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ddunbar
September 3rd, 2008, 11:53 AM
Since joining an new group, I have run into an old problem. What to do when the coach has a workout designed that is something that it outside your swimming goals?

We are focused on Backstroke this week. Since it is highly unlikely that I will ever compete in Satan's stroke in an individual event other than surviving 25 to 50 yards/meters on a 200 IM, but I intend to compete in breast stroke, is it wrong to opt out and swim breastroke?

I opted out and swam breaststroke, working drills where drills were written, kicking where kicking was planned, and hammering the sprints when it was time to sprint.

Since I have aged up four brackets and will now compete in the 50-54 bracket, there are probably a finite number of swims that I have. I would rather focus on breaststroke where I am motivated and don't mind chasing the backstroke intervals.

Thoughts?

Don

ande
September 3rd, 2008, 12:04 PM
it's masters
Do what you want to do
just don't get in the way of others in your lane.


Since joining an new group, I have run into an old problem. What to do when the coach has a workout designed that is something that it outside your swimming goals?

We are focused on Backstroke this week. Since it is highly unlikely that I will ever compete in Satan's stroke in an individual event other than surviving 25 to 50 yards/meters on a 200 IM, but I intend to compete in breast stroke, is it wrong to opt out and swim breastroke?

I opted out and swam breaststroke, working drills where drills were written, kicking where kicking was planned, and hammering the sprints when it was time to sprint.

Since I have aged up four brackets and will now compete in the 50-54 bracket, there are probably a finite number of swims that I have. I would rather focus on breaststroke where I am motivated and don't mind chasing the backstroke intervals.

Thoughts?

Don

aquageek
September 3rd, 2008, 12:06 PM
It is not wrong to opt out and do your own thing as long as you are not disrupting your lane mates. But, what's the harm? It's only a week. I strongly believe that swimming all three strokes has a positive overall impact. Breastroke is not a swimming stroke, it is noodling without the noodle.

poolraat
September 3rd, 2008, 12:56 PM
Breastroke is not a swimming stroke, it is noodling without the noodle.

I knew eventually I'd find something about you I liked. :thhbbb:

quicksilver
September 3rd, 2008, 12:57 PM
. Since it is highly unlikely that I will ever compete in Satan's stroke in an individual event other than surviving 25 to 50 yards/meters on a 200 IM, but I intend to compete in breast stroke, is it wrong to opt out and swim breastroke?


Thoughts?

Don

Not at all.
Tell your coach that it's not your thing, and that you have more fun and a greater challenge trying to keep up breaststroke.


BTW, I always thought that breaststroke was the evil one.

Midas
September 3rd, 2008, 01:44 PM
Any stroke where you can't see where you're going is truly the evil one.

As far as I see it, the four strokes are breaststroke, freestyle, butterfly and warmdown.

:mooning:

pwolf66
September 3rd, 2008, 01:47 PM
Any stroke where you can't see where you're going is truly the evil one.

As far as I see it, the four strokes are breaststroke, freestyle, butterfly and warmdown.

:mooning:

Um, Midas, if you can see where you are going in freestyle then you are doing it WRONG!!!!! :mooning:

My four strokes are sprint, sprint, <cough><cough> and warmdown.

imspoiled
September 3rd, 2008, 02:14 PM
I agree with Ande and Geek (although I worry when that happens).

It's master's, so you have the freedom to modify workouts as needed. Just don't let your modified workout interfere with those swimming the actual workout.

At the same time, what harm will it do to stick with it for the week? It sounds like you do swim IM on occasion, so doing some backstroke in practice will benefit those swims. You may even find you like the change of scenery!

That Guy
September 3rd, 2008, 02:20 PM
My four strokes are sprint, sprint, <cough><cough> and warmdown.

Your doctor gives physicals in the pool? Do you pay extra for that?

ddunbar
September 3rd, 2008, 02:25 PM
It is not wrong to opt out and do your own thing as long as you are not disrupting your lane mates. But, what's the harm? It's only a week. I strongly believe that swimming all three strokes has a positive overall impact. Breastroke is not a swimming stroke, it is noodling without the noodle.

