Originally published March 10, 2006
Sometimes the toughest thing in any season is the time between two or more championship meets. Often times you have to rest and taper for the first meet in order to QUALIFY for the second meet. The question then is: What do you do in between the two meets? You’re at your peak…and now you have to swim fast again in TWO WEEKS or maybe ONE WEEK!
While this is an easy task for the highest-level swimmers, it’s tough for younger swimmers, who don’t have years of base work and background. It’s easier to lose a bit of fitness quickly, and it’s tough swimming REALLY fast if you’re not TOTALLY fit.
This drill can be a quick and easy fix, but it’s important that you don’t just take what’s written here and apply it to everyone in your group, team, or house. Each individual needs to be treated as just that…an individual. Any additional work needs to be monitored so the athlete doesn’t get overly tired again. This exercise is simply to add a bit of conditioning into the swim practice, without having to add a ton of yardage.
Why Do It:
You want to maintain the highest level of fitness possible through ALL your championship meets, not just one.
How To Do It:
1. You can add this to just about any set This week, we added it to a set of 10 x 75s. Make sure the interval is easy enough to allow the swimmers a bit of extra time to accomplish the additional task.
2. Each time you get to the end of a repeat, climb out and perform 5 push-ups, either modified or regular.
3. Rather than BLAST, hard push-ups, these are to be done slowly, and with total control. You want to feel the muscles, the extension of the arms, the rigidness of the back and hips. It’s all about control.
4. Depending on how much time there is before the next meet (sometimes team members are not going to the same meet), you could do the push-ups after EACH repeat or after every OTHER repeat. Or, you could do 10 push-ups intead of 5 after every repeat. It’s all about giving each athlete what he or she needs.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
The real fine point is individualization — making sure that you don’t overdo it with work. The mistake MOST coaches and swimmers make, at the end of a long season, is NOT GIVING ENOUGH REST. At taper time, we ALL have a tendency to panic and think that the fitness is either not there or that it will be lost. As a result, the tendency is to work too hard between the meets, or for the last meet.
With that said, we can’t, as coaches, just let the kids loaf around and get soft. This quick and easy addition to a standard set can add just enough work, and demand just enough focus, to keep the kids in tune for that extra couple weeks. The novelty of this type of set can actually make the push-ups fun, and having fun is another important element of taper time.