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Mental Physical Technical Swimming

Article

: The Purpose of Practice

The Purpose of Practice

30 Oct

In a holistic approach, preparing for competition is the number one purpose of practice. Therefore the need to maintain best-form stroke and turn technique over ever-increasing distances at faster and faster speeds is absolutely essential. While this approach may have little appeal to coaches who believe high-volume training is the key to swimming success regardless of the quality of stroke or speed, it will appeal to those looking for an alternative approach that stresses quality over quantity and is more race-specific.

While the majority of coaches emphasize the development of an aerobic base, current swimming research suggests the development of an anaerobic base is equally important. When one considers the fact that most racing occurs over distances of 200 yards/meters or less, and that the overwhelming majority of swimmers compete in distances of 200 yards/meters or less, it is unclear why high-volume training, with slower average training speeds per 25 and inferior technique, is so revered. In my opinion swimming with best-form stroke and turn technique over ever-increasing distances at faster and faster speeds will do far more to prepare swimmers for the rigors of competition.

Note: A holistic approach does not preclude swimmers from performing high yardage practices. The only restriction is that yardage must be performed with best-form stroke and turn technique at the desired speed.

Most coaches who stress high-volume training at the age-group level do so believing that a well-established aerobic base is paramount to long-term swimming success. While the need for endurance is unquestioned, swimmers must also develop specific racing skills and race-specific fitness through quality repetition to compete successfully at the elite age-group level and beyond.

Note: Experiencing ongoing success is vital in sustaining swimmers’ interest and motivation levels year to year. A well-established aerobic base means nothing if swimmers quit prematurely due to a lack of interest or lack of success.


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