Noodle this one - :roids: 3 x 300 breaststroke - descend each 300 by 100s and descend the set- LCM

ddunbar
September 3rd, 2008, 02:32 PM
I try to be sure I am in a lane that is about the same speed when I do change to breaststroke.

Kicking is one thing where there seems to be such an emphasis on fins that it is hard for us breaststroke folks to keep up. I do get out of the way when the guys put the fins on for kick sets. I will do fly kicks with fins, but after one sprint 50 free kick hard - the tank is empty.

Re: Scenery - when you wear bifocals, the scenery is all the same - blurry, which doesn't enhance the controlled drowning which is my backstroke.

aquageek
September 3rd, 2008, 02:45 PM
Noodle this one - :roids: 3 x 300 breaststroke - descend each 300 by 100s and descend the set- LCM

I'll write this on the white board at the pool for the 9 am noddlers, many thanks.

ande
September 3rd, 2008, 04:59 PM
I want to add, you always want to respect the coach
have a talk after practice or send an email or a text
so they understand
be appreciative

it's a bad idea to mutiny, even worse take a group of swimmers with you
I saw a swimmer get kicked off the team for this

be low key
be nice

explain your reasons in advance
1) I'm injured and I can't ...
2) I'm tapering ...
3) I have to leave early because ...
4) I'm focusing on speed and strength and don't want to do any training that will break me down
5) ...

Kurt Dickson
September 3rd, 2008, 11:34 PM
...or you could throw a fit, take you and your entire carpool (which includes the team's only 5 national qualifiers) to another team, and have your family blamed for ruining the team the next 5 years (my brother did it once--kinda ugly scene).

Part of me says just suck it up and do what everybody else is doing and another part says life's too short--explain your problem and if a solution can't be reached, walk.

david.margrave
September 4th, 2008, 04:56 AM
i agree with ande
do what you want
as long as you don't get in the way
of others in your lane


Having said that, you may decide as I did to shop around a bit and find a place where the coaching style is more to your liking. The group I'm with now is flexible. They will work us as hard as we feel like, and don't mind if you want to do your own thing towards the end, especially after a number of people have gotten out early and some space has opened up.

Recently when preparing for the 100 fly, I would disregard the last 20-30 minutes or so of the workout and just do a lot of butterfly, 50s and eventually 100s. At least for me, butterfly is something I have to practice regularly to even be able to complete a 100, and the normal workout of the day may or may not include much butterfly.

norascats
September 4th, 2008, 09:31 AM
I had this experience this summer with breast stroke. My old lady breast stroke was slow and weak. No wonder I didn't want to swim it in public! I just sucked it up and did the drills. I did the stroke and kept working on it. My first workout, I hed to stop early because my back hurt. Now I can get through with the slower group. My stroke has improved, and I am more comfortable with it.
I am still a flutter kicker, the whip kick does not feel natural to me, but it is better than early in the summer when I started.
Now we have to go indoors and back to the 25yard pool. Nor I have to address the dreaded flip turn.

art_z
September 4th, 2008, 09:46 AM
Any stroke where you can't see where you're going is truly the evil one.

As far as I see it, the four strokes are breaststroke, freestyle, butterfly and warmdown.

:mooning:

any stroke that lets you see your splits at the 50 off the turn is ok by me! :)

ddunbar
September 4th, 2008, 10:38 AM
I want to add, you always want to respect the coach
have a talk after practice or send an email or a text
so they understand
be appreciative

it's a bad idea to mutiny, even worse take a group of swimmers with you
I saw a swimmer get kicked off the team for this

be low key
be nice

explain your reasons in advance
1) I'm injured and I can't ...
2) I'm tapering ...
3) I have to leave early because ...
4) I'm focusing on speed and strength and don't want to do any training that will break me down
5) ...

I did swim the drills & sets breast stroke and accomodated the speed of my lane mates. Although there were a few friendly comments from the lanes about my challenging the coach, I believe it was all in good intent.

