Coaching the Triathlon Swim

Breakthrough Performance Coaching

Coaching the Tri Swim

 USA Triathlon CEUs: 5

Length of Online Series: 6.25 hours
Length of Presentation: 75’/presentation, 5 presentations
Format of Presentations: Lecture/Practical/Discussion

Presenters:  Susan Sotir, PhD Physical Education – Sport and Exercise Psychology, USAT LII will lead a 5-session deep dive into the swim. She will use a motor learning approach to examine the task of swimming, the competitive environment of water, and individual athlete constraints. Data forward case studies will be used to discuss assessments and coaching choices for translating technical practice to race performance. Jeffrey Capobianco, USAT LI, may also contribute to the content and case studies, on some topics.

The Task: Swimming

Foundations: The freestyle stroke and swim economy

Overview of task related factors contributing to swimming performance:

  • VO2max, Lactate Threshold, and Swimming Economy
    • Deeper Examination of economy including:
    • Spatiotemporal features of stroke cycle
    • Kinetics of swimming, including joints involved and motions involved
    • Kinematics of swimming, including muscular force, propulsion models (Extrinsic factors affecting swimming economy, will be addressed in The Environment: Water – session 2)
  • Q&A

The Environment: Water

  • Extrinsic factors affecting swimming economy. i.e. The role of water in drag
  • Examination of all of the ways water impacts the ability of an athlete to create and sustain forward movement
  • Drag – Thrust – Buoyancy – Gravity/Weight
  • Fluid drag equation with contributions the water, velocity, coefficient of drag, and frontal area
  • Effects of current
  • Effects of other swimmers
    • Positive: drafting
    • Negative: additional forces to manage
  • Skin friction drag and other types of parasitic drag
  • Freestyle stroke examined in the context of drag/in water performance
  • Q&A 

The Individual: Assessment

Participation, Lecture, and Case Study Discussion

Measuring the Starting Point:

  • Knowledge of swimming
  • Goals/Targets currently prioritized in practice and performance
  • Readiness to Swim
  • Stroke Kinematic, Quality, and Effectiveness Observations (technique)
  • Baseline In – Water Fitness Assessments
  • Regression rates, zones, intensity factors
  • Triathlon Specific Skill Assessments
  • Q&A

The Individual: Coaching Technique Change

Participation and Case Study Discussion

  • Choosing targets: low hanging vs hard to reach fruit
  • Creating Learning Experiences:
    • Purposeful selection of skill focused drills with deliberately considering information
    • processing and constraints
  • Discussion of Drills Currently Used by Coaches, in the context of what has been discussed regarding motor learning
  • Progressing and Integrating Stroke Changes
  • Q&A

The Individual: Coaching Race Performance

Participation and Case Study Discussion

  • Training Block Case Study
    • How and why to select training targets for different types of training goals
    • Targeting Physiological Changes: Neurological, Cellular Metabolism, Muscle/Tendon, Remodeling
  • Application of Physiologic markers (VO2max, lactate threshold, and aerobic threshold) in context of a case athlete
  • Prescribing Training Stress
  • Tracking Development of Meaningful Metrics
  • Q&A
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