Reply To: Groups & growing
I am running pretty crowded practices. Sometimes I end up with 8-10 per lane. In my practices:
-each swimmer has a chart with their target times so they know their required paces.
-If the whole group is doing the same interval (like our very common 25’s on 30 sec to practice 100 pace) I have them “set up races” so the fastest people spread out to lead each lane so they can push each other. The others try to match by speed who goes second, third, etc…
-If we need separate intervals, I designate an interval for each lane. For instance: when we practice 200 freestyle, I designate a lane on 45 interval, a 50 interval and a 55 interval. Swimmers are expected to get into the appropriate lane for them, which would be whichever lane is closest to 20 sec over their target 50 time. They are expected also to get in order from fastest to slowest based on the event they are practicing.
-We have ordered digital clocks but don’t have them yet. right now I turn on our scoreboard, which is on the wall at the starting end. Then I synchronize it with the wall pace clocks. All swimmers are expected to help others get their times just in case they have a hard time seeing the clock due to crowding. After a swimmer fails out of a set, they wait until we have a dead lane to start cooling off. While they are waiting they must help other swimmers still live on the set to know when they hit the wall, (14 high, 15 low, etc…) A lot of the time my swimmers will shoot and do a great race-perfect finish, but they are underwater to do it and don’t see the clock. Usually when they come up and say “when did I hit?” someone is able to tell them.
-If we are practicing 100 fly 25’s or 500 free pace 75’s, I allow swimmers to have two sit-outs after each fail so they can start their next interval with the group rather than opposite direction to avoid collisions and other problems. I am considering letting them have two sit-outs for all sets, but I am looking for an official clarification from Dr Rushall on whether that is optimal. I really want to be consistent so I might just make that change anyway.
-Earlier in the season I was just putting a cap on sets and making them keep going after they fail out, meaning they score it out to third fail, and then they keep going until the designated number of intervals is done. Rushall recommends 5-6 times the race distance, and a little less for races longer than 200. Now that my swimmers are getting used to it, I have started letting them stop after third fail again. It helps with crowding anyway.
-I ask my swimmers to keep a log book and I even print and hole punch forms for them to use. Very few do, so I also keep a grade book to keep my own stats on them. At the end of each set they have to give me their score as x+y+z, with x being the number of successful targets before first fail, y being the number before the next fail and z being the ones before the third. If they have two fails in a row the score they have to clarify that so I know why they only gave me the x+y.
I hope that helps. I have spent about three seasons slowly implementing this to see what works and what doesn’t with several swimmers per lane. This is our first season trying to run it by the book. Long Course will be a new challenge as last summer we only did USRPT sets during morning SCY practices. We did not have any way to get pace clocks in place last summer to make it work. Good luck with it. I hope this helps.
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