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When I first started coaching I changed focuses almost every week. Id read something exciting, and think “This is it!” I was looking for the quick fix.

But I’ve also had season’s where I stuck to the plan like an old nun set in her ways.

Now I believe the best is somewhere in the 80/20 range. 80% of the work you do needs to be on target with the goals of the season or phase, and the other 20% can be new experiments, or just fun.

What does consistency mixed with novelty look like?

We run a progressive test set called best average. It starts with 3 rounds of 9×75. We tracked, published, and ran the set each week. After 3 weeks we go to 7×75, then 5×75, usually the 3×75 pushes up right around full competition prep. It works because the swimmers can see their progress as the season goes on.

After 10 weeks straight it does feel a little flat. So how do we inject novelty to spice it up, and get better effort.

  1. When the # of 75s changes the first time is usally great. Going from 9 to 7×75 feels like heaven.
  2. If they are having an off day we will add a little time to the interval (usually on a 10-15s rest interval) and dive off the side for each.
  3. In dire circumstances we do “super” best average with fins on. The results from this one don’t really count, but the effort is great.

I don’t know anyone who can do the same set everyday and stay motivated. I’m sure this person exist, but I have yet to coach them.

If you’re goal this season is better underwaters then you should be doing underwaters every day. But the way you do should be where creativity plays a role.

At the same time, if you’re constantly doing something “new” you’re not going anywhere. There is power in consistency.

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