Ran a little experiment

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  • #2160
    Avataroldschoolc
    Participant

    Over Christmas break ran a little experiment of swimmers counting make/miss and coached timed make/miss.

    I split group in half and had one of my assistances come in for the 12 workouts over break in which we had 39 protocol sets. He timed the self-reporting group, did not telling them their times, and just left that up to them to determine make/miss using the USRPT protocol.

    Self-timed: The difference between what they thought was a make and actual time was in the .45 to .67 tenths of a second per 50 and increased to .69 to 1.12 as distance increased. We didn’t record 25s. But I would suspect it isn’t any better.

    Coached timed: the difference was less than .2 at any distance.

    Implications: If you are trying to use training data to possibly project race performance and you allow self-timing just be aware that what you think is happening and reality are two different animals.

    Oldschoolc

    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"

    #2164
    billratiobillratio
    Participant

    Great idea to test that out. I have found the same thing, though I didn’t test it scientifically.

    It’s hard a large group of swimmers but it’s very important to keep them honest on these things. I don’t know that keeping them honest is the right way to phrase it because I don’t think they are intentionally getting their times wrong. I’ll often ask my swimmers what they went and then tell them what I had for their time. I think that helps them start to figure out how to more accurately time themselves.

    I definitely need to start doing a better job timing them.

    Question: When you time your swimmers when do you start your stopwatch? I start it when they are underwater with their legs still bent at the wall. I hope that’s not too late.

    "Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."

    #2167
    Avataroldschoolc
    Participant

    Hey!
    Not sure how “scientific” we were? Two old guys with stopwatches.But it is what each one of us faces on a daily basis at practice.

    I agree I don’t think that the swimmers intentionally are cheating. Just that the ability to judge time can be rough for some and then each has a “fudge” factor they add in. i.e. my guys I’ve noticed will give themselves .05, and still call that a make. We time to the 100th so, 31.29 is read as 129, so if they hear 134 they consider it a make.

    I also agree with asking them their time and then presenting them with what you got. If you stop and think about it that time represents a lot of information. The more consistent that time is the higher degree of better or more reliable turn speeds, underwater work and breakouts, etc. And they need to know that.

    The reason I did it was coaches are trying to apply USRPT to race performance, which they should. But just be aware of the “self-timing” that is prescribed in the bulletins have some draw backs in accuracy. You think when they report makes/misses it’s from a say 31.1 and they really have been in the 31.6 range and now they just went from 2:04 to a 2:06 in the 200, might need to develop a “fudge” factor for coaches with regards to predicting race performances and USRPT sets.

    We start when they drop under or roughly when feet leave the wall and have used this for over 20+ years. The kids get all over lanes that drop early. The key is being consistent.

    Oldschool

    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"

    #2172
    Avatargsbelbin
    Participant

    Oldschool, I’m surprised to hear that you are deciding what is and isn’t a make by such small margins (0.05). The aim of a USRPT set is to challenge the swimmer’s body to generate the forces to achieve race pace for as long as possible. I think Rushall talks about as many strokes as possible. If a swimmer’s time drops by only 0.05 or even 0.25 or more this could be down to any number of factors such as start time, turns, turbulence from other swimmers, timing of the finish etc. Plus the difference in forces required for two swims which are only 0.05 (or, say, 0.25) are minimal. So I think to count such a swim as a failure and allow the swimmer to miss a repeat is detrimental to the overall aim of the set. Surely it’s better to keep going until a clearer failure occurs. What a reasonable failure margin is, is open to debate but personally I know when I’ve reached the limit; there’s a definite cliff edge where my performance drops significantly.

    #2173
    Avataroldschoolc
    Participant

    The kids are the ones that did that. They know that pace time comprises average plus standard deviation, so the “fudge” factor or “failure margin” (Stdev) is already in the time and so going even slower doesn’t help matters much especially if you allow say another .4 or maybe it’s .5 etc. and you could end up being a full second or more off race pace. We call that a “feel good time” because you make a lot but doesn’t really relate or correlate to race performances. But you feel good. How far off actual race times are you going to allow?

