February 25, 2020
This week's schedule:
Next week's Schedule for Taper, shorter practice times for all groups starting Wednesday:
|Level 1||5:30-6:30||5:30-6:15*||5:30-6:15||No practice|
|Level 3||7:00-8:30||5:30-6:30||6:30-7:30*||5:30-6:15||No practice|
So the word of the week is INTENTIONAL. We have hit the part of the season that if the kids don't have their strokes where we want them, most likely they are not going to make vast improvements in techniques in the time remaining. Does that mean that we stop- absolutely not! That means that we need to polish on the details. We will continue to work on race pace training, fast high tempo kicking sets and all of the details of the race.
Are they dolphin kicking off the wall with tight streamlines? Are their turns sharp and quick? Is there turns giving them an advantage or disadvantage in the race? Are they gliding into turns and on the finish to their races? Focusing on these details is mentally challenging. These are not new things, but we have had a few swimmers that are struggling with remaining consistant on these issues.
So, even through we may not be swimming as many yards as we once did, it is more important than ever that the yards be swam with as perfect form as possible. As we go into the last few weeks before regionals, and then areas, we will not be "tapering" until the last part of next week.
If your new to swimming... what is "taper"?
Taper is a magical time when you have built up your lactate thresholds, done the hard work, and you want to have a bit of rest before a large meet so that you can swim faster than you have before. In order to taper well, you need to have competed "fatigued" up to this point. This can sometimes mean if your season is going as planned, those mid season meets can sometimes have some time added to them, especially once they are in middle school.
My approach to taper this season is affected by a few factors: #1 young kids under 12 really don't need much to bounce back. They already have so much energy that taper will more that effective if its a few days. #2 Speaking in generalities here, but attendance has been more sporadic than I am use to. I am not upset by this, but it is what it is. I will not be the kind of coach whom is upset when people are missing, I am happy to see you and your children. But without practicing atleast consistantly 3-4 times a week- our older swimmers will likely not benefit from a full taper series. They will just get slower. My goal is for them to swim as fast as they can, and we will run practice to try to get that result. So, we will start Taper next Wednesday for the older swimmers. It will be a very short taper. I will be discussing taper plans with the swimmers tonight, and If swimmers feel they should taper differently I am wanting to discuss that with them. I am ready and willing to individualize taper to each swimmer if that is best.
Now, if your swimmers want to "shave" down for this meet. That is fine.
"Shaving down" means shaving legs, arms, backs, etc. It reduces drag and the top layer of skin. It increases the feel for the water. This is something that is a personal decision between the swimmer and family- it is your call if you want to have your swimmer do it or not. Shaving down is something most swimmers do for their top meets once or twice a year.
Caution on Tech suits...
For those swimmer going to Regionals or Areas, if you wish, you can get a fast suit for those meets. Fast suits are design to shed water, reduce drag, and compress muscle groups in the right manner to help the swimmers get more from their muscles. Up to this point, they were not necessary or recommended. These suits are expensive. Easily $200+ for female suits, men's are a bit less depend on design.
As a parent, it was my position that I would not make that investment up to the point that she was preparing for USA regional and national level meets. This often ment, she was the only swimmer in finals whom did not have those fast suits. I purchased her first fast suit last fall, and she is preparing to go to a USA sectionals meet. The suit did help. I will not mislead you. But, I think it is not something I would not invest in for the majority of our swimmers at this time. Also, the majority of these tech suits are designed to be worn 4-5 times before they lose compression. That makes them even more expensive. And, kids under 11 it should not be a consideration at all, they need to focus on technique and save the fancy suits til they are older.
We have seen people wearing these fast suits at some of our Y meets, but I expect you will see more of that at Areas and Regionals, so I wanted to address it with the parents ahead of time. If you had any desire to have a fast suit, now is the only time that it would be appropriate. It is by no means a requirement or necessary.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!