The goal of practice isn’t just to make swimmers work. It’s also to engage them IN the work. Switching up what you do from the standard back and forth can be motivating and turn into a great workout.
Why Do It:
A good practice shouldn’t be based on "how far you go" but, rather, what the swimmers get out of it. Special days, when everyone else is on holiday is sometimes a great time to mix things up, give the swimmers something different, but still make them work.
How to Do It:
1. Design your stations. We had a dryland station (outdoors, which was nice for the swimmers to get outside), but it was done in somewhat of a fountain. We had a mini-pool kick and speed station, and a swim speed station.
2. The swimmers would alternate each station every 5 minutes for a few rounds. Each station would vary the focus or exercise each time the swimmers arrived.
3. The dryland station started with some standard ab exercises, then proceeded outside to jumps, mountain climbers, and pushups.
4. The mini-pool alternated vertical kick with explosive vertical jumps.
5. The swim speed station started with reaction sprints, then a couple full 50s.
6. The second time through the mini-pool was all about reaction and athletic movements. Sprinting and climbing.
7. The second time through the swim speed station was swimming suicides, back and forth to points.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Remember, swimmers are athletes, and athletes want to race and win. Try to create competitions and hopefully, the athletic instinct will come out and the work will happen. After nearly a two-hour practice, these three swimmers requested to RACE, which is what you want to see happen.
Not all of the swimmers, however, were ready to step up….which is another result that you want to see. Mostly, be creative in what you do.