issue #12, november 27, 2018
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the wake-up swim

thoughts on swimming, coaching, and more from ryan woodruff
This is the stunning Bronte Rocks pool in Australia. Add this one to the bucket list! See more in this amazing YouTube video of this pool.  Photo credit: @ignaciofort.
“It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand"
- Apache proverb
  As I like to tell my swimmers, I was born in Missouri - the “Show Me State". The origins of that nickname are sometimes ascribed to Congressman Willard Vandiver who, in 1899, declared that "...frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri, and you have got to show me."   Maybe it is just a coincidence, but I have a low tolerance for people who talk about what they are going to do and then fail to take the steps to make it happen. The world is so full of chatter that true men and women of action have a decided advantage. This is part of what makes our sport so valuable -- swimmers learn that action is the ONLY way to achieve. Discussion and setting goals are part of the process, but unless one puts in the effort, it is all just bluster. “Are you motivated to do what it takes? Show me!” -RW
loosening up
  • Last week I linked to the article How an Olympic Legend Handles Getting Cut from a Relay. This week, Anthony Ervin (the Olympic legend mentioned) tweeted “This situation was far more challenging and nuanced...” than what was written in the article.  He went on to thank Mike Bottom, Dave Marsh, and Nathan Adrian for their leadership in the situation.  A fascinating reminder that human beings are complex, and as much as we might want to tie things up in a nice story, it's not always so simple. Hats off to Mr Ervin for his candor.
  • The article I wish I had written: "Advice I Wish I Knew in the Beginning" by Adam Ringler. Though his experience is as a strength and conditioning coach, his advice is worthwhile reading for swim coaches.
  • Practice Planning Mistakes by Paul Yetter.  I forwarded this article to my whole coaching staff and encouraged them to do a little self-evaluation based on Yetter's conclusions.
  • "How to Automate a Habit and Never Think About It Again" by James Clear got me thinking about the environment I create for my swimmers and whether I can do more to encourage the habits that they really need to change. It also got me thinking about my own bad habits. Which led me to...
  • Great Team Leaders Should Outlaw Saying "Good Job"
  • This presentation from Steve Morsilli (this is an adobe connect presentation) answers one of the most common questions/complaints I hear - "How do I run practice when there are too many kids in the pool?" Here are his slides.
articles for swim parents
I neglected to include my weekly parent article last week.  Here it is, plus a bonus:
Workout of the Week
(a set or workout not published elsewhere)

I like to challenge our swimmers by having them use a variety of energy systems in a single practice or set.  This IM set kept that in mind and demanded that they stay focused at length.  We did this set in a SCM pool. The IM swims were slightly broken up ("IMO" = IM order) with some freestyle that allowed them some variety.  The 75s kick were "FPA" (Fastest Possible Average) and they did either 5 x 75 or 4 x 75 depending on whether they were on the A or B interval for the IM set.  HVO (High Velocity Overloads, from Sweetenham) are essentially dive 25s at 100 race pace. The *pause* was around 1:00 each time, and allowed us to get everyone to the start end of the pool and to line up in appropriate racing heats.  The last round went especially well, with a few swimmers hitting their fastest-ever practice 200 IM times plus fast 75s kick and still hitting P100 on the HVOs.
videos of the week
This is an impressive backstroke start progression performed by British Olympian Georgia Davies, posted by @_jamesgibson_

2. It's been a few months since his latest WR performance, but it's still impressive to watch Adam Peaty swim the 100 breast like nobody ever before. I watched this over and over at least a half-dozen times.
favorite stuff from the blog (& around the web)
  • This past week my team was without our usual space for dryland, so we did a bit of dryland during swim practice as part of this Swim-Dryland Hybrid Set.
  • Sometimes the best sets aren't the hardest but the ones that finish with a sense of accomplishment without asking swimmers to totally empty the tank. The Fly 75s set turned out to be just that kind of set.
  • Check out 3 sets from Don Swartz and Ken DeMont.  Some good ideas here.
  • Try the Armada I.M. Set if you are looking for a good challenge for your 400 IMers.
  • If your team has a good workout over Christmas break, maybe they can earn a little Slot Water Polo time.
  • The "N Set" is an interesting twist that is worth a try.
  • If your swimmers hate burpees, use that to motivate them with the Burpee Avoidance Set.
Only a few days left to get the BOGO 30% off deal using the code SMARTCYBER2 at SwimSmart.
this week's bit of coaching inspiration
"Leaders don't complain. They share a vision. They inspire with optimism. They focus on solutions. If you're complaining, you're not leading.
-Jon Gordon
(I love this quote because it is a good reminder for me. -RW)
That's all for issue #12. If you are new to this email and want to subscribe, click here.  Has the blog or this e-mail helped you in your coaching? Please send any comments or suggestions to
Thank you for reading,

Countdown to Tokyo: 605 days

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Copyright © 2018 Ryan Woodruff, All rights reserved.

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Ryan Woodruff · 801 Wyndhurst Drive · Lynchburg, VA 24502 · USA

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