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Warren
November 10th, 2006, 10:18 AM
The question from the lastest episode of deckpass http://www.deckpass.com/. Does the coach make the swimmer or does the swimmer make the coach? lets hear some disscusion on this.

SolarEnergy
November 10th, 2006, 10:30 AM
The question from the lastest episode of deckpass http://www.deckpass.com/. Does the coach make the swimmer or does the swimmer make the coach? lets hear some disscusion on this. Talented swimmers make better coaches, which in turn try to help less talented swimmers.

At least it's been the case as far as I'm concerned (as a coach).

KaizenSwimmer
November 10th, 2006, 10:35 AM
My experience has been the same as Solar's. I've learned far more when fortunate to work with highly talented swimmers than any other way. I then tried to apply what I observed to the benefit of less talented swimmers.

The Fortress
November 10th, 2006, 10:53 AM
I think you coaches are being too modest.

When I started masters swimming, I swam unattached with an informal lunchtime group coached by a young, enthusiastic former olympic trialist who was a master technician who loved TI. I hadn't swum in years and he overhauled my old school strokes and helped me remember how to swim. I feel like I owe him a lot and I will always remember his technical advice. I do his drills to this day.

He has moved on now, and I have joined a team. We have what Terry calls a "Ready Go" coach. But she knows her stuff (ex-Canadian Olympian -- there are so many of you here on this site) and cheers us on. And I sure get better workouts in with a real team. My teammates also give great advice.

TRYM_Swimmer
November 10th, 2006, 11:57 AM
From my experience, it's the coach to a great degree. And part of what makes a good coach is finding the good raw material. I was sent to the YMCA in York, PA (1954) just to learn how to swim. After a couple of months of progressing through several levels, not extremely quickly, as I remember, I was asked to participate in their intramural fall league. This was pretty informal with no workouts outside of the lessons. After two years of that I was invited to join the team. We were in a Mid-Atlantic Y league and also participated in Mid-Atl AAU meets. The coaches were John DeBarbadillo, who was a leader in National YMCA swimming for years, and Bill Schmidt, a former competitor of Doc Councilman. At the time, Councilman was fairly unknown, but they knew him and were up-to-date on his stroke techniques and training methods. So for about a 10 year period, both at the high school and YMCA levels, we ruled the state. Then, as others picked up the methods, the playing field became more level and we were just another good program among others of the same level. I don't think we were better athletes than the others; we just had superior training and instruction.

Referencing another active thread, many of the team members became instructors while in high school and John and Bill were definitely into the hands-on, in the water with the students methods. We were not allowed to wear anything but a swimsuit as instructors and were probably in the water more than we were out.

KaizenSwimmer
November 10th, 2006, 12:04 PM
There's absolutely no question that a talented coach is a transformational individual. They make things happen wherever they are and in locales where previous coaches have produced ordinary results.

But it's no less true that such coaches are also smart enough to be open to the learning opportunity when working with a really talented swimmer.

The Fortress
November 10th, 2006, 12:10 PM
Terry:

How do you know if you've got a really talented swimmer?

It seems like I know some coaches who look for the "feel" or a certain physique and others who look for great athletes and, through technique work, transform them into talented swimmers.

swimmieAvsFan
November 10th, 2006, 01:17 PM
From my experience, it's the coach to a great degree. And part of what makes a good coach is finding the good raw material. I was sent to the YMCA in York, PA (1954) just to learn how to swim. After a couple of months of progressing through several levels, not extremely quickly, as I remember, I was asked to participate in their intramural fall league. This was pretty informal with no workouts outside of the lessons. After two years of that I was invited to join the team. We were in a Mid-Atlantic Y league and also participated in Mid-Atl AAU meets. The coaches were John DeBarbadillo, who was a leader in National YMCA swimming for years, and Bill Schmidt, a former competitor of Doc Councilman. At the time, Councilman was fairly unknown, but they knew him and were up-to-date on his stroke techniques and training methods. So for about a 10 year period, both at the high school and YMCA levels, we ruled the state. Then, as others picked up the methods, the playing field became more level and we were just another good program among others of the same level. I don't think we were better athletes than the others; we just had superior training and instruction.

