#USRPT does not have to be boring

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    Greg Tucker

    To prevent boredom and predictability, we created an environment of enthusiasm and challenge before, during and after each set. As coaches, we cheered for them each set encouraging to “get one more” when they were close to a fail, so calling out their name as they were having a good set, pushing them to challenge each other, recognizing those that made all or only missed one after the set, announcing new intervals or race pace goals before sets to show progress, reinforcing race pace times that were needed to meet their goal times during sets. The kids embraced it. The training became a badge of honor, something they were doing that was special and different than others. Buttons with #USRPt were made. A twitter feed was started. We shared Michael Andrew progress. “Trust Tour Training” became a team mantra. We also provided extra rest before the extra two reps and let the kids race each other on the last rep. And finally, lanes that finished prior to others hugged the lane rope cheering others on to compleat their sets. At the end of the set we had 50 cheering girls and 7 coaches. All were happy. It was a blast. Make it fun.

    Greg Tucker


    Love it!


    Yep, Greg. Sounds very familiar. I like the ability to work with a swimmer individually if they miss a time, too. Competitive swimmers are goal-oriented in my experience, so why not use that attribute as a positive, motivating tool?

    By the way, my final words before any swimmer’s big race is “trust your training.” I like that idea.


    You speak of the Goal Setting nature of competitive swimmers and I agree that is something the USRPT really caters to.
    My challenge is with the swimmer who just can’t seem to hit their pace ( even though it is based on a realistic race time ) and then either starts to get discouraged ( the failure thing takes some a while to get used to ) or adapts the traditional mentality of ” I am just going to keep going and train my way though it”.
    I was wondering if anyone else has found that boys, who have achieved their best times based on big end of the season shave/tapers, have a harder time repeating their assigned paces?
    These have been my two biggest challenges to what, otherwise, has been a very successful training model


    Regarding your 2 challenges/questions, I have had some decent results with the following:

    1. When a swimmer can’t make a realistic race time goal, I take a look at their technique in practice versus how they actually race. When there is a discrepancy between the two (practice technique looks completely different than racing technique), I find it takes a lot of conversations between those missed sets talking with the swimmer about how they need to change their training habits/strokes if they want to make their practice goals.. A lot of times it comes down to how they execute their turn. After thousands of yards with sloppy turns, it takes a lot of work to try and be as perfect as possible in order to make your time. This is what I love about this training method.

    2. Haven’t experienced this problems with boys yet because this is the first season we have done this. One thing I did do after our “big” high school meet was adjust target goals for the next 2 weeks leading into USA “big” meet. This did yield positive results. Interested in what others have tried, though.


    I really struggled with target times, but I think I have found a solution for next season.

    We are going to do an early intra-squad, perhaps even a weekly race trial for the first month of official training to establish base-line target paces.

    As they conquer the sets and/or as they put up faster times in dual-meets, we will adjust target paces from there.

    I'm proud of what we've done, but I know 5, 10, 20 years from now I'll wonder what we'd done had we done it 'right'

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