Reply To: Great USRPT site… not really

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Thanks for your reply Doc,

I take it that by “training system” you mean the conditioning aspect of USRPT. For USRPT to be fully effective it needs to be implemented exactly as described. That not only includes race-specific conditioning, but also pedagogically sound race-specific technique instruction and mental skills training. If interested others are asking about USRPT, then technique and psychological factors should be emphasized more than any other feature of USRPT. Physical conditioning in the USRPT format is solely a means of providing an appropriate platform for velocity-specific techniques and velocity-relevant thought processes to be developed.

I would assume that conditioning has become a bigger issue in this forum because USRPT is somewhat still in its initial development and for coach’s to begin implementing it the introduction of compliant USRPT sets (conditioning) is the first priority to learn accurately, as ultra-short race-pace training is the format in which all other factors are practiced. That should not be construed as suggesting conditioning is the most important feature of USRPT.

Just because swimming technique can be less objective than conditioning principles, does not mean that it should not be discussed less than other aspects of performance enhancement. I’m sure you agree that biomechanics is the most significant feature that differentiates Gold medallists/better swimmers from non-medallists/lesser swimmers in mature-age competitions. However, it can be challenged that swimming techniques can be scientific (as outlined by Rushall). I.e. they have to 1) conform to known laws and principles of physics and mechanics, 2) be demonstrated at least in part by elite champion swimmers, and/or 3) be the product of acceptable scientific research. I would have thought these three points would provide significant grounds for in-depth discussion about swimming technique (especially in a forum such as this).

If USRPTIA was to be accredited (I don’t know in what capacity) by another organisation, what additional recognition or meaning would you think it would be given or required?

The point about USRPT not being implemented fully, is that stakeholders may be misguided and deceived by a partial program. In true USRPT programs, the activities to which competitive swimmers are exposed to should have direct effects on their competitive performances. If a program only offers a “partial” USRPT program (for example, just the conditioning feature), then less than expected performances/results of its participants may the reflect poorly on the training model (despite it not being implemented correctly), and participants may not reap the benefits that should be observed from a complete USRPT program.

For a swimming program to adhere to the USRPT model, training items/sets should incorporate ALL of the following features:
• A technique feature to be changed or retained (at race-pace)
• Race strategy content to accompany, or race situation to be imagined each repetition
• (Ultra) short repetition distance
• Swum at race pace
• Short rest interval
Of particular note is the short rest interval. USRPT only allows for 20s rest between repetitions and 15s for repetitions of 25 m/yd.

Any deviation or modifications from the above protocol is NOT USRPT. USRPT is specific. It is quite the “all-or-nothing” training model. This is something Rushall has expressed time and time again in his papers. It could not be more clear.

(Not-for-profit organisations are allowed to make surplus revenue to cover expenses and run the organisation. Administrators or members of USRPTIA won’t receive any profit. I think it was unfair to insinuate Rushall would be making a gain out of the organisation.)