Referencing another active thread, many of the team members became instructors while in high school and John and Bill were definitely into the hands-on, in the water with the students methods. We were not allowed to wear anything but a swimsuit as instructors and were probably in the water more than we were out.

yeah you guys sure did rule the state!!! not that i remember first hand, but my high school coach was one of bill's swimmers in both high school and age group in the late 60's/early 70's. bill was awesome- he always had the best advice for my coach to give to me, and always checked up on my progress in Y swimming (i swam for West Shore Y in harrisburg). and one year, he and my high school coach came up with the most minor stroke correction, but it made a huge difference in my times and i won both the 100 and 200 free at high school districts. and i managed to get both bill and my coach to give me my gold medals. it wasn't too many years after that when bill passed on. :(
i felt very lucky to have been coached by someone who grew up under his coaching philosphies.
and it's nice to know that there's other people out there that still remember bill.
:)

so to me, i think you need a smart coach and a swimmer who has at least some natural talent.

islandsox
November 10th, 2006, 01:31 PM
Speaking from experience, I have to say the coach if the coach is one who understands the mechanics of swimming, and I had two of these. Then, the swimmer with talent could blossom. I did not get much from my masters coaches with the exception of one who was a backstroker also. More or less, my masters coaches were there to keep our strokes in line, keep our efforts up, and physically and spiritually encourage us to push the envelope. And, I do very much appreciate my masters coaches, but I had the good fortune of getting two great coaches early on.

And to answer one other's question here to Terry about how you can spot a talented swimmer: It isn't just because they may appear fast, it is how they glide through the water making it look effortless (body balance, body position, etc.) and then also get to the wall more quickly than others. They seem to be totally in tune with water and how it's displaced as they motor onward. And they usually seem to have a large stroke rotation underwater. I can watch these people all day long.

Donna

Rob Nasser
November 10th, 2006, 01:59 PM
I am not sure I agree with some folks here...

I think the best coaches are not necessarily the most talented swimmers. In many cases (not all), these swimmers get by on talent and not necessarily on learning the best appraoches/strategies. Finding the most efficient stroke or newest technological advance doesn't interest them often because they can still stay ahead of the pack by doing what works for them - why change? I have seen this in several examples. None of which are worth naming here.. An example of coaches who excel by not being talented swimmers in a previous life - Skip Kenney. There are a lot of others.. Former "mediocre" DII/DIII swimmers who weren't world-beaters, but have gone on to become tremendous coaches.

Warren
November 10th, 2006, 02:00 PM
A coach can't be great without a great swimmer. Perfect exalmple is Ian Croker. If you have seen Unfiltered you know that early on in his carrer he trained in a pool with broken lane lines and faded lines on the bottom. There is probable no one else on earth that could have been on that team and become that good.

I believe that every one is born with a certain amount of potential. It is the coaches job to make the most of that potential. Some swimmers reach their maximum easier than others.

When a swimmer comes along with great potential its takes a great coach to make them a great swimmer. But I think a swimmer can still become very good with just a good coach. A great coach can make bad swimmers medicre, and mediocre swimmers good. But a great coach can't just make anyone a great swimmer, they need someone with great potential to do it, thats why I think it is a swimmer that makes the coach.

SolarEnergy
November 10th, 2006, 02:29 PM
Terry:

How do you know if you've got a really talented swimmer?

It seems like I know some coaches who look for the "feel" or a certain physique and others who look for great athletes and, through technique work, transform them into talented swimmers. A 15yo guy in our squad, 51.6 over 100 freestyle, warms up on a 1:20/pace 14 stroke per 25m, swims tall.

Could perform, euh well in fact, he used to perform all his 100 races no goggles even short course. He could do it with eyes closed. Just by feeling how he was swimming, he could guess how far he would be from the wall.

Used to try to explain me that as soon as he cuts his fingernails, he'd loose enough of this feeling to screw a race up.

I never understood this particular fingernail thing, but fortunately for me, I did manage to understand a lot of concepts he taught me. This guy was alone in his camp. While all the others (seniors) were forced to 9-11 sessions per week, he had a special permission for only 5 (week days only). While the others were forced to do a lot of LSD volume, he'd get special permissions to lower the volume. Without knowing it, or having read it in theory books, he was advocating low volume high quality training, against all odds (in our team at least).

I was just a little assistant coach back then, with no credibility to loose. So I used to listen to his discoveries and smart kid's theories without arguing. It was absolutely fascinating. I remember him telling me that he'd have difficulty swimming a 100m sprint over 1 minute. That even when trying to slow down, his trials were always under the minute. 100m

That's just an example.

The Fortress
November 10th, 2006, 02:38 PM
Solar:

This is what I thought too. I've heard of people talk about innate pace clocks and feel. I, unfortunately, do not have an innate pace clock. But I'm a whimpy sprinter, so I'm going to worry about other things.

