Last weekend my staff and I went to the Gain Swimming Summit in Carmel, IN. It was a great weekend full of learning and insights. Each person who spoke had 1-2 great quotes that I had to share. They are simple ideas with major effects.
- Never sacrifice range of motion for resistance
Especially for the guys on your team, it feels good to add more weight. But once you compromise the full range of motion of a movement you’ve done too much. Also, putting on muscle looks good, but at a certain point it will interfere with progress in the water. The big idea is that swimming requires mobility and range of motion, dense muscle can hurt the stroke.
So find the balance between strength and range of motion and you will be alright! Just like when I swimmer gets choppy at the end of race, don’t let it happen in the weight room either.
- Availability leads to ability
Very simple concept, the people who are at practice the most, usually do the best. The bigger reason for the quote is injuries get in the way of swimming. The GAIN system is designed to build strong athletes who’s body can take the workload being thrown at them. Chris Plumb said once he implemented the GAIN system there was no longer a “kicking lane” at his practices. The less you miss, the better you get.
- Never hurt the water
Doing drylands is fun. You get your heart rate up, you feel the pump, and you can see physical changes happen before your eyes. But if you swim like a potato after a tough dryland session are you getting better? At the end of the day we are swimmers, and you get better by swimming. So don’t get so caught up in dryland work that you interfere with the swim.
From personal experience it just takes 1-2 bad swims post dryland to learn what the “limit” is. You will mess up along the way, just learn from your mistakes. 1 bad swim won’t hurt a season, but 30 might.
- Sell it
Lots of coaches that weekend asked. “What if everyone isn’t bought in?” or “How do we get everyone to buy in?” I could tell the GAIN staff had trouble answering these questions because the answer is simple. Coach better.
Believe in the dryland program just like you believe in your swim program. This is not a accessory to the swim. It’s a integral part of the process. Explain the “why’s”, give examples of elite athletes who use it, and coach your face off. If you just sit back and hope it works you’re wasting your time. Sometimes I think we forget to treat things the same as swimming. It’s all important, so act like it.
- Don’t turn your athletes into robots
Lots of coaches get caught up in “perfect technique” there is no such there. There is what I would call, optimal or safe technique. As you are learning each movement hold yourself back from making everyone stiff as a board. You don’t walk, swim, or live that way, so why would you do dryland training like that? Similar to quote #4, dryland isn’t some mystical thing that needs to be treated differently than swim. Coach it hard. Be ok with sub-optimal technique. Don’t let your athletes get hurt.
- Your knees can pass your toes in a squat
OK this quote isn’t from GAIN but I have to say it. If you don’t know this as a fact you haven’t done your research yet. So read this article to educate yourself and break away from “traditional” thinking.
I think that’s the main idea behind all of GAIN. Do what works and get better. There is no magic movement. There isn’t a magic workout. There is intensity, effort, and passion.