When to jump into next speed

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    I´ve been working with USRPT for about 8 weeks, and Im still wondering a few things.
    At the begining, we started working at RP and I set the target of being able to swim three times the distance (12×50 at 200 RP /// 12×25 at 100 RP), to jump into the next pace. Now I´ve realised that it was too easy because they have progressed too fast and now they are kind of stacked in a pace that is way faster than their PB. We are not going to wait until having a PB in competition to progress in the trainning pace either, so the thing is: When is a swimmer ready to change his/her target to a faster pace?


    If you waited until a pb in competition to change training parameters that would defeat the purpose so yes, change them now if your kids are hitting them. According to Dr. Rushall, they should pretty much NEVER complete a set. Occasionally, I design a set to ensure they complete it only to boost their confidence so they don’t feel like they are failing every practice. Btw, we use the word miss instead of fail. This may help also:

    “Step 9: Incrementally Adjust Performance Criteria in a Set to Stimulate Improvement
    Step 5 required the coach to assign the number of repetitions for each set in the practice session. Periodically (usually within a microcycle) the set should be repeated to determine if training effects are being achieved and to assert swimmers’ performance progress. Initially, if the set is designed as 30 x 50 at 400 SCm race-pace on a 55 seconds interval, it is expected that the number of successful swims before the first failure and/or the total number of successful repetitions will increase. However, in selecting 30 repetitions it is expected that no one would complete the 30. If that occurred, then the set was too easy for the swimmer. The task involved in the set should always guarantee that swimmers will fail. That feature guarantees that a training effect for the race with which the set is related will occur.
    With successive improvements, swimmers will start to approach final participation a few repetitions before or on the final repetition in the set. Other swimmers might have recorded three occurrences in a row that is interpreted as “no improvement”. [That usually means they have achieved their upper limit of adaptation.] In either case it is time to make the set more difficult so the swimmer will be challenged to improve again. The single alteration to increase difficulty is to make the time for each repetition marginally faster. The size of that margin has to be sufficient so that the swimmer can judge the repetition time with the timing device, such as the sweep-hand clock illustrated previously.
    If the increased swimming velocity is marginal in a repetition, and that repetition is one-quarter of the target race, in the total race it will be a significant improvement. For example, if a swimmer changes from 31+ to 31- seconds for 50 SCm for 200 freestyle, that results in a change from a 2:06 high to a 2:05 low target time for a race. To garner such improvements, the swimmer has to be able to discern a difference between the “new” and the “old” repetition times when timing each new repetition.
    It is reasonable to expect swimmers to spend no more than three weeks, and more likely two, repeating the same set. Improvements should come that fast. For example, six exposures to a set should take a swimmer from completing 12 repetitions successfully before failure on the first attempt to improving by one more repetition on every successive attempt at the set. After completing a set six times, swimmers should be approaching the upper limit of their adaptation.
    The judgment of altering swimmers’ programs and USRPT set challenges is something coaches will have to determine. There are likely to be errors as well as successes in the aptness of incrementally challenging swimmers to improve in all races by appropriately designed training sets. The decisions in this matter are very important and should not be treated lightly. If an error is to be made it would be to challenge changes in swimmers too slowly than too fast.”

    Ben Van Dyk

    When we started, no one could make their goal. So I assigned slower but still challenging goals. Once a swimmer could make the set, the goal time was immediately lowered. After 6 weeks most are swimming at or faster than their previous PB. I find there is great pride in completing a level successfully and moving to the next faster time.

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