    Example: 20 x 50 on :50 free SCY, average is 28.29 (using 50s 2, 3 & 4 of 200) plus Stdev of .44 (n is over 2000+ splits to determine Stdev avg.) added together swimmer would hold “no slower than” 28.73. This swimmer since September has been offered 551 x 50s on :50, made 343 (at pace) for a 62.25 make percentage.

    All the things you discuss are factored in by the Stdev. It shows technical reliability in all aspects of the swim and the lower the Stdev the higher reliability to performance.

    Oldschool

    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"

    #2174
    Avatargsbelbin
    Participant

    Okay that makes more sense. In your example you’ve added the standard deviation of 0.44 to their race pace tarfet and they allow a further 0.05. They are counting a fail if they miss their race pace time by 0.49.

    #2175
    Avataroldschoolc
    Participant

    Correct. This all started from a couple of earlier post with coaches trying to project training pace to race performance and they were coming up with one time based off say 31.1 and the swimmers were actually holding 31.6 and now we’re nowhere close to that projected coaches time. That can cause a lot of hate, discontent and doubt in the system. So I was trying to show through our little experiment the differences between self-timed and coach timed. Not that if you do self-timing its bad. Just be aware that there may be major discrepancies in time and factor that in to performance projection.

    Oldschool

    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"

    #2176
    Gary PGary P
    Participant

    I’m curious to know how do your swimmers self-time to such a high degree of precision. Are you using a touch-pad, an underwater display, or some other sort of technology? As someone who’s self-coaching with instruments only capable of displaying/alerting on the whole second, the finest unit I’ve presumed to be able to estimate a swim to is 1/4 of second and I’m honestly not even particularly confident in the accuracy of my estimations at that precision. In reality, I’m probably only accurate to a precision of 1/2 second.

    As the “curve of improvement” is flattening for me, I find the lack of reliable precision beyond 1/4-1/2 second a potential hurdle to accurate tracking. I’m looking for affordable, technological solutions which could help.

    I also happen to do Time-Speed-Distance Road Rallies and have a portable, battery-powered digital clock that’s precise to 1/10th second (or 1/1000th of a minute) and also has an input for an external “momentary switch” for splits. I’ve pondered some ideas to make a “personal touch pad” for the clock, but am concerned that the clock wouldn’t hold up to the water and humidity of the pool-side environment.

    #2177
    billratiobillratio
    Participant

    Have you tried a tempo trainer? Off the top of my head I don’t know how precise they are but I think a 10th of a second. You could set it to beep every 15 seconds and then rest 15 seconds so you’d leave on the beep and try to finish on the beep. Or you could do it where you rest 30 seconds. I think a lot of people use them for race pace training.

    For my swimmers I’ve tried to call out times for them often enough that they start to figure out the timing on their own. I had one girl where I timed 100s of 25s for her while she tried to hold 13.75. As the season went on she got a lot better at self timing. As I timed a few throughout the set she’d be able to tell partially by feel and partially by looking at the clock even if she was only .2 off her time. Sometimes she’d look up and see me and she’d say “That was slow” and sure enough she was 13.9 or whatever it was. I think without a coach there to check against though, self timing is going to be tough.

    Edit: I should add that I never let them do a set completely on their own without me at least timing them every few to make sure they are actually on pace.

    "Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."

    #2181
    Avataroldschoolc
    Participant

    Gary P.
    We don”t self-time all repeats are coached timed that’s how we get to the 100th.

    Billratio is right about using the tempo trainer. The newer ones you can set to the exact time i.e. 25 time is 15.27, you can set it for 15.27. We’ll use them when I need to film underwater and they need to be at race pace. The set is usually 30 x 25 “beat the beep” and that will allow enough time to film two or three kids that may be having probelms and I need to take a closer look.

    Oldschool

    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"

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