Is Garbage Yardage Actually Really Important?

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.

Are you a coach that wants to be on the “cutting-edge” of the sport and learn from the best in the world!

Get full access to the School of Thought Clinic – “the BEST Swim Coaches Clinic” out there.

In addition to all the videos, when you purchase access to the School of Thought Clinic you’ll also get an invitation to the private Facebook group for only coaches that have attended or have access to the School of Thought Clinic to keep the conversations going about what they’re learning and how they’re implementing it into their programs.

LEARN MORE – SCHOOL OF THOUGHT CLINIC

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Courtesy of Ritter Sports Performance, a SwimSwam partner. 

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JussiBjoerling

Hmmm, I am afraid Dr Rushall was not invited to this one.

Wondering

Perhaps the conference focused on distances greater than 50 meters?

Adrian

please tell that to 90% of the top sprinters of today and yesterday. I personally coached Mackevoy as a Jnr I can tell you he was from a high volume program. Popov is famous for his 3000m Time trials.

Insider

Well, when you think that Olbrecht was the consultant to swimmers like Hoogenband, Inge de Bruin (sorry if misspelled), Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Marleen Veldhuis and most recently Peter Timmers and Ferry Witerman… it goes from 50 to 10K of extremely successful swimmers…..

Chestrockwell

I thought garbage yardage was defined by “excessive swimming beyond what would be needed to spark adaptation.” Or is that just my definition?

Brad Flood

Ditto on that Chest! There are at least two of us with that understanding. The key phrase being “…beyond what would be needed to spark adaptation.”

I always held a mini exercise physiology lecture with my teams at the beginning of the season, discussing metabolism, energy systems, adaptation, etc.. At the end of the period, I would make this statement:

“From this point forward, if we give you a set to do, that cannot be justified by what we have discussed today, you do not have to do it.”

It’s not the yardage you log that is important, it is what you do within that yardage that is important.

Brad Flood

Apologies for the double post. My VPN sometimes messes with my entries, even to the point of having them disappear into the information superhighway great beyond!

Brad Flood

Ditto on that Chest! There are at least two of us with that understanding. The key phrase being “…beyond what would be needed to spark adaptation.”

I always held a mini exercise physiology lecture with my teams at the beginning of the season, discussing metabolism, energy systems, adaptation, etc.. At the end of the period, I would make the statement:

“From this point forward, if a coach gives you work to do, that cannot be justified by what we have discussed today, you do not have to do it.”

It’s not the yardage you log that is important, it is what you do within that yardage that is important.

Fly100

I cannot stand the overuse or lack of understanding of that phrase. What if you trained a season with very heavy volume to get the background needed for future success.? Just my opinion.

Brad Flood

If the “heavy volume” is designed for, and has the purpose of providing impetus for adaption, then it is not garbage yardage. Volume, for the sake of volume (or coaching braggadocio in the coaches hospitality room at meets) is garbage yardage.

Alex

I believe that’s exactly what a quad plan is. Which is why most Olympians don’t swim fast the year after an Olympics. As for age groupers that’s what 10-14 years old is for.

Kathy

Most Olympians don’t swim fast the year after the Olympics due to LACK of training or LONG breaks (well deserved), it’s not because they are busy doing garbage yardage or very high volume.

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