Courtesy of RITTER Sports Performance, a SwimSwam partner
“Easy training is in fact the most important type of training.” Dr. Jan Olbrecht emphatically stated as he finished up his afternoon presentation at the School of Thought Clinic, hosted by Matt Kredich at the University of Tennessee.
The fourth annual School of Thought Clinic once again had Dr. Jan Olbrecht as the main keynote speaker and as with every year, other great experts lined the schedule to cover various topics on high performance.
Even though some coaches in the audience were coming for the third or fourth time they said, “Every time I come to listen to Jan talk I always pick up something new.”
Sometimes as coach it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a “new” or “different” type of training. But what can’t get lost, at least if you want to have success, is following the basic principles of physiology.
And one of the biggest cornerstones of training adaptation, that Dr. Jan Olbrecht is probably know best for is – supercompensation.
But as the Q&A time started it was clear that many coaches still had misconceptions on even the basics of supercompensation and how to plan for it in training.
“If you always have a meet following a recovery phase you’re in fact not allowing for supercompensation but you’re just tapering for a competition.” Dr. Jan Olbrecht stated.
Jan went on to explain that, “People are working 10 or 12 weeks in a row and the best thing that can happen at this point is that the swimmer gets sick or injured so they have their supercompensation phase.”
It was a bit of a jarring moment for many coaches in the room. Many coaches have had this experience where a swimmer gets sick or injured and after a week or two out of the water they are swimming near their best times. This is exactly what Jan is talking about when it comes to allowing for supercompensation to occur.
And what’s one of the best ways to “provoke” supercompensation to happen?
You guessed it – easy volume. Or “garbage yardage” as it’s come to be known of late.
It’s not a difficult concept to understand but Jan could tell the room of coaches needed even more examples to bring the concept to life so he took another route in explaining the concept.
“Most athletes don’t like to swim easy, they want to train, they’re here for competition. But can you make soup without water? Water is so stupid but if you don’t put it in with your vegetables and meat you can’t make a soup without water.”
Not only were there a number of incredible presentations by keynote speaker Dr. Jan Olbrecht on training adaptations, power, capacity and supercompensation but a number of other great speakers.
Ernie Maglischo actually “tagged-teamed” with Jan for a few talks and it was incredible to watch the two researchers discuss back and forth as they flushed out training concepts right there as coaches hurriedly wrote down notes.
Two physiotherapists from “down under” were the newest speakers to the School of Thought Clinic this year.
Fiona Mather is one of the most respected physiotherapists in the world and had a number of presentations on assessment, movement and “flow” sessions for coaches to incorporate into their program for more athleticism and better overall performance. She was able help the coaches learn to “see” movement on land in the water from a unique and exciting perspective.
Rachel Vickery brought another interesting concept that most coaches and athletes never give a second thought to: breathing. She helped lay the ground work for understanding the relationship of breathing to neuro-physiology and how this affects an athlete’s mental, emotional, physical and physiological performance. Too often an athlete operates in high states of arousal or “Fright and Flight”, leading to suboptimal performance. Rachel showed simple strategies for helping athletes control their state through breathing.
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Courtesy of Ritter Sports Performance, a SwimSwam partner.