Best of Club Swimming: Technical Progressions for Successful Backstroke
with Kevin Zacher,
Scottsdale Aquatic Club (SAC) Head Coach & CEO;
American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Level 5 certified coach;
3x American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Arizona Age Group Coach of the Year (2007, 2014 and 2016 );
under Zacher's leadership, SAC was named a USA Swimming Gold Medal Club in 2013, won the 2014 Junior National title and in 2016 the Junior National overall team title;
Zacher-coached swimmers have: broken National Age Group Records, won Individual National Championships, attained National Top 10 rankings in respective age groups, earned Junior/Senior National Qualifying times, qualified for the Olympic Trials and won Olympic Medals
Most backstroke instruction focuses on drills performed at a high tempo without addressing how swimmers can make that tempo achievable and sustainable. In this video, Scottsdale Aquatic Club head coach Kevin Zacher will help you teach your swimmers the essentials required to swim their best backstroke.
This is not just a collection of drills - it is a complete backstroke program! Coach Zacher's exercises are presented in a logical order for teaching the backstroke. You'll also see how to order Zacher's drills and change their focus to build a great backstroke from the beginner to the elite level.
Kick Progression and Perfecting the Catch
Coach Zacher shows how you can develop the backstroke kick - the engine of the stroke - through a progression that ties the kick to the core for power and a drag-reducing body line at the water's surface.
Next, you'll learn how to help every swimmer find the right place to catch for a clean entry that minimizes transition time from recovery to pull. Zacher shows how to use drills to help even your most advanced swimmers hold more power through the mid-point of the pull, where many swimmers lose core connection. You will also learn pull patterns that end at the thigh near the surface of the water for a fast recovery that improves tempo.
Additionally, Coach Zacher teaches drills and includes sample practice sets to build hand and forearm strength as well as water feel. You'll discover easy-to-find or to-create tools that will help your swimmers boost their endurance, strength, water feel or body awareness.
Developing Starts and Turns
Zacher explains what to watch for as your swimmers set up their backstroke starts, with or without a backstroke start ledge. He includes how to drill your backstroke starts to drive the hips high and create an optimal entry angle. You'll learn how to get your swimmers to speed up their turns with instructions and drills specifically designed to help them turn strongly at the right time and rotate quickly.
Program Application for an Elite Swimmer
In the final segment, Coach Zacher interviews one of his athletes, NCAA Championship backstroker Amy Bilquist, as she describes how she uses these drills and practice sets to improve every aspect of her backstroke as she prepares for 2020 Olympic Trials. Coaches and swimmers who watch this segment may be surprised to learn how much top swimmers rely on basic drills done with focus and precision to create an elite backstroke.
Coach Zacher has created a backstroke teaching and training system that you can use to create a sustainable, high-tempo backstroke at any level!
54 minutes. 2020.
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Arthur Albiero's All-Encompassing Approach to Butterfly Training
with Arthur Albiero,
University of Louisville Head Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Coach;
2012 and 2015 National Coach of the Year; 2014, 2018, 2019 ACC Coach of the Year;
2014 Men's and Women's ACC Champions; 3x Big East Coach of the Year;
back-to-back-to-back Big East Women's Championships (2011-13);
USA National Team coaching staff; 2016 Olympic Games; 2012 Olympic Coach for Portugal
Butterfly is one of the more technical strokes that a swimming coach has to teach. Through this video presented by the University of Louisville's Arthur Albiero, you will learn how to help your swimmers get the most out of their butterfly training. Inside, there are numerous strategies for planning out your season, refining stroke technique, building strengths and training fast starts and turns.
Season Plan and Progression
Coach Albiero highlights how he plans a season for his butterfly swimmers. He goes through details of his weekly planning as well as his season-long cycles.
A full butterfly progression is introduced and explained, along with points of emphasis for each drill. This will help take every level of butterfly swimmer from the basics up through a full stroke. This drill progression starts from just body movement, then adds in elements in a progressive manner. The sequence ends with the full butterfly stroke in addition to Albiero's points of emphasis on the butterfly.
To ensure you get the most out of your swimmers, Coach Albiero highlights some in-water strength training exercises. Additionally, he offers an overview of ways to improve starts and turns, which are things that every swimmer can improve on.
This video has something for all coaches. Coach Albiero's progression can be used for all levels of swimmers, while the season planning and strength building exercises are more appropriate for advanced and upper-intermediate swimmers. Gain some brilliant insight for faster times in the fly!