I also emailed the coach after the practice and discussed my goals. I last competed in the 30-34 bracket at our SCY zone meet in 93. I am back in the water and in the 50-55 bracket. There are a finite number of swims I will probably do. If & when I do compete will revolve around a schedule that includes getting the daughter through her senior year, serving on the church vestry, and getting 1200 plus boy scouts through a service program each year.

Competition will be where I left off, in the 50, 100, and 200 Breast. I figure that I will spend quality time in purgatory swimming backstroke and doing calculus problems to atone for my sins.

Blackbeard's Peg
September 4th, 2008, 11:17 AM
Since joining an new group, I have run into an old problem. What to do when the coach has a workout designed that is something that it outside your swimming goals?

We are focused on Backstroke this week. Since it is highly unlikely that I will ever compete in Satan's stroke in an individual event other than surviving 25 to 50 yards/meters on a 200 IM, but I intend to compete in breast stroke, is it wrong to opt out and swim breastroke?


Great thread/topic, Don.

I don't find it wrong to opt out of something at all, and looks like you make it work with the intervals and kept up with your workout group. Every set has its benefits, but if you're bored w/ or physically can't do something, by all means, improvise. When I had a knee injury last year, I swam every workout from Oct-Dec w/ a buoy, substituted backstroke and free for all breaststroke until November, and was doing breast w/ dolphin kick from then until March. Like folks have already mentioned, it is masters and you can do (and you DID do) whatever you want.

But what I would like to also point out that for those who focus on one discipline, it does not hurt to every once in a while work on other things and the strokes you're not good at. If nothing else, it works more muscles, relieves some of the repetitive stress on your shoulders and gives you a more complete workout. An example - think of a distance/ow swimmer who does 5x5000y workouts in a week and only 200 of it is not freestyle. That is a RC issue waiting to happen.

Blackbeard's Peg
September 4th, 2008, 11:29 AM
Since joining an new group, I have run into an old problem. What to do when the coach has a workout designed that is something that it outside your swimming goals?

And to address this separately... It doesn't seem like you (Don) have a larger problem, but for those who do...

If your coach does not know your goals, it is hard for he/she to write workouts you'll like. Also, everyone on your team has different goals, and as long as you are not being flat out ignored, keep that in mind. Not every workout is going to be geared to you, but the overall picture probably is.

Some thoughts if you are ready for help... Start by ponying up some $$ a private 30 minute session so they can focus on you alone for a diagnosis. Talk about your background, what you like/don't like about their workouts, and work together to set some intermediate and long term goals. Ask for some new drills, and be proactive during practices. Ask questions. Follow up with other private sessions. Get video instruction. Attend professional clinics.

Every coach has a different background, mentality, and intensity - find the parts of each you like, and help your coach bring those out to help you swim better!

elise526
September 4th, 2008, 12:44 PM
If you want to be coached, I think it best to go along with the workout unless you have an injury that keeps you from doing what the coach suggests. Lots of top coaches have their freestylers train some backstroke as they believe it helps the swimmer's freestyle, so don't assume that it is a waste of time to train it, even if you don't race backstroke individually. Also, if it is a weak stroke for you, working it can only improve your I.M.

You could also privately suggest to the coach that when he/she wants the group doing non-freestyle sets perhaps he/she could make it non-free choice. A masters swimmer's time is limited so it is understandable why you would not want to waste time doing something you believe will not help you. Again, privately make suggestions to the coach as communicating is better than not saying anything at all. You may not be the only one that feels the way you do and good coaches usually appreciate feedback.

And finally, many masters swimmers are very independent and are happier training on their own. This enables them to do what they want when they want. Many masters swimmers swim several workouts a week on their own and then once a week, jump into the group practice to get a push. If you want to know what the group is going to be doing before you show up, try to contact the coach in advance to find out.

Happy waves!:)

Allen Stark
September 7th, 2008, 05:54 PM
One coach I respect said"It's Masters Swimming,listen intently to the coach,then do what you want to."

swimshark
September 8th, 2008, 07:51 AM
If you want to be coached, I think it best to go along with the workout unless you have an injury that keeps you from doing what the coach suggests. Lots of top coaches have their freestylers train some backstroke as they believe it helps the swimmer's freestyle, so don't assume that it is a waste of time to train it, even if you don't race backstroke individually. Also, if it is a weak stroke for you, working it can only improve your I.M.


