Reply To: establishing pace times
I agree with drpaul, ags. Regardless of their goal times for the end of the season, where they are starting is what matters. We do a test set for each swimmer where it is their job to establish a training goal time based on how well they performed the test set. Initially, most of the kids pick slower times than they can actually do because they are apprehensive about “missing” a time. When they see our fastest/hardest working swimmers sitting out the 5th rep of a 50 x 12 because they missed their goal time, they start to understand that if you are truly working to capacity, you are going to miss times. Very important to break the mindset that a missed time equals failure. At this point, I often get swimmers coming up who want to lower their goal time because they realize they are capable of going faster.
I like this approach because it gives the athlete some ownership, and it allows swimmers who are new to this type of training to feel successful during those first couple of weeks of practice. After that, however, I tend to be the one who makes sure we are keeping on track in goal times and reps. Need to strike a balance, I think, between goal times and yards at race pace for a practice. Both seem important in getting good results.