But I have also seen some great athletes, who have participated in multiple sports (even those hand/eye coordination sports), really excel in the pool too. I have also heard a coach (non-swimming, admittedly) comment that he would rather have a "great athlete" with "zee passion" on his team than someone who had pre-existing skills but not "zee passion." (This is how he said it, not me.)

SolarEnergy
November 10th, 2006, 02:51 PM
I, unfortunately, do not have an innate pace clock. But I'm a whimpy sprinter, so I'm going to worry about other things. That makes sense. And really, I didn't learn how to flip without looking from this kid.

I think that what I learned the most from him, was the importance of balance and being hydrodynamic. Hard to imagine how these guys swim. Try to picture a guy swimming tall but very very relaxed, almost catchup like freestyle. It doesn't even look that fast you know, just long steady distance pace. But you look at the clock, he is on a 1:15/100m pace.

The big question that must come to your mind as a coach is : what about the energy expenditure to swim 17:30 over 1500 for this kid? Probably the same for me to swim 21min.

But Fortress. The balance. This guy was swimming with heels very close to the surface, a very light two beat kick (almost nothing) and yet, the whole body at the surface. Virtually no frontal resistance.

Though it's very far, talking late '80s here, I must have developped my sensor concept by looking at these half-fishes. Our body is covered with sensors. Swimming involves using those sensors to :
- Detect any frontal resistance caused by any limb
- ** important ** detect any variation in speed (acceleration/deceleration) within a swim cycle (2 strokes)

Fortress: What is "Zee"?

SolarEnergy
November 10th, 2006, 03:07 PM
My experience has been the same as Solar's. I've learned far more when fortunate to work with highly talented swimmers than any other way. I then tried to apply what I observed to the benefit of less talented swimmers. In swimming? Pfff. No doubt in my mind. Swimmers are probably a decade ahead of scientific evidence.

The Fortress
November 10th, 2006, 03:09 PM
Solar:

That was his accent. A soccer coach.
"Zee" was for "the" as in "the passion."

SolarEnergy
November 10th, 2006, 03:30 PM
Solar:
That was his accent. A soccer coach.
"Zee" was for "the" as in "the passion." With life becoming increasingly difficult, the futur belongs to kids with "Zee" passion.

dorianblade
November 10th, 2006, 03:44 PM
A 15yo guy in our squad, 51.6 over 100 freestyle, warms up on a 1:20/pace 14 stroke per 25m, swims tall.

I'm sorry but i'm having trouble believing a 15 year old kid in your squad is doing 100 freestyle in just little over 3 seconds from the world record.

KaizenSwimmer
November 10th, 2006, 04:13 PM
I gather from the post that he's referencing SCM on the 51+ 100m, not LCM.
How to tell a talented swimmer? They have a magic touch with the water. They learn things faster than anyone else. They have a better physique.

And then there's the "rage to master" seen in young musical, chess or math prodigies. They practice hours a day with no prompting. We have such a kid on our age group team right now. Only 7 years old. Developed precocious form in all four strokes during his first year on the team -- as a 6 year old. Reads everything he can get his hands on about swimming. Has committed all the team and LSC 8 and U, 10 and U records to memory and is plotting his course to them. No one is pushing or prompting this behavior. It leaves his mother bemused.

SolarEnergy
November 10th, 2006, 04:49 PM
I gather from the post that he's referencing SCM on the 51+ 100m, not LCM.
How to tell a talented swimmer? They have a magic touch with the water. They learn things faster than anyone else. They have a better physique.

And then there's the "rage to master" seen in young musical, chess or math prodigies. They practice hours a day with no prompting. We have such a kid on our age group team right now. Only 7 years old. Developed precocious form in all four strokes during his first year on the team -- as a 6 year old. Reads everything he can get his hands on about swimming. Has committed all the team and LSC 8 and U, 10 and U records to memory and is plotting his course to them. No one is pushing or prompting this behavior. It leaves his mother bemused. 51.6 short course, 52.9 long course. At age 15, he was competing at world level in youth competitions, and national (Canadian) level with seniors.

I was trying to find a proof on the net. I thought maybe provincial records for this age group? It was beaten recently by Yannick Lupien... 51.14
Yannick Lupien was a member of the Canadian 4x100 free Relay that finished in second place at the worlds in 2005, after the US team, before the Aussies and the South Africans.
http://www.fnq.qc.ca/gars15-17.html