I agree. I'm not a backstroker by any means but I do it since it improves my feel in the water. I don't think any drills are harmful so why not do them?

nkfrench
September 8th, 2008, 09:57 PM
My 2c. I'd say go ahead and do the workout as it was given unless you have a compelling reason (eg: injury, safety, interfering with other's workouts, set beyond current ability).

Good coaches are hard to find and many times they are in it for the satisfaction of improving the swimmers and being appreciated. I think it is demoralizing for a coach to go to time and effort designing a workout only to have swimmers blow it off to the detriment of their training. Negotiating every set wears them down too. If you have confidence in your coach's ability and you've discussed your goals and his philosophy, then do what he says.

It's more fair to the other swimmers too. Part of why people swim on a team is so they have teammates to train with, not just share a lane with. It's frustrating to be given a set you can beat people at only to have them bail or cheat on it.

Doug Adamavich
September 9th, 2008, 10:39 AM
Grumble and do what I am told.

I reckon the coach has more experience than me. And in most cases, they do since they swam at a higher level (Olympics, NCAA Division I, etc.) than I did.

Suck it up and be a man about it I say, even if it hurts a bit (a bunch?).

Big AL
September 10th, 2008, 08:41 PM
Do what you want... it is Masters.

As I often do in workout... I "take the option", which is usually more freestyle pulling, and less of everything else... pull free during IM sets... pull free during kick sets... whatever.

Masters is about having fun... so do what you need to keep coming back.

If your goal is to get faster, then adapt where/when you can.

The Fortress
September 10th, 2008, 09:09 PM
Do what you want... it is Masters.

As I often do in workout... I "take the option", which is usually more freestyle pulling, and less of everything else... pull free during IM sets... pull free during kick sets... whatever.

Masters is about having fun... so do what you need to keep coming back.

If your goal is to get faster, then adapt where/when you can.

Couldn't agree more. I often follow the workout, and often don't. I never pull, so ignore all pulling sets. I do backstroke on freestyle sets sometimes. I swim with fins. We have people that do all freestyle. If you're not disrupting your lane or the practice, what's the big deal? (That said, I do my low yardage, anaerobic sprint or SDK type workouts solo. That would be too disruptive to do with the team.)

A few weeks ago, a lane mate asked me what I was doing on x set. I said, "I think I'll do the set." He said, "Well, aren't you miss goody two shoes." Most swimmers seem to adapt as they need to or prefer based on stroke preferences, injuries, meets coming up, etc. No one "disgrees" with or "negotiates" with the coach. We just do what we need to. The only thing frowned on is excess whining, whimpiness or loafing.

BobS
September 12th, 2008, 09:53 AM
Grin and bear it, I guess. My four strokes are Fly, Back, B(ob's)reststroke, and Free.

the17thman
September 14th, 2008, 05:34 PM
Rule number one is to respect the coach. You may have one goal in your mind but he/she has the long term view for everyone in the pool. With that said most coaches will allow swimmers to swim one stroke in place of another as long as it doesn't disrupt the other swimmers and as long as you can make the intervals. Also once the coach allows the swimmer to change the stroke or intervals that swimmer must make sure all his lane mates are willing to work with these changes.

For those who say this is masters do what you want, umm...that is what lap swims are for. My belief is that I'm paying my dues every month to have coached workouts. I might not understand why I'm doing this set today but down the line I hope I have gained something from it. After four years of masters swimming I'm just beginning to understand why I've been doing certain sets and thank the god I just shut up and did them all those swims.

Slowswim
September 14th, 2008, 07:01 PM
As long as I don't think I'll be "permanantly" injured. I obey her (okay that was freak some of out ;) seiously, I know me better but she knows swimming way more than I do...even though I had 3 PBs at the Terrapin Cup :rolleyes:.

ddunbar
September 14th, 2008, 07:12 PM
I started the thread as we were into a week of backstroke drills. I last swam a competitive 100 backstroke about the same year my current masters coach was born. I have not felt the need or desire to swim backstroke other than in an IM since. Swimming back drills is not likely to improve my breast stroke or my fly, the events that I will swim.