77 minutes. 2019.
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Braden Holloway's All-Encompassing Approach to Backstroke Training
with Braden Holloway,
North Carolina State Head Coach (Men's & Women's);
6x ACC Men's Coach of the Year ('13, '15, '16, '17, '18, '19);
2017 ACC Women's Coach of the Year;
5x All-American swimmer at NC State
Seasonal planning strategies can make or break your season. NC State head coach Braden Holloway describes his seasonal training philosophy in this video and includes progressions and test sets that will help you stay on track toward your goals.
Coach Holloway breaks the season into chapters that focus on endurance, power, speed, and recovery. He talks about the interplay between the chapters, and about the manipulation of reps, resistance, and rest that will make seasonal progressions work for individual athletes and for the team as a whole.
Technical Building Blocks of the Backstroke
In his "Key Concepts" segment, Coach Holloway describes the individual elements that need to be present in championship-caliber backstroke. He tells you what you should be looking for in the underwater work, the breakout, the kick, the catch, and the pull. He describes good head and body position and defines proper body rotation. Holloway also explains why there are some elements that must be tailored to an individual swimmer's strength, flexibility, and training.
Drills - How, When, and Why
Coach Holloway reviews the basic set of drills he uses for backstroke. He also stresses the importance of varying the drills so that swimmers must stay focused as they swim, improving their retention. He discusses the equipment he uses, including new ways to use equipment you already have, to build specific skills. He also provides some guidelines for using equipment so that your drills do not increase the risk of injury or create undesirable consequences in the stroke.
Coach Holloway teaches an elite backstroke finish. He discusses why the lunge finish is inefficient. He has his swimmers demonstrate backstroke finishes, discussing the variations in style between the swimmers in terms of their individual builds and abilities.
In the "Turns" segment, Coach Holloway takes his swimmers through a three-drill turn progression:
- Develop a tight rotation for the fastest possible turn
- Learn how and when to perform the arm cross to minimize drag
- Set a perfect foot plant for a maximum push-off
- Transition into a breakout that carries as much speed as possible off the wall
Backstroke starts are a highly-athletic movement that take time and attention to perform well. Coach Holloway discusses what matters in a backstroke start, and what does not before giving you some of his best start drills. He also explains why individuals must experiment to find their best personal style.
Building Speed and Power
Learn the equipment and techniques Coach Holloway uses to build speed and power in backstroke by observing a power day practice with his championship backstrokers.
- Learn to use a variety of equipment to increase resistance safely
- Hear how Coach Holloway uses key words and verbal cues to inspire more effort or put the focus on technique
- See how to allow athletes to tailor aspects of a set to meet their individual needs.
- Learn the warning signs that indicate that you should adjust the intensity up or down during a practice.
- Understand how the same drill or progression can be used differently at different times in the season
Coach Holloway shares years of experience swimming and coaching championship backstroke in this comprehensive video. His passion for backstroke, for his swimmers, and for the sport will inspire you to take your backstroke coaching to the next level.
170 minutes (2 discs). 2019.
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66 Dynamic Dryland Training Exercises: Developing Swimmer Athleticism
with Jason Calanog,
Texas A&M University Assistant Coach;
former Senior Assistant Coach at The Bolles School (FL);
USA National Team Coach (2016); USA National Junior Team Coach ('13 - '15);
USA Swimming - Diversity Camp West Head Coach (2014);
Philippines National Team, Head Coach (Pan Pacific Games - 2010, FINA World Championships - 2009);
Philippines National Team, Assistant Coach (2008 Olympics, '07 & '09 South East Asian Games)
The better the athlete, the better the swimmer. Dryland training has long been a staple in improving the overall athleticism in swimmers of all ages. In this video, Texas A&M University's Jason Calanog demonstrates seven different exercise modes he uses with his athletes. His demonstrations incorporate medicine balls, boxing, circuit training, forty pro's, pull ups, bands and gymnastic rings to enhance swimmers' athleticism for peak performance.
Dryland Training Demonstration
All together, Coach Calanog uses 66 different exercises focusing on core stability, strength, agility, power, prehab work and rhythm. The exercises range from a basic med ball program that includes jumps, rotations and partner throws to more advanced, high-caliber circuit training that requires numerous exercises done in sequence. Calanog shares pointers that coaches and swimmers can use to be sure the swimmer gets the maximum benefit from each exercise.
