Every 4-6 months in my team, our coaches are tasked with the goal of revamping our programs by 15-20%. Our goal is to remove the least effective 20% of each part of our program (in-water and dryland) and phase in 20% new methods to ensure our programs do not get stale or boring. This forces us to constantly evaluate our coaching techniques, strokes, race strategies, dryland and overall schedules. It also forces us to be testing out new ideas 2-4 months ahead of time so we have new methods vetted and ready to roll in for next season.
In this article, I will take you through the steps I take for revamping my dryland program for all of my groups.
Right now, my team has an advanced group, an intermediate group, and a very beginner program.
Here are the questions I ask:
- Am I neglecting a specific key muscle chain?
- Am I getting the effort I want out of the swimmers each workout? Why?
- Should I change the format of the workouts throughout the week?
- How do I need to change the target muscle chain for the week?
I ask these questions as a way to know where the weak points are in my schedule, exercises, workouts and overall effort of the group and myself as the coach.
After I answer these questions for one group, I re-prioritize all of the muscle chains. As the swimmers get stronger, I need to ensure that I am meeting their ever-changing needs.
The key is then to take the answers and re-prioritized list and create a new schedule.
From here, you need to start looking at how you write and run the practices. If you write the dryland in the same format each practice, the kids get bored and are less motivated to get through the set. I have learned this the hard way.
There are a TON of different ways to write your set. There are time based stations, rep based stations and athlete rep based stations. Time based stations is where the athletes will be doing that exercise/movement for a set time before switching to another station. Rep based stations is where the athlete has to complete a certain number of reps of the exercise before going to the next station. Athlete rep based stations is where there is a set number of reps that have to be completed for each station, but the first athlete to complete the reps calls ‘switch’ which tells all athletes to rotate stations. From week to week, I try to vary the way I write and present the set.
My Advanced Group Dryland Evaluation
Here are my answers for the questions above based on each group:
For my Advanced Group:
- Am I neglecting a specific key muscle chain? Core, Cardio and Chest
- Am I getting the effort I want out of the swimmers each workout? No, their effort in Cardio is the biggest problem
- Should I change the format of the workouts throughout the week? Most likely
- How do I need to change the target muscle chain for the week? Since the Advanced Group is focusing more on light weighted exercises and bulking the muscles, I should alternate upper and lower body sets per day.
One thing I want to achieve with this schedule, is load one part of the body per day, let those muscles recover the next day. I hope by doing this I can build more muscle because muscle is built with rest and recovery.
Keep reassessing and adding things to your practices to keep you, your swimmers and your team improving.