Reply To: Roadblocks to Adoption

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Thanks for the reply oldschoolc and the breakdown on your numbers. It’s interesting stuff.

With the filtering I didn’t mean “bad” as in get rid of results for those who didn’t swim well. I meant cases where the swimmer’s results – fast, slow, anything – would not be viable for use in judging the efficacy of the training: a non-data-point. If a swimmer missed 40% of the practices there is nothing that could be legitimately concluded about the training program from those results. Same with an injured swimmer. Or someone with a nasty flu 1 week out from champs. You know your swimmers: do you think your numbers would take a significant jump if the non-data-point results were removed?

Regarding the 200 vs 160 pound swimmer. First: 200 is arbitrarily larger than 160. Make it 190 if that fits better. I personally think even 15 pounds would equate to a distinct increase in speed, however, this is a thought experiment and I wanted to present a difference large enough to create a conclusion without being absurd. To wit: all else being equal it is patently obvious the 200 pounder is faster than the 160 pounder, therefore, size matters. I don’t see this as a contentious statement.

I think I am using “size” and “strength training” too interchangeably. I’d agree that strength training is not determinant, but size absolutely is. Genetics largely control size and coaches can’t control genetics (I can’t at any rate) thus I’m looking at how size can/should be best controlled. When considering a swimmer with genetics that wrap things up at the smaller end the spectrum (whether it’s short, scrawny or both) do we conclude there is no rationale for them to improve their size? That doesn’t make sense, so, how does one effectively address size if strength training –nominally the most effective way to build size – has no effect?

Understand that I *still* take the science at face value and do not doubt what you’ve documented in your program. Science has a solid track record for, say, a few hundred years so I’ll buy in and I’m sure you’re seeing what you’re seeing in your program. I’m trying to reconcile that science with what is patently obvious in the thought experiment and what is easily observed in champs meets across a wide range of levels (i.e. size matters). It doesn’t fit together, therefore, there are pieces missing to the narrative that “strength training doesn’t help.”

This goes directly back to the notion of adoption. There is not enough information or nuance to explain away strength training. Everything about the in-water portion of USRPT flows intuitively and its implications hang together well despite the large departure from what we’re all used to. The gaps in the strength training narrative change the nature of how the in-water portion is viewed. Skepticism and doubt flood in. Adoption becomes more difficult.

I’ve seen this repeatedly when presenting USRPT ideals to both swimmers and other coaches. I’m aware of how difficult change of this magnitude is. Anyone who’s read Rushall’s papers knows just how acutely aware he is given the repeated directive to “let go of what we think we know.” That’s all well and good, but people are only capable of those mental gymnastics to a point. From what I’ve seen the dryland/strength training end of it is a leap too far. If the dryland part of the narrative can be fleshed out to bridge the gap then the bar for adoption will be significantly easier to clear.

Thanks for your thoughts and replies.