issue #13, december 4, 2018
View this email in your browser
the wake-up swim

thoughts on swimming, coaching, and more from ryan woodruff
This warm sunrise picture was taken at the Dwight H. Hunter Northeast Pool in Gainesville, Florida. Photo credit: @becalk
It's not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters."
-Evander Holyfield
 This past week, my team attended our mid-season championship meet.  We had several thrilling performances and a few that were definitely disappointing. One swimmer in particular had a noteworthy performance that taught me a lot. This swimmer is the absolute most drop-dead-sprinter type in my group.  He has some pretty decent speed, but when we do anything longer than a 200, he simply can't keep up.  Over the summer, he battled an injury and barely swam in June and July.  This fall, his practice attendance was among the lowest in the group, but he gave good effort with a positive attitude when present.  Leading up to the meet, twice he missed nearly a full week of practice (illness and a vacation).  My all-knowing coach brain was sure this formula would spell disaster at the meet.  Much to my pleasant surprise, he defied expectations and dropped huge amounts of time in his sprint events, making cuts for our spring championship meet that I thought were out of reach for him this season. His performance triggered several thoughts for me... Exceptional achievement requires being different in a way that separates one from the field... what works in training for most will not work at all for some... an individual who needs something different just might be exceptional in a way that makes him great, and... HEART counts for a lot in a race. -RW
loosening up
Eight Phrases for Swim Parents to Avoid
Even the best parents with 100 % good intentions can sometimes say things that have a negative impact on their swimmers. As a swim parent myself, I know how delicate this can be. The phrases or situations below are all actual statements I have heard uttered that made me cringe a little. Each is an example of something that might be said with good intentions but could have an unanticipated negative impact.

1. Introducing your child to someone as "the swimmer." As in "this is my daughter Jenny, the swimmer." Swimming is something your child does, not who she is. Help your child cultivate her identity as a person, and encourage her to be the best she can be at swimming. Ultimately, she will better be able to weather the storms of failure and enjoy the fruits of success in swimming if her identity is not wrapped around it.

2. "We came all this way/spent all this money/took all this time... and you swam slow/didn't try/performed poorly." Your kid is probably already disappointed in her own performance, without the added weight of your parental sacrifices. Understand that it is the nature of human performance that your child will not perform at his best at every meet or in every race. The effect of making this comment is that the next time you make a sacrifice to go to a meet, your child will feel the added pressure - possibly to the detriment of his performance.

Read the full article

Workout of the Week
(a set or workout not published elsewhere)

Backstroke with a Band (25m pool)

Recently, we have been doing some backstroke-specific work with a band and a buoy.  Swimmers wear a band (just an eight-inch loop of surgical tubing from a used stretch cord) around the ankles and the buoy worn between the thighs or ankles to keep the legs up.  What we are trying to accomplish is to not have our backstroke tempo be rate-limited by a sluggish kick.  We want to have the shoulder rotation be what drives the stroke for the swimmers who are not particularly good kickers, and this set emphasizes that.

4 rounds:
1 x 200 backstroke descend 1-4 no equipment @ 3:15 (they should have at least 30 seconds of time to put on the band and buoy)
1 x 175 backstroke with band and buoy @ 3:15  The goal is to beat the time from the 200
1 x 75 smooth backstroke with excellent underwater dolphin kicks @ coach's "go"
video resources
1. A drill to help swimmers who struggle with proper timing of the breath in freestyle

2. Combining fly and free... is it "butterstyle" or "freefly"?
favorite stuff from the blog
sharing strengthens our profession
Coaches -- if you have been reading this free e-mail or the blog, then you know that some of the best ideas, sets, and workouts that I post come from a wide variety of contributors.  I would love to get a contribution from YOU! Even if you think your practices or ideas are ordinary, I guarantee someone out there would benefit from them.  Please send any submissions to  I can work with just about any format.  Thank you in advance!
coaching inspiration
"I have learned throughout my career that coaching for fame and fortune is fleeting. If that’s what you chase, you’ll probably get fired like I did by the Nets. At the very least, if you do survive, it will be empty because you’re chasing numbers. On the other hand, if you make sure others eat first, you’ll end up with more than you can ever eat. By creating relationships with others, investing in their dreams and aspirations, and chasing those dreams and aspirations with them, you become a dream fulfiller. What’s better than that?"
- John Calipari
Hall of Fame basketball coach, during his induction speech
That's it for issue #13. Please forward it to a friend, post the signup link to your corner of the internet, or mention it to your coaching colleagues on the pool deck at your next meet if you are so inclined. Any comments, suggestions, or submissions are welcome to
Thanks for reading,

Countdown to Tokyo: 598 days

Links listed in this e-mail may be affiliate links meaning that I earn a small commission if you make a purchase from those links.  This won't add any extra cost for you, and I appreciate your support of
the wake-up swim
and The Swimming Wizard blog.
Copyright © 2018 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