Technique is specific to speed

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  • #2472
    AvatarAmsepamse
    Participant

    So, just came back from a training camp with my age-groupers (aged 9-11) and wanted to share a revelation:
    This group has basically only done race-paced training for the past 6 months. Any type of slow swimming has been to train body/head positioning and balance or coordination training.

    On this camp we did a long training “old-school” type set at moderate speed for one of our sessions, and a striking feature with the swimmers were that their technique on this set was just TERRIBLE! I mean heads out of the water like mushrooms, cross-over arms, poor streamline and terrible breakouts and under-water work

    We had been very proud of how their technique had developed with the training for the past 6 months.
    The take-home message for us was that the technique you learn will be specific to the speed at which you execute it.

    #2473
    AvatarAmsepamse
    Participant

    Anyone else that has experienced something similar? I can imagine you wouldn’t see this in swimmers coming from an oldschool type training, as they have something to fall back on..?

    #2945
    AvatarMiklos Petras
    Participant

    My observations are similar. I’m working with 8-16 year-olds, the smaller kids are in the learning phase, the older ones are experienced swimmers, most of them has very good, effective techniqe – during USRPT sets and mainly, during races. But when it comes to oldschool, they begin to fall back and fail. It seems they aren’t able to swim ‘so much’ with ‘so good’ technique (especially regarding breakouts and UW work – those are crap during OS sessions). I also take underwater footage of their USRPT swims regularly, and we analyse those together, they learn a lot from those videos – but most of the mistakes still remain as they seems to be directly ‘connected’ to the actual person (habitual?) When we finally get rid of those though, they immediately chop off 3-6 seconds of a 100 LCM PB…

    Short ‘bursts’ of OS isn’t that bad though: last year after 8 weeks of pure USRPT, I experimentally called an ‘OS-type’ 10×100 @ 1:30 (I asked them to swim with good technique, no need to rush but do everything the best they could technically) and the 1:00-1:05 PB kids came in around 1:10-1:14, with fairly the same technique as they use in USRPT sets.

    So yes, technique IS speed-specific but there are some parts of it that are not. Double-leg kicking can’t be done properly without effort, but they can do pretty good BK armwork slowly (just an example)… Generally, fly and BR seems to be more speed-sensitive, crawl and BK are less, but the devil lies in the details there as well. Turns and DL kicking are two parts that can’t be done properly without at least 90% effort, so they mess those up during OS-sessions.

    #2946
    AvatarMiklos Petras
    Participant

    long story short: there ARE some parts of swimming technique that CAN be practiced (taught) with slower speed. But most of the really important ones can’t…. That’s (another) one good reason to use race-pace training IMO.

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