Fitter and Faster 15 Questions (#FFT15) profiles the 50+ elite swimmers and clinicians that host, instruct and manage the world’s largest swim clinic tour.
In this FFT15, SwimSwam co-founder, Mel Stewart talks with Islanders Aquatics Head Swim Coach Mike Murray, Islanders Aquatics swimmer Makayla Sargent, Olympian and FFT Clinician Scott Weltz, Brownell Talbot School Head Coach Jimmy Parmenter, FFT and Swim Videos on Demand Founder and CEO David Arluck, and finally FFT Marketing Manager and Olympian Chloe Sutton,
Mike Murray, Islanders Aquatics Head Swim Coach
Mike, what was your first impression of Swim Videos on Demand?
The first time we deployed the use of the swim videos on demand we were immediately impressed with the high quality of the video. The commentary has fantastic clarity on explaining each phase of the drill for each stroke. It was easy to just hit “play” and allow the athletes to watch. Without me or my staff having to pause or rewind, we just played the video and let the commentary do a lot of the work. This aspect of FFT’s swim videos is certainly a game-changer when it comes to using technology, or incorporating videos into making adjustments in terms of the athletes development towards perfecting technique.
Do you use the videos at practice? How?
Initially we only showed the videos following a water workout, but with the use of our team ipads, we’ve been able to use the videos in “real-time” practice scenarios for better application of the drills for the swimmers. We have a vision to install HD screens built into the walls of one of our facilities and plan to use Apple iplay to view the video’s between send-off’s on a workout that’s dedicated to improving technique. Currently, we’re able to use the ipads between repeats to show the swimmer(s) what we’d like to see them work on for a specific drill.
What is your favorite video?
At this point in the season, just beginning our LCM season, we’re going back to basics, so our focus is predominantly on the fundamentals of underwater kicking and the connectivity of efficient kicks. Clinicians Tyler Clary (3-3-3 Kicking & Shark Kick-Drill) and Cammile Adams (Fish Kick) have been our favorites in this early season training phase
Why would you recommend Swim Videos on Demand to other teams and coaches?
I think its incredibly significant to understand the intricacies of learning on this generation of athletes. More often than not, the advancement of technology and visual learning are paramount to educating young people. Swim Videos On Demand allow coaches to create a symbiotic relationship with physical movement and concept mastery by employing the use of the videos inside of every workout. If the athletes can see it quickly (most of the videos are 2-3 minutes in duration) and put the techniques into place immediately in the workout, it creates a very conducive learning environment.
Makayla Sargent, Islanders Aquatics Swimmer, Olympic Trials & NCAA Qualifier
Swimmers are visual learners. We need to see the drill, the stroke, the body position, to understand. Makayla, how do you use Swim Videos on Demand to help you learn?
We have always used videos in our workouts, watching our own strokes and making adjustments; but now we’re able to see exactly what our coaches want us to try. Having the ability to watch some of the best athletes in the world do the same exact drills makes it much easier for us to have an idea of what our coaches want to see and frames a better idea of what efficient underwater kicking should actually look like and why its fast.
Do you have a favorite clinician to watch? Why?
This might be biased, because Cammile has always been one of my favorite swimmers (I swim the 200 butterfly), but I really like her commentary on the videos when she breaks down each step of her “fish kick” drill. This video also helped me realize that doing the fish kick helps me loosen up my back and think about being more flexible in my underwater kicking. I use this drill now in all of my meet warm-ups to help my body feel more loose and relaxed before my races. I swim the 1500, 800, 400 IM & 200 fly, so its so important for me to feel relaxed and loose in the water.
When do you watch Swim Videos on Demand: before, during or after practice?
When we first started using the Swim Videos On Demand with Coach Mike we watched them after practice, but now with the end of Short Course and beginning of the LCM seaon, our coaches have showed us some of the videos before we do our dynamic stretching prior to getting into the pool. Recently, the coaches have been using ipads to show us videos between send-off’s and drill repeats to reinforce the entire drill or aspects that we need to work on to perfect our technique. I think most of my teammates really like having a demonstration of what we need to work on and how it should look. I think the coaches like using it because it doesn’t take a lot of time to use.
Scott Weltz, Olympian & FFT Clinicians
How did you choose the drills you demonstrated in the app?
I chose the drills first based on how effective they were at correcting a stroke flaw or reinforcing a part of the stroke the athlete is working on. Most of these drills are ones I used while I was changing my breaststroke and preparing for the 2012 London Olympics. Some are also drills I use most as a coach to try to “shape” my athletes stroke to be faster and more efficient. My last consideration was trying to choose some drills that were unique or fun. Adding equipment sometimes makes kids work harder or be more willing to try something new because they are using “swim toys” which adds a creative component.
Do you have a favorite drill that you demonstrated?
I really like Flap Jack Breaststroke and anything that involves the PDFs. I love those fins. And Flap Jack is such a dynamic drill and being able to swim over and under the water and upside down all challenge you to make sure you are aware of how your body is moving. This forced focus on body awareness makes drill more complex, but also more fun once mastered.
