) And he said everyone will be able to swim continues 700m after that, and none ever failed. His hint for everyone: "Go as slow as possible as you need. And if you don't get the 700m go even slower." That seems to be a little bit (at least) contradictory to his 2min...

I'll interpret his 2min/100m-statement more as: Hold your focus more in technique-points than on the stop-whatch (or the TT)... most times. And we should have in mind with the TI-advocated SR for drills from 1.2-1.3s and swimming in our GZ we are fairly below Charles' 2min. (Similr to the hundrets I'd like to add 0,01s in SR for every year above 60... :-) )

There is a German Coach (Sport scientist), Holger Lüning (Holger Luening), he has a YouTube-series about the "Gleitwahn" (madness of gliding)... He's hard to watch for a TI-Coach, because he tries to hammer some TI-keys without addressing TI directly... And it seems he didn't understand anything about TI. But he demonstrates, he calls it objectiv and scientific, that he can swim a tempo of 1:30min/100m in every really bad style. Yes he can... And if 1:30min is the walking tempo for a swimmer... Then my Swimming is analogues to the pilot who says: Well, flying is not more than controlled fall. I'm very glad that I'm able to control my drowning...

Quote:
The only way to get answers to these questions is to seek him out in Montreal and demand that he give us swimming lessons. We should perhaps go together to give each other moral support. Maybe this summer, when they are swimming outside in Montreal?
Would like to join you... Sad enough, my trips this year are fixed and planned, outstanding a TI-week in September... But this pops up my dream of a TI-Forum-Silver-Surfers-Workshop anywhere... :-)

Quote:
He also told me once that I should ignore all advice about butterfly from anyone who can't swim 200 m fly without stopping. Perhaps he's right, I don't know.
Hmm... if my students would ignore all my hints, because I can't swim easy 100m below 1:30min... I wouldn't have any... but Shinji can, so it wouldn't be bad to watch him and his Fly too...

Whatsoever, no one can take the deep enjoyment of swimming TI anchored deep in some of our souls. And that's one of the important points that made TI GREAT (still, not again...).

Best regards,
Werner
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