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Cover: overview of swimming & motor learning: creating the conditions for learning and developing a feel for the water
Overview of Swimming & Motor Learning: Creating the Conditions for Learning and Developing a Feel for the Water

with Michael Brooks,
Weymouth Waves Head Swimming Coach;
former King Aquatic Club Head Coach;
former York YMCA Swimming Head Coach/Director of Competitive Swimming;
4x YMCA Short Course Nationals Coach of the Year ('10, '12, '13, '15);
2x Middle Atlantic LSC Senior Coach of the Year ('14, '15);
coached four National Junior Team members and 2 National Team Members

Michael Brooks, Weymouth Waves head swimming coach and four-time YMCA Short Course Nationals Coach of the Year, delivers a superb instructional video that will help you develop a successful technique teaching approach. Brooks' approach is simple and practical, even for coaches who are relatively inexperienced!

The Unique Demands of Swimming

Coach Brooks reviews the many challenges and limitations swim coaches face that coaches in other sports do not. Acknowledging these challenges and being prepared to outline them for parents and swimmers will help you establish the shared role coaches and athletes have in the swimmer's success. A coach can create opportunities for learning, but only swimmers can make it happen!

Create Conditions for Optimal Learning

A swimmer who is distracted or discouraged is not ready to get everything he or she can from a practice, no matter how brilliant the practice design. Successful coaches learn to develop the four cardinal qualities of an optimal mindset:

  • Engagement - Learn strategies to engage swimmers in what you are doing.
  • Self-Reliance - Help swimmers become less reliant on the coach for motivation and advice and more proactive about reaching their goals.
  • Focus - Understand the coach's role in helping athletes develop the crucial skill of maintaining focus.
  • Water Feel - Understand what "water feel" actually is and how swimmers can work on it every day to be successful.

Teach Swimmers to Diagnose Stroke Flaws and Create Solutions

Swimming is a "feel" sport. Coach Brooks will teach you how to incorporate "Feel Sets" - sets that take advantage of the constant feedback water provides - to recognize problems and move toward a more efficient stroke. You will:

  • Understand how to use video in a meaningful way to help your swimmers recognize optimal swimming and spot problem areas.
  • Understand the difference between Variable and Random Sets, and how using them can help build water feel more quickly.
  • Design sets that build balance and awareness by challenging swimmers to focus on a particular aspect of their stroke and get a sense of how it changes as resistance or speed change.
  • Learn how to use equipment to improve error detection or to build sensitivity.

In this video, Coach Brooks argues that coaches must embrace the adage, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime." Instead of pointing out stroke flaws and imposing solutions, you'll see how to teach your swimmers to diagnose their own strokes and help them to find solutions they will actually incorporate. A stroke improvement is not learned until the change holds up under training and then under racing conditions. By empowering your swimmers to be engaged, self-reliant and focused, you will develop swimmers who continually learn and improve!

68 minutes. 2020.

Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: kevin zacher 5-pack
Kevin Zacher 5-Pack

with Kevin Zacher,
Scottsdale Aquatic Club Head Coach;
American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Level 5 certified coach;
2007 ASCA Arizona Age Group Coach of the Year

Underwater dolphin kicking is a critical skill every top swimmer needs to master. However, many coaches struggle with how to successfully incorporate the underwater kick into warm-up, drill and training sets.

In this video, Coach Kevin Zacher shares his strategy for helping each swimmer find the right size and tempo of kick for their current abilities. He introduces drills and training sets that build speed, endurance, and power for swimmers of every age group, including warm-up routines his world-class swimmers use on race day to be sure their underwater swimming provides them with the best possible competitive edge.

Warm-up Routine for Underwater Kicking

Coach Zacher addresses the importance of including underwater kicking in warm-ups. This helps activate the core and prepare breathing stamina safely. He addresses the difficulty some swimmers have with breath control, encouraging swimmers to learn how proper breath control feels.

Establishing an underwater warm-up routine during daily practice also gives his swimmers an edge on race day. Swimmers who are aware of small daily variations in their underwater kick are better prepared to sense how their kick feels in race warm-ups and make adjustments to emerge at the right mark with optimum explosive speed.

Underwater Kicking Drills

Zacher shares drills designed to help athletes find their ideal mix of amplitude and tempo of kick for their body type and fitness level. He uses resistance drills to help swimmers feel the water and eliminate dead spots for consistent rhythmic power throughout each kick cycle. Other drills help swimmers hold their ideal body line by challenging their core so that they can engage their entire body in the underwater stroke. Kicking drills work the stroke in both directions, so that the up kick is as powerful and propulsive as the down kick.

Equipment Work

Underwater kicking benefits from the use of equipment that either assists or resists the swimmer's efforts. Adding resistance helps the swimmer feel weak spots in their kick to build consistently rhythmic and powerful strokes. Coach Zacher shows you how to add:

  • Nets or kicking socks to build water feel in the feet, to encourage proper angles for maximum propulsion.
  • Drag with parachutes to help your swimmers feel that more power is generated from manipulating the movement than from simply kicking harder, creating more effortless speed.
  • Assistance, such as with fins, allows swimmers to swim at race speed longer, building familiarity with pace without fatigue that could break down technique.

Training Sets

By creating physically and mentally challenging underwater kick training sets, Zacher establishes the importance of underwater kicking and helps swimmers understand the intensity he looks for in training and in races. Kick speed sets break down world class kick speed into small segments that athletes can master and then build on by increasing duration or reducing rest between sets. Drill/Training combination sets like Cobra Drills help swimmers carry underwater speed through their breakout and into their strokes. Turn sets teach swimmers to treat the approach/turn/pause/underwater and breakout into a cohesive attack on the turns for maximum speed.

Bonus: Question & Answer Session

Coach Zacher engages world-class underwater kicker Ryan Hoffer in a discussion of some of the frequently asked questions he has received when training the fifth stroke. This segment makes it clear that the best underwater swimmers pay attention to detail in training every day so that they can come to recognize natural variations in their stroke. The swimmer describes how training loads may cause "heavy legs" that feel sluggish, and how using fins may help him tra

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Cover: best of club swimming: technical progressions for successful backstroke
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.

Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: arthur albiero's all-encompassing approach to butterfly training
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.

Butterfly Drills

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.

Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: braden holloway's all-encompassing approach to backstroke training
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.

You will:

  • 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.

Buy at Championship Productions

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