By combining a few drills with interval training, Coach Calanog demonstrates the endless variety you can create using the exercises in this video to create challenging circuits for your swimmers. Diverse motions done at speed build the kind of overall athleticism swimmers need to swim their best.
An example that Calanog uses is the following exercises in order:
- Mountain climbers
- Front somersault
- Box jump
- Depth jump
- 5 squat jumps
All of these are done fast, with a smooth transition from one exercise to another without a pause or stop. The sequence develops athleticism and mimics several swimming-related movements.
Additionally, you'll get exercises that incorporate a pull up bar, exercise bands, and gymnastic rings that are great for core stabilization and building overall strength and body control.
Athletes just embarking on a dryland training program can use this video to turn affordable equipment and simple routines into a competitive advantage. Teams that are looking to expand or add variety to their programs will pick up new drills and methods to challenge all levels of swimmers. This comprehensive program from Coach Calanog safely builds athleticism for peak performance swimming.
28 minutes. 2019.
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Steve Bultman's All-Encompassing Approach to Breaststroke Training
with Steve Bultman,
Texas A&M University Head Women's Coach;
2x U.S. Olympic Team Coach;
ASCA Hall of Fame Inductee (2015);
4x Big 12 Champions ('07, '08, '10, '12) and Back-to-back SEC Champions ('16 -'17)
Steve Bultman is one of the most well-respected swim coaches in the nation, and in this video, he gives you a multitude of drills for every aspect of the breaststroke. With the assistance of three top-level breaststrokers, each aspect of the stroke is broken down to show the most efficient manner it should be performed. Using a variety of drills and equipment, each segment of the stroke is analyzed so that you can develop a complete understanding of what it takes to build a championship-caliber breaststroker.
Bultman's focus throughout the video is on the most important aspects of the stroke - the kick and the pull. There are also well-detailed sections on the start, the breaststroke turn, the underwater pullout, and finishes. You'll not only get drills, but also progressions from a drill to a full stroke swim in short sets to emphasize necessary skills.
Kick Drills for Propulsion and Minimal Drag
Coach Bultman demonstrates a generous number of drills and variations to address every aspect of the kick. He spells out clearly how each drill is done, what its purpose is, and what you should be watching for as your swimmers perform the drill. You'll get drills that increase foot speed and build feel for maximum distance per kick. Additionally, Bultman addresses kick imbalances with drills that isolate each leg for balanced, maximum power while minimizing drag.
Develop Fast and Powerful Breaststroke Pulls
The pull is a vital aspect of a dominant breaststroke. Coach Bultman shows you how to use sculling drills to isolate and improve each aspect of the pull. He also details how to eliminate any pause on the in-sweep and instead get powerful acceleration through the recovery. Additionally, you'll see how to teach swimmers to have their hands and forearms get around their elbows so the elbows stay high and hold water for the best distance per stroke.
Bultman details how to help your swimmers understand that their hands and forearms are the "movers" for the breaststroke. By using drills that minimize elbow movement and put steady pressure on the forearms, swimmers can grab the water early, hold the water through the pull, and accelerate their hands back to the front fast.
Great Walls - Turns, Pullouts, Starts and Finishes
Coach Bultman takes his swimmers through the open turn, pullout, and the start while pointing out common flaws and how to avoid them. Sit in as he demonstrates how he uses weekly underwater footage to analyze his swimmers. You'll see:
- Drills and cues to keep turns small and quick.
- A breakdown of the pullout that balances power and body line to take top speed into the breakout.
- How to use underwater video analysis to help swimmers recognize their strengths and target their weaknesses.
- Drills that improve power off the block and adjust the entry for optimum speed into the pullout.
- How to adjust tempo and distance to hit walls at top speed and full extension for great turns and finishes.
Seasonal, Weekly, and Daily Planning
In the second disc of this two-disc set, Coach Bultman describes what goes into his seasonal, weekly, and daily planning. He covers scheduling challenges and how plans must be adapted to fit different swimmers. Next, he takes the swimmers through a typical workout. You will learn how he uses different drills and equipment to get power and precision from his breaststrokers. The expanded format also lets you see the way he mixes breaststroke and other strokes in sets that help develop the swimmer's versatility.
Coach Bultman delivers everything you need to know to produce championship-caliber breaststrokers. You will learn all the drills your swimmers will need to hone every aspect of their breaststroke. You'll also
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