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I'm running a session for World Champ representatives. It's 6 weeks prior to their comp, I'm not their coach, and this will be the only contact I have with most of these athletes. They are age-group triathletes and I am taking a swim session.
At the moment I'm considering:
- technical tips about sighting and reading currents/rips etc in open water
- technical tips about technique
However, I figure these guys will be well versed in this areas.
I'm looking for some inspiration, please.
Keep winning the workout.
I wouldn't try to give any individual stroke technical advice at this point. If it's your only contact with the athletes, you can't monitor change/improvement and you may throw off their swim strokes inadvertantly.
However, what you can get them to practise is their pacing. Specifically, getting use to starting hard and settling quickly into race pace. So, horizontal deep water starts, getting up to speed quickly, thinking about sighting frequency and how to manage contact with others. You can get them to think about their swim start positioning - a lot of it is a mental game, particularly if they're first timers at a World Champs - can get v psyched out and end up putting themselves in a position further back than their swimming is worthy of, so getting stuck.
Get them to dial into their race pace, test it, use the pace clock, get them to use the pace clock (many triathletes are rubbish at this!) to really tune into the feel of it and work out how fast they can afford to go at the start to get themselves in a good position without blowing up.
Hope this helps
One session I do with our athletes to break up swimming lengths is to get one swimmer to swim 12m fast, stop and tread water, the next guy swims to them and high 5's them and the original swimmer goes another 12m and so on. The last swimmer has a bit of catching up to do as the lanes empty. It gets them used to treading water, orientation as they are waiting for the high 5 and then rotating and doing a deep water start. They quickly realise that if they need help and they raise an arm - they sink and know how to handle this. It's a bit of fun too.
Thank you to everyone who responded.
The session was yesterday. I had another coach helping me. We had 18 athletes, 3x50m lanes and 45 minutes.
What we did was this:
Lane closest to the edge (Lane 9) was used by the other coach - she covered starts and what to do when something unexpected happens - eg you need to adjust your goggles, etc.
Land 8 was used as the "return" lane - ie the lane used for the swimmers from both groups to come back to their coach
Lane 7 was my lane. I covered drafting, sighting and turning.
We divided the group into "faster" and "not as fast" and swapped groups half way.
With the "faster" group I spent less time explaining and gave them more practice time. After the drafting drills, I progressed it to the back swimmer pushing through the group to the front (small groups of 3 or 4). Even within the "faster" group there was a speed difference, so the fastest of the faster were given more reps.
The other coach played a game of "Sabotage" with the faster group - where one of them pulled their leg, swam over them, etc. I'm not sure what else she did
With the "not as fast" group, I spent more time explaining sighting, the different ways to get a draft and turning. I still didn't spend a lot of time talking - as time was limited and the air temperature with wind chill was only ~ 8 degrees C. I also made the drills easier.
I'm not sure what the other coach did with this group, but I don't think she played "Sabotage" with them.
- I could have practiced what I was going to say (like in preparing for a public speaking engagement), but I always just "wing it" because you never know what is going to happen.
- We didn't get the groups quite right - there were 2 swimmers in each group that probably should have been swapped.
- I could have had even harder drills for the really good swimmers
- Splitting the groups between coaches to concentrate on different skills was good
- all in all it went OK as we only had ~20 minutes with each group, so time was quite limited
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