The majority of my swimming career there were posted work outs. Not only were they posted, but at least half of the time they were split into training groups (sprinters, stroke, mid-distance, distance) with specific sets for each training group. The coach had copies of each and would watch specific sets in specific lanes, offering advice and encouragement as needed. We knew what came next, and which sets we were expected to hit the hardest.

Now it seems that we are to be kept in the dark and not allowed to know what the next set will be. Some of us have been swimming a sufficient period of time to know that we would probably get more from a set of 3 x 200 stroke descend than a surprise timed 1000 free.

I would like coaches to realize that we are not all either IMers or there to swim free. Some of us are there to focus on training a particular stroke.

I do enjoy working out in a group, with some one else pushing, keeping us honest on the intervals and to offer critique and encouragement. I enjoy chasing backstrokers on stroke sets.

Just want to have the chance to work on what I know I need to work on.

some_girl
September 14th, 2008, 07:50 PM
I started the thread as we were into a week of backstroke drills. I last swam a competitive 100 backstroke about the same year my current masters coach was born. I have not felt the need or desire to swim backstroke other than in an IM since. Swimming back drills is not likely to improve my breast stroke or my fly, the events that I will swim.

The majority of my swimming career there were posted work outs. Not only were they posted, but at least half of the time they were split into training groups (sprinters, stroke, mid-distance, distance) with specific sets for each training group. The coach had copies of each and would watch specific sets in specific lanes, offering advice and encouragement as needed. We knew what came next, and which sets we were expected to hit the hardest.

Now it seems that we are to be kept in the dark and not allowed to know what the next set will be. Some of us have been swimming a sufficient period of time to know that we would probably get more from a set of 3 x 200 stroke descend than a surprise timed 1000 free.

I would like coaches to realize that we are not all either IMers or there to swim free. Some of us are there to focus on training a particular stroke.

I do enjoy working out in a group, with some one else pushing, keeping us honest on the intervals and to offer critique and encouragement. I enjoy chasing backstrokers on stroke sets.

Just want to have the chance to work on what I know I need to work on.

Right, but part of the trade off of having the group is sometimes doing what you don't want to do because it is important to the other people in your group. I hate IM sets, and yeah sometimes I whine about them (though I am getting better at not doing that), but I would never say we should not do them--what about the IMers? I would rather put pins in my eyes than race a 4IM, but some of my besties are 4IMers, so I try to think of them as I suffer through.

Masters seems to have fewer coaches and fewer lanes per swimmer than age group or college teams, so you can't have all your training groups broken out. Oh well. Do your best. And if you need some extra breastroke, swim alone or talk to your coaches about doing more stroke choice sets.

That rant off my chest, what you choose to do when you don't like a set seems like it is a question of team atmosphere as much as anything else. Some teams are okay with people going nuts and doing whatever as long as people who want to swim the set as assigned are not impeded; others have a culture where barring injury you are expected to do the set as it is given or get out and be mocked by your teammates for wussiness. I've swam with both kinds, but I do swim on and prefer the latter. I like that everyone gets to have a set they are good at sometimes and get to watch people who cream them suffer. Every fly set we have, I get to remind myself it is hurting the nonflyers so much more. And then IM comes and I go at the end and someone else gets to feel awesome. To me, that is team in a way I really enjoy.

And lately we've been getting to split into distance and sprint once a week--because we asked. We showed we respected our coaches and their training and so they listened and now, instead of making up things to fit around the sets, we get the workouts we want. To me that is the better option. But if not, I could always swim on another team or alone.

geochuck
September 14th, 2008, 08:15 PM
I know my own body, I do not work out with a club, I will not swim breast stroke. I will do arms only breaststroke. I will not swim backstroke, I will kick on my back. I will not swim more then 50 fly at one time.
I will not do drill workouts.

I like doing my own thing. I am better to swim alone. This may be the reason I have not raced in 10 years. Almost raced in Mt Hood but ended up I did not.

I like to swim until I am in shape to workout hard, a swim coach would want me to swim hard too soon.