issue #44, July 9, 2019

View this email in your browser
the wake-up swim

thoughts on swimming, coaching, and more from ryan woodruff
This beautiful pool is at the Berkeley City Club in Berkeley, California. It was built in 1930 by renowned pool architect and UC Berkeley grad Julia Morgan. Photo credit: @mariejoelleparent

There is nothing permanent except change.


You might win some, you might lose some. But you go in, you challenge yourself, you become a better man, a better individual, a better fighter.
Read more at:"
You might win some, you might lose some. But you go in, you challenge yourself, you become a better man, a better individual, a better fighter.
Read more at: Waldo EmersonYou jYou
 I spend most of my summer Monday evenings on the pool deck at summer league meets, watching my three children swim for the team that my wife coaches. This is swimming at its grassroots level -- for most kids this is their introduction to competitive swimming, and Lynchburg has a strong 12-team league.  In many respects, this is swimming at its purest -- and the enthusiasm from parents and swimmers is obvious.
 Occasionally, I hear suggestions that swimming needs more money in the sport. Even though I make my living coaching swimming, I don't share that perspective. While I support the efforts behind the ISL and the right of elite athletes to make a profit from their performance, I don't believe our sport will benefit from a gross infusion of more money -- it will just turn into the doped-up freak show that is the sport of cycling.  Maybe I seem like a stick-in-the-mud to suggest that we don't need things to change in that direction.  Instead, could we change it by making meets more fun?  - RW
loosening up
favorite stuff from the blog
videos of the week

1. Strength coach Henry Barrera (@hoopdiaries) is doing some interesting work with the Liberty women on their power off the blocks:

2. An interesting butterfly power drill from @iranswimming:

parent article
Feel free to share this article with your team's parents if you wish. Please just list me as the author.

The False Narrative of the Dreaded Plateau by Ryan Woodruff
We had a young swimmer who had an amazing six months of big time drops and outstanding improvements followed by two meets with small drops or slight gains. The swimmer’s mother approached me at the end of the meet with an urgent, worried question: “Is this the dreaded plateau?!?”
I hate that term “plateau.” Visualize a plateau for a moment...what do you see? I see large flat terrain like a tabletop. It seems to go on forever. And on the other side, there is  a drop-off. When swimming people use the term they mean a series of meets where a swimmer doesn’t show an improvement in times. To call this a plateau utterly misses the point and can be a harmful narrative to create.  Consider:

1. Times are just one measure of improvement, and I would argue for young swimmers that they aren't even the most important measure.  Swimmers can be improving their technique, race strategy, mindset, or any number of things. Just because times aren't dropping doesn't mean improvement isn't happening.

2. Calling it a plateau places the locus of control outside of the swimmer.  A plateau is a place that you are. If you find yourself there, you have no choice but to keep going flat until you get off of the plateau.  But this is a plateau that you can't see, so it can feel hopeless.  Why would you want to set up the visualization of hopelessness?

3. Saying "plateau" normalizes the results as if to say “everyone stops improving at some point, this is just how it goes.” While it is definitely true that every swimmer experiences races where he or she doesn’t drop time, the fastest way to stop getting better is to start believing "well, I am just in this phase where I am not going to get better."  It becomes self-perpetuating.

Tips to avoid a plateau (yes, I will call it that for simplicity):

1. Pay attention to stroke technique and cycle count.  A swimmer who is improving cycle count (taking fewer strokes) is improving his or her efficiency and dramatically improving the chances of continued improvement.
2. Seek out interesting challenges and meaningful goals. Swimmers who are unchallenged or not emotionally invested in their own improvement will eventually feel stale and unmotivated.
3. For teenage swimmers especially, pay attention to recovery - sleep, nutrition, hydration, etc.  These will have a impact that makes a difference.

Parents -- strike the notion of a plateau from your conversation with your swimmer. No swimmer should surrender to the idea of a plateau. It doesn't have to happen to your swimmer!
coaching inspiration

Thank you for taking the time to read issue #44.  If you found this e-mail helpful, please forward it to a friend or someone who might enjoy this curated content for coaches. If you are reading this e-mail for the first time, you can subscribe here.

Happy Coaching!

EXTRASebooksarchives • book recommendations • product reviews • parent articles

This e-mail now goes out to 
920  swimming coaches around the world!
Countdown to Tokyo: 381 Days
Copyright © 2019 Ryan Woodruff, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Ryan Woodruff · 801 Wyndhurst Drive · Lynchburg, VA 24502 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp