Eddie Reese: Taper is an art no one understands (Video)

Eddie Reese, a zen master in his own right within the realm of swimming, is willing to admit that not even he fully understands the subtle but looming art that is Taper. He is, however, able to take what he’s learned in his multi-decade coaching career and apply it in the best way he knows how. And I for one would not be the person to argue with him.

Coach Reese discussed with us that this is a meet that shows him where his athletes are, and what they will need moving forward in the next 3 weeks leading up to trials. Eddie has a multitude of athletes that could make big moves at trials and have a very good shot at making the US Olympic team, which include (but are not limited to): NCAA Champion Clark Smith, NCAA Runner up and American Record Holder Jack Conger, and NCAA Champion Townley Haas.

We will see the fruits of their labor, as well as the result of Eddie’s sage wisdom when it comes to resting, in just a short few weeks when their talents will be put onto the big stage in Omaha.

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7 years ago

One thing I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE about this is that Eddie says that an athletes taper changes EVERY YEAR. Too often we find coaches that stick to their taper plan every single year even though their athletes are another year older and stronger. In high school I remember doing a 3 day taper for my big meet- it went great. Well, fast forward to my Sr. year, and here I am again, doing a 4 day taper (not really taper, but you all get the idea). I was a good 30 lbs bigger just from growing and adding muscle. I swam like crap.
College was different, had a different coach that understood the art- and he made a… Read more »

Brad Flood
7 years ago

Great insight from one of the greatest minds in the sport! For me it connects to the “original” great mind in the sport, Doc Councilman (RIP) who, in a now famous talk, referred to the “X-Factor” as the trait that separates the really successful coaches from those that struggle to have consistent successful season ending results with their athletes.

Three factors that I feel are integral in my swimmers consistently having successful season ending competitions:

1. Swimmers putting a TRUST in the coaches plan and ability to provide them with what they need. It is incumbent upon the coach to communicate to/educate the swimmer with an understanding/knowledge of that process and how the coach sees it working.

2. The swimmer… Read more »

Swim Fan
7 years ago

Wow! Love his discussion – Eddie always has a jewel of wisdom to pass along. Even that little throw-away comment at the end was super valuable, at least to me. (paraphrasing) “If you get too nervous just splash water on your face or get in the water. The water has a great calming effect.” Awesome advice.

7 years ago

You train hard and then you rest… What’s there to not understand?

Reply to  ElvisVB
7 years ago

Resting the exactly right amount in order to maximize performance. What works for one kid isnt goint to for another making it extremely difficult

Reply to  ElvisVB
7 years ago

Well for one everybody needs a different taper to actually do their best. It’s hard to decide when to start taper, too much rest and the athlete loses his/her edge and gets a little “out of shape” (by their standards), too little and the athlete isn’t as sharp as he/she can be due to fatigue and whatnot. Also it’s natural for athletes and coaches to have doubts about their taper, whether it is too early or too late or whatever, which doesn’t help.

7 years ago

If Bob Bowman said the same thing, people would be ripping him apart on these boards!

Reply to  2Fat4Speed
7 years ago

Some people even called him a liar for telling us Phelps is starting his taper!

Reply to  Smoothswimmer
7 years ago

That’s because as good as Bowman is, there is only on EDDIE

Derek Mead
Reply to  2Fat4Speed
7 years ago

There’s definitely a widespread criticism of Bowman, I believe party unfair, but he hasn’t had the success of as many athletes as Eddie has.

I think Bob is a great coach. But remember that while I think Eddie is great, he’s also had many great athletes.

Bottom line, many coaches no one’s ever heard of have amazing tapers. In my experience, it’s more about the trust athletes have in their coach/their training than anything.

This trials is going to be the best in recent memory!

7 years ago

The only true experts on taper are the parents of age group swimmers, who always apparently know more on the subject than their kids’ coaches. And the most taper-savvy parents of all are the ones who have absolutely no swimming background.

Reply to  Ferb
7 years ago

FERB, had to respond to the dig on parents. I have two children that swam in college, one is going into senior year. She just missed her NCAA cut in 2 events. Both of them swam club starting at about age 7 or 8. Both age group (13 and Under) and national coach were 30 plus years of coaching. I saw both of them ruin so many young swimmers (not all where great swimmers but many swimmers that could have swam college YARDS) looking for the next LONG COURSE Micheal Phelps. Old school coaches play the odds and hardly ever look at the swimmers needs. YES I was one of those pain in the ass parents you are referring to.… Read more »

Reply to  Eddie
7 years ago

Well you stopped them from over training. I do the same and I’ve pulled my daughter twice this year due to overtraining and the lingering and nagging injuries she has and both times we went to the sports doctor for follow up. The coaches have to take you seriously if your child is under a doctors care.. The second time was at a swim meet during warm up and we left went home for the weekend and she took the better of the following week off. The only parents who are intimidated by the coaches are the ones that allow it to happen. I’ve never ever watched my daughters practice but I definitely let her tell me about it in… Read more »

Reply to  Eddie
7 years ago

overtraining in swimming is rampant. A lot of kids have great talent that is trained right out of them. Sometimes parents have to protect their kids.

7 years ago

Finally someone who isn’t afraid to speak the truth. To me, tapering is more like voodoo than an art. Sometimes reading goat entrails can be just as good as anything else at determining the kind of taper a kid needs.

Captain Ahab
7 years ago

If I were him, I would have all my Olympic Trial athletes swim one practice per day which would include 2000 fly and 20 x 25 on 2:00 this week.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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