What’s the biggest value for swimmers watching videos?
I think the biggest value is the visual. Kids these days are such visual learners because of the technology and screen time they are exposed to. Being able to SEE what a coach wants a drill to look like goes a long way in getting kids to UNDERSTAND what they are supposed to be doing. The visual helps break through the confusion between swimmer and coach.
The videos also let the kids into the insights of world class athletes. The explanations on WHY and drill is done is as important as HOW it is done.
How would you recommend swimmers incorporate the videos into their training?
I use a lot of video in my own coaching as well as when I was training. I have the swimmers watch the drill, then do the drill. I then film the kids doing the drill on my iphone or ipad and lastly compare them to the video. This way the kids can see what aspects of the drill they are doing right, and what aspects have room for improvement.
Jimmy Parmenter, Brownell Talbot School Head Coach
Jimmy, what sets Swim Videos on Demand apart from everything else on the market?
The quality of the videos are amazing! What I like best about the Swim Videos on Demand is that you don’t have to watch an entire stroke video or try and fast forward the video to a part that you want your athletes to see. It’s easy as one, two, three. Pick a stroke, drill, or show a clip you want your athletes to see. The clips last between 1 to 2 minutes which really helps the kids stay focused on what you want them to learn. That’s it!
How do you use Swim Videos on Demand and what effect do you see it having on your swimmers?
At Brownell Talbot School, we have Apple TV set up on the deck at the end of the lanes. Our coaches pick the stroke, drills or techniques we are working on that day. They show the 1-2 minute video to our athletes and then spend 10-15 minutes working on the stroke, drill or technique that they just watched. It’s quick and a very easy way that our athletes seem to pick up the stroke, drills and/or technique a lot faster after seeing the clips.
David Arluck, FFT/Swim Videos On Demand Founder & CEO
David Swim Videos on Demand has high production value and a clean interface. Where did the vision for this service come from?
For starters, since we were established in 2009, the mission of Fitter and Faster has to connect the grassroots of swimming with the elite stars of the sport through fun learning experiences. This electronic medium enables us to work with swimmers across the globe.
To put it into perspective – after almost ten years of operating, Fitter and Faster Clinics are held in 40 states and Canada each year. Meanwhile after just 6 week’s of operating, our Swim Videos on Demand service has already been purchased in more than two dozen countries!
The right clinicians matter. How did you choose the elite swimmers and clinicians who appear in the app?
All Fitter and Faster clinicians are good at explaining what they do and why they do it. Just because an athlete has stood at the center of the podium at the Olympics doesn’t make them a good teacher. These clinicians know their audience very well – their videos are valuable to coaches while also entertaining for age group swimmers to watch.
Swim Videos on Demand has a deep library, everything you need, but I know you David. You’re always evolving. What’s in-store for the future?
Every Wednesday we add a new video to the service. We will be doing more video shoots throughout the year. We are going to do some things with Olympic swimmers that I’ve never seen on video before. Coaches and swimmers will love it.
Chloe Sutton, Olympian & FFT Marketing Manager
Chloe, you’ve been a world-class swimmer since you were 14 years old. Explain your role in the production and how your expertise impacted Swim Videos on Demand.
I worked closely with David on the vision for what the end product would look like. I helped decide on camera angles and format of the videos as we went through the filming and production. It was very fun to not only be behind the camera, but also in front of it! I was thrilled to be able to demonstrate so many of my favorite drills that have never been filmed before and share them with the world!
What was it like on set during filming?
On set during filming was an incredible atmosphere. We were all helping each other think through the demonstrations and descriptions of our favorite drills. I think everyone could tell that we were doing something awesome!
How do you feel about the outcome? You must be proud of the results?
I have never seen better video footage of stroke technique. The angles we picked perfectly capture every component of swimming fast. The functionality of the search and ease of finding the different categories make it extremely efficient. We will constantly add new videos and improve on an already fantastic product. I can’t wait to see how many swimmers get faster with Swim Videos On Demand!
From an elite swimmer’s point of view, why should you subscribe to Swim Videos on Demand?
If you want to learn more about technique, the best way to do it is to watch video and hear technique explained in different ways from different people. Swim Videos On Demand has the clearest video, unique drills, and it is all described by the fastest swimmers in the world who also specialize in teaching swimming technique. Subscribing, watching the videos, and practicing the drills is a great step to taking action to be a faster and more efficient swimmer through proper stroke technique.
About the Fitter and Faster Swim Tour: The Fitter & Faster Swim Tour produces swim clinics featuring elite stars of the sport and the most innovative teaching platforms. FFT Swim Clinics can be customized to meet age and skill level of every team and community. Call 786-837-6881 or visit http://www.fitterandfaster.com/ to learn more.
Swimming feature Q&A is courtesy of Fitter and Faster Swim Tour, a SwimSwam partner.