Monthly Archives: May 2015

Warm Weather, Dehydration and Swimmers


Like many clubs, we have a rule. “No water bottle, no swimming.”

We still allow the ones without water bottles to do dryland for the whole practice (it’s hard!), with trips to the drinking fountain every 15 minutes. But they aren’t getting in the water to swim without a bottle of water or a protein/dextrose solution (8% solution or less to ensure a hydrating benefit).

But last week at practice, something was different. The majority of swimmers were fine, but during warmup my assistant coach and I immediately started to see clear signs of dehydration in a disturbing number of younger swimmers. We soon had some complaining of headaches and leg cramps. We were, of course, telling them to drink. But, I swear that some of them seem to think of drinking as a form of medieval punishment. We ended up going to the swimmers and getting them to drink while we watched.

It was when one of the swimmers complained of a bad headache that we finally found out that there was a school track meet that day, and many of our swimmers were there. It was sunny and fairly hot (for Ontario), and it seems that in all that excitement they drank little all day long. And of course, after getting back from the track meet, they didn’t drink and headed straight to the pool.

Sometimes that’s all it takes. A change in their schedule and they forget to drink. The big problem is that as the weather gets warmer, they’ll get dehydrated more easily. When it gets really hot and humid, even a long walk home from school can create problems. And it’s not just the young, inexperienced swimmers either. One of our top senior swimmers regularly has days in which he slows drastically after about an hour and complains …read more

Source: Rick’s Blog

The Importance of Simple Concepts


I know this is going to sound like new-age jargon, but I can’t emphasize enough the importance of coaching with simple concepts.

This was really brought home to me this year with my volunteer coaching of a very special group of kids. They only train 2 consecutive days a week, 1 hour per day. And only for about 4 months of the year. I had noticed in previous years that specific stroke / body position corrections weren’t being carried over from one week to the next. And that makes sense. 5 straight days of no swimming will do that to anyone.

So this year I tried something completely different. Instead of using specific stroke concepts I boiled the essence of swimming down to a few key ingredients. Flow. Narrow. Quiet. And we would typically only deal with one of those concepts per week.


The idea here is that swimming should feel like natural, like a fish moving through the water. It should involve simple movements that help the swimmer move forward. Anything jerky, or lateral, or rushed should be eliminated. Efficiencies can always be added later, once a basic and simple movement pattern is established.


While this one sounds self-explanatory, it’s often defeated by the swimmer’s body awareness. Their swimming may look like a football lineman rushing the quarterback (or here in Canada I refer to it as a hockey player on a breakaway), their body awareness has them thinking that they’re narrow. This is where video is handy. Just showing them what they look like is often enough to get them swimming more and more narrow.


This is the concept I love the most. Quiet doesn’t refer to not making any external noise. Quiet refers to keeping the stroke simple and quiet in …read more

Source: Rick’s Blog