Reply To: USRPT and new stimuli? (aka boredom is an issue)

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Miklos Petras

Thank you, doc for your thoughts!

Now that you mentioned I checked out, downloaded and read Rushall’s new bulletins and he actually is writing about my problem there – and specifies some suitable solutions as well. Makes me see that I haven’t done USRPT correctly and now I change my planning and coaching process according to those findings. Thank you for directing me that way!

I specify things a bit.

Outside-the-box thinking is ALL I must do on an everyday basis. Why? Well, I’m the only coach at the club, I got no help at all. The training possibilities (pool time) are: 6:45-7:00 and 14:30-16:00 every weekday. I got 2 lanes SCM. Aaaaand, 16 kids, the youngest 8 years old, the oldest 16. The needs of a 8 year-old is far from the needs of a 12 year-old before adolescence or from a 12 yo adolescent, not to mention a 15 yo girl who actually is a full-grown woman… Furthermore, at 14:30 there are mostly 3-5 kids present: most of them arrive at the pool around 14:45-14:55. My best swimmers (16 yo male, 14 yo and 15 yo females) can train 45 mins every morning and ~1 hour every afternoon – and that’s all. Their competition train 4-5 hours daily (yes, yes, ineffective, but still…) USRPT actually is my ONLY option if I’d like to keep up. (What I do is I make 2 groups (fast-slow), and begin the training session with the slow group, and as they finish their first USRPT set, the fast group arrive and begin theirs. The slows are getting dryland low-intensity gymnastics at the time the fasts are swimming USRPT and vice versa.)

This situation is far from optimal, but I can squeeze 1 techniqe-set (turns&starts) and 1 USRPT set at the mornings and 2 USRPT sets at the afternoon. They sometimes complain of boredom because they got used to the same settings: ‘Is it morning? OK, then we’re gonna make some turns, followed by 25s or 50s. Is it afternoon? Then we’re gonna swim 50s then 25s (sometimes 25s then 50s)’ That’s what I (they) mean ‘bored’. Bored of the setting not the exact set they need to swim! When they swim, they do all they can, they’re focused and we can’t speak of boredom and race pace at the same time of course. Oh, I AM guilty of making boring plans I agree. Most of it comes from my opportunities but still… I’ll try to change that.

What they did last week? Swam some 25s @ 95%-100% speed. What they do this week? Swim some 25s @ 95%-100% speed (but this week 95%-100% speed is faster) – it’s nothing really new. Just what they did in the last x weeks. Okay, last week they did it tuesday this week at friday, but for them it’s still the same thing. That’s what my swimmers mean by saying ‘boring’. The traditional ‘oldschool’ method was far more varied. (not better, but more varied) They needed to swim slow, faster, fast and max speed, they swam kicks, drills, swam with paddles, fins, etc, they did varied dryland training as well – way much more variation possibilities. I love USRPT because I can see the pure logic and I experience the method’s truth on an everyday basis. (Hell, my better swimmers with our far-from-optimal conditions actually CAN keep up with the 1st tierce of the country’s best and LOVE swimming – and it’s Hungary we’re talking about, home of some real talented and fast swimmers) So my kids love USRPT as well, but sometimes they complain though. They say boredom I say no new stimulus. I’d like to find a way around this problem. Or, realise it’s not a problem at all… 🙂

You (and Rushall) say that the new stimulus is the adjustment in speed. In my experience ‘new stimulus’ is ‘something very different than before’. We’re saying the same thing, I only fear speed adjustments in a USRPT set may be to small to be ‘very different than before’. I believe you it isn’t. So far I mostly changed TTs only when a swimmer swam a new PB at a competition. Now I see it’s too rare, I gotta change TTs more often. So I made a new sheet for the kids and taught them how to track their progress. I see now that this is a necessity, thank you for directing me that way!

I still have some reservations about some of Rushall’s words though (especially about how small amount of work volumen may be beneficial) but we’ll see. I’ll try to steer my group to the higher speed insted of the higher volumen and see what happens.

Thank you again for your thoughts and advice!