issue #24, February 19, 2019
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the wake-up swim

thoughts on swimming, coaching, and more from ryan woodruff
"The squad swims out of the morning mist".
Photo credit @coach_rushton of @energystandard
“Coaching is the art of creating an environment, through conversation and a way of being, that facilitates the process by which a person can move toward desired goals in a fulfilling manner."
-Tim Gallwey
  Many of us are in the midst of championship season, that time of year that we use as the true measuring stick of all the coaching we have done throughout the season.  It is also the time of the most mysterious word in all of swimming: TAPER.  Some coaches refuse to even say the word, but nearly all aim to perfect its idiosyncrasies with goal of eliciting the best possible performances.  I don't profess to have all the answers about tapering, though because I get asked the question with some regularity I feel obliged to give some kind of answer. Here are some basic principles of taper that seem to work for me.
   1. Keep doing whatever kind of training you have been doing, just less of it -- gradually. This is pretty much the definition of 'taper'.
   2. Don't try anything new.
   3. Have a structured plan and an explanation for it.
   4. Study your swimmers throughout the season, see what really seems to make them (as individuals) feel sharp. Individualize as you are able in a way that the athlete feels is beneficial.
   5. What worked perfectly last time won't work exactly the same way this time -- even if you have the same swimmers, they are different/better/older/faster/stronger/smarter now than last time.
   6. Record what you do and evaluate it shortly after the meet. Learn from real information.
   7. The older, bigger, more sprint-oriented, more muscular, more leg-driven athletes need to rest more as a general rule.
   8. Stay positive and spend less time correcting and more time encouraging and reassuring. We want swimmers getting on the blocks with a clear, focused mind, ready to perform, not focused on correcting mistakes.
   9. Do not neglect the psychological aspect of taper or just assume that they are mentally in a good place when they start to rest.  Belief is a fundamental feature of high performance.
   10. If they have done enough work, the right work, and have believed in the work all season, the chances of messing it up with a bad taper at the very end are small.
- RW
loosening up
swimming videos of the week
1. One arm scoop drill. Classic. Simple.  Helpful.
2. A great drill for teaching body alignment off the blocks and into the (deep) water.
favorite stuff from the blog Correction: In last week's newsletter, I linked to an article about Ryan Lochte's training before "we" won gold in London.  Though I was at Florida during Ryan's early years, I take zero credit for his success and meant to say before "he" won gold in London. Well, that was embarrassing!
parent article

The past week has permitted me less time for writing as we get into the thick of our championship season.  Here are a few articles for swim parents (not my writing) that I found helpful.

Swim Parents: Your Stress and Expectations are Contagious and The Best Advice I Have Ever Heard a Parent Give a Kid by Olivier Poirier-Leroy

But It's Only a Relay by Guy Edson

On Praising Your Children
coaching inspiration

"This is great stuff!!! Our swimming community needs more informative stuff like this; readily available and easy to access. Your helping our community continue it's excellence. Thank you!"

     - Rick Loeffelholz, President, Iowa High School Swim Coaches Association

"I love the wake up swim and your blog.  I appreciate all the sharing!  It's like having a mentor."
     - Nick Provost, Greater Holyoke YMCA
Time to warm down from issue #24. If this newsletter has helped your coaching in any way, I would love to hear from you.  If you have a workout, a set, or just a creative idea, send it my way at  First time reader? You can sign up here or see our archives here. See you next week!

Happy Coaching,

Countdown to Tokyo: 521 Days
Copyright © 2019 Ryan Woodruff, All rights reserved.

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

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